The third day of preparations in the build up to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest saw the first nine songs in the second semi-final take to the stage. Shortly after each rehearsal, the singers made their way to the press conference room to meet the media.
Kicking things off was Bosnia and Dino Merlin, who first participated in the contest in 1999 in Jerusalem. To remind everyone of this, he first sang Love in Rewind unaccompanied, then went into a rendition of Putnici. Why has he returned to the contest again? "I decided to come back to Eurovision because I want to keep the child in myself alive".
One of the most anticipated conferences of the day was Austria, who is returning to the contest after a 4 year absence. Nadine Beiler revealed that The Secret is Love was written for the contest. In response to a question about her ability to cope with the start of the song, when only her voice is heard, she said, "I really do have trust in my voice. Even when I have a cold – when I’m on stage, my voice is working."
In case anyone was in any doubt who was next up in the conference room, Dutch act, 3JS, entered the room with their song playing. Do they think they can qualify for the final? "We believe that we can do that as we think we have a good song." The song was originally in Dutch but was translated into English because "we want to make it to the final, and make the song more accessible to everyone in Europe."
Acapella group, Witloof Bay are representing Belgium. They were asked how they manage to syncronise their vocals with no music to guide them. "We have an in ear system, so just before the song we have the tuning and that then prompts us and gets ready for the start of the song so we are all singing on the same beat. We have a metronome click beat that only we can hear all of the way through the song so that we can stay at the same level." It has been noticed by many that the name of the group, Witloof Bay, sounds very similar to the title of the song, With Love Baby, group member, Roxor Loops clarified this point. “I was thinking about a song for the website witloofbay.be, and when I removed the dot, it was Witloof Baybe!. That’s where the idea came from."
There are two sets of twins competing in the contest this year. Slovakia is represented by one of them, sisters who call themselves Twiins. How alike are they? "We never argue, and we even have the same musical taste." Perhaps trying to make a bit of mischief, one journalist asked them if they would go on a date with Irish twins, Jedward. Their reply left no doubt, "They are too young for us!"
Ukrainian singer, Mika Newton does a lot of charity work. "This is something that I do from my heart and I truly enjoy it. I really love kids and working with children, especially those who are less fortunate." On stage with her will be a sand artist called Kseniia. Asked about this, Mika said that she wanted Kseniia to interpret the song via this art form and so sent it to her to develop this part of the presentation.
Like Bosnia’s Dino, Moldovan band Zdob și Zdub are also returning for another crack at the title. Having been aided by Boonika in their previous appearance, this time, the group are sporting some large, pointed hats. Naturally, there were questions about them. "The hats are a Moldovan tradition; they are called Kushma’s. They are like a kind of antennae, which bring cosmic power. All good people wear these type of hats in Moldova. It’s a symbol from our sunny small country of Moldova." Where did the idea come from? "It’s an interesting story about when the moment came for the stage idea. We were actually in cafeteria thinking about the show. We were looking at some of our album covers, and the cover of one CD, there is a guy with the kushma hat riding a unicycle."
After a technically disastrous rehearsal, Sweden’s Eric Saade faced the press. Asked about his aim for the contest, he replied, "I want to win this thing." Head of Delegation, Christer Björkman told of his disapproval of the ‘Big 5’ system.
The last delegation to meet the press was the Cypriots. Much was made of the performance, in which singer, Christos Mylordos and his backing singers all lean at extreme angles. He explained that, as the song is in Greek, they want to convey the emotions of the song in the movements.
Tomorrow will see the remaining ten songs rehearse and the singers being interviewed in the press conference room.