Estonia, having swapped its rehearsal schedule with Iceland due to Gerli Padar's previous commitments, was fifth up on the Hartwell Arena stage today, presenting the song Partners in Crime to the hall.
You can watch the Estonian photo gallery here.
The stage setting could be described as urban, having changed from the predominant greens of the preview video to burning golds and black, with morphing, graffiti-style scrawl etched at the edges of the lighting screens. This changes to cool blues, whites and blacks during the middle eight, and this sums up the performance itself – a cool, confident affair. Circular patterns of spotlights complete the set, beating in time to the music behind the performers.
Gerli, who appeared in a black catsuit much like the one fans are used to seeing her in, gave four strong, very capable performances of the song on stage after an initial soundcheck. She is accompanied by three male dancers and two female backing vocalists / dancers, and the routine remains much as the choreography in the preview video. Carried in on the shoulders of her dancers, Gerli kicks in immediately with an edgy vocal, and the sound levels already sound performance-ready, with little to worry the delegation on the technical front. At one point, Gerli giggled during one of the more 'intimate' dance moves, sliding her hand round the chest of her partner – in any case, she seems to be enjoying herself whilst remaining very professional, and this comes across on stage where she looks completely at ease.
Selling the song on its own merits
It is clear that the Estonians are selling the entry on the merits of the song, avoiding gimmicks and giving a straightforward, but slick performance on stage. Whether this very honest approach will work with televoters will be seen on Thursday 10th; until then, Gerli's fans can rest assured that her interpretation of the song is a solid, strong one.
Gerli wanted to emphasise that she hopes the audience sees and feels the energy from the song.
David from esctoday.com friends, the Schlagerboys, asked about Gerli's style and her haircut. Gerli explained that it was actually done by a friend, who is not actually a hairdresser.
Gerli was the first artist of the year to be asked to sing in their press conference. She gave a strong vocal rendition of the chorus of Partners in crime, tohuge applause from the audience.
The songwriter was asked where the song came from. He said that the song was easy to write because it is about situations they know well. They thought about Gerliand between them, completed the song.
The press were reminded that because Gerli has to perform two shows in Estonia over the weekend, the Icelandic delegation agreed to switch rehearsals so that they could complete their schedule tomorrow. They thanked the Icelandic delegation for their help.