Rehearsal

Grand Final Jury Performance Live Blog

ChrisB on Fri, 05/11/2018 - 20:14

Grand Final Jury Performance. Blog will be updated in every break.

Melovin a little nervy in opening verse but recovers quickly and performs with confidence.

Alfred & Amaia did well for juries. Big cheers in arena and press centre.

Slovenia not on top of her game today. Arena loved the break.

Lithuania lacked a bit intensity for juries, but vocals were good.

Austria with more confidence than before. Clap along treatment.

Estonia lost control on one note. Rest was flawless.

Norway. Rybak gives a more serious performance for juries telling them how to write a song with energy.

Portugal. Claudia gives a very emotional performance for juries reminding them, after Norway, that they are watching a program for adults who care about music.

UK. SuRie very secure doing the best she can hoping for a storm on jury scorecards.

Serbia sounds as good as before.

Germany. Schulte not as relaxed as in rehearsals. But good vocals and lifts song with ad-libbing. I have a hunch juries will go for this big.

Albania. Juries brought Eugent to the final and he thanks them with another professional performance.

France. Arena choreo worked very well and juries could go for the stylish look+song.

Czech. Better today than on Tuesday. Also cooler if that was possible

Denmark. The Vikings showed up for juries in fine form.

Australia. Jessica took quite a few risks here and it worked out. Better than she has been before.

Finland. Saara always shows up when it matters. Excellent performance.

Bulgaria. Some outfit adjustments. Fine vocals, slightly overselling and zhana should make sure the mic stays close to her mouth for final note.

Moldova. Having seen this many times now it gets harder to assess. As before I guess.

Sweden. It took them some time, but the sound of backing vocals has finally arrived at studio version level. Well done Sweden.

Hungary. Voice held up. Impressive.

Israel. Netta found a good balance today.

The Netherlands. Waylon is always excellent.

Ireland. Ryan on a wave of euphoria from recent hype. God vocals.

Cyprus. If juries go for slick powerful A-list performances they can't overlook Eleni.

Italy. Very relaxed and good performance from Meta Moro.

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.

Grand Final - Dress Rehearsal - Part Two - Songs Nine to Sixteen

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.

10. Serbia
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.

11. Germany
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?

12 Albania
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.

13. France
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.

15. Denmark
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.

16. Australia
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.

Grand Final - Dress Rehearsal - Part One - Intro and Songs One to Eight

So here we are after all of last night's drama - the dress rehearsal for Saturday's Grand Final (and of course, tonight's all-important Jury Final).

Intro and reprise

Ana Moura kicks off the show, treating us to some Fado. Salvador Sobral won't be performing his segment today we've been informed, as we are running a little late. Mariza then takes up the Fado reins, with drums and drummers-a-plenty surrounding her.

The flag parade of the 26 finalists is next, with the flag-bearers walking the outer perimeter of the circular stage before the acts move to the Green Room.

Filomena Cautela, Sílvia Alberto, Daniela Ruah and Catarina Furtado then introduce themselves and as standard, briefly explain the voting and display the running order with the graphics for those watching at home.

1. Ukraine
Postcard: Melovin takes a cliff-walk before horse riding.
Performance: Melovin kicks us off lying in his coffin before being released from it as part of the staging spectacular that we so often see from Ukraine. He's in good voice and it makes for an excellent opener while his coffin burns as he sits at the piano. Should be a top 10 finisher.

2. Spain
Postcard: It's a romantic country walk ending with a meal boiled underground in a hot spring for the Spanish duo.
Performance: The staging is classic and Alfred and Amaia are in fine voice. Although it's unlikely to trouble the top 10 on the night, it sounds great in the hall.

3. Slovenia
Postcard: Lea visits the very windswept and grey Azores. Just as well her pink hair was there to brighten up the weather.
Performance: Very much more of the same fantastic vocals and perfectly executed choreography (including THAT "malfunction" break) that saw her make the final last night against the odds and many of the press predictions. The cult of Hvala, ne! is now a Eurovision phenomenon regardless of Lea's overall placing on Saturday night.

4. Lithuania
Postcard: Ieva takes an antique car out on a quick spin down a country road.
Performance: Ieva's delicate vocals shine in the darkness and her husband can give her her first on-stage embrace as a finalist. Outside shot at top 10 possibly but it's likely that its high placing on the betting market is due to a slight skewing from Tuesday's semi-final's voting demographic.

5. Austria
Postcard: Cesar takes a mountain bike ride through small country villages, ending at a viewing point.
Performance: Cesar seems a lot more relaxed now (as is so often the case with many a qualifier). The pressure gone he gives his best vocal performance to date. Austria is unlikely to trouble the top half too much, but solid it is.

6. Estonia
Postcard: A country walk for Elina before a sheer-cliff face rock climb.
Performance: Impeccably delivered and with a mesmerising light show within the dress. Should sit mid-point in the first half of the table come 11pm on Saturday night.

7. Norway
Postcard: Mr Fairytale is given a spraypaint task.
Performance: As professional as slick as we've come to expect from Alexander Rybak, the song without any sort of notable lyric (ironically) and its on-screen graphics, sits early on in the running order but is still likely to put him on the cusp of the top 5 - despite the betting market effectively deserting it as a serious contender overnight.

8. Portugal
Postcard: The girls put a hard day's graft in with the Portuguese Navy.
Performance: Claudia is strong vocally and brings the song to life a lot more than we've seen in previous rehearsals. It may pick up a few thanks-for-having-us votes but something around a 20th-place finish would be my prediction for this one. However, the girls have done the home nation proud.

Now there's a short break before we see songs nine to sixteen performed.

Jury Rehearsal Semi2 Bookmaker Update

ChrisB on Thu, 05/10/2018 - 00:15

Today we have seen the jury rehearsal of semi2 and the betting markets have reacted on some entries:

Winners:
Romania gave a good vocal performance and is now shorter than before.
Denmark also assured the markets of qualifcation.

Losers:
Russia seems to be in trouble according to the odds.
Latvia also drifted a little bit after her performance for the juries
And the markets seem to have lost in Serbia after tonight which drifted heavily.

Second Dress Rehearsal for Second Semi-Final

AidaK on Wed, 05/09/2018 - 20:10

First at all - why there are only four hostes and will the number grow to eight for the final?
To be continued on that...

And now back to the important stuff:

01 Norway
As I've missed a lot rehearsals, I'm gonna watch tonight as if I've just switched my TV on without knowing what is going on. I totaly agree with Desirée. Fairytale reloaded and Oslo might come back as Eurovision host.

02 Romania
Oh, those masks are scary. Put your kids away from television if you don't want to get a sleepless night. And again, I'm totaly agree with Desirée. "Goodbye" is a song which could work for Eurovision but the performans kills it. Shame.

03 Serbia
Wow. Great, unusual, but with a catchy melodie. Pop meets ethno. Strong voices. I'm afraid it still too unusual for the average national audience, but I really would like to see Albert Einstein with his panpipe in the final again.

04 San Marino
Well. Don't think, it is going through the semi. At least both ladies AND the robots are enjoying themselves on stage, don't they?

05 Denmark
Again - agree with Desirée. A solid show, charismatic artist with a good voice and a strong message (too much make up for a viking though ;) ). My colleague was singing along and the press center applauded.

06 Russia
There are so many questions on that perfomance I won't never get answered. Why the montain, why the dancer, why an outfit from the grandmom's wardrobe? I was so distracted, I couldn't concentrate on the vocals or the song, which is a shame, as they are quite good. Still, the audience liked it. C'mon, Julia, you can do the Final.

07 Moldova
Balcan beat meets Estrada and I must confessed, my slavic soul looooooves it. The performance is maybe a little bit over the top for my taste, but hey, it's Eurovision where sky is the limit. The vocals were fine, dear Desirée :)

08 The Netherlands
Sometimes less is more and that definitely the case of Waylon's performance or rather the performance of his stage entourage. Those break dancers will break your neck in the Semi, hon. However, it is still a cool radio song that I've already added to my spotify playlist. Without the dancers.

09 Australia
A very strong vocal performance, but the dancing seems to be a tribute to "Puppet on a String" and, unfortunately, the camera shots don't flatter Jessica.

10 Georgia
One of my favorites this year. The vocal energy rises with every moment. But I'm afraid the music is too sophisticated and the show too classical for the Final.

11 Poland
Agree with Desirée: quite flat vocals even with some noticeable breaks, but a wide voice range isn't required for dance pop. Cool staging, catchy tune, could work.

12 Malta
Again, less is more. Strange cheesy visuals which distract from the song but, unfortunately, not in a good way. She seems to relax and gain confindence during the performance, but will it help?

13 Hungary
Can't write - need to handbang now. Finally something authentical came up on the Eurovision horizont. This entry shows that the contest IS open for all genres beyond the limited frames of commercial music. I would love to see them at the Final and I'm sure, I will.

14 Latvia
Good vocal performance, but an average performance.

15 Sweden
If Justin Timberlake and Justin Biber would merge together, Benjamin Ingrosso will be the result. Absolutely love it. A radio hit, sung by a very very very charismatic artist and supported with a stunning but still very simple stage set. Less is more, as I said.

16 Montenegro
Smooth, powerful voice, but the entry is too traditional. A modern staging, performance and costumes could have bring it through the Semi, but I'm afraid, he's gonna stuck here.

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:

Semi1 Juryshow Review and Bookmaker Update

ChrisB on Tue, 05/08/2018 - 09:21

Here are a few thoughts on last night's jury show:

I picked up some vocal issues with FYR of Macedonia and Belarus was in my view a little nervous, so those will need to do better for the public.
The big winner of the night was Cyprus who smashed her performance under live pressure and gave it even more.

The betting markets have reacted accordingly, and Cyprus, I repeat Cyprus, is now the favourite to win Eurovision.

Jury final semi 1 - Live Blog - to be updated

Desiree on Mon, 05/07/2018 - 20:11

The jury final has just started. As tonight it is all about the performances, this live blog will focus mostly on that. But of course, if anything special happens we will of course let you know.

1. Azerbaijan
Aisel immediately gets the audience clapping along with her - maybe eager to see the show started as it's the first one. The running before the first chorus looks very panicked now. OK performance but not spectacular, vocally she is struggling in some of the verses. Azerbaijan has a great record but I would not be surprised to see it broken this year.

2. Iceland
Ari has been very solid all week through and again now his performance is good. However, it will most likely not be enough for qualification.

3. Albania
It seemed to me there was an issue with the lighting at the beginning as he was mostly covered in blue until the first chorus starts. Vocally a very good performance though that gets a huge applause in the press hall. However, Eugent seemed a bit nervous to me.

4. Belgium
It took some time before we got a good focus in the opening and vocally Sennek sounds very fragile tonight. She improved as the song progressed though.

Just a general observation, I thought this jury final was sold out, but I see lots of empty chairs everywhere...

5. Czech Republic
Miklas struggles a bit to get his rucksack back on after the tricks in the middle. Otherwise a good performance and he looks relieved after it.

6. Lithuania
A bit breathy but otherwise very good performance vocally with a good reaction in the hall. In the end Ieva has decided to revert to English for the very last line again.

7. Israel
The beginning sounds good today, but for the rest it's not Netta's best performance vocally, however the long high note towards the end goes quite well.

8. Belarus
An otherwise fine song ruined by the staging, it's still all too much. Not convinced about his performance tonight, his vocals seemed off from time to time. No specific issues though.

9. Estonia
I would not say Elina is off, but in the verses she is not as good as she was before. In the higher parts during the chorus she is perfect though, and that is probably what will matter most and stay in people's minds.

10. Bulgaria
Vocally competent but very cold performances. I'm just not really sure if everyone will go for this tonight and tomorrow.

11. Macedonia
Major issues earlier today, but they finally got the camera shot right with her walking to the drummer taking off her dress. During the end she's still out of breath though, and the (great!) backings are not able to hide that at all places.

12. Croatia
Franka's confident performance from earlier this week is back. Some issues with the sound of the stream though that might be only here. Flawless performance, I still think this can surprise everyone.

13. Austria
Sometimes César is just walking in the dark through the end which is not so great to see. He and his backings gave a good performance though.

14. Greece
Yianna is out of tune in the first verse and also struggles during the end. During the second verse we get fireworks now which is just a bit too early really.

15. Finland
A seemingly effortless performance of Saara Aalto who does not miss any note. Based on this alone I would not be surprised if there's a space for Finland in the final after all. Oh, today all three firework fountains worked.

16. Armenia
The Armenian performance also went well, though the high note with the guitar sounds a bit strange from time to time.

A very special guest in the press centre today!

Desiree on Mon, 05/07/2018 - 17:53

Earlier today, just before the start of today's first dress rehearsal the press centre was honoured by a very special guest - one of San Marino's robots! Apart from dancing as you can see below, the robot can also speak ánd has a will of its own as first he was a bit shy and wouldn't move, but in the end the gathered press convinced him to give away a special performance.