I headed out to Globen to have a look at the rehearsals of the Big Five; that’s Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the UK, i.e. the countries that don’t have to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final on Saturday, as well as last year’s winner Sweden. Here’s how it went:
SWEDEN: FRANS – IF I WERE SORRY
I must admit, I wasn’t 100% happy with Sweden’s choice for Eurovision this year – Frans has come across as a bit dull and a bit “meh” overall but seeing him rehearse at Globen I have to admit; the performance gave me goosebumps. Frans looked confident, super cute and relaxed on stage.
The performance is stripped back and reminds us of Måns’ winning performance last year in the sense that all we see is a man and a screen – but the similarities end there. There are no dancing gnomes, nor are the dancing men; Frans will not be dancing on stage.
Instead he has a casual stroll in front of a sparkling screen and as he sings words appear in gold writing behind him. It’s stripped back and it is good. I may not have been convinced to start with but I will say now that I am proud of Sweden’s entry.
FRANCE: AMIR – J’AI CHERCHÉ
From Frans to France, as the rehearsal lead chuckled, and another performance with a solo man on stage. Amir sings his track J’ai Cherché partly in French, partly in English and the performance sees him doing all sort of bending and stretching in what is a very spacey stage performance featuring lots of strobe lights.
He seemed a little nervous, but convincing, and he got a lot of journalists dancing. Oh, and he is an absolute dreamboat. Hearts will melt.
SPAIN: BAREI – SAY YAY!
HOLA SPAIN. So I knew I liked the song but wow, it translates well on stage. Barei, dressed in assymetrical gold dress, sneakers and an edgy undercut, is accompanied by a team of female backupsingers, all in American football style dresses and it is all very… well, I guess one might say the queer ladies will enjoy this one.
Barei starts off her performance with a husky “hello, hello Mister Fighter…” and the first time she did it her voice broke a little but for the second rehearsal all was good. The performance is full of energy and will likely get you on your feet dancing away much like Barei.
I don’t want to reveal too much but there is a rather spectacular break – the arena gasped when we first saw it, and to be honest, I never really got used to it. Definitely a new favourite of mine!
GERMANY: JAMIE-LEE GHOST
This performance is one you definitely won’t forget.
Starting off as a shadow under a full moon Jamie-Lee, dressed in a kawaii outfit full of quirky details, takes you to a mystical forest somewhere in a magic land filled with cherry blossom. Maybe it’s Japan, maybe it’s fantasy, all we know is that Jamie-Lee has made few changes to the performance that won her the privilege to come out here and compete with it.
The song is called Ghost and there is something very haunting about this song – as in, it literally haunts you once you’ve heard it and I just can’t get it out of my head. Anyway, it’s good but I can’t see it winning.
ITALY: FRANCESCA MICHIELIN – NO DEGREE OF SEPARATION
This is one of my favourite songs in the competition, however the staging somewhat threw me. Francesca is surrounded by balloons, dangling flower pots and god knows what else; it all looks a bit messy to me. But if you don’t let this distract you then you will notice that this is a gorgeous song that also features a verse in English that it is hard not to get singing along to. One for my personal playlist!
UK: JOE AND JAKE – YOU’RE NOT ALONE
When Joe and Jake won the UK selection show I said that they must ensure they get cool staging and it seems their team thought the same thing. The boys appear in leather jackets and cheeky grins and with them on stage are two drummers sitting on what appears to be square daleks with big lights on them.
The wall behind them features lots of fan selfies (thought I didn’t see the Graham Norton one – maybe I stood too close to see them all), there are fireworks (Jake almost got hit by one in the first rehearsal!) and it is all looking very cool indeed.