So Georgia start us off today and it was a lovely way to ease into the day. Comes across very well live - the harmonies were spot-on and very simple staging - Iriao stood in a line and just delivered their song simply and with feeling. I think this may be a qualifier after that first outing. Will be noticed between Australia and Poland which go before and after them respectively in the running order.
The first rehearsal of today is Georgia and it's a great start of the day, especially taking into account all the disappointments from yesterday. All six members are now on stage. In the beginning the camera focuses mostly on the three main singers but later we also see the other band members.
Vocally it sounds really well and it could - and should - do a lot better than most people have anticipated until now. The only thing I still hope to see changed is the lighting, it's more of the same blue and then red to yellow colours in the background.
In the last run of four we got to see they have fog on stage - which would look a lot better with different colours in the background than the initial red-yellow) and a pyro curtain in the last seconds.
So welcome to rehearsals - day four. We'll be kicking off with Georgia before hearing from Poland, Malta, Hungary, Latvia, Sweden, Montenegro, Slovenia and Ukraine. We'll keep you abreast of all the news as it happens.
Congratulations to the delegations that made it to the final, but more important heartfelt commiserations to all the singers that did not make it to the final. You were all winners and all did an amazing job in front of the crowd and to those watching on television - you can all be very proud of yourselves today.
We hope that you will now all take the time to relax a little and enjoy Kyiv and remember that this is not the end but just the start...
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.
So Tamara is indeed wearing a red glittery dress under her cape. The colours of the stage and really the whole hall is also coloured in red. Red and white remain the main colours during the whole performance, quite fitting for a Georgian song of course. Tamara is amazing vocally at this early hour but it might all be a bit too shouty for me.
As we already saw in the first rehearsal, she's alone on stage but it's not hard at all to keep your attention at all, she really knows how to perform.
In the last run pyro during the second part of the song. Other than that, nothing we didn't know that.