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

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.

A boat trip on the Dnipro river

Today the Kyiv City State Administration organised a boat trip for the attending press the Dnipro. So this morning I went to the Kyiv River Port, just outside the metro station Poshtova Ploshcha (on the blue line, one stop from the Maidan Nezalezhnoshti metro station). It was very early in the morning, especially after last night's Red Carpet event and afterparty in the Euroclub, but I'm very glad I went as the weather was too good to stay in the hotel.

Already when I came out of the metro station I was treated with a beautiful view on the river. The Riverside station itself is also quite an impressive building, but it's currently being renovated so I haven't got a chance to see how it looks inside. Along the river and on the square you have some nice terraces so I can really recommend this spot for a drink and something to eat if you want to relax.

Kyiv City boat trip

It didn't take me long to find the pier from where the boat would leave. As soon as all the gathered press was on board, it was time to take off. First we went past the St. Nicholas Wondermaker on the Water Church, the only church on Europe to be on the water. A beautiful and incredibly small church. From the same place we also had a view on the much higher located St Andrew's Church. This is all situated on the right bank of the city.

Then we took a U-turn and got to see the earlier mentioned Riverside station from the bank, which has a very long Ukrainian flag on it. The backside it not as impressive as the front, but clearly recognizable.
Next we see a lot of green which is the Marinskiy Park where yesterday's red carpet took place.
Past that we see the Friendship of Nations Arch, for the occasion renamed as the Arch of Diversity. Behind it is the huge statue of a woman, the Motherland Monument that was built in 1981 and that you can almost see standing outside the International Exhibition Centre.

Kyiv City boat trip

Kyiv City boat trip

After another U-turn, this time around the Hidropark Island - which is more or less a huge relax area with beaches - nudist included - it didn't take long until we saw a very familiar few - the IEC and the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ - the church many of you will have seen in the press centre and that turns out to be only opened in 2011.

Kyiv City boat trip

Before heading to the press centre where the first dress rehearsal will start in a few minutes, it was time to enjoy the sun for a bit more on the riverside. Thanks to the organization of this boat trip that let us see a bit more of the city!

You can see all the photos here:

Kyiv boat trip

Omar Naber's (Slovenia) Eurovision journey so far

Omar Naber: “It feels great being in Kiev!”

Omar Naber arrived in Kiev just over a week ago and will perform 17th in the running order at tomorrow’s first Eurovision Semi-Final.

He’s had a busy week. Here’s a day-by-day taster of what he’s been up to since arriving in the Ukrainian capital on 30th April, as the clock counts down to that performance.

Slovenia Press Photos

Monday 1st May
Omar stepped on to the Eurovision stage at the Kiev International Exhibition Centre for the first time for his first rehearsal.

Speaking to the press after his first rehearsal, Omar said: “As they say, practice makes perfect, so I am satisfied with everything for now. The design team responsible for the performance and the visuals have done a fantastic job. We will still make a few minor adjustments, but by Friday, when we have the next rehearsal, everything will be fine-tuned and ready to go.”

Tuesday 2nd May
Omar had a few free hours so got to take advantage of them by having a wander around Kiev – and he was very impressed. “It feels great being Kiev. It’s full of soul – the people have been so friendly and you can feel that warmth in the air. I also love the food – which will help me keep up my strength for the days ahead!”

Wednesday 3rd May
Omar was invited to meet with Nataša Prah, the Slovenian Ambassador to Ukraine, and he kept her informed about how his preparations for the semi-final are going. They also discussed the changes Omar has noticed in the city since he performed last time out in 2005.

Thursday 4th May
At the invitation of the Montenegrin delegation, Omar impressed the guests with his appearance at their pre-event party, alongside that of the host’s and the representatives of Serbia, Macedonia and Croatia.

Friday 5th May
Omar’s second on-stage rehearsal took place and left the whole team with a strong feeling of satisfaction.

"I’ll do my very best to perform and present the song as best I can to the world,” said Omar at his press conference after the rehearsal. “My team has done top-notch work on it to ensure that its presentation will stand out and be exceptional. My job in all of this is that, at the onset, I put in 100% to my performance – as the audience expects. After that, the rest is out of my hands.”

Omar spent Friday evening in the company of fans as he performed at the Eurovision village.

Saturday 6th May
Omar spent the day doing press and media interviews – and was very in-demand.

In the evening, Omar was invited by the Australian representative Isaiah, to attend their delegation’s party.

Sunday 7th May
All of this year’s performers at the Eurovision Song Contest, attended the official opening and walked down the red carpet.

Slovenia Press Photos

This evening (Monday 8th), Omar will perform in front of the national juries before undergoing the same assessment by viewers from across Europe tomorrow evening.

At one of his interviews before he takes to the stage once more for the performances that matter, Omar admitted to one of the journalists:

“Performing on stage at the biggest musical event in the world is a big responsibility so you have to look after yourself in the best possible way. I’m trying to stay calm and collected."

Omar’s outfit for the performance was designed exclusively by Jelena Proković – JSP, who previously lent her services to ensure he made a stylish appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, which was of course, also held in Kiev.

To keep track of all EMA-related news and preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest, visit the MMC RTV Slovenia, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels, as well as the EMAEvrovizija Snapchat.

The Eurovision Version of his song “On My Way” – the Slovenian Eurovision entry 2017 – is now available on all digital platforms including iTunes, Google Play ...

Slovenia Press photos

United Kingdom Jury spokesperson announced

Red Carpet Interview Photos

Katrina Leskanich from Katrina and the Waves to be UK jury spokesperson for Eurovision 2017

Celebrating 20 years since she won the Eurovision Song Contest for the UK with hit song ‘Love Shine a Light’, Katrina Leskanich returns as spokesperson to announce the results of the 2017 UK jury vote.

The 62nd Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final takes place this Saturday 13th May live from the International Exhibition Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine, broadcast live on BBC One at 8pm with commentator Graham Norton.

Katrina said: “I am honoured and delighted to be invited to be the spokesperson for the UK at Eurovision this year. It makes it extra special as this year is the 20th anniversary of my win in 1997 with Love Shine a Light.”

2017 sees the 60th anniversary of the UK’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Lucie Jones represents the UK with her emotive song ‘Never Give Up On You’; which was co-written by 2009 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Emmelie de Forest.

Lucie said, “It's been 20 years since Katrina won Eurovision so it is SO exciting that she is back this year! She's a huge inspiration to me and one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this huge competition, that means so much too so many people. I am so excited to be here in Kiev getting ready to perform at the final!”

Rehearsals have begun in Kyiv and exclusive content of the preparations for the big night are available now via the BBC Eurovision website.

Mel Giedroyc and Scott Mills host the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals live on BBC Four on Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th May.

Oh we managed to sneak into the delegation area in Euroclub

Only had a chance to chat with some delegations and take a few photos but hey it all seemed kinda nice...

Apparently this area will be open to all accredited people from today onwards but for a sneak peak now click the album below

Delegation area in Euroclub

Red Carpet - 42 interviews - all coutries

05:08 Albania: Lindita Halimi – World
06:10 Armenia: Artsvik – Fly With Me
07:10 Australia: Isaiah Firebrace – Don't Come Easy
07:49 Austria: Nathan Trent – Running on Air
08:33 Azerbaijan: Dihaj (Diana Hajiyeva) – Skeletons
09:59 Show & Contest Producer Christer Bjorkman
11:06 Belarus: NaviBand – Historyja majho žyccia
12:02 Eurovision 2017 Hosts
13:59 Belgium: Blanche – City Lights
14:45 Bulgaria: Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess
18:35 Croatia: Jacques Houdek – My Friend
15:52 Cyprus: Hovig – Gravity
20:30 Czech Republic: Martina Bárta – My Turn
24:11 Denmark: Anja Nissen – Where I Am
17:28 Estonia: Koit Toome & Laura – Verona
22:50 Finland: Norma John – Blackbird
23:38 France: Alma – Requiem
26:03 Georgia: Tamara Gachechiladze – Keep the Faith
28:44 Germany: Levina – Perfect Life
25:08 Greece: Demy – This Is Love
26:37 Hungary: Joci Pápai – Origo
27:59 Iceland: Svala – Paper
30:09 Ireland: Brendan Murray – Dying To Try
32:02 Israel: Imri Ziv – I Feel Alive
32:23 Italy: Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali's Karma
34:06 Latvia: Triana Park – Line
34:57 Lithuania: Fusedmarc – Rain of Revolution
21:28 Macedonia: Jana Burčeska – Dance Alone
33:07 Malta: Claudia Faniello – Breathlessly
35:48 Moldova: SunStroke Project – Hey, Mamma!
41:01 Montenegro: Slavko Kalezić – Space
49:05 The Netherlands: O'G3NE – Lights and Shadows
36:52 Norway: JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann – Grab the Moment
37:53 Poland: Kasia Moś – Flashlight
50:43 Portugal: Salvador Sobral – Amar Pelos Dois
39:05 Romania: Ilinca feat. Alex Florea – Yodel It!
43:23 San Marino: Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson – Spirit Of The Night
40:16 Serbia: Tijana Bogićević – In Too Deep
41:25 Slovenia: Omar Naber – On My Way
42:32 Spain: Manel Navarro – Do It For Your Lover
50:16 Sweden: Robin Bengtsson – I Can't Go On
44:51 Switzerland: Timebelle – Apollo
47:32 Ukraine: O.Torvald – Time
46:08 United Kingdom: Lucie Jones – Never Give Up on You

Miss and Mister ESCKAZ 2017 Award ceremony

As usual, during the Red Carpet event ESCKAZ has announced winners of it's top prize. For the first time award was given back in 2005 in Kyiv and interestingly to Omar Naber's backing vocalist Teja Saksida.

Miss ESCKAZ 2017 Viktorija Ivanovskaja, Fusedmarc, Lithuania
Mister ESCKAZ 2017 Aleksander Walmann, JOWST, Norway

Special mention: Best Red Carpet outfit - Kseniya Zhuk, NAVIBAND, Belarus

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Red Carpet afterparty

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