Dress rehearsal one for the first semi-final has just started - we start of course with some opening sequence showing, among others, images of Lisboa, Pasteles de nata, water, football... and of course the various logotypes of this year's contest before we move into the hall where our four hosts all come on stage, still a bit giggly at first!
I'm here liveblogging this semi-final from the hall and will most probably be back in the evening for the jury-final when it really matters, so I'm curious to see where my impressions will differ today comparing the 2 rehearsals!
Check back here from time to time to see all the latest updates, as the performances and more pass by!
Postcard: Aisel in what seems a typical Portuguese village with white houses before taking a balloon tour.
Peformance: Lots of smoke on stage in the beginning, not sure I noticed that earlier. Vocally ok until th esecond verse where she starts to struggle a bit. It's still very artificial, the glitter effect in the bridge seems to have been developed better now.
Postcard: More Portuguese villages but Ári gets inside a building where he makes a puppet-on-a-string - Now is that a Eurovision reference or not?!
Performance: Missed camera shots in the beginning where we see cameras through the screen while we should only see Ari. This better not happen tonight or tomorrow night. Otherwise great performance again from Ari who once again shows how good a singer he is.
Postcard: Eugent is taking a boat tour what looks like through the Venice of Portugal.
Performance: In the last part of the song the backings can be heard a lot more now. Vocally this is great once again and I can not see any fault to this performance but I immediately admit I'm biased as this is by far my favourite.
Postcard: Also Sennek went on a boat trip but this time closer to Lisboa, in fact it seems very close to where we had the blue carpet event yesterday.
Performance: They finally seem to get the opening right, even though I wonder if it's the right opening to this song. After Albania this is really quite relaxing without getting boring. Not completely sure the vocals in the chorus were as perfect as in the last rehearsal.
5. Czech Republic
Postcard: Mikolas finds himself with some very strangely dressed creatures with carnaval masks from the Tras-Os-Montes region of Portugal.
Performance: Mikolas seems more comfortable on stage than in his last rehearsal, he's moving around a lot more, but of course leaves out the backflips that caused him lots of trouble one week ago. Still a lot running and a normal jump on stage though.
Postcard: Ieva is taking a trip in the mountains in her now quite trademark comfortable wide pullovers, very similar to what she wore in the second rehearsal.
Performance: On stage she is now wearing a very princessy pink dress. Vocally it is very good and the song is so relaxing and smoothing that it is over before I know it! And, small detail - 2 lines in Lithuanian are back today!
After this performances we get to the greenroom where the host is already asking how Lithuania is doing, I wonder if she'll be back at all at that moment! Will be fun to watch tomorrow.
Postcard: Netta performing at an outside party.
Performance: The beginning now sounds better in the hall than it did during the second rehearsal. However, we get to start over again as apparently there were issues..
Thought the first time sounded better, but it's probably more noticeable in the press area that it didn't go well the first time. As if Netta may have thought she had something to prove after the issues in the beginning, she gave it all at this rehearsal, to send up a bit out of breath by the end.
Postcard: At the Praça do Comercio Alekseev climbs a tower and rings a bell
Performance: No changes to this one, Alekseev sounded very well but it would be nice if someone could tell him it's forEver and not forAver..
Postcard: Elina shows a very different side of herself in the postcard as she goes rock climbing!
Performance: As expected, no changes her either. Vocally good as always and the dress is there of course. The only difference that is hardly of importance probably is that her hair is not up yet.
Postcard: Equinox do some sightseeing in Lisbon andget to climb one of the towers in the centre, close to the Praça do Comercio.
Performance: Solid performance but all very fabricated.
Find it hard to g uess how well this will fare tomorrow.
Postcard: Marija and Bojan look at the traditional Portuguese tiles and enter a workshop where they get to paint one themselves.
Performance: We start with two takes of the pre-recorded beginning before we move on to the actual performance, which is very similar to the last rehearsal. We still see a bit too much of Marija doing the dress change at the drum stand. By the end of this performance, she was completely out of breath.
Postcard: Franka walks around a very old mountain village in Portugal, almost looks medieval!
Performance: In the second chorus Franka now hits some higher notes than before, adding a little variation. She sounds very well but overall it wasn't as convincing to me as before. It could of course be that she's saving herself for tonight.
After Croatia it's time for another break which starts with one of the hosts on the bridge and then move to the greenroom again.
Postcard: César and his team go biking through a rural area.
Performance: No issues to be seen in this performance, he sounds very good today, however he looks a bit uncomfortable towards the end.
Postcard: Yianna gets to do sculpture a bird and paint it (at first I thought she was making cheese though!)
Performance: The performance doesn't start right away after the postcard and we see Yianna on stage with the stage director who is asking Yianna to ask something else in the meantime... She's not up for it though and I think that's very understandable.
With the performance actually starting Yianna sounds very different, it sounds a lot higher. Her hand is not painted blue for this rehearsal, let's see if the paint is back tonight.
We now get pyro and somoke fountains in the bridge during the dance from Yianna. They fill up the stage a lot more, making me no longer miss the backings on stage - however the long notes were off unfortunately.
Postcard: Saara goes to a golf court.
Performance: Flawless performance from Finland, the camerawork goes well, however one of the pyro-fountains at the end doesn't go off. Vocally excellent.
Postcard: Sevak goes to harvest cork from the trees.
Performance: Good performance but wasn't quite sure how the high notes went..
Postcard: Zibbz take a helicopter ride over Porto.
Performance: The beginning still is very impressive in the hall. The effect of Corinne's call in the hall may be very low as she is barely visible because of the lighting. Otherwise another good performance.
Postcard: Ryan walks through a port and goes scubadiving.
Performance: No changes in this performance, sounding very good.
Postcard: Eleni goes shopping on a market and then cooks with the ingredients.
Performance: Very energetic performance once again. Some of the fire effects seemed to be a bit werid, just before the bridge. She literally heats up the hall with this performance as the flames in the end can be felt all the way back in the hall!
After the performances we get the hosts speaking to someone in the audience before the voting procedure is announced and the lines are opened.
A few minutes later we're back in the greenroom where the hosts quote Salvador's words 'Music is not fireworks, music is feeling' after his victory last year, a nice introduction to lead us back in time to the contest in Kyiv last year. We have Svala, Manel Navarro, Norma John, Alma, Kristian Kostov, Martina Barta and Blanche performing Amar pelos dois in a cover video.
After this we get a sketch about the voting procedure where voting by paper is considered but discarded, as televotes are (duh..) a lot faster. Time for another recap, using different clips from the performances in some cases, however not for each country.
More sketches around the voting after this recap - will not spoil for now - and it's the countdown, not even in Portuguese today..
After this Portugal tries to recreate the success of Lynda Woodruff in previous contests. The known Portuguese TV presenter Herman Jose acts as David Attenborough in what is presented as a nature documentary. To be continued!
As the cd and dvd are presented we get to hear some statistical facts about the contest, introducing us to a compilation of different ESC acts. More 'commercials' right after this, for the Eurovision Board Game.
In the meantime Cláudia Pascoal and Isaura, SuRie and Alfred and Amaia have moved into the green room. Cláudia treats us to a ukelele version of Te Deum. After this Alfred and Amaia treat us to a La La La version of Tu canción (as La La La was their first winner). Last but not least it's SuRie. No singing for her, just joking about the name.
After this we get to the recording of the performances from the beforementioned acts.
First up it's Portugal and now we finally get to see their stage costumes properly.
Postcard: A black and white movie for Cláudia and Isaura who go sailing on an impressive ship.
Performance: there are some issues delaying the performance to take place.
Cláudia wears a long black dress with a high split. Also Isaura is dressed in black, which is more than logical looking at the theme of the song, and for both looking a lot better than what they wore at the national final in my opinion. Good performance here of which a clip will be shown during the live broadcast tomorrow.
Postcard: Alfred and Amaia walking to what looks like an area that has geysers before enjoying a romantic dinner.
Performance: We saw two different sets of costumes in both rehearsals, it seems however that at least Amaia has opted for a third one, a long white dress that is very old fashioned but suits the romantic feel of the song. Alfred is wearing a brownish suit adorned with gold accents on the sleeves. THere is an issue with he lighting it seems as they are left in the dark halfway during the bridge. I'm expecting to see this again very soon...
Postcard: As British a Portuguese postcard can be, SuRie gets to enjoy a cup of tea. And that rhymes, but it's not intentionally. (And yes, that rhymes as well, sorry!)
Performance: No changes here and this performance goes well too.
Small correction to what I said earlier - tonight the same thing will be done with first recording the three interviews and then the three performances. Fair enough as well as then the performances shown tomorrow during the live broadcast will not be in front of an empty hall.
I was kind of waiting for interval acts on stage, however it turns out there won't be one as now we move on to a short conversation with Jon Ola Sand and then to the results.. the ten (fake) qualifiers announced are: Cyprus, Israel, Belarus, Bulgaria, Armenia, Iceland, Macedonia, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland.
All ten finalists are then shown in a recap, after the end we get to seem on stage with our hosts.
That's the end of the show! In a few hours - the jury-final.