Wednesday, May 4, 2016
ESC 2016: how much high-tech is too much?
I do keep an eye on rehearsals through reports and short clips from Globen and the distance really gives you a more sober idea of what works and what doesn't. On location it is so easy to get swept away by the general enthusiasm surrounding a certain rehearsal and lose a little bit of your judgment. In all fairness I do miss getting swept away. Next year I hope to be.
What stands out to me while keeping up with the first two days of rehearsals is that the inevitable happened. Suddenly this year everyone is using technology to enhance their performances. Screens, projections, 3D effects, you name it.
High-tech is suddenly what drums were ten years ago. Omnipresent and not always needed. When what felt like the seventeenth country pulled some sort of animated hocus pocus out of the bag I felt I had had it with it already.
I loved Moldova's dress thingy in Malmö 2013. I love Måns' sweet routine with his Mini-Me last year. Both were done with warmth and intelligence and in both cases the technology added to the performance instead of taking over. From what little I can tell from available footage, some of this year's performers seem reduced to mere props in their own entries.
I know what you may be thinking at this point. This is not aimed at Russia. They are attempting to take the whole thing to next level, which is interesting. But when more people project stuff on dresses than not, it will diminish also the Russian effect.
I understand everyone's wish to impress and to make more of their three minutes on stage than just plain old-fashioned singing. But at some point all of this extravagance could become too much and make people long for something simple. Just because you enjoy the occasional slice of heavy Schwarzwald cake doesn't mean you want it at every meal.
If the second semi turns out to be as tech-heavy as the first one, my strongest feeling about the final is that something simple, straight-forward and intimate will have strong chances of winning.