Former Eurovision powerhouse Greece is aiming to buck the trend with Yianna Terzi and her song “Oneiro mou” this year. Having finished in the top tens nine out of ten times from 2004 to 2013, the last four years saw Greece finish close to the bottom of the leaderboard while even missing the big final in 2016. As one of the few songs presented in native language the entry stands out and should gain enough support to reach the final this year. It remains to be seen to which degree the Greece delegation is able to improve the staging and camera work during the next round of rehearsal in order to come up with a complete package.
Yianna is in white dress and has her hand covered with blue paint. Some symbolism here? They didnt show us the final runthrough and we are suspecting them to keep a few secrets for the staging of the instrumental bridge.
Yianna is wearing a long white dress, in style with the ancient Greek image but unfortunately she is alone on stage, with the backing vocals hidden. In the first run her vocals were mostly very good, apart from the high notes in the end of the song. Also her dance during the instrumental bridge doesn't look that great, it would be nice to have the backings on stage at that moment. So, not bad for a first run, but a lot of room and need for improval.
The second time we got to see a proper lighting which makes it look a lot better, some beautiful shots but also a lot of nervous flashing which for me is not in line with the relaxing song. The dancing and high notes are still wobbly.
Greece up next. The press room full of anticipation as this is everyone's first view of it in any capacity other than on video. Back to the lighting - the blue strobes start us off (which obviously works for Greece, given the flag). Yianna is dressed from head to toe in white and stands alone on stage. Very classy and ethereal. Vocally competent but you get the feeling she's holding back for the big night next week.
So, here we are for day two of the first rehearsals. A first opportunity to see Croatia, Greece and Cyprus, none of whom took part in the promo parties in the last month. We'll also be seeing how Macedonia, Austria, Finland, Armenia, Switzerland and Ireland have adapted their songs for presentation on the Eurovision stage. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day from the team.
In a few minutes the first dress rehearsal for semi-final one will start and we just heard that the opening act will be done twice. I'm live in the hall where I will keep you continually updated, so please refresh from time to time to read the latest news!
The start is delayed for a few minutes. Spain, Italy and UK will also perform.
And we're off! just 5 minutes later than initially planned We start with women wearing traditional gear and Ukrainian folk music in the background. Then a dancer on stage to be joined by Monatik, who proves to be very versatile: rapping, sing and dancing a very modern song that could've been a nice participating entry. Unfortunately I haven't been able to catch his name yet. I hope to update you on that after we have seen him again.
After the second run his name is not mentioned, but instead he introduces the hosts who are in casual clothes for this rehearsal. Some introductory speeches later the lineup for the semi-final is shown on screen and the voting is explained. No surprises here.
Next: song 1 from Sweden!
Post-card: Stills from Robin and his dancers, rehearsing, motor riding, getting ready to perform.
Performance: The lights seem to flicker a bit in the beginning. First time I notice it, not sure it's meant to be like that. Once again a very solid performance so it's bound to at least qualify and possibly do very well. On the other hand, there is still the issue with the 'OK' sign he makes with his hands that means something different in other countries.
song 2: Georgia:
Postcard: Rehearsing with Anri Jokahdze, running in the park, getting ready to perform and walk on stage (which seems a common thing already for all countries).
Performance: There's a delay in the start of the Georgian performance, so stay tuned! A solid performance by Tamara, who has no need at all to hold back.
song 3: Australia
Postcard: Isaiah in Melbourne and in a car, getting on a stage, watching the stars.
Performance: In the hall Isaiah really seems a bit overshadowed by his own images on the screen. A very good performance again. No further issues here.
song 4: Albania
Postcard:Running, singing with a band, doing sports, working on her dress and making the heart sign with her hands.
Performance: Vocals a bit shaky in the beginning. Only yesterday evening she was going all out in the Euroclub.
The long note is not working completely as it should so she sings it lower to save herself. Will be something to look at tonight and tomorrow evening.
song 5: Belgium
Postcard: Blanche playing the piano, reading, doing press conferences, autographs.
Performance: Blanche wears a different dress now - in black! so her nickname nnow no longer fits her outfit. The black dress is very dark, as the staging is as well. I know the white one was criticised a lot but I prefer it to what she wears now. The high parts near the end still sound very weak. However, a good reception in the hall.
Song 6: Montenegro:
Postcard: Slavko in the park, in a theater.
Performance: The visuals of Slvako while he lays on the floor have changed now. In blue, no more bright pink lipgloss. Looks a lot better and a bit less over the top. Slvako still fills the stage on his own, Could be better vocally. I am quite worried about its chances but I still enjoy this song a lot after a few ballads.
First break: Hosts on stage (minus greenroom host Timur). App mentioned. Timur in the greenroom speaking with who performed.
Song 7: Finland
Postcard: Norma John working/sitting together, walking in a building, shopping sunglasses, playing the piano.
Performance: Dry ice. Looks beautiful at the start. Vocally it seems not as solid as we have heard before. Big applause though.
Shortly after Demy had her second rehearsal on Thursday we went with the Greek delegation to the private home of the Greek ambassador in Kyiv, Vassilis Papadopoulos, who received Demy, her dancers, backing singers, and the rest of the Greek delegation to his private home for a welcome reception party.
First order of business was Demy meeting with the ambassador who was clearly proud to welcome her and her team to his private home. They had a quick chat and as it turned out, the ambassador's son goes to the same law school as Demy, and they even knew each other! What a coincidence.
Right after, the invited guests enjoyed the prepared buffet of appetizers and drinks, and a lot of Greek officials took the opportunity to take selfies with Demy, who kept up her good spirits despite surely having had an exhausting day of rehearsing in the arena.
We also had a chance to speak to Demy's team of backing singers, Paris Paraskevadis-Planets, Erasmia Markidi and Evgenia Liakou, all three of them have never performed on a Eurovision stage before, are excited and looking forward to their performance. The backing singers told us that today's rehearsal helped them a lot, as they got better and more confident with one run through after another.
We also had a chance to speak to Demy's make up artist, Roula Marinopoulou, who told us that the make up for Demy's Thursday rehearsal was right on point and that we shouldn't expect any changes in that department as they were really happy with how it looked on camera. At an event like this, you really get an idea of how many people are contributing to bring us the perfect three minutes on the eurovision stage.
The two dancers ,who will be performing with Demy on stage at Eurovision, Marcus Giakoumoglou and Iasonas 'Jason' Mandilas are very entertaining guys. They told us in case of the stage being too slippery and one of them falling down, they made an agreement for the other dancer to fall down as well, to have complete symmetry on stage. Staging director Fokas Evangelinos surely approves this, as symmetry on stage has always been a concept he liked playing around with in his eurovision entries.
If you want know more about Demy and her team hitting the stage on Tuesday's Semi-Final 1 make sure to check out our video and photo material from the event with a recorded video
It seems there are no big changes for Greece either. Here in the hall it sounds rather shrill but she seems to be singing well. The backing vocals are still not helping her though, rather the opposite.
The beginning looks really nice as Demy stands on stage on her own with a starry black background, soon the stars turns into rain (yes still rain falling from above despite the lyric change). Then just before the chorus starts, Demy steps on her platform to 'reach out for the stars'. I must say they have nicely combined both lyrics here.
The panel that gets installed before the 2nd chorus, in front of Demy's platform, is a bit distracting in the hall - but then, it's all about the tv visuals of course. While panel placed on the front of the staged displays a hologram of a Greek goddess, Demy moves to the side of the stage for the last part of the song.
There's one main thing I don't like about this performance when I see it in the hall, and that's the choreography with the two dancers. It probably still looks great on screen, but I remember being a lot more enthusiastic with the first rehearsal. Might also have to do that that was the first of the day, so it set the standard at that time.