The esctoday.com team has started arriving in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest host city, Malmö.
Things work differently this year, with the rehearsals being behind closed doors with only the artists and the production team allowed in the arena.
The audience is being represented by some cardboard cutouts.
The actual rehearsal part is streamed across the city to the beautiful old slaughterhouse, Slagthuset, where we have been allowed to watch the proceedings on a big screen in a cinema setting.
In a different part of the building the delegations could have a meet and greet session with the media and the fans present.
All in all eight countries took to the stage today for their first rehearsal.
First off was Austria’s Natalia Kelly, who seems to have created a simple choreography with her backing singers.
Something similar was seen with Birgit from Estonia, who also starts alone and is joined by the backing singers later.
Slovenia is third and Hannah is wearing a leather trouser suit. Her dancers are doing some acrobatics and the team also use the catwalk area.
The Croatian male singers Klapa s more have concentrated their effort on the singing and there is very little movement on the stage. Embroidered coats and trousers with white shirts were worn. Solid performance based on good singing.
The big favourites to win, Denmark did everything more or less like we have seen in the previous performances. Emmelie in the middle flanked by the drummers, with the rest on the side. Emmelie probably needs to get used to the big stage yet as she did not seem as confident as we are used to seeing her.
Next up was Russia, who have brought an amount of illuminated balls or balloons on the stage. Dina’s backing singers also do a little routine with the balls they are holding. The meaning of the balls does get a bit lost.
The biggest stir of the day was caused by the Ukrainian rehearsal. The performance starts with the giant carrying Zlata to a prop rock. It did not all go quite to plan we think, and we think the Ukrainian team will be doing some more practicing on this. The final outfits seem to be fantasy and ethnic influenced brown leather ones and some headwear with big feathers was seen too.
Last up was Anouk from The Netherlands. Simple, understated stage performance, with three backing singers well in the background. The back projections show birds flying, quite in contradiction with the lyrics.
The rehearsal viewing was very well attended today, to the extent of getting overcrowded. We hear that the arrangements will be different again tomorrow to accommodate all those willing to report on the rehearsals, more of that tomorrow.