Sevak is in a circle of black stone beams. He wears an authentic black linen outfit that looks much friendlier than the leather armour he wore in Armenia. He has good vocals, but it's a bit distant and introverted, and the staging doesn't showcase the climax effectively yet.
Sevak is wearing black as well - lots of black clothes in this semi already by the looks of it - and is standing in a circle full of rectangular pilars that get higher in the back and are almost none in the front (if not we wouldn't see Sevak of course!). No backings visible on stage.
The vocals were very low in the beginning but sounded better towards the end. After a few seconds of hesitation a moderate applause in the press centre for the first run.
The second run sounded better but still can't barely hear him in the beginning. The camera shots need a lot of work, there are some off moments with a sudden white screen or filming from behind.
Armenia up next. Sevak is shrouded in darkness at the beginning and as the lights come up he seems to be standing in a circular graveyard. Not sure if there is any political meaning behind that. His vocals are strong - as they were on the promo tour - and his performance is impassioned.
So, here we are for day two of the first rehearsals. A first opportunity to see Croatia, Greece and Cyprus, none of whom took part in the promo parties in the last month. We'll also be seeing how Macedonia, Austria, Finland, Armenia, Switzerland and Ireland have adapted their songs for presentation on the Eurovision stage. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day from the team.
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.
And we're off! just 5 minutes later than initially planned We start with women wearing traditional gear and Ukrainian folk music in the background. Then a dancer on stage to be joined by Monatik, who proves to be very versatile: rapping, sing and dancing a very modern song that could've been a nice participating entry. Unfortunately I haven't been able to catch his name yet. I hope to update you on that after we have seen him again.
After the second run his name is not mentioned, but instead he introduces the hosts who are in casual clothes for this rehearsal. Some introductory speeches later the lineup for the semi-final is shown on screen and the voting is explained. No surprises here.
Next: song 1 from Sweden!
Post-card: Stills from Robin and his dancers, rehearsing, motor riding, getting ready to perform.
Performance: The lights seem to flicker a bit in the beginning. First time I notice it, not sure it's meant to be like that. Once again a very solid performance so it's bound to at least qualify and possibly do very well. On the other hand, there is still the issue with the 'OK' sign he makes with his hands that means something different in other countries.
song 2: Georgia:
Postcard: Rehearsing with Anri Jokahdze, running in the park, getting ready to perform and walk on stage (which seems a common thing already for all countries).
Performance: There's a delay in the start of the Georgian performance, so stay tuned! A solid performance by Tamara, who has no need at all to hold back.
song 3: Australia
Postcard: Isaiah in Melbourne and in a car, getting on a stage, watching the stars.
Performance: In the hall Isaiah really seems a bit overshadowed by his own images on the screen. A very good performance again. No further issues here.
song 4: Albania
Postcard:Running, singing with a band, doing sports, working on her dress and making the heart sign with her hands.
Performance: Vocals a bit shaky in the beginning. Only yesterday evening she was going all out in the Euroclub.
The long note is not working completely as it should so she sings it lower to save herself. Will be something to look at tonight and tomorrow evening.
song 5: Belgium
Postcard: Blanche playing the piano, reading, doing press conferences, autographs.
Performance: Blanche wears a different dress now - in black! so her nickname nnow no longer fits her outfit. The black dress is very dark, as the staging is as well. I know the white one was criticised a lot but I prefer it to what she wears now. The high parts near the end still sound very weak. However, a good reception in the hall.
Song 6: Montenegro:
Postcard: Slavko in the park, in a theater.
Performance: The visuals of Slvako while he lays on the floor have changed now. In blue, no more bright pink lipgloss. Looks a lot better and a bit less over the top. Slvako still fills the stage on his own, Could be better vocally. I am quite worried about its chances but I still enjoy this song a lot after a few ballads.
First break: Hosts on stage (minus greenroom host Timur). App mentioned. Timur in the greenroom speaking with who performed.
Song 7: Finland
Postcard: Norma John working/sitting together, walking in a building, shopping sunglasses, playing the piano.
Performance: Dry ice. Looks beautiful at the start. Vocally it seems not as solid as we have heard before. Big applause though.
Artsvik is wearing a black jumpsuit, similar to her two dancers who join the song during the first verse.
I'm still not too fond of the staging, a lot more could've been done, maybe more dancers or get the Eastern touch even more clear through the performance. During the instrumental bridge when the camera zooms in on Artsvik, I think the lighting could be improved as now it makes her look very red.
However, I still think this can do very well as she sounds great (in the hall it's a bit too loud though) and it's a unique song in this year's collection of entries.
We finally get to see Artsvik's costume, a martial black top resembling chain armour, which fits the staging and the slightly provocative undertone of the performance.
The overall impression of the performance is that it looks very slick and Artsvik is in good form.
Pyros in the third run. Fierce.
I had a few issues with Ukrainian internet since leaving the press centre, so I apologize for the delay of this Day 2 summary.
I just wanted to give you a quick overview which entries stood out the most today in the press centre:
- Armenia won the press centre poll for day 2. It looks modern, sophisticated and professional, and Artsvik performs it really well. My only caveat would be that it lacks a real climax at the moment.
- Moldova received the second highest score. The staging is fun and upbeat, that should certainly help in a semi full of ballads.
- Iceland and Czech Republic the losers of the day based on the press centre poll. But there is still enough time to turn things around. And the press centre has gotten things wrong in the past, so fans of these entries shouldn't lose hope.
We will see what kind of adjustments the delegations will make later this week.
Have a good night and see you tomorrow!