This afternoon the second rehearsals of the first six contestants in the second semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 took place.
The first country to perform on stage was Latvia.
Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat
This is a good opener for the second semi. Justs has changed into a black leather jacket but the image he wants to portray stays the same. There are light purple pipes shooting up from the floor, and the stage floor is a more metallic grey than before.
There is a catwalk like appearance on stage with three white lights. Justs starts beside the middle light and walks down it as the song progresses.
Justs moves around a lot more than we’ve seen in the past, and actually does some minor dance moves. There are flashing red lights when the chorus comes in and the three lights on the floor flicker.
On the third run through Justs has some minor hand gestures and there is much flashier lighting with red strobes and the floor lights flickering furiously. The walls are red and white like the Latvian flag.
Vocally perfect, they have also added and extra beating pulse to the music.
Poland: Michal Szpak – Color Of Your Life
Michal is wearing a very regal red jacket, with black frilled shoulder pads, gold buttons and black trimming, almost like a Beefeater at the Tower of London. He tops it off with a black fancy shirt and pants, but no socks. He also has black nail polish on his nails.
There were a couple of voice problems as Michal stood centre stage, with the three violinists to his left and the cellist to the right on the first rehearsal, but was better second time.
The spotlights at the start are all blue but as the song progresses, there are red strobes and yellow flashlights.
The lyrics appear on the screen towards the end ending with YOUR LIFE displayed.
Switzerland: Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind
At last Rykka has sensible hair, getting the straightener out and letting it flow. She is wearing a dark brown tank top and what can only be described as a see through bin bag. She is not wearing shoes.
Facing right she starts the song with the smoke bellowing from her body. She then walks down towards the front of the stage.The bin bag flows with the wind machine.
There is a lot of use of pink spotlights shining through the mandatory use of the blue staging.
On the third run through there is a large waterfall effect behind her as she walks to the front of the stage. There are also more lights illuminating from the stage floor. The use of the golden pyrotechnics to create a waterfall are also featured in the last run through.
Ryyka has an awful habit of leaning jerkily forward with every line she sings, and although the vocals are perfect, it is very off-putting.
The last part of the song is sung at the front of the stage looking directly out to the audience
Israel: Hovi Star – Made Of Stars
Hovi stands in the middle of the stage dressed from head to toe in black – black coat, black trousers, black fingerless gloves and black shoes. Underneath him is a blue spotlight which extends out on the floor in the shape of a star.
All is well up to the second verse, until the two acrobats appear spinning in their hoop, then they become very distracting.
A massive light display in the last chorus gives the appearance of stars shining in the dark night sky, while a shimmering ring of yellow and light blue flashes in the background.The blue star on the floor covers the whole stage as the song ends.
In the last run through the golden firework waterfall effect is used again.
Belarus: Ivan – Help You Fly
Belarus have certainly loaded up on the special effects this year. Starting in his birthday suit with the wolf, to the image of the baby at the end.
Between all that, there are impressive images of wolves on the mountain , and how three of them circle round Ivan, as if they are pets.
Dressed again in his smart cream coloured suit, Ivan has painted three white lines down his face, for reasons known only to himself. Holograms appear of Ivan playing drums and guitars, which like the wolves, turn into dust after Ivan has no more use for them.
Visually quite spectacular, Ivan is singing well enough. Red strobe lights belch out from the side of the stage and at some point throughout the song all colours of the spectrum get a look in somewhere.
Serbia: Sanja Vučić ZAA – Goodbye (Shelter)
A long spinning wheel which looks like long knives juts out from a red circle of light at the beginning of the song. Sanja is dressed in a very fashionable black dress, but has returned a little to the Amy Winehouse form of singing. The stage is very prominently red.
The four backing singers are also now dressed in black and form a circle facing outwards in the first refrain. The male dancing perpetrator is also now dressed in black.
The last chorus is very much a Serbian affair with all the girls singing along in unison, making a very pleasing sound. This should sail in to finals and be a contender to win.
Stay tuned for Ireland, FYR Macedonia, Lithuania, Australia and Slovenia.