Like basically everyone else I find it very hard to give predictions for semi 2, as there are just too many contenders. Many people think this is the weaker semi-final, I don't think it's that bad actually, especially the first half is really quite strong for me (mainly in terms of possible qualifiers).
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This is the live blog for the Jury Rehearsal of Semi Final 1 on which juries will give their scores.
The blog will be updated throughout the show.
Serbia: Tijana with a dramatic and vocally solid effort.
Austria: Nathan plays it safe and pulls out of the big note. Charming performance.
FYROM: Jana with a very fierce and flirty performance for juries. Vocally sound.
Malta: Claudia shows passion and the best vocals so far.
Romania: Alex' voice got a little wobbly after riding the cannon. Ilinca's vocals and yodeling strong throughout.
The Netherlands: OG3NE once again with an impactful performance of perfect harmonies.
Hungary: Joci solid as before.
Denmark: Anja laying down her armour and performing Where I Am with heart and passion. Vocally good.
Ireland: Brendan manages the big note impressively. Best we have heard from him so far.
San Marino: Valentina and Jimmie showing good chemistry and interaction. And both sang very well.
Croatia: Jacque with an excellent performance for juries. Good falsettos and in fine voice(s)
Norway: Contemporary sound, solid vocals and even some smiles.
Switzerland: Timebelle's Miruna tries to offer some extra vocal freestyling for juries and it mostly works.
Belarus: NAVI with a fun performance, good chemistry and no vocal issues.
Bulgaria: Starts out with shaky voice but recovers very well. Most of the falsettos were strong and impactful staging.
Lithuania: Fusedmarc saved their best performance to date for the juries.
Estonia: Laura and Koit showing professionalism and sounding stronger when it counts the most.
Israel: A lot of improvement for Israel with fewer off-key issues than before.
In a few moments, the first dress rehearsal from semifinal 2 will start. It's already past 4 pm (local time in Kyiv), so it should be any minute. Just like last time, this live blog will be continually updated. However, I'm in the press hall now as this way I can be sure to catch all the screens, unlike the hall where the screens are sometimes off because of the lighting effects.
And we're off. The first opening video is the same as on semi-final 1. The hosts get on stage and Timur gets sent off to the green room. Then Vova and Alex play accordion and flute (ESC songs). Singers and dancers join, but the opening act gets cut off so we'll probably start again soon.
The second time is more succesfull and in order not to spoil too much for tomorrow I will just say we get several recent winners in a traditional / Soviet style...
Again there are delays, so hopefully we'll get to the songs soon! First the opening act once more. Then the voting procedure gets explained.
Time for the songs now!
Postcard: Tijana running in the woods, performing, enjoying drinks with friends
Performance: Starts off on a very dark stage. I've heard her do vocally bettter in this week. Lots of shots from a large distance. No reaction in the press hall at all. Silence.
Postcard: Nathan recording, making graffiti
Performance: First seconds completely in the dark. Vocally ok, but not the best we've heard. The dry ice gets a bit much sometimes. Still looks great and relaxed on stage.
3 FYR Macedonia
Postcard: Jana shopping (babyclothes among others.. would it mean something)
Performance: the beginning didn't sound good. Again many wide camera angles, during the chorus we hardly get closeups from Jana at all.
Postcard: Claudia meeting with friends, doing photoshoots that show a lot of Maltese scenery.
Performance: We get the wrong title shown (Romania instead instead of Malta), but we get the right song. Claudia sings very well as always. Not really crazy about how it looks on screen.
Postcard: Ilinca and Alex Florea travelling, biking in the woods.
Performance: Same background, same dresses - looks great. Alex's hair probably hasn't been done yet for today as it hangs down his face. Vocally both sound well. They still have the canons and it seems to go well today.
6. The Netherlands
Postcard: OG3NE shopping, doing some choreography in the clothes store
Performance: one of the girls starts too soon. It all sounds a bit different from other times I've heard them perform. The last part is great though and once again flawless.
A small break here. The hosts announce Hungary and Azerbaijan, but first we go to the greenroom.
Postcard: Joci hanging out with friends.
Performance: It sounds like Joci starts a bit early. A very solid performance but the camera work is not always on point, sometimes it feels like they are rushing to get to the right place.
Postcard: Lisa spending time around town, cooking, singing. She's still/again wearing the red dress from the national final.
Performance: Absolutely amazing, looks great, sounds great
Performance: First part sounds ok vocally. The screens are all very dark. The only light then is Brendan's shirt and the balloon. For the second part it lights up. The backings are very well heard.
10 San Marino
Postcard: Amongst other things - footage from when they were in Amsterdam!
Performance: Valentina now wears a white/silver top which looks better than all the dark clothes from earlier. Vocally and visually still solid.
Finland not making it to the final has been a big surprise - if not shock - for many, including quite a few of the team of ESCKAZ didn't see this coming and/or hoped otherwise.
Despite the disappointment, not long after the semi-final finished, Norma John already showed up in the press centre to give some words to mainly the Finnish press. I also spoke to them for a few seconds (not on video, sorry everyone..) and they didn't seem too devastated. Lasse told me that it's always hard to compete in music.
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...
Claudia Faniello, would like to thank you for taking the time to come to her Press Conference, Meet and Greet and interview her.
She is very grateful for all the support you showed to her so far and hope that you will continue to support her through Semi final 2.
VOTE for MALTA......Song Number 4...... Breathlessly
HEAD OF PRESS for MALTA
Today, representatives of Ukrainian and largest international press have been invited for a tour with O.Torvald band, which included visit to the "Barman Dictat", Arena City complex and Gulliver mall roof.
"Barman Dictat" (formerly 44 art club) is the location where O.Torvald gave their first ever performance in Kyiv, and still remains favourite stage of the band. Zhenya Galich and his team (who were sadly missing bass guitarist, who was sick) gave rendition of 3 songs including their most recent hit #nashilyudyvsyudy and shared with press members a few drinks.
Special guests were Bandura Style project (Yaroslav Jus and Maryna Krut) who after releasing their cover of Time yesterday were noticed by Zhenya this morning and immediately invited to Kyiv.
After a short walk we have reached location of 2005 Euroclub Arena City where band met with their fans, who, despite just a one hour notice, gathered in masses to meet their idols. Artists spoke with fans and made numerous signatures and selfies.
To finish the day, band and press members have climbed to the 34th floor of Gulliver mall - the 2nd highest building of Kyiv and got a great view on the city from there.