The last semifinal rehearsal : Live Coverage

by Richard West-Soley 93 views

The last semifinal rehearsal has started with a bang at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, as the participants take to the stage for the last time before the big event. The esctoday.com team brings you live coverage of the rehearsal in this article, which will be regularly updated as each country performs.

Bulgaria

Brilliant performance, improving on yesterday evening's rehearsal for Elitsa and Stoyan. She still looks as comfortable and happy as ever, and the vocals are strong.

Israel

The sound levels are a little strange for this one – too much bass / percussion coming over the rest of the backing on television. The cameras keep catching the band members looking off camera, and theband memberstend to look a bit disengaged on screen – probably part of the nonchalant, tongue-in-cheek act. Nice funny finish, though.

Cyprus

The crowd are clapping along with this one – a good sign? Once again, Evridiki gives the performance everything she has. Very nice camera work which follows her performance to the millimetre. The audience whoop and cheer at the mic stand dance break. The biggest cheer so far follows the song's finish, Evridiki looking sizzlingly into the camera.

Belarus

A more controlled performance; Koldun had to raise the stakes after last night's extremely shaky performance, and this afternoon it was much better. He still misses the big high note at the end, perhaps a good idea after yesterday's problems.

Iceland

Eirikur sells his rock song brilliantly and receives warm applause for a solid performance. Again, faultless vocal and full of jaded passion.

Georgia

The Georgians stick with blues for the stage, perhaps today a little more indigo and pinkthan last night. The beat moves through Sopho on stage, and she belts out the song with her voice and her body. Massive cheering in the hall and the press centre.

Montenegro

Although the song has never been amongst the favourites, this is through no fault of Stephen Faddy's or his team on stage, who pull of an amazing performance. Stephen almost breaks the stage, crashing his microphone stand onto the floor for the finale, a move which is followed brilliantly by the camera.

Switzerland

Stronger vocal performances today from both DJ Bobo and Kimia. The camera movements are a lot more fluid and natural on screen today, and generally the direction of the show so far has been much tighter throughout. Nice applause.

Moldova

Golly, that outfit shocks every time it appears on screen -Natalia definitely isn't shy. Visually and vocally stunning presentation, and as ever, those high notes send shivers down the spine.

Netherlands

This girl was born to sing – clearly the most professional and slick performance of the show so far, and Edsilia gives the other performers a real run for their money. Herpersonality is infectious and a bit of that Edsilia magic leaps out of the screen as she beams that smile to the viewers at home. A sly wink to the camera before the break wins over the viewers just that little bit more, and a fantastic hand in the hall and press centre after the performance start to suggest that she may have more than a sneaking chance of shooting straight to the final, if performance is anything go by. Great direction also – the camera still makes the very most of the routine on stage with some great shots.

Albania

Despite a strong performance, the Albanian entry sadly remains something of a non-event after a hugely dynamic Dutch performance, and the very understated, rather sudden ending does not help. All credit to Frederik and the support vocalists for creating an almost mystical vibe on stage, however.

Denmark

The male dancer's bizarre facial tick from the first tworehearsals has been mellowed to a single wink, thankfully. DQ's vocal performance is much better, and she is holding those big notes longer and more successfully. This one goes BIG in the hall, as ever.

Croatia

A slight moment of concern arises briefly as Dado's mic is turned on a little late, but these problems should be ironed out by tonight. Much is made of the youth and experience contrast on stage, with Iva and Dado together in shots throughout. Vocally sound, confident, if not stunningperformances.

Poland

The opening shot starts a little oddly, the camera panning out from the gramophone a little too early before the music starts, perhaps. It seems like The Jet Set are saving a little something for tonight; nonetheless, that sexy fun pours out of the screen and the pyros look funky on television.

Serbia

There is still something really Bond Girls about Marija's backing vocalists, which works nicely on stage with the glowing reds. Marija herself gives yet another fantastic vocal performance in black suit and white trainers. The big build looks amazing on screen, the support artists holding Marija back as she soars to the high notes, almost trying to prevent her from flying away. Big in the hall; and visually a beautiful ending. This seems more powerful today than last night.

Czech Republic

It would be a mistake to underestimate Kabat's potential to get votes. The performance is staple heavy rock stuff, performed brilliantly with charisma on stage. Josef is unwaving in his vocal, always turning in almost studio quality performances.

Portugal

Sabrina's stylists have sensibly opted to keep her hair down for the final rehearsal, and it suits her much better than the bouffant 'do she had at the first dress rehearsal. Again, charming on stage and screen, and a nice, sweet performance.

FYR Macedonia

Skopje's winsome lass is as flirtatious as ever with the camera, and really is beautiful on screen. The camera follows her well about the stage. Another cracking firework finish.

Norway

Today, that orange dress is really well hidden, so no clue to the coming trick! Super little performance by Guri and the dancers. Much clapping along from the audience in all the right places.

Malta

Olivia has got it together – pitching problems are sorted in this rehearsal. The gold paint has still not made a comeback on the male dancers, suggesting that the idea has been ditched. Great, dramatic performance and a nice warm hand from the audience.

Andorra

Enjoying themselves as ever on stage, the boys turn in yet another foot stomping, strongperformance which gets the hall going. It sounds more and more like a song screaming out for the youth vote, and it might just get it tonight. The audience goes crazy for it, at least.

Hungary

Magdi's slogan vest is visible on screen now, a white top with an iconic symbol and the words Thank God I'm a V.I.P. across the chest. Again, she effortlessly fills the hall with her rich bluesy vocal, finishing the song sitting sadly on her suitcase. A real dark horse, if ever there was one: this was popular in the press hall.

Estonia

There is no denying the energy on stage in this number. Gerli looks cute on camera, and although not one of the strongest voices of the contest, she delivers a nice, capable performance which is excellently supported by some of the best choreography of the night. The golds and blacks make for a very memorable set, too, important for that first-time listener vote. And, surprise – Gerli gets a kiss from her male counterpart at the end of the song – nice touch!

Belgium

A fun, increasingly well performed rehearsal from the KMGs. SexyFire once again rather alarmingly screams into the mic after the performance!

Slovenia

Electric blue fills the screen for another completely professional performance from Alenka, which is nothing but three minutes of memorable turbo opera dance. She must be used to the reaction by now – she is consistently receiving one of the biggest cheers at every rehearsal. And she looks happier and happier for it.

Turkey

With a cheekylick of the lips, Kenan looks a lot more at ease on stage today, and sounds a lot more together. After the shambles on stage last night, this is much more like what Turkish fans should be expecting from an experienced, established artist at the contest. Whoops of delight – and possibly relief – from fans in the crowd. Turkey is back!

Austria

Eric loves playing with us on camera. With cheeky looks galore, he never fails to disappoint with a show, giving it absolutely everything. Hopefully there is a bottomlesssupply of energy in Eric to ensure he has just as much for tonight, when it really counts.

Latvia

Looking as well-groomed as ever – they've scrubbed up brilliantly for the big night – the boys seem assured of victory as they serenade the camera. Roberto has perfected his smouldering look into the camera, and more than one heart will be set a-flutter in European homes tonight.

This afternoon's 'winners' were brought by a chain relay of skaters to the stage, and were:

  • Estonia
  • Turkey
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Austria
  • Latvia
  • Slovenia
  • Cyprus
  • Hungary
  • Israel

And that was it for rehearsals, as far as the semifinal is concerned; it's now down to Europe in a fifteen-minute window this evening. In one of the most level playing fields ever in a Eurovision Song Contest semifinal, who will emerge victorious? The answer comes tonight.

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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.

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