The last five countries of the second semi-final are now going to be rehearsing today in Malmö Arena and we are following them on the big screen in the Euroclub.
The lunch break has been and gone and we have had Margaret Berger rehearse on the stage. She is still in figure hugging white dress like in the Norwegian final today but with more glitter and sequins. The stage colour is mainly blue and white and there are patterns like electric static on the screens to suit the background sound of the song. There are three backing singers on the right and a drummer with a full drum kit on the stage for the Norwegian act. This will fit well to kickstart the semi-final again after the slower bit earlier.
The following number brings us a red and yellow stage full of fire and the Albanians utilise a good amount of pyrotechnics. Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko bring with them a full rock band set up on the stage and there is an impressive battery of drums on a podium at the back of the stage. You can really say they are setting the stage alight with not just the pyros but also the lights and the guitar solo. There are even sparkles flying from the guitar shaft during the solo. Some symphonic elements will make it pleasing to the lovers of rockier music.
Next up we have Georgia, that is emerging for many as a serious contender. Sophie and Nodi have set up the stage in shades of blue evoking feelings of being underwater. She is wearing a light turquoise frock with embroidered bits in pearl and silver in the top part. Some people are questioning the chemistry between the singers, but we have already seen this similar formula work very well in past Eurovisions. Even the pyros and smoke clouds used are very similar to the point of being predictable, but this will go very big in the hall and at homes around Europe and could easily bring Georgia their best placing ever.
The Act Known As Salvation Army is now called Takasa and the Swiss are the penultimate entry in this year’s semi-finals. The group are lined up on stage in their white shirts and with their instruments. There is not much going on on the stage during this, we just get camera shots of the different band members. The song is catchy and a feelgood one, but the vocals maybe sound a bit thin compared to the multilayered ones of the studio version. It may well be that the band has lost their unique selling point by having to ditch their military type uniforms, but supposedly the evangelical churches supporters may still pick up their phones and vote.
Romania has been chosen to close the semi-finals and they really make us go out with a bang. The number from Cezar will have to be seen to be believed. The counter tenor himself is wearing a black jacket with sequins and embroideries and with an open waist. The bottom part is turning into part of the act towards the end. There are meters and meters of red fabric at first covering the backing dancers and then forming a screen against which we see shadows dancing. A very camp ending to the semi-finals from the Romanians with smoke and pyros.
This also concludes the forced exile of the media to the Euroclub here in Malmö. It has been a different experience, and the staff at the Slagthuset complex have worked hard to try to make things work for the unexpectedly high number of media here. But hopefully some lessons have been learned from this experience, as things have not quite progressed to the point where all reporters can be expected to work on tablets wirelessly without any work stations at all, with no facilities to plug your equipment in for charging and get information passed on.