Press rehearsal of 2nd Eurovision semi as seen by Keith Mills

A large crowd in the arena for today’s rehearsal. As on Monday, I will be giving you the chances of each country based on the betting odds and the press centre poll and at the end I’ll make my predictions. I think this is an easier semi to predict.

As last night the show starts with a parade of artists going from the Green Room to the stage.

LITHUANIA
Monika in a lovely blue and white summer dress & Vaidas in a powder blue suit over an open necked black shirt. Lots colourful fan effect lighting. This is a really strong show opener ever if it’s far fromvocally perfect, it creates a bright, fun show and it will be remember.
BOOKMAKERS: 70% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 61%

IRELAND
Molly in a black jacket begin the piano and there’s a lovely autumnal feel to the backdrop. A singing cellist and two backing vocalists with a drummer and bass player don’t actually look too crowded. Molly is in terrific voice but there are too many long shorts for my liking. Molly is finding the camera, but she could do with smiling at the end of the song. This is as good as it could be. We are in with a reasonable chance of qualifying.
BOOKMAKERS: 39% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 44%

SAN MARINO
Dear oh dear this is dreadful, it’s off tempo at times and Anita is off key for much of the song. An image of lights and a globe in the background but this is just a complete no hoper.
BOOKMAKERS: 16% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 25%

MONTENEGRO
Knez in a dark suit with sequinned lapels There’s a lovely blue flicking stage effect before the stage goes to red. There’s some lovely ensemble interaction with the five female backing vocalists. It take a little long to get going and it isn’t helped by who is in this semi, but it’s the best so far and I think we will see Montenegro in the final for the second year in a row.
BOOKMAKERS: 47% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 62%

MALTA
Another poor vocal performance. Amber sounds like she is rushing the lyrics in the verses and the opening note in the chorus is too screechy for my liking. The flame themed background it nice but I’m disappointed in the staging overall and this needs considerable improvement in both the camerawork and the vocal for this to have any chance to qualifying.
BOOKMAKERS: 51% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 41%

A Green Room break with interviews with San Marino and Molly who sounds relaxed and funny.

NORWAY
Mørland in a white jacket and Debrah in a matching white dress with a cutaway midriff. There’s some great panning camerawork around the singers and the golden glow for the instrumental passage is very effective. This is hugely improved on the national final performance, vocally and visually. It will sail into the final, where it could be a serious “dark horse”.
BOOKMAKERS: 83% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 90%

PORTUGAL
Leonora in a full length black dress with extended sleeves and shoulder pads. Nice use of the wind machine. Looks great and sings well but the backdrop is anonymous and apart from the wind machine, which is well used, the staging is a bit bland. There’s nothing here for people to pick up a phone and vote for. Another year without Portugal in the final, I fear.
BOOKMAKERS: 17% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 22%

CZECH REPUBLIC
Carrying on the great Eurovision tradition of standing two feet apart and screaming at one another. This is a very simple but effect staging and singers are in great voice. It’s vary 1980s AOR but it’s the most likely qualifier the Czechs have ever sent.
BOOKMAKERS: 34% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 56%

ISRAEL
The dancing (especially by Nadav) looks a little awkward and vocally it’s far from perfect but the feeling of fun and joi de vivre coming from the multi-transitioning stage is very infectious. The camerawork still needs some fine tuning. The best audience reaction to any song today and we NEED this in the final.
BOOKMAKERS: 64% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 85%

LATVIA
Aminata looks a little tortured at times but the note that opens the chorus is a real “wow” moment. The brilliant use of lights and the sheer power of the vocal is really quite addictive. The crowd love it and I think Latvia is back in the final for the first time since 2008.
BOOKMAKERS: 70% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 63%

AZERBAIJAN
Elnur sounds off in parts of the song and his outfit is just too down-beat for me. The staging is just wrong. I really like this song, but I am so disappointed in how it’s coming across on screen. Still qualifying but not a contender.
BOOKMAKERS: 82% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 88%

ICELAND
Good heavens this is absolutely appalling. Maria is completely off key and screeches through three minutes making noise that you might associate more with animal torture. The dreadful pink dress and poor backdrop didn’t help either. This is car crash stuff.
BOOKMAKERS: 71% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 60%

Another awkward Green Room break, his time with Norway and Portugal.

SWEDEN
There was a slight projection hiccup at the start of this and Mans positioning is wrong on a couple of shots. Vocally it’s great. A very good performance overall and his is still a serious contender on Saturday night. Great audience reaction.
BOOKMAKERS: 90% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 94%

SWITZERLAND
Coming after a big favourite can be very tricky as Denmark will tell you after last night but Melanie is terrific vocally and is really selling her song for all it’s worth. Great staging, good use of backing vocalists and this is one of the most under-rated songs of the year in my opinion.
BOOKMAKERS: 48% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 35%

CYPRUS
And here is this year’s most under-estimated entry. Keeping the monochrome effect for the first third of the song is a very nice idea. They are still going for the long shot for the “I should have been there for you” repeats which is a mistake in my book. John looks very engaging and I think that this is sailing into the final.
BOOKMAKERS: 71% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 48%

SLOVENIA
There’s far too many camera angle changes in this for my liking but it’s now a far more coherent performance than in the early rehearsals. It sounds terrific and it has the perfect position in the running order. Another certain finalist, I think.
BOOKMAKERS: 83% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 83%

POLAND
The pale green and pink backdrop is very pretty. Monika is her white dress sitting in a wheelchair, sounds off to my ear. I like this song but there’s something lacking in this performance. It still might qualify, based on the running order but it’s just not very engaging.
BOOKMAKERS: 63% PRESS CENTRE POLL: 47%

Now the reprises.

Filler after the reprises on Austrian costumes "inspiring" Eurovision.

Then a little segment on voting mishaps.