Join us live in the hall as the last day of individual rehearsals continues with Ukraine, Estonia and the Netherlands in Moscow.
The Hell Machine dominates the stage as it is brought on piece by piece, remaining the focal point as the floating screens lift up high out of the way. With her three male dancers wearing very little, and two female backing vocalists in high sparkly boots and draped in red tops trimmed with gold, Svetlana took the performance easy today due to a sore throat – not that anyone would notice, as everything sounds fine from the back of the auditorium apart from a couple of quiet moments when Svetlana tries not to push her voice too hard. She nonetheless girates and struts expertly, having lost none of the attitude of the song.
The whole set has a nightclub feel, darkly lit by neon reds and greens, until crazy, circling, bright white spots burst into life during the choruses, while the hell machine flashes on and off violently. The show is dazzling and in-your-face, and the now familiar choreography sees Svetlana being thrown all around and upside-down by the group.
Jets of steam erupt from the Hell Machine wheels at various points, and huge yellow flames shoot from the sides of the stage as the drumkit is brought on mid-song. For Svetlana's percussive break, she plays the smart-looking kit between two Ukrainian flags draped either side, before the big finish when she is lifted into the air by her troupe. At the end, red rockets zoom up from the stage. Svetlana let out a groan of what can only be ecstasy at the success of the stageshow at the very end of the last run-through.
The only downside was the time it took to clear the stage of props after the rehearsal, with the floor manager complaining "this is a little bit more than 32 seconds". Hopefully the changeover will speed up in time for the live show on Tuesday evening.
Support for Estonia was strong in the hall for Urban Symphony's appearance, with fans chanting "Eesti, Eesti!" as they took the stage, with much waving of flags throughout.
The floating screens, black with aqua edges, are down on the floor for the start of the song, revealing only lead singer Sandra Nurmsalu centre-stage, amidst swirls of dry ice as constellations are traced on a night sky all around her. The screens then rise up to reveal the rest of the group on string instruments as the song begins.
Glowing stars fill the back screens and deep blue and aquamarine Northern Lights fill the floating screens, which move up, down, in and out gracefully as the group performs. The effect is serene, and further intensified by the dry ice that soon fills the stage again during the instrumental break, glowing with the colours of the stage as we see a burst of blinding blue. A blue planet then rises up behind the whole stage.
Sandra is radiant in a flowing, sparkling, deep navy dress and vocally gave an excellent performance.
It may be full of cheesy Eurovision clichés, but the Dutch presentation works very nicely on stage. Complete with swaying, side-strutting and cheesy grins, the happiness on stage is very evident as the Toppers sings with their three backing ladies in white glittery bob wigs, one rather striking and carrying what looks like an usherette's ice-cream tray (but it actually some kind of DJ contraption). Everyone holds shining torches which are thrust into the air and swirled around at various points, with the guys obviously having a lot of fun thrusting them everywhere.
The stage is rather dark at first, in deep blues on black, but it soon bursts into life for the chorus, with the group dancing in front of a huge array of everyday images such as faces, babies and such like. True to the song's title, the spots shine out, and fill the hall with flashing bright lights during the choruses.
The prize for the most impressive pyros surely has to go to the Netherlands for the amazing display at the end of the song. At the modulation, red and green rockets start to hoot from the stage, then suddenly, a huge torrents of flame shoot from all around the stage – a spectacular show which left much of the audience in bewilderment, illiciting a round of applause after they were used (just once in full during the rehearsal). Many will hope that hairspray is not used in large amounts during the performance on Tuesday.