Join esctoday.com live from the hall in Moscow as the final individual rehearsals take place today.
Sasha Son starts at the piano in dark suit and fedora hat, and once again rehearses in English, despite earlier suggestions that Lithuanian or Russian might be a language choice for the song. He quickly leaves the instrument and takes to centre-stage for the rest of the song, with his final flame trick running smoothly for the final few bars, as he stands in front of the word Hope in huge, burning letters.
The stage is in cool, glittery blues on a black background, with the stage lit with simple spots, giving a dark, bluesy feel. Rolling piano keys fill the floating screens.
Vocally he is in strong form, with a control and power which still suits the laid-back, smooth vibe of the music. He vocab ad-libs well throughout, and gives an impassioned, emotional performance. One male and two female vocalists join him as back-up, and they sway blues-style to the side of the stage as Sasha Son performs.
The singer took charge of proceedings himself, giving instructions to the production crew about the lighting, stressing that the modulation is the most important part of the song and that the lighting should reflect this. Changes were subsequently made with floods of bright white filling the stage at the given moment.
The microphone is not switched on for the first run-through, but this is soon rectified as the Moldovan song kicks off. And this song only builds in energy with each showing – surrounded by bold red folkloric designs rolling over every area of the stage, and graphics of folk fancing, Nelly and her dancers give an extremely polished performance, which receives a rousing reception from the handful of supporters in the hall.
Nelly treats the hall to the second vocally flawless performance today, her voice sounding note-perfect and powerful in the auditorium. She manages to maintain this quality and tone throughout her interaction with the dancers, who vigourously kick, jump and leap around her. The choreography is incredibly effective, starting with slow, rising movements in the slower introduction of the song, before bursting into an electric display on stage. Flashing lights in the most energetic parts of the performance only highlight this, making this a show which refuses to be forgotten.
Kejsi appears in a billowing short dress and immediately gets into things with a full run-through straight away. The electronica elements of the song are enhanced by the futuristic staging, including a dancer clad from head to toe in green glittering fabric. The graphic effects are red and linear, further giving the production a modern edge.
Kejsi herself turns in a polished vocal performance (continuing the trend this morning) and works well with her dancers in the choreography, which combines sensual and traditional folk elements. Two dancers in black provide a kind of folk-dance fusion routine as Kejsi interacts with the green-clad dancer.
The stage colours are overwhelmingly red, which sear into burning gold for the modulation. Behind the performers is a moltern starscape which ebbs and flows during the choruses.