DJ BoBo and the other members of his troupe have completed Switzerland's first rehearsal in the Hartwall Arena. The Eurovision Song Contest stage became a gothic fantasy world for the solid hour that the Swiss troupe rehearsed.
The rehearsal began with the standard mike check with DJ BoBo and the other singers. Observers watched DJ BoBo introduce himself to the the show producers and the various technical people on the stage clearly joking around with them in his easy going Swiss manner. However, it was also quickly clear that the Swiss performer is a consumate show man and producer as he also quickly took charge of discussing camera placement and lighting options.
Shortly before the first run-through it appeared that the dancers were discussing changes in the steps, but once the rehearsal itself began it was clear that the polished choreography was clearly nailed down.
There were long pauses between run-thrus as DJ BoBo was taking time with the show producers to discuss the technical aspects. The dancers adjusted their positions for the second run-through of the show – trying to decide how best to make use of the circular stage. The singers were also concerned with mike and monitor levels, but as the kinks were worked out the vocals became clearer and clearer.
By the fourth run through the performance was almost spot on. The six dancers on the stage were energetic, and all the singing members of the troupe turned in a solid performance. The smoke and lighting effects created the appropriate atmosphere, but the pyrotechnics added for the last run-thru top off the performance.
Two minor surprises, DJ BoBo has altered the first words of his song slightly – and his wife Nancy performed in the rehearsals. Nancy normally dances in DJ BoBo's shows, but she had said several times that she would not be performing in Helsinki.
The Swiss team entered the press center for their press conference right on time as punctual Swiss should. Tony Wachter Head of the Swiss Delegation introduced DJ Bobo and asked him to introduce the rest of the team – some of whom BoBo has known since his school days. BoBo laughed when he said he had been friends with his choreographer and his manager since they were fifteen, saying that was obviously not very long ago.
Representing Switzerland is obviously a matter of pride for DJ BoBo and the rest of the Swiss delegation. The Swiss entertainer talked about watching the last Swiss entry and feeling no real connection to Six4One because – while they were capable singers – they were not Swiss. Shortly after, Swiss television sent a letter to DJ BoBo asking him to submit a song for the next Eurovision. And after discussing it the team decided they would submit a song.
Talking to the gathered journalists, BoBo said many professional Swiss singers are afraid to enter the Song Contest because they don't want to come home with null points. "At least," DJ BoBo said, "if I score zero points professional singers can enter the contest will have me as an excuse for the next ten years."
Pressed about his language choice – English rather then one of Switzerland's national languages – the Swiss man said that what is important is not the language but that the singer has some connection to Switzerland.
Talking to DJ BoBo's wife Nancy, esctoday.com said it was a pleasant surprise to see her performing on stage – since Nancy has told Swiss papers that she would not be coming to the Song Contest. We asked what led her to change her mind. Nancy explained that she didn't want to stay away from the Song Contest, but she planned to stay home in Switzerland with the their two children – especially since the youngest was born only six months ago.
However, a conservative Christian political group started a petition campaign against the DJ's entry. When Nancy saw how sad the protests made her husband, she said said she knew it was important for her to comeHelsinki to support him. Still it was total a surprise to observers this afternoon when Nancy joined the dancers on stage in the rehearsal – as late as yesterday she was keeping her plans secret, saying that she was only joining her husband in Helsinki for the first couple of days.
One of the journalists asked about the lyrics which stirred the controversy in the first place. Asked to explain why he wrote the text "From heaven to hell enjoy the ride", BoBo said that when he imagined the passionate and tragic world of vampires, he imagined that this is exactly what a beautiful vampire would say before biting a victim's neck welcoming and condemning them to the vampires eternal world. "I thought it was the most beautiful text I had ever written," BoBo laughed – but some some people thought differently. Repeating that the controversy stirred up be the small Swiss Christian party saddened him, BoBo said the problem is if you believe in hell then many songs like AC/DC's "Highway to hell" are just as much of a problem.