It's Great Britain now! Michael Rice, the young guy with the big voice, goes now on stage. The stage is filled with smoke and Michael wears black, including a leather jacket. The image is in monochrome in the first part of the performance. The video art shows falling stars. The color comes in and the video art changes to images of galaxies in space (Slovenia and Australia had something similar). Michael is joined at the last part of the song by his backing singers, all dressed in white. They all create a circle. I would sadly say it is one of the most ineffective stages we saw this year.
This year's UK Eurovision contestant, Michael Rice, is 65.8% Irish, Scottish and Welsh, 30.3% North and West European, 2.8% Scandinavian, and 1.1% Finnish! He's from Hartlepool, a lovely seaside town in northeastern England not far from Scotland, which may explain why his UK heritage is Irish, Scottish and Welsh rather than English. We found 4,256 relatives of Michael's from 30 countries all over the world in our records, many of them from Anglophone countries such as the US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Ireland, but also from places as far-flung as Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. The closest match we found is Louise Dent from Ireland, who shares 0.9% of his DNA, making her a 3rd, 4th, or 5th cousin of Michael's. Louise's family tree comprises 983 people.
9. United Kingdom
Postcard: Rather aptly SuRie goes tea-picking before enjoying a nice brew. Some of these postcards are perfectly suited to the artists and their countries.
Performance: Complete with her stage prop, SuRie shines and brings the song to life. It may even trouble the top of the second half of the scoreboard based on this performance.
Postcard: Sanja and Balkanika team go wine-tasting in Porto. Another appropriate postcard sequence given the group's love of the grape.
Performance: A deserved qualifier from last night, vocally they just keep getting better and better. Reverting back to the initial Nevena Ivanovic-designed costumes they first wore before they were refitted for the semis, they really shine. From the betting odds, it seems it may have come in at 10th place in its semi but it is worthy of a good placing tomorrow night.
Postcard: Another country walk with waterfalls and forests before Michael paraglides.
Performance: Solid all the way vocally. One of the better performers of the Big Five on the scoreboard this year?
Postcard: Eugent takes a gondola-style boat trip.
Performance: Incredible vocal - as always - exactly why he has earned his place in this final. Great song, powerfully delivered. If the contest was judged solely on vocal ability, Albania would be beating their best finish (5th) of 2012.
Postcard: More scenery and a funicular ride for the French duo, before busking.
Performance: Immaculately and simply staged with just enough understatement to see it creep up. Still my tip for the winner and it may pip Cyprus to it just yet. France for the first since 1977? C'est possible...
14. Czech Republic
Postcard: Carnival time for Mikolas Josef.
Performance: Still lacking the gumph that the original acrobatics gave it, it will easily give the Czech Republic their best ever result. A finisher between sixth and eighth, or maybe a little higher on the night depending how it's received.
Postcard: Rasmussen head to a library among other things. Maybe to read up on Viking history...
Performance: The chorus and the chanting coupled with drum beats make this incredibly catchy. Could see it finish top 10, but unlikely to conquer Eurovision as much as the Vikings did Northern Europe all those years ago.
Postcard: A quick rooftop and waltz around Lisbon before some guitar/banjo playing.
Performance: Jessica can relax a bit now after weathering the storm and making it through after much undeserved and unfair criticism in the last week or so. Some lovely vocal adlibs - especially in the second verse - and the vocals will be spot-on come tonight for the juries and tomorrow. A top-ten finish should still be in the offing - especially if she continues to sparkle like this.
SuRie is dressed in a white jumpsuit of which the top has some plastic accents on her waist. Her backing vocals are hidden on stage.
She stands and walks through some kind of tunnel with squares standing on its corner that provide all kinds of lighting effects and look really nice on stage.
As a first impression after just the very first run, vocally SuRie sounds best in the lower parts of the verses but gets a bit screechy when the melody is taken higher.
In just about 15 minutes the first rehearsal of today will start, which is Armenia.
We start the day with the remaining 4 countries of semi final 1 who will each do their second rehearsal which will be blogged live from the arena like yesterday. The same goes for the first five countries of the second semi-final.
After all these we get to see the first 30 minute-rehearsals from the BIG-5 countries + Portugal. These rehearsals will go on well into the evening, so loads happening today, stay tuned!
The UK's staging of golden stars is really effective.
Lots of gold, even Lucie's dress is golden today. Would have been better to have some element of contrast in there perhaps, but it still works very well on screens.
Lucie pulled out of one note in the first run, but gave a very strong and passionate performance on the second run.
And her acting skills certainly help with providing the drama.