Desiree's blog

Stand-ins show in Euroclub

Last night, while the jury final for this year's grand final Eurovision took place, there was also a very special night in the Euroclub. As you may well know, since a couple of years the organisation uses local stand-in artists for the first rehearsals, without the actual performers from each country having to travel to the host country. This makes it possible to have reduced rehearsal times as we now have had for a few years now. For the stand in rehearsal each chosen stand in practices the lyrics, vocals and choreography, to perform as much as possible like the 'real' artist will do as we can all see in the semi-finals and/or grand final.

It's also been a tradition that these stand ins get to perform for an audience in some sort of way during the Eurovision weeks. From when it started, I've always looked forward to seeing those performances, as some of them are surprisingly good, so I was very eager to see how Ukraine had handled this subject. I was very impressed with the general vocal level of each artist and most of them are also really good performers.

Apart from singing Eurovision songs from this year, some if not most of the singers treated us as well to ESC-songs from earlier years, national final songs and/or well-known international or Ukrainian hits. That is the only thing I would've liked to see differently, there are 42 participating songs in this year's Eurovision so would've loved to see more of them, maybe also the duets and bands, and songs in other languages than English. However, lots of respect and well done to all six performers who took the stage in the Euroclub last night and who knows we'll see them back some year in a national final!

Grand final first dress rehearsal photos

Grand final 2017 first dress rehearsal

The grand final - first dress rehearsal live blog

In about 10 minutes the first dress rehearsal of the grand final will start where we will hear all songs in the new running order for the first time.

Of course I'm here to liveblog it, so stay tuned!

We've started with a 10 minutes delay, as far as I can hear. Unfortunately there's not much I can tell yet about the opening act, as we have no feed from the hall at this moment. Let's hope it changes soon...

OK, so we got to see only a little from it, but I can tell now that we start with all artists being announced and coming on stage.

And we're off to song 1 after a few delays.

My qualifiers for semi 2

Like basically everyone else I find it very hard to give predictions for semi 2, as there are just too many contenders. Many people think this is the weaker semi-final, I don't think it's that bad actually, especially the first half is really quite strong for me (mainly in terms of possible qualifiers).

Semi final two dress rehearsal - live blog

In a few moments, the first dress rehearsal from semifinal 2 will start. It's already past 4 pm (local time in Kyiv), so it should be any minute. Just like last time, this live blog will be continually updated. However, I'm in the press hall now as this way I can be sure to catch all the screens, unlike the hall where the screens are sometimes off because of the lighting effects.

Norma John talks in the press centre after semi-final one

Norma John in the press centre after semi one

Finland not making it to the final has been a big surprise - if not shock - for many, including quite a few of the team of ESCKAZ didn't see this coming and/or hoped otherwise.

The draw for 1st/2nd half for the 1st semi qualifiers

1st
Moldova
Azerbaijan
Portugal
Poland
Armenia

2nd
Greece
Sweden
Australia
Cyprus
Belgium

Just a few hours left...

Just under three hours left now until the first semi-final really kicks off, and 2,5 hours later we should know who we will see again on Saturday and who will fly home sooner (or stay anyway and just relax here!).

It's getting busy and exciting in the press area already, it's filling up as people are getting ready to go to the hall. I'll be there as well - of course - and can't wait to see how it will all work out.

Yet there's always *some* kind of mixed feelings for me involved, as by the end of this evening every song will have the definite stamp of 'qualifier' or 'non-qualifier', despite each of them working for months for these three minutes. Until now all songs are still possible qualifiers for me - as certain a few countries seem to be in (or out) - shocks happen almost every year.

Good luck to all participants tonight and let Eurovision 2017 begin!

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