Eurovision Semi Final 1 First Dress Rehearsal Summary

The first semi-final remains a riddle, even after the first dress rehearsal. This afternoon saw greater polish from some of those that had lacked it previously in Dusseldorf, and witnessed a few of the front-runners look a little nervous under the weight of expectation.

This practice still offers an opportunity for kinks to be ironed out before tonight’s effort, which the juries will vote on. Bear in mind also that it was played to an empty arena, and some songs rely more than others on an atmosphere to lift them. That atmopshere will again be lacking this evening for the run-through the juries will be casting their votes on, but it will be a different matter tomorrow night for the performances the televoters will see.

So who is going up and who is going down based on this afternoon’s exertions?

Given its need for an arena full of happy people, it is hardly surprising that Norway’s ‘Haba Haba’, up second in the running order, suffered most from the lack of an audience. Stella Mwangi was off in parts, and without the waving flags and party feel around her, this was far more noticeable.

As a result, there was less of a gap than in second rehearsals between this number and first-to-sing Poland’s Magdalena Tul, who ditched the padding in her leotard for a far more flattering look. Whether it’s enough for ‘Jestem’ to qualify is another matter. It’s still not quite what it was in the Polish final.

The most positive surprise this afternoon undoubtedly was Eldrine for Georgia, which for the first time really came together, and stood out amongst those around it. Given its voting allies in this heat and its niche – ‘One More Day’ had far more rock impact than Turkey’s ‘Live It Up’ – it’s now looking like a definite qualifier on this afternoon’s evidence.

Another positive – and a song that is really punching above its weight – is Greece’s ‘Watch My Dance’. It remains an excellent ethno climax to proceedings, with Loukas Yiorkos nailing the vocals and a good amount of drama on stage.

Paradise Oskar has reason to be happy with his rehearsal, or what we saw of it anyway (the feed to the press centre cut out for about a minute in the middle of ‘Da Da Dum’). When we could catch him, he was still winsomely seducing the camera.

Just to prove how consistently inconsistent she is, Kati Wolf was good in many parts today and at her weakest in the Hungarian section of ‘What About My Dreams’, in which she has previously been at her most assured. The staging and backing singers are still failing to give this the kind of feel that excited so many fans in its studio version.

The other front-runners for this semi, Russia and Azerbaijan, were both a little underwhelming this afternoon. Alex Sparrow looked uncharacteristically nervous – perhaps it was the thought of that back flip going wrong. Whilst I had no problem with the camerawork for Azerbaijan, Nigar’s vocals continue to put a dampener on ‘Running Scared’.

Elsewhere, I’m a little unmoved by Armenia’s ‘Boom Boom’ despite it being one of the numbers I enjoy most in this semi. It’s solid enough, I suppose, and it will be another that will benefit from an arena full of people.

On the other hand, Serbia managed to convey plenty of energy despite the lack of an audience. Nina has a few vocal issues early in the song, but recovers when it matters most, and the look of the performance is full of charm.

Aurela Gace was in fine vocal form for ‘Feel The Passion’, and coming after Stella Mwangi, this was even more obvious. The song itself is a long three minutes, but she is doing her best to sell the concept and the Albanian diaspora and juries may well be buying.

The lead singer of Turkey’s Yuksek Sadakat looked like he had popped down to Accessorize before going on stage, and was a little too sparkly for my liking. This was the rather plodding number it always has been but I wouldn’t bet against Turkey being in one of the qualifying envelopes tomorrow night.

Of the lesser-fancied, Malta, Croatia and San Marino still look likely to fight it out for last place. Lithuania does stand out from what’s around it, but you have to forgive an incredibly dated song and the over-saccharine use of sign language in the second verse.

Switzerland, Iceland and Portugal were pretty much as they have been all through rehearsals. I see them all missing out, though not by a huge margin.

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21 comments to Eurovision Semi Final 1 First Dress Rehearsal Summary

  • John

    Shame I like Switzerland. I think it won’t make it either .

    Daniel I’ve just seen that the majority of you experts at the arena think Ireland is going to win the second Semi, link below. I guess you must therefore think it’s got a great chance of winning. I just thought it was a piece of fluff. What have I missed?

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3006/5703358484_36d9b7d14a_z.jpg

  • Daniel

    Hi John, I wouldn’t take the arena poll too literally. Ireland is looking like a qualifier to me, but not the winner of the semi. I think the jury vote would put pay to that before we even consider anything else.

  • Great read as always,thank you very much:)
    Was a bit surprised to read your comment on Georgia qualifying but i agree that its looking like a qualifier right now.

    On the other hand i was a bit let down on Armenia for the sole fact that it didnt impress me that much with the other songs around it.

    I think there is a value in having Russia to win this semifinal, with Azerbaijan a very close second.

    Thanks for the read once again Daniel and keep having fun in D-dorf:)

    • Daniel

      Hi Giannis,

      I had some money on Georgia qualifying a few months ago, then hedged my bets after the first rehearsal because it was a mess. Now I’m ‘unhedging’ my hedge 🙂

      • Georgia is one of those countries i am not touching this year, and had i done so, i would only do it in the “Qualifying” bets and then leave it for the Final.But best of luck with “your” Georgia 🙂

        I wanted to back more Armenia for the Top10 market but this last rehearsal stopped me from doing so.

        What do you think of Russia’s chances to win this semifinal?

  • fiveleaves

    Hi Dan,
    I’m very big on Georgia top 10, so happy with your positive comments.

    Also laid Turkey to qualify.
    Having just managed to find a feed of his performance he looks like an overweight middle aged lizard.
    Not very voter friendly and without many of it’s usual allies not 1.1 to qualify for me.

    • Daniel

      Well fiveleaves, Georgia have finished 12th, 11th and 9th with their three previous entries, so they’re always knocking on the door, and it’s a big price considering. It’s chances improve the less competition there is from the surrounding area, so for example, it will help if the Ukrainian ‘sand’ gimmick fails to fly.

  • Daniel

    Hi Giannis,

    I had a small amount on Russia to win this semi-final at a much bigger price than it is now. However, whilst I think it could finish above the rest of these in the Saturday final, I’m not sure the odds are so good any more on it winning the semi.

    This is because far more of Russia’s voting allies are in the other semi-final, and Alexey doesn’t have a great draw, either. Remember that Dima Bilan did not win his semi-final in 2008, even with a good draw.

    He suffered from the split in the ex-USSR bloc that occurs with the ‘pots’ in the semi-final draw, and Alexey faces this obstacle to an even greater extent this time.

  • Preben

    Hi, is that to say you believe Norway won´t qualify…?

    • Daniel

      ‘Haba Haba’ won’t be scoring well with the juries based on that first rehearsal, although the one the jury actually votes on is about to begin. I do believe, however, it will score much better with televoters in front of an excited arena tomorrow evening. As a result, I think it’s still more likely qualifying than not.

      • fiveleaves

        The early reports I read are that Norway was much better tonight and that the most similar song in Armenia, bombed.

        Is that how you saw it Dan?

        • Daniel

          Hi fiveleaves, do be careful of the cyberspace over-reaction. Norway was better than this afternoon, but so was Armenia until an admittedly ropey final section.

          In fact, the same went for Hungary, which clearly had bloggers rushing to their laptops after a very assured first two minutes, because the final minute was a very messy affair indeed.

          So be wary of songs instantly turning from qualifiers to non-qualifiers and vice versa on this basis. I don’t think Emmy did herself any favours in the final 30 seconds. I don’t think that now means she’s not qualifying, though it’s not the ‘definite’ I thought it was.

          • fiveleaves

            Cheers Dan,
            I’ve always had all 3 as qualifiers anyway.
            I see Stella got the backstage chat again which can only help her chances. Assuming they follow the same formula tomorrow night.

            High praise for Georgia tonight too most places I’ve looked.
            I’ve always thought it would knock the socks of the dad rock of Turkey.
            Hopefully it does the same again tomorrow.

  • Kieran

    Daniel,do you think that Greece have a reasonable prospect of coming in the top 10,as they are available at 7-2 with some bookmakers?

    • Daniel

      Hi Kieran, given that they haven’t failed to finish in the Top 10 for a while, it seems like a value price. I’m not sure though. It is very lucky to close its semi and the powerful final minute works really well in that context. An early draw in the final, and I think it would be a different matter.

  • Kieran

    Daniel, re my last post, obviously this would be if greece qualify,and advanced to the final.

  • steve

    Hi Dan any songs gone down in your estimation after tonight, according to the bloggers Armenia were dire and Azerbaijan and Russia went backwards do you think all three will still qualify?

  • David

    Daniel, was that you gulping up the big chunk @1,23 for Finland to qualify? 🙂 had my finger hovering over the mousebutton to back it (although admittedly not for the whole amount)… hehe.

    • Daniel

      Yes, ’twas me 🙂

      • David

        Not suprised 🙂 Had to go and place some e/w Semi bets to console myself 😉

        Previously I had Finland mostly as a jury points magnet, but after seeing the first dress rehearsal video… that smile will melt ice – not to mention audience hearts!

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