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Spain - First rehearsal
Miki wears black fitted shirt and pants. On the stage, a house like the construction of 6 rooms, spread on 2 floors. Miki dances around with 4 dancers and has 1 backing vocalist. The video art shows colorful images, fingerprints, triangles and more. A big robot tries to shake the house down, with Miki and the dancers in it. Miki looks amazing and sounds good, the colorfulness is created joy, but the robot is superfluous in my opinion.
Grand Final - Dress Rehearsal - Part One - Intro and Songs One to Eight
So here we are after all of last night's drama - the dress rehearsal for Saturday's Grand Final (and of course, tonight's all-important Jury Final).
Intro and reprise
Ana Moura kicks off the show, treating us to some Fado. Salvador Sobral won't be performing his segment today we've been informed, as we are running a little late. Mariza then takes up the Fado reins, with drums and drummers-a-plenty surrounding her.
The flag parade of the 26 finalists is next, with the flag-bearers walking the outer perimeter of the circular stage before the acts move to the Green Room.
Filomena Cautela, Sílvia Alberto, Daniela Ruah and Catarina Furtado then introduce themselves and as standard, briefly explain the voting and display the running order with the graphics for those watching at home.
Postcard: Melovin takes a cliff-walk before horse riding.
Performance: Melovin kicks us off lying in his coffin before being released from it as part of the staging spectacular that we so often see from Ukraine. He's in good voice and it makes for an excellent opener while his coffin burns as he sits at the piano. Should be a top 10 finisher.
Postcard: It's a romantic country walk ending with a meal boiled underground in a hot spring for the Spanish duo.
Performance: The staging is classic and Alfred and Amaia are in fine voice. Although it's unlikely to trouble the top 10 on the night, it sounds great in the hall.
Postcard: Lea visits the very windswept and grey Azores. Just as well her pink hair was there to brighten up the weather.
Performance: Very much more of the same fantastic vocals and perfectly executed choreography (including THAT "malfunction" break) that saw her make the final last night against the odds and many of the press predictions. The cult of Hvala, ne! is now a Eurovision phenomenon regardless of Lea's overall placing on Saturday night.
Postcard: Ieva takes an antique car out on a quick spin down a country road.
Performance: Ieva's delicate vocals shine in the darkness and her husband can give her her first on-stage embrace as a finalist. Outside shot at top 10 possibly but it's likely that its high placing on the betting market is due to a slight skewing from Tuesday's semi-final's voting demographic.
Postcard: Cesar takes a mountain bike ride through small country villages, ending at a viewing point.
Performance: Cesar seems a lot more relaxed now (as is so often the case with many a qualifier). The pressure gone he gives his best vocal performance to date. Austria is unlikely to trouble the top half too much, but solid it is.
Postcard: A country walk for Elina before a sheer-cliff face rock climb.
Performance: Impeccably delivered and with a mesmerising light show within the dress. Should sit mid-point in the first half of the table come 11pm on Saturday night.
Postcard: Mr Fairytale is given a spraypaint task.
Performance: As professional as slick as we've come to expect from Alexander Rybak, the song without any sort of notable lyric (ironically) and its on-screen graphics, sits early on in the running order but is still likely to put him on the cusp of the top 5 - despite the betting market effectively deserting it as a serious contender overnight.
Postcard: The girls put a hard day's graft in with the Portuguese Navy.
Performance: Claudia is strong vocally and brings the song to life a lot more than we've seen in previous rehearsals. It may pick up a few thanks-for-having-us votes but something around a 20th-place finish would be my prediction for this one. However, the girls have done the home nation proud.
Now there's a short break before we see songs nine to sixteen performed.
Spain Second Rehearsal
Spain 2nd rehearsal. New outfits. Still prom night but more elegant. Good chemistry. #Eurovision
— ESCKAZ Chris (@EsckazChris) May 6, 2018
Spain second rehearsal
New outfits for Alfred & Amaia today - Alfred now wears a black suit and Amaia is in a classic long and wide black dress. These outfits are more traditional but also more romantic so in that way it could suit the song better, even though I also liked what they were wearing during the first rehearsal, being less standard.
Vocally it sounds very good and being the Portuguese neighbours there will probably be quite many Spanish fans in the audience to give them extra support. Still find it hard to guess where this will end up as it could be too sugary as well.
Spain first rehearsal
We start with the camera approaching Alfred from behind who is wearing a nice brown suit. Then we get to see Amaia in a white jumpsuit - both very pretty. Amaia's suit is quite similar to SuRie's, so let's hope for the sake of both they will not be drawn one after the other.
Of course the whole staging is very sweet and sugary - the vocals seem to blend nicely together. I would only expect the stage to brighter to fit in nicer with the theme of the song and feel of the performance.
Spain First Rehearsal
Spain 1st rehearsal. Alfred and Amaia in classic evening attire staring at each other, move towards another with some eventual cuddling. Camera swirl for climax. #eurovision
— ESCKAZ Chris (@EsckazChris) May 4, 2018
Day 6 of rehearsals - it'll be a mixed day!
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!
Spain second rehearsal
Manel and his band are still wearing their hawaii-shirts of course and try to get us all in a summer mood. Vocally in the hall it seems ok, but what I noticed a lot during the first run is that we don't get to see Manel singing until well ahead during the first chorus. He and the guitarists start in the back of the stage facing the screen that is still quite dark.
Just as they turn around for the chorus we also get the colourful beach backdrop.
Even though the drummer and the guistarists have a microphone and sing from time to time, it seems most is done by hidden backings that could just as well have joined them on stage.
Spain Second Rehearsal
My issue with Spain's staging is that Manel is in the dark for the first verse, making it impossible for viewers connect with him.
The colour explosion beach party therefore almost comes as an irritating surprise afterwards.
The surfboard LED effect is entertaining, but makes it difficult to take this entry serious as a summer pop song.