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Mahmood took the stage for the first time. With him 3 dancers. The colors on the screen and stage are mostly dark blue and red. The backdrop shows images of people from the video clip, including the child. Some sentences from the song appear in English at the backdrop (hey, it worked for them last year). Mahmood wears a nude colored buttoned-up shirt with some print on it. His dynamics with the dancers are good, but it's not the most effective stage I've seen this year. Oh, and there's an image of burning money and the words "Money Can't Buy You Love". It's a strong message that can speak to a lot of people, but how will European react to Urban trap?
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.
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Goosebumps all over here for me. Despite - or maybe thanks to - the projections of the lyrics not being visible in the hall except for the screens hanging everywhere, the performance comes across as very powerful. Vocally both are very good and the song stands out as well for me. Love this.
Quite a big reaction in the press hall after the first run from Italy. Fabrizio and Ermal don't seem to be wearing their stage outfits yet. Their staging is mostly red and they have kept the concept of the video clip with (parts of) the lyrics on screen in many languages. For most of the song the two stand in the middle of the stage with the lyrics projected in different angles, but during the bridge they split up and each walk to one side where they stand on the bridges, to meet each other for the last lines of the song.
The camerawork looks pretty solid for a first rehearsal and so are their vocals.
In just about 15 minutes the first rehearsal of today will start, which is Armenia.
We start the day with the remaining 4 countries of semi final 1 who will each do their second rehearsal which will be blogged live from the arena like yesterday. The same goes for the first five countries of the second semi-final.
After all these we get to see the first 30 minute-rehearsals from the BIG-5 countries + Portugal. These rehearsals will go on well into the evening, so loads happening today, stay tuned!
The hall has never been as full as during this rehearsal but that is nothing to be surprised about of course. It all seems to come together a lot more for Italy this second time that they're on stage. Vocally he didn't make much of an effort the first time, but with the second run it sounded a lot better.
The camera work has also been sorted out so Italy is definitely still a favourite...
The camera angles are better for Italy today. And it's a very colourful visual treat.
Francesco is vocally a little bit all over the place today, but we know he can sing, so one shouldn't read too much into this rehearsal.
He is moving a lot around the stage, the gorilla appears and the song and staging provides real party atmosphere. I'm not quite sure yet, if he is winning it all.