Eurovision 2017: Grand Final rehearsal

This afternoon the press centre watched the first rehearsal for tomorrow night’s big event. Not everyone was in their battle outfits, and the important pre-show run-through is tonight for the benefit of the juries. Follow us on Twitter for our views on that as it happens.

Israel’s Imri was an example of the Eurovision performer who looks more relaxed now he’s made it into the final. ‘I Feel Alive’ is a great show opener. Poland’s ‘Flashlight’ is a complete buzzkill afterwards, but I will give Kasia Mos credit for her excellent vocals.

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Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final preview

The first heat was a competitive one in which there was enough strength in depth for a shock non-qualifier (Finland). The second semi feels like there’s a bigger group of more secure qualifiers, and a lot of mediocre songs scrabbling for the last couple of places.

Bulgaria is a deserving odds-on favourite to win tonight’s event, and I can’t see beyond ‘Beautiful Mess’ doing so. This contemporary ballad is well staged and beautifully sung by Kristian Kostov, who showed plenty of emotion in yesterday evening’s jury rehearsal.

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Eurovision 2017: Second semi-final dress rehearsal

After some technical issues, the first dress rehearsal of the second semi-final kicked off with Serbia’s Tijana. After disappointing earlier in the week, ‘In Too Deep’ is now at least meeting its low expectations, with the vocal better than before. But Austria’s Nathan Trent is a much-needed injection of charm and easy listening straight afterwards.

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Eurovision 2017: First semi-final preview

This feels like a tricky semi-final. At the time of going to press, the Betfair qualification market has a clear top ten. These are, in descending order: Armenia, Sweden, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Greece, Moldova, Finland, Australia, Belgium and Cyprus.

But there were good vocal performances from Poland, Georgia, Iceland and Slovenia during last night’s jury rehearsal. Potentially there is room for one or two of the betting top ten to fall through the safety net; but working out which, and their possible replacement/s, isn’t an easy task.

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Eurovision 2017: First semi-final dress rehearsal

What follows are my impressions of the first dress rehearsal of the first semi-final. The opportunity to watch the participants in quick succession theoretically means we can compare them more easily. Later today, I will tweet my thoughts of each act during the crucial run-through that national juries watch and vote on.

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Eurovision 2017: May 7 rehearsals

A short rehearsal day started with Ukraine’s second set of run-throughs. Lead singer Yevhen is now in a better grey top, and we got extra polish, with more effects on the big head prop. Moving on, there are little niggles you can make about the Italian rehearsal, but they pale beside Francesco Gabbani’s charisma. He was mugging for the camera almost too much today. But right now, he’s the one you most want to see again in the winning reprise.

Spain’s ‘Do It For Your Lover’ is spectacularly poor. Manel and his band mates still spend the first verse with their backs to the audience, the vocals were badly off-key today, and the whole package felt like a school assembly performance. Germany isn’t bad, just spectacularly bland as before. There’s no inspiration in the grey staging once we’re done with the opening shot from above.

UK have managed to get their staging completely right, mixing both the epic and intimate in the mirrored fan and exploding gold cosmos effects. Lucy is in a new gold dress, in fine voice and looking right at the camera throughout. The French on the other hand, have done nothing but provide a backdrop that tends to overshadow its singer. Alma is generally adequate, but it’s a shame she’s been left so exposed.

Keep your thoughts coming below. Tomorrow evening sees the jury rehearsal for the first semi-final. Eurovision week is upon us.

Eurovision: May 6 rehearsals

Today we got the last 15 songs of the second semi-final, which in general is a more enjoyable experience than sitting through the first heat. Take The Netherlands with ‘Lights and Shadows’, a song which I had no particular fondness for before rehearsals. On the Kiev stage, it’s looking and sounding fantastic, and should be sailing into the final.

Hungary’s ‘Origo’ was better today than in the first rehearsal, with Joci looking more at ease, and the camera angles being tightened up. It’s still not capturing the intensity we saw in the smaller studio of the national final, and the rap remains excessively long. But it’s making progress.

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Eurovision 2017: May 5 rehearsals

Today contained a mixture of the last three acts in the first heat, the first five acts of the second one, and the first rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers. We got off to a very strong start with Armenia’s Artsvik. She’s in a mesh black trouser suit, sounding great, and there’s a very coherent look and feel to the performance.

Slovenia’s Omar Naber was in fine voice today, and the staging was doing everything it can for the predictable ‘On My Way’. The LED panels that surround him give a sense of intimacy that plenty of others lack. He kneeled for the second verse, and the panels rose during the bridge.

Latvia’s Triana Park sounded better in their second rehearsal, because they have increased the volume of the backing singer in the chorus. Agnese, now in full 90s club gear with her gold boots, still struggles in the verses. This is a genre that hasn’t traditionally found favour with jurors or televoters, but they are one of the few upbeat songs, and do have the pimp slot.

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