Sweden

Grand Final - Dress Rehearsal - Part Three - Songs Seventeen to Twenty-Six

17. Finland
Postcard: It's a day on the golf course for the Finn femme.
Performance: Saara belts it out and the staging continues to enhance the song. Probably the best climax of the final due to her stage dive before being caught by her dancers...even though it always looks worryingly as if she might be dropped.

18. Bulgaria
Postcard: It's a tram ride for Equinox and then the downtown viewing point in Lisbon.
Performance: As can so often be the case with five-piece groups in this contest, it seems it's more a case of competing rather than synchronisation. Strong vocally but what was seen as a top-three certainty may just be a top-ten finish now. Having said that...

19. Moldova
Postcard: A little bit more sightseeing
Performance: A light, fun song with very entertaining staging (if a little slapstick), this may see Moldova trouble the top five for the second year running. Certainly ranks in many people's favourites this year due to the cabaret feel of it all. DoReDos dos what they dos best.

20. Sweden
Postcard: It's off to the farm to make some cheese for Benjamin...no reflection on Swedish pop music of course...
Performance: The lighting is impressive and Benjamin glides effortlessly through the performance, as vocally smooth as it gets. More than likely another top five result for the Eurovision powerhouse. If it weren't for Cyprus, Israel and France this may have just sneaked it...

21. Hungary
Postcard: Chocolate making and a wander about for the hard rock AWS boys.
Performance: If Sweden, which precedes it, is smooth and refined, this would be its antithesis. Rough rocking it as much as you like, AWS really take the decibel level up to like it has never been seen before at Eurovision. The sreeches and screams and pyrotechnics would scare Lordy away any day of the week. Given the fact that it differs to everything else in the contest this year and the band's energy on stage, expect a solid finish for it - top ten in all likelihood.

22. Israel
Postcard: A Lisbon rooftop DJ set for Netta (and a few eager facial expressions too).
Performance: This could be a talking point from the first rehearsal. Netta's mike seemed to be set into the off position for the intro and the first verse. We were expecting a re-run but no such thing happened. The so-long favourite, now relegated to second place on the list, has it experienced an Italy-style YouTube burn out? If it does, it won't be anything near as dramatic and probably still not wise to bet against it. A top three shoe-in but will it win?

23. The Netherlands
Postcard: Just as well Waylon wasn't waylaid in his semi and came out tenth - he was tasked with baking the pastel de natas (custard tarts in a filoux-style pastry and Portugal's signature sweet).
Performance: His first time on-stage before proving the Dutch (and much of the) media wrong, Waylon isn't likely to get anywhere near to the highs of 2014 but perhaps sitting somewhere between 10th and 15th may suit him fine.

24. Ireland
Postcard: It's a walk along the beach and deep-sea diving for Ryan.
Performance: Well, it's the luck of the Irish for the draw. Really the only out-and-out ballad in the second half, its understatement may stand out and take them to a slightly higher finishing place than expected when it qualified on Tuesday. The market is certainly hotting up for it.

Dress rehearsal 1 - Semi-final 2

Desiree on Wed, 05/09/2018 - 14:29

No time to keep thinking of what happened yesterday as the first dress rehearsal for tomorrow's semi-final is already in full swing! Later on we will fill you in on what happens on the postcards as well..

01 Norway
This is becoming a solid favourite for the win, the performance is slick and it's a cheerful opener. But the question remains how much juries will take this song seriously. Alexander seemed to be saving his voice.

02 Romania
Vocally this is very strong again, but the performance is too theatrical, too kitsch for this song. I will not be surprised if this will be the end of Romania's perfect streak.

03 Serbia
Good performance in this rehearsal, it keeps getting better and better. After Romania I think this has a chance.

04 San Marino
The robots and Jessika and Jenifer as well are back! Size doesn't matter was one of the messages on the cards held by the robot. It may distract from the sometimes weak vocals at the end.

05 Denmark
Another good and solid performance from Rasmussen, really not much to say about this, it looks and sounds very well, no issues at all here.

06 Russia
The vocal arrangements in the chorus seems to have been altered a bit, it sounds a lot more shouty now especially during the long notes. Really hard to predict what will happen here.

Time for a little break now in the greenroom, with a little game with Alexander Rybak among other things..

07 Moldova
Not sounding that great today in the hall, could be that they are saving themselves for tonight. It's still a fun performance though.

08 The Netherlands
Putting Waylon's stage together apparently takes a bit more than the time of the postcards, as just after the postcard we got switched to one of the hosts in the audience for a very awkward conversation that went completely wrong. Let's say "It's just a rehearsal" as San Marino reminded us a few days ago.

Now, to the actual performance. Vocally it sounds really good and it is not completely my genre but I feel we're back to real music after a few weaker songs. There are far less shots of the crumping dance right now, so it looks better. I think there's still a chance for the Netherlands.

09 Australia.
Back to the greenroom again! That's how they fill three extra minutes it seems being this the semi with one song less.
Very strong vocal performance from Jessica. It's one of the few straightforward pop songs and still think this could really have an instant appeal. I do think however that the shots during the bridge where Jessica is dancing are not that great.

10. Georgia
There seemed to be some issues with the sound at the beginning as it started a bit weak. Iriao soon got back on full strength though. With a few of the ethnical entries out from the first semi-final gone it could really stand out in the final if it qualifies, which I hope, as the last part was absolutely beautiful.

11. Poland
Vocally not the best performance. The many pyro fountains and the catchy song might distract from it.

12. Malta
Lots of flames at the beginning of this performance, very strange, likely to be a technical mistake. There seems to have been done a lot of work on the lighting of this song as there are now many laser effects. The light show could get the audience to go for this more than we expect now.

After these 6 songs it's time for another break in the greenroom.

13 Hungary
Those were three very intense minutes - very energetic performance as always and it does stand out.

14. Latvia
Still a very theatrical performance as well even though Laura seems to have toned the hair swinging down a bit and that's only for the better. In the bridge she struggles vocally.

15 Sweden.. or maybe not as we switch to the greenroom and then go to:

Second rehearsal Sweden

Desiree on Sat, 05/05/2018 - 15:16

Next up it's Benjamin Ingrosso for Sweden who once again has brought his colourful LEDwall. Unfortunately for those watching in the hall it's the only colour and light at that time when on screen of course it looks very slick and professional. I wonder if the lack of light in the hall could lower the excitement of the audience and in this way influence the impression people at home get of the performance.

Semi-final 1 dress rehearsal 1 - live blog from the hall: to be updated!

Desiree on Mon, 05/08/2017 - 13:49

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.

The Netherlands Reception

Desiree on Sun, 05/07/2017 - 08:22

The Netherlands Party

Yesterday the delegation from The Netherlands held their reception at the sophisticated Premier Palace hotel in a nice atmospheric restaurant at the roof. The splendid weather and the attending delegations added all that was needed to make it a great evening. OG3NE really took their time to speak to all the press, both national and international as the sunset made the view from the rooftop even more stunning than it already was.

We also met with Slavko from Montenegro, Brendan Murray from Ireland and Martina Bárta from the Czech Republic and spotted Lindita from Albania who joined Slavko to sing for the birthday of Itai Eithan Shamir.

All in all a wonderful evening and we'd like to thank the Netherlands delegation for inviting us.

Check all our photos here!

The Netherlands Party