Eurovision 2018: Grand final running order

This year’s outright market has been more topsy-turvy than ever, and we now enter the home straight with the announcement of the draw for Saturday’s big finale. The producers had a real job negotiating a worthy first half with many ballads, and a noisy second half full of uptempo stuff.

Let us know how you think they got on below, and who you think has benefited or come off badly. I’ll be live-blogging the first dress rehearsal which starts at 1pm tomorrow, then tweeting thoughts of the crucial jury rehearsal in the evening.

Eurovision 2018: Second semi-final preview

The second semi-final is upon us, with a largely underwhelming set of songs the puzzle for punters. You’ll excuse me for feeling slightly uninspired by what’s on offer, and I think the market has got this heat more right than the first one.

Let’s start with the Scandinavian titans, because Norway and Sweden are obviously sailing through. Neither are appreciably different from their national final performances, which is more than enough.

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Eurovision 2018: Live blog second semi-final, first dress rehearsal

Having tried it once, I’m continuing with this live blogging malarkey for the first proper run-through of the second semi-final. Quick impressions of each act after they have performed will appear below. Update the page for the latest.

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Eurovision 2018: First semi-final preview

We’ve just watched the final dress rehearsal for the first semi-final, and it hasn’t made things any clearer. I’m keeping this preview short as I’m more uncertain than I’ve been for any previous semi-final.

In draw order, I think that Czech Republic, Israel and Cyprus are sailing through. Mikolas Josef has managed to recreate an atmosphere not dissimilar to his video, and looks increasingly at ease. Without her looper, Israel’s first 30 seconds is the biggest hurdle for viewers coming to Netta for the first time, but ‘Toy’ takes off from there. Eleni for Cyprus finishes off the semi with a bang, and was excellent in last night’s jury rehearsal.

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Eurovision 2018: Live blog first semi-final, first dress rehearsal

In a departure from usual practice, I’m going to try live-blogging the first dress rehearsal of the first semi-final. We’ll see how it goes before committing to a repeat later in the week. Nonetheless, update the page below to get a running update of this afternoon’s performances.

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Eurovision 2018: May 6 rehearsals

There wasn’t much we learned from today’s second rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers. In each case there was no substantive change in staging, just a few different outfits and camera angle tweaks.

We did learn which half of the draw each of the Big 5 would perform in. SuRie drew first half for the UK, which may be a perfect storm on the final scoreboard. Germany and Spain will also be in the earlier part of the show, with Italy the only automatic qualifier to perform in the second half.

Eurovision 2018: May 5 rehearsals

On a bright, sunny day, I experienced prolonged exposure to the second semi-final. Or rather, the last 13 songs of it. We started with Yulia’s mountaintop, and the interpretative dancers providing another focus for the Russian entry. The lighting allowed for sharper projections, and there were added on-screen effects. The main problem is the backing vocals that obviously take over during the chorus, and are currently failing to gel.

Moldova was rehearsed to within an inch of its life first time around, so today just saw a few improved camera angles. The trio continue to show impeccable comic verve and timing. The Netherlands’ visuals are more problematic with Waylon in his leopard-skin jacket elevated above his krumping band mates. There was slightly less focus on the aggressive bodypopping today.

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Eurovision 2018: May 4 rehearsals

There was a mixed bag rehearsing today: the last four songs of the first heat; the initial five acts of the second semi; and the first rehearsals of the automatic qualifiers, including the hotly-anticipated sight of France’s Madame Monsieur.

Armenia’s second rehearsal was much like its first, and there’s nothing wrong with the way ‘Qami’ is being staged. The whole package is competent but unexciting, and the question is whether that will be enough in the tough first heat.

Switzerland are also making the most of their raw ingredients. Extra ‘Undo’-style light effects were added to the drummer’s plinth today, and Zibbz are selling it effectively. They’re just in search of enough televotes for something very middle-of-the-road. Juries may be more helpful.

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