Eurovision 2021 Day 5: Thoughts on rehearsals from Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan and Ukraine

A speedy day is almost coming to an end. In this last session for today, we start out with Belgium and ends with Ukraine. Who has what it takes to bring them from the semi-finals and into the final?

Earlier today, we saw the first ten acts from the first semi-final on stage for the second time. In this evening session, five more acts had to complete their second rehearsal slots. With 15 acts from semi-final one rehearsing today, there’s just one more act, Malta missing. They will have their second rehearsal tomorrow morning.

We’ll get through three sessions today, all with five songs in them, and as such we’ll see the entire first semi-final except from Malta. The second round included Belgium, Israel, Romania, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

Who has what it takes to reach the final? Let’s look at reactions from Eurovision journalists. We asked them to judge from the rehearsal if they were ready, and what might still not work for them. The article will be updated after each rehearsal so remember to come back or refresh the article.

Belgium: Hooverphonic – The Wrong Place

Charlotte J. – This was MUCH better than their first rehearsal. Back then there were some bad camera shots which had been fixed for today. Love the atmosphere in this rehearsal. Could this suddenly be a dark horse?

Michael O. – This rehearsal, I’d wager was spot on for Hooverphonic, right from the start. If the band think there are any sound problems, they probably just adjusted them. As it is, the performance/rehearsal is quite dark but this is how they want it to be. Geike really holds the key to whether juries and televoters will send them some love. Her singing is on point. Belgium seems to be exactly where they want to be. As a bonus the black and white images of Geike add to the atmosphere.

Gunec G. – A stage all black. Raymond, Alex and the vocalist stood on the panels covered with black velvet. Geike gave a great vocal performance looking good in her little black dress with back decollate. Her gimmicks were a little scary though. The dungeon theme with Geiko’s image reflected the idea of the song. Classy act.

Watch our interview with Hooverphonic below

Israel: Eden Alene – Set Me Free

Charlotte J. – Yet another country to use the colours we know so well by now. I swear this year’s slogan should’ve been ‘Open Up to pink and neon lights. Anyway, Eden is cute, no doubt about that, and the juries will like this song, but I think they could play a bit more on her cuteness-factor by losing her hair. Not much they need to adjust otherwise. This is a solid package for those who like that type of song.

Michael O. – You knew Eden was ready when at the first rehearsals, she head enough time to perform four times. That’s what’s called being prepared. At today’s rehearsals, nothing obvious had changed, except she wore her hair crown form the start. The singing and sound was perfect, though it’s hard to tell if she got there with the whistle. The dancers may have been a bit surplus to needs, but here’s another act ready to go. She’ll be able to relax tonight, after such an energetic performance.

Gunec G. – I find her high notes a little pushy, I’m not an expert but I can sense that she needs a little more practice. I find her hairdo exaggerated, she could use something more minimal, she’s a pretty girl. I like the outfit.

You can watch our interview with Eden below.

Romania: Roxen – Amnesia

Charlotte J. – Roxen’s collaboration with the dancers is excellent, and the mirror in the floor too. But, I am afraid I don’t get the performance. I am not sure if she quite manages to portray the struggles. It’s a dark and mysterious song, and maybe that’s why I don’t understand it. But I love how she uses the run-way in her performance. Vocally, it wasn’t perfect today, but it was a rehearsal so maybe she just spared herself a bit more? There’s hope for Romania, all is not lost yet.

Michael O. – Today’s rehearsals were a zillion times better for  Roxen, that the ones from earlier in the week. Her vocals are really good at the beginning, but she seems to lose her breath in the middle, due to the number of lyrics in the song. If only there was some way they could fix that for her. The dancers are doing what they’re supposed to do, but not sure if they really add anything to the performance, but that’s unlikely to change. Can’t say that’s the rehearsals show a perfect performance yet, but they’re getting there.

Gunec G. – Roxen needs to work on her vocals badly. Maybe the choreography challenges her to sing at the same time. I love the costumes and the choreography. Stage in pastel colors AGAIN.

Alvaro S. – I think the public may connect with this performance better if Roxen put more energy and emotion in some parts of her performance. The vocals could be better.

Azerbaijan: Efendi – Mata Hari

Charlotte J. – Pink and neonlights, where have we seen that before? Oh, yeah, on one third of this year’s entries. Thank God, Azerbaijan adds gold to it too. Just as I was about to say that the camerawork was excellent, it let me down on the part where it went out wide. BUT- fantastic ending shot! While, I am not a fan of the song, with adjusting the bit where the camera was off, this could do well.

Michael O. – This is another performance that I can’t see where anything will need to change. Perhaps, Azerbaijan, the land of stage effects, has learned to maximise them effectively, without going over the top, and thus wasting time on getting the effects technically correct. That’s not to say there aren’t any effects in this performance but they all seem to have been executed perfectly. Efendi should go easy with the vocals, just to ensure a powerful performance on the nights that count, but other than that, a pretty good rehearsal.

Gunec G. – The girl from land of fire set the stage on fire. I loved the ethnic figures on stage, the cobra in flame sphere, the snake figure of dancers, and the evil eye at the end, all were fantastic. Samira was in good harmony with the girls. The only thing could be improved is the hair and make up. Mata Hari requires heavier make up and fancier hair.

Theo V. -I personally love the song. The vocals sound near perfect and the backdrop is quite sleek, too. However, presentation-wise, I find it slightly underwhelming (more so given that I find the song itself quite funky). It would benefit from some (additional) dramatic camera and spotlight work – the sequence of the dance around Efendi screams for an overhead shot, for example. There ought to be more elements of the mystic East about it such as the Kali dance (which they kept from the music video and I love). The pyrotechnics at the end work nicely towards a (desired) dramatic effect.

You can watch a clip of Azerbaijan’s rehersal below

Ukraine: GO_A – Shum

Charlotte J. – Well, with a stand-in for today, this was interesting to watch. I like the energy the band has on stage. Despite it being an odd performance, I like the quirkyness. When Kateryna Pavlenko comes back, this will be a song that does well. As we don’t know their live-on-tape recording it’s hard to speculate on how it will do, if they switch to that.

Michael O. – With Kateryna out for this rehearsal section, due to not feeling well, obviously all they are checking for now is lighting and technical tricks. Since so many people thought their first rehearsals were as good as perfect, there really isn’t much to critique here, other than to say the band members worked well with the supposedly miming stand in.

You can watch a clip of Ukraine’s rehearsal wit the stand in, below

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