The first dress rehearsal for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest took place this afternoon in the Abdi Ipekci Arena. During the first break of the evening, the two presenters will do a link to a party taking place in Hamburg. They also mentioned Madrid in Spain and Taksim in Istanbul, but seemed unclear on their timings of ninety seconds and were once again under rehearsed, and were still talking when the break resumed!
The second half of the draw and the rehearsals opened with Belgium, and Xandee with 1 Life. Unlike several other performances in this first rehearsal she didn't appear to suffer any sound problems, but there was at least one bad camera shot, when one of the other cameras appeared in the frame.
Russia had a straightforward rehearsal with no obvious problems. Tose Proeski from FYR Macedonia hasn't made any changes to his performance from the qualifying round, but could not be heard during parts of the song, it was unclear as to whether he too was saving his vocal talents or technical problems.
There is no change either to the presentation of the Greek entry, and was it very well received in the hall by the many Turkish present this afternoon. Jonsi from Iceland gave a very confident and competent performance of his song Heaven .
Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom all seemed to give good performances with no apparent problems, with James Fox getting a particularly good reaction from the audience.
Lisa Andreas representing Cyprus with Stronger every minute received a tremendous reaction from the crowd when she delivered the last verse in Greek!
There were no surprises to discover that Turkey went down a storm in the hall, with Athena and For real, making full use of the stage, with the lead singer showing off the symbol for peace on the lining of his coat.
The atmosphere was more subdued by the time Romania and indeed Sweden gave their performances, and both were competent in their deliveries.
Our two presenters then return to take the central roles, and introduce the voting recap by once again banging the large cymbal on stage, and giving the international audience ten minutes to make their minds up. Appropriately in this rehearsal Meltem Cumbul decided to give a line of the song Making your mind up. As in the qualifying round we will have these short extracts as a reminder in the presentation order.
At the moment they are reharsing the voting sequence. The scoreboard has similarities to last year, in that the leading country will move to the top of the board, and the countries will leapfrog over each other as they receive points. In the central circular area, we will see shots of the presenters. The points will also be shown by little heart shapes with 1, 2,3 etc up to 12 flying from the bottom of the scoreboard to the appropriate place.
Periodically we will see a table of all 36 voting countries in the order they announce their votes, so that the audience will know how far we have progressed through the scoring.
Presently they are experimenting with announcing the points back by the presenters, for the purposes of timing, but always emphasising the twelve points or the douze points Occasionally we have the what a wonderful show routine, as it will probably inevitably happen on the night!
And who wins this first dummy round of voting? No surprises to discover it is Ireland… yet again! Sertab Erener will present the award to the winning performer(s).
The second dress rehearsal will take place at 22.00 local time on the 14th May in the Abdi Ipekci Arena.