The Albanian delegation presented itself on stage this afternoon with the song intended to take the country through the final on May 12th, after failure to do so in Athens last year. Frederik Ndoci took to the stage with his entourage to perform Hear My Plea to a very quiet Hartwall arena.
Frederik, today dressed casually in a blue jacket, stands as the centrepiece of a six-person set, with three male backing singers behind him, a female vocalist to the right of the stage and a violin player to the left. The stage is lit with swirling blues, indigos and violets in a water ripple pattern, waxing and waning as the song progresses.
Passion and pathos
Frederik, who actually appears a little younger on stage than the promotional video for Hear My Plea might suggest, clearly feels the passion in what he is singing; at times it seems like he is really feeling the sorrow and desperation that the lyrics of the song express. However, at times this seems a little intense; this is not helped by the fact that so little else is going on during the performance besides the singer's pained gazes to camera and the violist dramatically falling to her kness on more than one occasion to perform the instrumental counterpoint to Frederik's melody.
However, the artist is clearly a master of his genre, the ballad; the long, slow phrasing of the song requires a voice with control, and Frederik has that in abundance; the female vocal could be a little richer in comparison, but there is time to improve at the second rehearsal on Saturday.
The press conference will follow shortly – stay tuned for more details!
The Albania Rehearsal: