Last semifinal dress rehearsal over

by Richard West-Soley 60 views

The third and final dress rehearsal for the semifinal has begun in Athen's OAKA. It represents the final opportunity for not only the participating artists, but also the presenters, technical and production crew to perfect the show ready for its live broadcast tonight.

Sakis and Maria (now starting off in a white gown) ease any worries that they are under-rehearsed by giving a much more flowing performance, without the card fumbling gaffs and minimal giggling.

All change for Andorra – again!
Andorra is the first country to show any major change in its presentation, with Jenny now appearing in a longer version of the black dress she switched to at the second dress rehearsal. Just as her second outfit was an improvement on the first,her third is again much more flattering. She and the girls turned in a good performance of Sense tu, continuing the trend started by Armenia, Bulgaria and Slovenia.

Belarus' false ending tricked the audience again, who applaud before therockin' finale.Albania's boys managed to dance in time at last, and although still looking very shy on stage, Luiz performs well.

Belgium delighted nervous fans: Kate has nailed it. Any vocal problems seem to have been sorted and Kate looks and sounds very comfortable on stage again. The song once more appears to be the strong contender it was expected to be, and Je t'adore earned the biggest cheer so far.

Ireland and Cyprus
Ireland does represent a calming of the mood in the hall, which could be a good or bad thing for either Belgium or Ireland. Brian's performance is as professional as ever and supporters seem quietly confident. Annet for Cyprus, on the other hand, seems to be holding back slightly, although was assured a big hand from the audience.

Monaco – one step back
After turning things around at the second dress rehearsal, the team from Monaco seem to have taken a step backwards again with flat vocals marring an otherwise well-rehearsed routine. Back at square one, Séverine will need to pull off a really special act tonight to avoid embarrassment.

Although the presentation of Follow my heart seems far too busy in colour and costume, the performance is heart-felt and strong, with Michael today ending the song with a big grin to camera rather than a kiss for Anna's belly.

Russia, Turkey and Ukraine
Huge cheers were garuanteed for three excellent performances drawn together: Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Whether or not performing consecutively will have a negative effect on their votes remains to be seen, but as far as the audience was concerned, all three were hugely popular, especially Turkey.

Finland to Portugal
Finland continues to generate huge crowd support, which sadly robs something from the following Dutch performance. With unforgettable Lithuania following that, Netherlands and Portugal are struggling to make their voices heard despite good performances.

Sweden and Estonia
The two Swedish songs, as they are becoming known, are both bolstered by extremely strong vocal performances by Carola and Sandra respectively. The reaction to Sweden still seemsmixed in the hall, however, compared to the invariable cheering for Estonia. Whether opinion will be so divided at home will soon be clear.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
With every performance, Hari Mata Hari seems to pick up more believers in the song's power to do well. With one of the biggest hands of the night, it is on almost everyone's prediction lists as a sure-fire qualifier for tonight, and possibly Bosnia's highest placing in the final.

It was Silvia Night, again, who ignited the fiercest opposition between camps of love and hate. The boos were even stronger this time, suggesting that they will be obvious to the TV viewers this evening. There were ample ranks of fans, on the other hand, who supplied enough cheers at least to balance the feeling in the hall!

And so the final chance has passed to perfect tonight's performances. Next stop: the live show!

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Richard West-Soley

Senior Editor

Richard's ESC history began way back in 1992, when he discovered the contest could fuel his passion for music and languages. Since then, it's been there at every corner for him in some way or another. He joined the esctoday.com team back in 2006, and quickly developed a love for writing about the contest. In his other life, he heads the development team at the learning resources company Linguascope, and writes about all aspects of language learning on the site Polyglossic.com.