Before the circus gets going today, a few general words on the dress rehearsals. There are three for each semi and final: the important one that the juries vote on is the second of the three, held exactly 24 hours before the event is beamed across Europe.
For the jury rehearsal, I will be tweeting about each performance as it happens (so follow us on Twitter if you don’t already). I intend to indicate how well it went compared to previous run-throughs for each country, so you can expect analysis along the lines of “as before”, “improved from before”, “worse than before”.
Even though the jury rehearsal matters, readers and punters should keep their perspective. For example, last year I thought Cyprus looked ragged in the first semi dress rehearsal and Lithuania under-performed in the second semi dress rehearsal compared to a brilliant performance just a few hours earlier. The former managed fourth in the jury vote and qualified with ease; the latter managed a surprise third place overall.
Slovenia won its 2011 semi jury vote depsite missing a line, and Loreen smashed the 2012 final jury vote despite coughing on a snowflake. Also in last year’s final, France and Azerbaijan had what were generally perceived to be poor performances for the jury rehearsal, yet still managed good scores with the constituency. As with everything related to Eurovision rehearsals, it’s a very subjective business.
Nonetheless, it is of course best if an act can bring their A-game to this performance. What I’m saying is that if they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean disaster.
The less important first and third rehearsals are interesting affairs. Quite a lot of emphasis is placed on the first one since it is the first opportunity to see the show as it will be the following night. No more multiple run-throughs and polite gaps between acts. We get to witness the entries back-to-back in quickfire succession on the Eurovision stage, and it’s easier to make points of comparison.
Because it’s in the afternoon rather than the evening, there is actually more blogging of this first dress rehearsal than the jury rehearsal. I intend to post a summary of it after it has finished.
As for the third and final dress rehearsal – a few hours before the televised event – that can vary in how useful it feels. It sometimes seems that certain acts are saving themselves and merely going through the motions to iron out any previous hitches. To reinforce this idea, occasionally they’re not even in costume.
Finally, compared to all the rehearsals that went before it, the televised event can bring out the best in some performers and make others wilt. This may partly be the reason why bloggers are accused of overrating and underrating how certain acts have been rehearsing previously. Although it’s by no means our only excuse!
Do keep the excellent comments coming below.