Where is Euro Club?
So after leaving the press centre last night we decided to take a trip to Euro Club. Travel options are varied with a choice of Metro, bus, taxi… you name it we could do it. There is even a shuttle bus from the arena to the club, but deciding that’s too easy, we opted to be proper tourists and use the public transport. So off we go to the Metro to catch the tube into town, and then it should just be a short walk after that. But wait, this is David and Dean without Google Maps we are talking about, and we have a history of planning short walks that go wrong (no-one mention Tortola and walking aimlessly around the coastline for hours).
So we get off the Metro as planned and head for the direction of the Euro Club. Just to make sure, we stop and ask a local police man if we are going the right way, and as has become the normal response in Kiev, we get a shrug of the shoulders and a blank look back at us. Luckily for us, a nice lady next to him says we are going the right way, and that it will be about a 20 minute walk.
Fast forward a few hours it’s now getting close to midnight. We have walked around and around and can’t find this place for love nor money, but finally come across another Metro station, so decide to get the train back into town and then get a taxi home.. or so I thought! David then decides to give it another go to get to the club. We get off at the next station and come across a gentleman from Germany that was having about as much luck as we were at finding this place (glad we were not the only ones). We ask yet another set of locals for directions and we are pointed up a very long street. Off we go until we come to the end of the road and again feel like we are lost. For what seems like the 100th time tonight we ask someone if we were going the right way. What happened next has been the biggest surprise of the trip so far.
Not only does the young lad (Anton) speak very good English, but he is polite to boot and actually offers to drive us the rest of the way (in a spangly new Mercedes). He proceeds to tell us how he knows what people can be like in Ukraine, and wants us to know there are also good people here, and wants us to have a positive experience of his country. Finally, we make it to the club, now too knackered to enjoy it as much as we should do, so it is two quick pints and then good old Uber (none of which have working seatbelts it would seem – is that just a Ukraine thing?) back to the hotel to have some much needed sleep.
MORNING EVERYONE! After a good night’s sleep we are back in the press centre ready for the next round of rehearsals.
08:00 BST – Serbia
A good start, it seems that Tijana has had her Weetabix this morning with the most polished start from the past three days. What makes it even better is her backing dancer being cute to boot, adding to the whole experience. Finally we are starting to see what this competition really has to offer. Long may the day continue in the same vane.
08:40 BST – Austria
One of the finer things to look at in Ukraine up next in the form of Mr Austria, dressed in conventional 90s boyband all-white. He happens to have left me a copy of his CD in my pigeonhole last night, so he really is in my good books! Nathan Trent has clearly been practicing his smoldering looks to the camera with his piercing blue eyes. He starts his turn on the big stage straddling a large glittery moon (I cannot remember a time I have wanted to be a moon more than right now). Not a bad performance for a first attempt. Vocals are good; Nathan just needs to clear up a few of the looser parts of the performance, but still one to watch for in the finals and one that will be getting my vote this year.
09:20 BST – FYR Macedonia
I knew the good start to the day would not go on forever, but I was hoping it would last a little longer than three songs. I think Jana has spent far too many hours watching Kylie Minogue’s back catalogue and is trying to emulate the Aussie singer. Sadly, she is going to have to keep on trying. This is one act that really struggles with walking and dancing at the same time, but there is still time to turn this one around. It is not a bad song, as long as she can pull it all together and stops trying to look like an extra from Pretty Woman.
10:00 BST – Malta
Well it seems the costume department decided to pour the Maltese act into her cocktail dress resulting in them needing to wheel her onto the stage. If a gust of wind blows across the stage she will topple over like a stack of dominoes. Not only that, the song is bland and so are her vocals. Seriously, the best thing to come out of this performance was the end of it and the fact that it is now lunch time local time. On a plus point, if you are looking for a really bad but cheap Celine Dion cabaret act, then in about a fortnight’s time you can give Claudia a call – I am sure she will be free and needing the work.
Back from lunch and at last the big guns are on stage – I am not talking about Ilinca and Alex from Romania, but actual big guns, glittery at that! The camera is strategically placed when Alex climbs on top of it (and promptly falls back off of it on the third run-through). How camp – who would have ever thought such a thing would appear on the stage at Eurovision of all places? As for the staging set behind it, well let’s just say it will give the BBC enough cannon fodder for the next 10 years. I won’t comment on the vocals as I do not have a good rap/yodel benchmark to compare it to, but choreography-wise they both looked like a pair of two year olds having a temper tantrum in the middle of Asda and it almost made my lunch come back up.
12:20 BST – Netherlands
OG3NE up next (pronounced “O-Gene” as they are three sisters) and wow: good harmonies (if not a little overpowering), nice dresses, and they all look like they are fresh from an advert for Garnier hair dye, so what could go wrong? Well, not much except in an age when we have the likes of Little Mix riding high in the charts with catchy up-tempo numbers, OG3NE for me just take me back to 1990 Wilson Phillips. It takes too long for the song to actually take off which is a shame as this song could have really gone somewhere. I have no issues with the vocals at all but it is just missing that extra something.. and am I the only one that thought X Factor’s 2 Shoes had added a new member?
13:00 BST – Hungary
I actually started to like this one the more I listened to it at home, but now seeing it live, I am not sure what I was thinking. The highlights for me are the giant Dyson (that actually turned out to be a milk churn on a stick with a watering can on the end) being used as some sort of drum, plus Tasha Yar from Star Trek playing the violin (finally I got a Star Trek reference in after three days here #LifeGoals). After that it is all a bit downhill and he just sounds like Joci Pápai is gargling salt water through the whole song. Maybe next time he comes to the stage his throat may be a little more lubricated and make him sound less like he is in pain.
14:00 BST – Denmark
Well it does help it you have the mic turned on… no, wait, turn it back off again please! This Anastasia lookalike is more pleasing to the eyes than she is to the ears. When she goes for the big notes I can almost hear my Husky back at home singing along with her, and I am sure she will when the final is on the TV. It might be that I am being unfair and she may have been put off with the mic not working at the start. We will have to wait with baited breath to see what improvements are made over the next week, not just from Anja but quite a few of the acts that have graced the stage so far. Then again that is what rehearsals are for. I may be sounding harsh this time around but it is only so I can actually note the progress taken over the next 11 days. There is only one more act to go here today in the form of Ireland. I am really hoping this one sounds better live, and that perhaps his testicles have dropped over the last few weeks.
14:40 BST – Ireland
Well he did not sound as squeaky as he has in the past, but I still do not get it. He reminds me of Joe Pasquale when he goes for the key change as the voice goes supersonic and not in a good way. I think it is a really good song, but as per usual, old Louis Walsh has picked the wrong act. This song needed a strong male vocal behind it and not a teenage boyband reject (although he is actually now 20!) sucking on [insert own Louis Walsh reference here] the helium from his hot air balloon. It is a shame as I normally have a soft spot for Ireland, but this year I think they are strong contenders to yet again miss the Grand Final.
That is the final rehearsal of the day here in Kiev, so for now it is off to the bar for a few drinks before starting all over again tomorrow, as we race towards the end of the first rehearsals. Really looking forward to this Thursday when we get let loose in the arena for the first time, and have our first sneaky peek at the big five plus hosts Ukraine.