The Jet Set were the final act to take to the Hartwall Arena stage in today's rehearsal schedule, and it may have been a case of saving the best until last. In a fun, sexy act, Poland shows how seriously it takes the challenge to leap beyond the torturous eleventh place in the semifinal.
The Polish entourage took some time in setting up and checking levels, before giving the song an initial runthrough; in the meantime, spectators could puzzle over an intriguing object, some three metres tall and covered with red cloth, in the middle of the stage. Besides that, The Jet Set come complete with a gramophone, a salute to the 1920s vibe that runs through the swinging parts of the song. The stage is lit in hot golden colours against black to begin with. The backdrop switches to glowing red chains halfway through the song. Two male and two female dancers join Sasha and David.
Bringing sexy back
During the second runthrough, the mysterious object was revealed; the loth is pulled off, revealing a caged Sasha and her two female dancers. She soon escapes the silver cage to join David, and the performers divide into boy versus girl groups for a dance stand-off before mixing up into pairs. The whole routine is pure R&B style cheekiness, and the presentation overall is unashamedly sexy and fun. We can assume that the wardrobes will follow suit when the group perform in full costume. Sasha, incidentally, ends up back in the cage by the end of the performance.
Poland is one of the fourteen countries to take advantage of pyrotechnic effects this year, and the final run-through was reserved for the full performance with fireworks included. These kick in during the second chorus, when roman candles light up the sides of the stage in a flurry of sparks. These fire up again for the following chorus. The finale is marked by a explosion of green fireballs.
A very strong vocal was evident from the beginning, particularly from Russian-born Sasha. A good rehearsal to end the day's programme on, and perhaps a performance which could just take Poland beyond the agonising eleventh place it has found itself in for the last two years' worth of semifinals.
The Jet Set's press conference finally came on after a short delay, the last official event on the day's programme. "We hope the questions are gonna be nice", said Sasha.David added incredulously "Wow – this is Eurovision. It's a thing you've been watching all your life and now we're here!"
East meets West
Talking about The Jet Set's beginnings, Sasha told the assembled press: "we're very much East meets West, as I am from Russia and David is from England. A Polish singer we know introduced us to David, and we were amazed by his material." David added"I heard her voice and thought – whoa! I've got to go to Poland. I think this was destined to be".
And of their chances for 2007? "We'll give all we've got and I know we're going to do it" promises David.Sasha adds "the greatest success for uswould be to reach the finals. No one from Poland has been able to get into the final in the last couple of years just because of a couple of points. We really want to do this!" Of course, the band had a pop at representing Poland in 2006, when Ich Troje were selected for Athens instead. "That was our first big show" explains Sasha. "We thought we'd try once more – and we won!" And Helsinki hasn't disappointed so far, at least for Sasha. "Everything is so new – I'm so excited! I'm treating this festival very seriously, it's important to me – but I'm treating this whole thing as a big musical adventure."
Moulin Rouge style
So what makes this year's entry different? David explains: "We had rap last year, but this year we have this retro – break dancey style mixture which makes the song very special." Sasha adds "We have great costumes – everything is in this Moulin Rouge style, like the cage – and there is great choreography with great dancers. We realise that everyone is watching a show. That's why we are singing and dancing for a whole three minutes. It wasn't that easy to make it that good, so that's really something!"
Talking of the other competitors, the group talked about their encounters so far. "The Eurovision artist tours have been a great chance to meet the other performers" says Sasha, who also confessed to loving ABBA's Waterloo and Céline Dion's Ne partez pas sans moi. David is more specific about his favourites: "Malta is my favourite song, and the Romanian guys are great – I can't wait to meet them again!"
Twelve points from Poland to…
What of the traditional Poland-Ukraine vote swapping? Sasha is realistic: "I think Poland and Ukraine will exchange the top marks because of the forthcoming football championships. But who can say who the Polish people will like on the night?"
The future looks bright for the pair after recent awards and accolades, and they spoke enthusiastically about their plans. "We are a young group and producers from all over the world have asked to work with us. At the moment, Eurovision is the most important thing for us, but afterwards we will go on a major promotional tour abroad. We know the countries, but not the dates yet, as we don't know for sure it will happen." "It will happen!" adds David hopefully.
David and Sasha concluded the conference with the hope that the production will surprise TV viewers at home after the improvements made to the presentation; Polish viewers will be hoping that the pair's early success will be reflected in a sound top ten placing in the semifinal next week.