It’s good to be back, eh? A stage that may or may not be beset with technical issues, that may or not be fixed. A delegation that may or may not have been censored for staging that may or may not be too sexy. And a red velvet bucking bronco that may or may not be…actually no, that one definitely is there. Feels like home.

With picture galleries and 30-second Tiktoks being all we have to go on, there’s no point in any great analysis or commentary just yet. Keeping these first rehearsals behind closed doors is, in my opinion, no bad thing.

Let our plucky 40 have their ‘deer in the headlights’ moment without the prying eyes of us lot ready to turn their every move into content. Perhaps slightly more rehearsal footage or social media content wouldn’t go amiss but on the whole, I agree with what the EBU are trying to do.

That said, even from these few content morsels we can still figure out who’s enjoyed the better of these early forays onto the Turin stage. It’s abundantly clear that Achille Lauro may be in show-stealing territory for San Marino.

As well as the aforementioned velour bovine simulator the lad from the enclave that can’t behave has got cages, a pom-pom’d feather boa and enough fire to power an entire summer of British Dad’s cremating sausages. Of the 35 initial run-throughs, this is the one that I am most excited to see on screen.

Who knows how long he can last?

Despite the alleged technical issues and the fact I’m basing my opinion off of stills alone, it does seem that all the delegations are determined to put on a show. There are plenty that have seemingly stuck to the performance we were expecting.

Norway’s wolves weren’t going to reinvent a winning formula, Serbia’s visuals are so intrinsically linked with the song and Sweden’s done the traditional copy and paste from Melfest.

There have, however, been a number of very pleasant surprises as well. Ireland have added more colour and energy, Armenia seem to be doing something very special and Austria have not only powered up Pia Maria but also a massive rig. Early signs seem positive that Eurovision will live up to the vision bit. Even if the sun has seemingly set.

For many of us, the Contest proper begins tomorrow. No points are won or lost but with an influx of fan coverage we’ll have a better idea of what might happen next week. BRING. IT. ON.

Photo credits: EBU / Andres Putting / Nathan Reinds

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