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WELCOME TO THE 11TH EDITION OF THE EUROVISION DIARY!

April 27

Hejsan hejsan! Hope all is good with you all. We are still in interval and opening rehearsals, so we can’t show you much from inside the arena. If we do, you know the drill, we would have to kill you, and we can’t have that.

 

The exterior of the IEC has been under a massive facelift the past week. This is the crew entrance where we enter complete darkness every day. Outside, it’s above 20° and sunny.

 

Across the plaza to the right is the press entrance into hall 1. We are expecting 1550 journalists from 42 countries, so there are going to be quite a lot of people with cameras and microphones here soon. But please note, if you show up with a wireless mic you'll be stripped of your accreditation and kicked out of here faster than you can say backpfeifengesicht!

We'll get back to you with the proper report about all the miracles within hall 1 soon!

 

We’ll do a second mapping of the video projection covering our stage arc tonight to make sure that everything is perfectly aligned, and then that part is ready too, together with everything else.

 

We’ll do a detailed cover about our entire OB and camera set up as well. We have a total of 20 cameras for the show, including this 2D cam that decided to come down and visit us living creatures on the floor earlier today.

 

Oh crap…….. I’m not too good at keeping secrets am I…………. One of our performers for the interval acts for the Grand Final is Ruslana. For those of you that didn’t know, she won the contest back in 2004, and was the reason for me spending the entire fall of 2004 in Kyiv, and the whole spring of 2005 as well. No complaints from my side! I love this girl to death!

 

We’re not only busy with programming the stage lighting, audience lighting is just as an important part of everything we do, since the idea is to bring the lighting design from stage out into the audience.

 

After the special about Unbranded the other day, they have become SO popular that they had to build barricades around their compound to get some peace. And how can anything but pink PPE be better on Eurovision Song Contest?

 

 

Why is it that REALLY famous people are always born on holidays?

 

So many questions............

 

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April 25

Hello music lovers! Another day in paradise! I dare to say that spring is FINALLY here, just in time for the arrival of the Delegations. Thank you very mucho! Today we will dig deep into the wonderful world of Lighting and the amazing creatures at FOH.

But let’s start off with Matthias Rau, my Technical Manager for Lighting, double dutying as gaffer for the romantic guy that steals all my stuff. I first met this lovely fellow in a dusty venue in Moscow back in 2009, when we’re both hired by Procon to do the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. Then we did 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 together, and are now romantically re united in the wonderful city of Kyiv, where we actually did Eurovision Junior together back in 2013, come to think about it.

 

We have also Andreas Türpe, Assistant LD in da house! Andy is the happy fellow who will sit in front of the stage together with the delegations to do the rough fixings and adjustments for lighting, so that is done and dusted before the delegations go to the viewing room.

 

Markus Ruhnke is taking care of Keylights. You might have seen his pretty face on ¨Most Wanted¨ posters at Pizzeria Napule.

 

Torsten “Icke” Berger is our Spot Caller. I’m not sure if he knows that his nickname means NO WAY in Swedish, and I’m not sure I dare to tell him…………

 

Sebastian “Huwi” Huwig is our video operator. He controls a total of 13 Green Hippo Boreal, 2 Espresso machines and a popcorn maker.

 

Raphael Demonthy programs all the Show lights. I tried to assign the rope lights under the Grand Stands to him as well, but he refused. He claims he’s too busy……………

 

HERE IS A PICTURE OF THEM, INSTALLED BY JOAN LYMAN, 2 HOURS BEFORE THEY WERE STOLEN:

 

Raphael Grebenstein "Grebi" or Raphael II, is assisting Raphael I. He adjusts the audience lights to the main design on stage.

 

Markus Janning is our MA Lighting Support tech. He makes sure that the network is up and running at all times. And with more than 67 000 control channels, there is quite a network to look after!

 

And Jerry Appelt posing for a selfie! The most romantic guy in the world. And one of the best lighting designers in the world. This is basically why he is here, we need great lighting, and we need romance. Lots of romance!

 

We also decided to celebrate with another birthday cake! …….Unfortunately Robert’s birthday is in December but the cake was great! It turned out that it was his passport’s issue date we were celebrating - so it should say "Happy Birthday Robert's Passport"…… Professionals…………

 

If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

So many questions………

 

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April 24

Sorry again for the technical hiccup but we’ve sorted things out for now! We’ll be working hard to catch up with this the coming days.

Today I wanted to introduce our stage supplier, Unbranded! They’ve been here with us every day since load in and have been responsible for building our beautiful stage, and a couple of other unexpected things.

 

Besides bringing all the stuff needed to build our stage, they also brought furniture to turn one of their containers into the The Unbranded Lounge – true professionals! But I’m a bit confused with the complete lack of orange inside the un-official embassy of The Netherlands!

 

Their on site workshop is still constantly busy. The stage was in place, on time, to our satisfaction and we’ve been rehearsing on it for a couple of days already.

 

Now they are preparing the final bits and pieces for completion of the design, and building a bunch of stuff for us that was not in their original contract.

 

Our first idea was to convert the venue floor with carpet, since the lacqured concrete came with a reflection that would not be so great. But then Marco came up with the brilliant idea to paint the floor in the audience area black instead. They are using a special coating that is very durable and will stay black for the duration of the show, but will be very easily removed with a proper cleaning machine once we’re done. Very smart, and very cost efficient!

 

Do you remember the paper figures we had in 2013 and 2016? No? Oh well… we bought 200 Elvis, Mr. Spocks and Marilyn Monroes and placed them here and there in the arena to use as foregrounds for cameras and cranes during rehearsals.

See here:

 

We even bought a cow:

 

Well……. In the rush of everything, we kind of forgot the need of these figures this year, executing the pre production of this show in 5 months less than normal.

 

 

So….. what do you do…….. you go to Unbranded’s workshop, you get down on your knees, you tell them that you love them enomously and that the incident with the lack of Bitterballen is forgotten and forgiven, and you ask them to do some foreground figures, nicely dressed in Unbranded swag!

Here are some of the super heroes in our staging team:

L to R: Ann-Marie van Rietschoten, Henk van de Garskamp, Ruben van de Wetering, Anthonie de Haas, Arie Worst, and Eduardus van Haastrecht.

 

Why don’t we wrap up today with the saying about the stubborn Dutchman.
Wooden shoe, wooden head and wouldn' listen!

 

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April 23

Hej.  :(

 

So, we've been told by a British risk assessment analyst that we're highly probable for hacking. Today, we can't access our media, therefore, no photos until we get the problem fixed.

So just imagine......you're in a land far, far away, full of happy faces, a beautiful stage with lovely lighting and video......

 

Naahhh.....doesn't quite work that way. Super sorry for the inconvenience but we'll be back up and running soon!

 

 

Why is it that people say they 'slept like a baby' when babies wake up like every two hours?

 

So many questions...............

 

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So  many questions...........
 

April 22

Hello!

We're well into stand-in rehearsals now so here are a few behind-the-scenes looks at what we're doing. We can't show you what is happening on our stage right now since the competing countries would like to keep their performances secret as long as possilble. But I can tell you this, our stand in artists are AMAZING, and the pictures we're getting look fantastic. We are in good shape!

 

1rehearsals

This is our first chance to rehearse as a unit - lights, cameras, stage changeovers and performers. This rehearsal is more for our team then the delegations, but we record the result, and send it out to the delegations so they can have a first viewing of what to expect when they get here next week. A VERY important tool for us all!

 

2standins

In the olden days when I was a young man, we would just haul some innocent volunteers up on stage to stand there, with a empty roll of toilet paper instead of a real mic, hence the name "dummy rehearsals". But now we get actual young performers that have learned the songs. I can't tell you which rehearsal this is. Well, I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you......

 

3standins1

Sometimes we've had local drama school students do this as a semester project - learning the songs in various languages and the choreography. This year it's an assortment of young people that responded to local postings on facebook and other social medias. We LOVE THEM! Thank You Thank You Thank You!

 

henke

As Floor Manager, Henke keeps rehearsals on time by moving acts on and off stage, giving countdowns, etc. His is the voice of God with a body of a Super Star. A very old Super Star..........

 

christer linus mads

While Christer, Linus and Mads (OK, I added Mads in the photo here) keep watch on the monitor.

Mads Enggaard (right) and Linus Kannerberg (center) are Viewing Room Manager and Assistant Viewing Room Manager respectively. They are the link between the delegations and the directors and creative departments. After each rehearsal, the delegations go to the viewing room and sit down with Mads and Linus to review the performance on screen, discussing all creative aspects, what changes they may like to see and learn what and if certain changes can be done. Every once and a while the delegations say, “I love it!” which makes Mads and Linus (as well as the creative and production team) very happy!

Christer’s job as Show and Contest Producer is to have an overview of the acts and the content, try to keep them apart in expression and look, and regarding the show, it is actually to create and put together a series of programs that will be interesting for a wide variety of tastes and people and viewers as possible.

 

7zain

And here's Zain Odelstål, Director of Opening and Interval Acts. As part of the creative team, Zain brainstorms with Christer to make a cohesive and entertaining show.

But now I'm going to ask him the really interesting things:

OM: How was your first day of rehearsal?

ZO: It was very effective!

OM: That’s true – this morning I think I saw you on stage on a treadmill in a bomber jacket

ZO: That’s true

OM: Was this a clever decision?

ZO: No it wasn’t

OM: At your age?

ZO: Really not

OM: It looked good though…the first 30 seconds but then it was quite obvious that you forgot your own choreography

ZO: I did and that is very very very bad behavior

OM: Well you know what, I got very bad news for you, because we recorded it. It’s forever imprinted on the EVS. And guess who has the backup?

ZO: (LOL)

OM: So who’s paying for dinner tonight?

(both LOL)

ZO: I guess you cause you can sell that backup for a lot of money

OM: What’s your favorite color? Random questions here.

ZO: That is random

OM: Random is not a color

ZO: I guess red

OM: You love red? That’s gay. That’s the color of love.

ZO: And fire and anger

OM: That’s orange. That’s what Henke said.

Henke: I’m also gay

OM: maybe I can sense a Tinder match!  What’s your favorite Eurovision song? Sing it.

ZO: Ooohh that is really hard. Oh God. It goes “Oh God” (sings)

OM: (I sing now): “Oh God, I’m on the stage dressed in gold”…..Is it true…..oh that was a good song Iceland 2009….Is it true you were dressed in golden pyjamas last year?

ZO: Twice. And not much else!

OM: Azerbaijan - That had lots of pyro. Was it hot on stage?

ZO: Not really

OM: Then again you weren’t wearing a bomber jacket

ZO: I was barely wearing anything

OM: I know!

ZO: Just a G-string and tights

OM: Yes. In gold. Now I know what to link your picture to (please now click on Zain's photo above!)

OM: So I wonder if I should link this audio clip – what do you call that – and a-og? I think I should just write it out. What’s that called?

ZO: A log.

OM: That’s true. But mine will be an O-log

OM: One last question. What are you gonna do on May 14?

ZO: I’m going to go back to civilization

OM: Ouch!

ZO: No, I’m gonna go back home to my friends and my small apartment and SLEEP

OM: This means that you’re gonna miss my 27th birthday on May 16...........

ZO: Awww.....

OM: Well thanks Zain, you've been a lovely guest!

 

 

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They are all bloody dogs!

 

So many questions........

 

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Ola Melzig

  • Europe  +46 704 104 343
  • US +1 719 466 1785
  • ola {at} m-m-pr.com

Contact us

Joan Lyman Melzig

  • Europe  +46 708 204 767
  • US +1 719 466 1784
  • joan {at} m-m-pr.com