Having seen all of this year’s semi-finalists, we now get to judge any minor changes or tightening up of camera angles and choreography. The EBU will be publishing excerpts of the official TV feed for each country on their YouTube account.
First up Robin Bengtsson gave another steady rehearsal of I Can’t Go On for Sweden. I’m still having a problem with Robin’s grimacing, pouting and strutting which may affect the televote when competing against 25 other nations in the Grand Final. It’s just a bit too slick and calculated when compared to a few other potential contenders.
Tamera looked far more assured for Georgia; maybe slightly too divaish, but vocally outstanding. The package still looks a bit too red and may struggle to attract sufficient support from slot 2 in the running order. Moreover, the fire jet climax is way too overpowering.
In what is being dubbed #SashaSyndrome by floor manager, Henric von Zweibergk, Albania jumps ahead of Australia again in today’s running order due to the work load of choreographer, Sasha Jean-Baptiste. Lindita wears a long white veil and futuristic, all-in-one wedding dress. During both rehearsals she struggled vocally in the early segments, but nailed the lengthy climax note.
Australia went back to the drawing board since Monday’s rehearsal and totally revamped the camera cues and added a few vocal variations. It’s an improvement, but I feel it won’t be enough to propel Australia into top-5 this year. A pyro curtain and roman candles are deployed for the climax; once they end it feels like the song should also draw to a close, yet it continues for another 20-seconds and the sizzle is lost.
Blanche wears a white, sparkly wedding gown. @escapocalypse describe her as a giant shuttlecock. She is vocally stronger today, though still totally loses control during the new vocal variation after the middle-eight. Belgium will struggle to qualify if Blanche doesn’t react well to the live crowd – the live arena atmosphere will be quite disconcerting for her, as will the pressure of the jury rehearsal.
We popped into the arena to watch our annual trash-fest. This year it was was Montenegro and Slavko didn’t disappoint… well, not for us trashaholics. It doesn’t stand a chance of qualifying, but they’ve at least tried to enhance the visuals, albeit with even more homoerotic content.
Finland have been reading ESCtips it seems; white light is introduced at the end of the middle-eight piano solo to build up to the climax. It looks really magical and Leena’s vocals were sublime. It’s 1-million times better than Belgium and looks a value back whatever the odds.
No major changes for Azerbaijan. The vocal levels are tighter, but Dihaj really does have the worst bitchy scowl of any of this year’s artists; there’s no nice way of saying it, but she won’t be delighting western Europe. I suggest a spelling test for the Azeri stage designer in future too…
As Salvador has a sick note for general rehearsals, Amar Pelos Dois was again performed by his sister, Luísa. There’s a slightly bluer tinge to the forest backdrop at the start, as well as a few more sweeping camera shots. Portugal as before and can’t really be judged until the main man turns up next week.
If there was one act I expected to be vocally sound at rehearsals, it was Greece, but either Demy or the backing singers were marginally off key during the harmonies. This improved with every run through, so the car crash panic was averted. The ‘Demy disappearing up the waterfall’ effect still needs perfecting, as she is still seen walking off stage.
Kasia looks slightly less harsh today; however there is a danger of a #nipslip scandal with her revealing dress. She was on point with her vocals, but seemed to grunt even harsher today like the Reeves & Mortimer club singer sketch – it’s sooooo amateur! Poland maybe qualifying 9th-10th, so it’s not an outcome I’m willing to back or lay.
The Moldova boys were sharp again and inject a great amount of fun into this second half. The clothing switch works and the bouquet throw offers a memorable USP. It’s the slickest package of the upbeat songs and really should be making the Grand Final.
Oh Svala, what are you wearing? It’s not quite the chavvy, Adidas tracksuit from the national final, but it’s a surefire contender for the Barbera Dex award. The whole package is an incongruous mess and Svala looks totally unvotable in her alien, 80s jewellery throwing aggressive moves. Iceland will NQ!
And Svala’s competition for last place and the Barbera Dex award is the Czech Republic’s Marta. I couldn’t spot any changes from first rehearsal. The whole package lacks movement and any reason for to pick up the phone.
Last up, Hovig. There was a big improvement in Gravity compared to the first rehearsal, as the trio found the on-stage lines better and Hovig only lost balance once. A few shots could do with tightening up, otherwise a perfectly acceptable performance. Cyprus should qualify 7th-9th.
Tomorrow we’ll see the remaining second rehearsals for semi-final 1, as well as the first five of semi-final 2 and the first automatic qualifier rehearsals.