Eurovision 2015: rehearsals from Denmark, Albania, Romania and Georgia

Day 2 of this year’s Eurovision and it’s time for some of the countries competing in the first semi final to take to the stage for their first rehearsal. It is now time for Denmark, Albania, Romania and Georgia to rehearse their entries. Eurovisionary will be reporting live from the press centre in Wiener Stadthalle.

Anti Social Media
The Way You Are

Denmark is being represented by boyband Anti Social Media this year. Anti Social Media were put together specifically for the Danish national final but they have really bonded since apparently. They seem to share a taste for 60’s pop music, the elements of which they like to incorporate into their sound, and claim that The Beatles are one of their main influences (that would be a bit like One Direction then?). Their song is about how being in the presence of someone you are in love with can change the way you perceive things around you and make you want to spend all your time with them. Anti Social Media released their first EP just yesterday so, if one considers that this will be their first time on the Eurovision stage, it’s looking as if this is going to be a truly exciting week in the group’s career.

Denmark’s first stage rehearsal

The presentation starts with a shot of Philip, the group’s main singer. The stage is quite brightly lit, predominantly in white, with moving thick black lines animating the stage in the background. Philip is surrounded by the other three members of the band around and behind him, the drummer of the group being on a slightly raised round platform. There are also two female backing singers on a similar platform moving elegantly to the rhythm of the song in their bright red mini dresses (changed from the orange used for the Danish national final). The whole set up, the wide white and black stripes, the red mini dresses, Philip’s tailored suit jacket as well as a set of old amplifiers give this a 60’s look that really matches the style of the song (and the group’s musical intentions). During the key change, the stage changes from white to blue. There are little differences compared to the Danish national final with the exception of a few camera angles that have now changed as well as less focus being put on the girls. The song finishes with the whole group taking a bow just in time for the last note. Even after a commercial break, Russia will be a hard act to follow, but Denmark manages to put together a sleek performance.

Elhaida Dani
I’m Alive

Not only has Elhaida Dani won Star Academy Albania, the twenty two year old also won The Voice of Italy in 2012 as well as numerous competitions in the Balcans. Love ballad I’m Alive was not the song originally selected to represent the country in Eurovision. A problem with the original song’s composer, however, meant that Elhaida had to find a new one. They say that every cloud has a silver lining and that was the case with Elhaida as I’m Alive has proven very popular with Eurovision fans with the song’s video being one of the most watched this year.

Albania’s first stage rehearsal

The Albanian presentation does not have any tricks up its sleeve. Instead, it creates an elegant, sophisticated atmosphere through the use of abstract graphics – indeed the background is occasionally reminiscent of Cubist art (think of Georges Braque). This is complemented by elegant use of white and golden brown spotlights. The predominant colours used for the stage are gold, warm browns and yellows. Elhaida wears an interesting black outfit that consists of a cropped cut top, trousers and a short cape. She is joined on stage by three female backing singers dressed in white. Elhaida has a beautiful voice but the vocals in general for the Albanian entry are not up to scratch during the first run of the song. As the Albanian rehearsal progressed, the camera work becomes a bit more intricate, with sweeping shots, but everything is kept nicely understated.

De La Capat/ All Over Again

For the last twenty years, Voltaj have been one of the most successful groups in their native Romania. The band recently started the campaign (meaning ‘all over again’) supporting children who are left behind by parents who are forced to migrate in search of employment. There is no English translation readily available for De La Capat but, from the small part of the song that is sung in English, it can be deduced that it makes references to the same problem.

Romania’s first stage rehearsal

The performance starts with the group being lit from white spotlights behind them. There are only whites and greys used for the stage. The main singer starts singing in the dark before he, and later the stage, are being slowly lit. In the background, there are images of stacked suitcases, some of them open to reveal panels on the underside of their lids where black and white (documentary looking) footage of children, maps and people migrating are shown. On closer inspection as the rehearsals progress, one does not fail to notice that a map showing Austria and Vienna in particular features heavily. The only colour on stage comes comes from numerous suitcases scattered at the front of the stage, each one of them being individually lit – the apparent intention here being to put each human story behind a suitcase, the Romanian song’s theme, in the spotlight. The group themselves are dressed in black and white, the main singer sporting an embroidered cross instead of a tie. Towards the end of the song, the singer walks past the suitcases to the front of the stage as the suitcases shown in the background close again behind him. His vocal performance is consistent during all the runs. After Albania, this is another sweet, understated presentation.

Nina Sublatti

Nina Sublatti, a young singer and model, has a huge following in her native Georgia. Her debut release, Dare To Be Nina Sublatti, has apparently topped the Georgian album charts for the last two years. Nina’s is the first of the two ‘Warriors’ this year as the Maltese entry also bears the same title; numerous other songs, possibly due to the empowering message of last year’s Eurovision winner, are also about having a fighting spirit and persevering against adversity. The lyrics of the Georgian song include the term ‘oximated’ which extensive internet research carried out in the press centre reveals to be referring to a particular chemical reaction.

Georgia’s first stage rehearsal

Nina is all alone on stage silhouetted against dark, inauspicious clouds. When the singing starts she gets dramatically lit from above, shadows being cast over her face. The performer manages to convey the fighting spirit of her song through her vocal performance; there are some slight wobbly bits during the first run but these are overcome later on. Nina is wearing black hot pants, tall high-heeled black boots and a long sleeved top with a detail of projecting black feathers on the shoulders. Her black hair is worn straight and long, a piece of silver jewellery worn across her head from the top of her forehead to the back of her head. The whole effect is quite dramatic with impressions of lightning, some of it projecting from her feet onto the stage floor. At the point where she sings ‘spreading’ two large white wings, seemingly forming from behind her back, are projected on the background display. There is also a sequence where a set of heavily painted eyes – not dissimilar to Nina’s own – is shown in the background; there are tears coming down that go on to ‘flood’ the area where Nina is standing on the stage floor (thus forming a ‘flood of tears’). By the end of her stage rehearsal, Nina looks confident and happy with her performance – the camera catches her smiling to the crew and one cannot help thinking that, despite the directorial approach of dramatic shadows, it is a shame that the viewers will not get the chance to see more of her beautiful face. A very exciting second day of rehearsals has thus come to an end.

 With special thanks to Yiannis Argyriou.

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