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What’s that coming over the hill…?
Hold on, who moved our hotel under the flight path for every single plane taking off in the city? This was not in the description when I booked this hotel! Needless to say, we are dead tired after a night of broken sleep but we are looking forward to our egg and bacon breakfast. Given the time difference my clock says it is 8am, but my body knows full well it is really only 6am.
We make our way down to the little café style area and we are greeted by a nice young woman who shows us to a table and asks what type of coffee we like (good start). She promptly returns with a couple of espressos, white chocolate stuffed croissants and some fresh bread. Still going well, and now on to the main with eggs, bacon and… CABBAGE!!! Who? What? Why? OK well when I am away I always like to try new things so here it goes aaaaannnnd never again. I now know that cold pickled cabbage with hot eggs and bacon is not my thing, and I do not think it ever will be, but a least I gave it a go.
Back onto the good old Uber app and another taxi back to the arena. I am glad to say this time we ended up in the right place and on time, and it was good to finally see some of the effort that Ukraine has put into this year’s competition. Last year we had traffic lights that played Euphoria by Loreen (the winner’s song from 2012), but this year Kiev has gone one better and we have road side bollards painted as Ukraine flag Minions – just what I was looking for to kick off these two weeks celebrating diversity. We are now at the arena so time to get on with the real reason we are here. “Is there a bar here?” No sir, it’s 9am! OK I’ll just go and listen to some music then (just keep Portugal away from the stage please).
08:00 BST – Greece
We kick the morning off with Demi and at last it looks like we have someone that is actually doing a full rehearsal and not just marking the steps. The staging is not bad and she seems to be making an effort, but she must have forgot to wake her voice up this morning, and she could do with getting in a Uber taxi over to the land of in-tune! For a second, I thought that I was the one that was still asleep and that I had walked into the karaoke bar next door, but sadly not.
08:40 BST – Poland
Kasia Mos makes her way to the stage accompanied by some lad with a violin who looks like he’s been dressed by the costume department of a cheap 1980s sci-fi film. Stick an ape’s head on him and he could be an extra from Planet Of The Apes. It is not monkey boy though as that comes later in the week. Kasia gives it a good first attempt; vocals are a bit shaky but then again most of them have been so far, and I suppose they are trying to find their feet. What I have noticed though is that I keep talking about the staging and how boring most of them are, but I have actually just noticed that 90% are actually all alike – maybe someone forgot how to change the settings at the technical desk?
09:20 BST – Moldova
Sunstroke Project take to the stage with a spring in their step and too right as well. I am starting to like this one more and more, and it has a man with a sax’s doing the running man (what could be better?). Just not too sure where the three Mary Poppins in wedding dresses come into play, but who cares? Overall a good showing and I think one to watch out for in the finals. It could be a dark hose and this time the horse is not on a ladder!
10:00 BST – Iceland
Now unlike me I am actually lost for words. I am trying to work out if Svala looks like Mini Mouse or Princess Laya. Problem is I do not think either look is a good one, and I am not sure what she was thinking with the jeggings she is wearing. They remind me of the Zap ice lolly I used to eat as a kid (now I want an ice cream!). Despite making me hungry and wanting to go home and watch the Star Wars box set, she delivered some good vocals and used the stage well, and Eurovision Special is praying she will have a better outfit when her 42 suitcases make their way to Kyiv after getting lost in Brussels.
11:40 BST – Czech Republic
Up next is Martina Barta with her track “My Turn”. At the end of it, I really wish it had not been her turn at all. The vocals were not good and fashion-wise it looks like Honey G’s stylist has wrapped her in Bacofoil. This one might make it into my wee wee time file, but I am willing to give her another chance before I put her in the oven at gas mark 6.
12:20 BST – Cyprus
I had really high hopes for Hovig before coming here and I actually had him in my top three, but this afternoon has put doubts in my mind. He started off really shaky and was out of time with his backing dancers, to the point he looked like he was actually doing a different dance to them. He did get better each time he rehearsed so there is still time for him to make up for the mistakes. Vocals again were not great, but it seems that has been the theme of the day and it could be that it is the sound desk that has the problems and not the acts (after all, we are live).
13:00 BST – Armenia
Well this is the first time over the last 24 hours that someone has performed and I can say I do not think they are going to get through to the finals. Artsvik and co seem like they are on acid, and I also thought for a second that someone had put the wrong backing track on, but it seems that was not the case. Either they are just really bad, or they forgot what they were doing. I think they may need an early night and to try again next time, otherwise it will be an early flight home for them.
14:00 BST – Slovenia
The day goes from bad to worse. The poor guy was out of tune to the point that experts have now said they need to redefine what out of tune means. Try as the poor lad might, he could not hit the big notes either. I am starting to think that all the acts that have been on this afternoon have either all had a late night, or they have all been sitting in the green room lubricating their throats with the local vodka. Either way, if he sings like that again next time, I can see all the local stray dogs making a run for it.
14:40 BST – Latvia
Not one that I am a fan off but the other half likes it, and I have to say they are very bright and colourful on the stage; a welcome change from the barrage of suits and plain dresses we have seen so far. Also, rumour has it that she has fallen and broken her leg after coming off stage. I do hope that is not the case but if it is we wish her well, as it would be a shame to lose an act out of the competition as such a late stage.