Thanks to a very vocal and enthusiastic Greek presence in the press hall, Sarbel was guaranteed a hugely appreciative welcome to the Hartwall Arena. In an urban setting, Sarbel's female dance troupe were dressed in white outfits, with the man himself in a vest top and a patriotic sailor-style blue and white striped jacket.
Greek contingent or not, the audience had a lot to cheer about. The performance is spine-tinglingly good on stage and TV. The choreography, little changed from the Greek final act, pours energy mercilessly out onto the audience. Sarbel himself cuts a great figure on the dancefloor, giving the girls more than a run for their money, and managing to sing a decent, if not yet completely solid vocal to boot. The vocal actually became stronger and stronger with each run, the routine looking more confident by the minute.
Sun, sea and sand
The Greek delegation is taking the opportunity to play with as many background combinations as possible to find the ultimate one, as many of the acts are, and the set cycled through various incarnations such as throbbing disco graphics, urban graffiti and even sun, sea and sand tableaux in several different configurations. The audience seemed to warm immediately to the latter Summer hit style background, cheering as it remained for one of the performances. The delegation seem drawn to this one in particular, and it remained as the key element for the rest of the rehearsal.
Sarbel is an expert at playing to the audience, and seems to know how many zoom lenses are pointing at him in the audience as he saucily eyes up the camera and flashes a perfect smile.
A particular treat is the Greek dance break, which Sarbel strips to his vest for in the last run through. This move illicited deafening cries of delight from the crowd, and the whole style of attack here could be dubbed crowd pleaser. The Greeks know the formula; and this year, they're making sure they use every single one of the ingredients.
Sarbel confirmed that he will sing in a white and blue outfit on Saturday. About himself, he told that he is an open and communicative person and that he followed a classical music and opera education. Another topic were his three (!) nationalities: His father is Greek, his mother is Lebanese but he has also lived in the United Kingdom (in London) for a while. According to the singer, it depends on the day if he feels Greek, Lebanese or British. Nevertheless, today he feels Greek of course as Greek representative in the Eurovision Song Contest. As a surprise, he performed part of an Arabian song which originated from the village where his mother was born.
Sarbel stated that he has always followed the contest even it not very closely. Actually, he did not know that there are so many people who share their passion about this show. Nevertheless, he has confirmed that he will follow it more intesively in the future since he now understand the enthusiasm.