Today we got to the second rehearsals for semi final 1. For many here in the press room this meant a second viewing after Sunday’s initial forays. However, as I missed Sunday much of today was completely fresh for me. Given that this semi final is being slated as one of the most competitive in the semi final era I was very much looking forward to today. It did not disappoint.

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SEMI FINAL ONE!

Our opener for the day was Aisel from Azerjibin, Azjerbiji, Aze… Baku. I have pointed out previously just how much I adore this utterly daft song. I accept it’s nothing outstanding but it’ll make for a brilliant show opener next Tuesday. Aisel herself looked beautiful a white floaty dress which obviously comes into it’s own when the wind machine kicks in. On Tuesday night, song one: WIND MACHINE! The Eurovision Song Contest is back. The vocal is spot on for the most part, one or two bum notes can be ironed out when it matters. It’s a well staged number that should hopefully make a reappearance on Saturday night.

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Azerbaijan…taking influence from Sweden…never!

Our hero of the day had to be Mikolas Josef who somehow made a near miraculous return from hospital to run through ‘Lie To Me’. At first things did not look good for Josef. The first run through was aborted twice, at first because he was in some discomfort and the second time because his microphone stand was wobbling. At this point I was fearing the worst for the lad but he struggled on manfully. All this wasn’t helped by the fact one backing singer also had to be replaced by the choreographer for the morning. In spite of all of this he ploughed on and by the third run through the routine was slick and wasn’t too strenuous. A great relief to us all out here in Lisbon.

Rivalling Ukraine and San Marino for the biggest ‘WTF moment’ of the stagings thus far was Alekseev from Belarus with ‘Forever’. I almost don’t want to give too much away when it comes to this three minute masterpiece of madness. All I’m going to say on here is it that roses are involved in a fairly major way. Think that screenshot from American Beauty but taken to places that you could never even begin to imagine in your wildest fever dream.

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Wrong ones, sadly.

Of all our entrants rehearsing today Albania stood out with a very strong run through. Eugent Bushpepa looks every bit the competent rock star without ever looking smug. He nailed the run throughs without needing to push too hard, plenty left in reserve for the final when he gets there. Three of this year’s front runners, Israel, Estonia & Bulgaria all have their problems. I’m not convinced that the voting public are going to go for Netta, the addition of colour to Elina’s dress dilutes the impact and Bulgaria still looks very much like five disparate soloists rather than a group. It’s all looking pretty sweet for France & Norway as we progress further.

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Waiting for the French to arrive…

Of all the songs I’ve already seen earlier in the week the only stand out was Macedonia, but sadly for all the wrong reasons. Having already got one unfortunate looking costume we now have another. The reverse pink suit jacket is inelegantly whipped off mid song to reveal a grey jumpsuit with pink sections underneath her boobs unless you weren’t sure where they are. This only serves to make Eye Cue’s lead singer Marija look utterly uncomfortable on stage detracting from what should be a great performance. It’s a real shame.

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Come back tomorrow when we are joined by the Big 5 and our host Portugal. Time for Surie to finally bring her Storm to Lisbon!

 

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