The last rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest final 2007 has begun with a pyrotechnic bang, and the artists and technical crew have their last chance to perfect everything before the live broadcast tonight.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
There is something very Classical Greek about this presentation, with Marija looking very Hellenic, surrounded by her muses, who move like slowly turning statues, almost magically around her. A great performance.
Blinding white light in the background to start the song, but it quickly tempers into blues. The boys move like pros on stage, and sound good. Could Spain reach the top ten for the first time since 2004?
Koldun is still holding back on the vocal, which is not his worst performance so far, but not his best either. No sign of the high note at the end, either, and the fireworks seem to misfire at the very finish.
Cathy is serene on stage, and turns in a brilliant performance. She is smiling lots more, too, and you get the feeling she is more than ready to face Europe tonight.
You can tell why this woman won the first Finnish idols. She is easily one of the strongest performers of the night, and Finland can be proud that the home entry is interpreted by such a striking professional. And the Finns in the audience certainly seem proud, the hall becoming a sea of white and blue flags. This time, the camera floats perfectly into her for the final pyro finish – much better than yesterday!
Now, the lovely Silvia Night wannabe is plucked from the audience to be whisked off to the centre of town…
A strong performance from Karolina. Again, unchanging from rehearsal to rehearsal, she never disappoints, and all looks good for the big night.
Alenka looks like she is getting into the groove a bit more in this performance, but the camera just catches her pressing the button on her hand to turn on the light – hopefully this will be more hidden this evening! A great big hand in the hall and the press centre.
A song with a solid group of fans and growing support, Magdi never disappoints her followers with a soulful, expert blues performance each time she takes the stage. She looks radiant after the performance, beaming to the audience with a big thank you.
Thankfully the changeover on stage is going very well now, and Julija and 4Fun are all ready as the hall fills the screen. A very gentle performance which fades to almost black as she finishes – subtle and chilled out.
Sarbel comes out, does his stuff, and has fun in the process. The red stage is beginning to look a little static in comparison to some of the sets, but the choreography still carries the entry nicely along.
Sopho looks ready to take on Europe for the first time, and is back on top with a nice, punchy vocal performance of this excellent debut entry. All the pyros are caught brilliantly on the camera at last, as everything comes together for an amazing finish. Great cheers in the hall.
Ola looks like he doesn't take himself too seriously at all, which comes across in another very relaxed performance. The spinning floor trick is getting a good cheer from the crowd, as is Ola's strip!
Now, the princess in pink returns to the show, live from the centre of Helsinki. She goes down a storm!
This is still working brilliantly on screen, and stands out as one of the humourous entries of the contest. The other big comedy act is Verka, whose brand of humour is a lot more slapstick, while France offers a subtler, tongue-in-cheek type of comedy.
The boys charm the audience on stage yet again, and this is beginning to catch up fast with the favourites amongst the press. Great vocal performance – and becoming the dark horse of the contest. Watch these boys!
With a good night's rest, the girls have made a comeback with the kind of performance we had become used to before yesterday's second rehearsal. The audience get into this one right away, tapping and clapping as soon as the music kicks in.
Charisma, charisma, charisma. Germany could not have chosen a more confident package to represent the country this year, and Roger looks and sounds like a winner.
The audience are cheering for this one as soon as the song begins, right up to Marija's entrance. A huge cheer follows, to rival any of the responses so far.
Again, the audience go wild with Verka fever, with hundreds of wannabe Ms Serduchka's following the actions in the hall and the press centre! Will the audience at home react in the same way?
Scooch are another group, which, like Latvia, have been making more and more friends during their stay in Helsinki. The performance cannot be faulted vocally, with another strong showing on stage. Three more minutes of fun!
Although the magic is still coming with this one, the boys could still pull it off tomorrow. Everything is in place – the camera work is fine now, everyone is in good vocal form and the pyros add a nice kick. But it still looks a little disorganised on screen – hopefully it will all come together for Todomondo tonight.
Perfectly choreographed, with lots of energy, and a good draw – but somehow this was more impressive as a dynamic opener. It will do well, however, if the audience reaction is anything to go by. Elitsa is entrancing on screen.
Finally, this one is looking together on stage and Kenan performs well. Vocally sound, as would be expected for a seasoned performer, and a big cheer in the hall.
Don't underrate Armenia – this one is powerful and emotive. Hayko appears to have a bloodstain on his shirt, but appears in top physical form with an excellent vocal, possibly the strongest male vocal of the evening.
Following one of the strongest male vocalists of the night, comes Natalia, amongst the most impressive female artists. Yet another great performance, although she holds off slightly on that big note – hopefully saving everything for when it counts this evening.
To begin the 'voting' for the final rehearsal, Katri Helena is the former Finnish Eurovision artist invited onto stage this time. So who will it be for the live show? That is still being kept a secret, but in the meantime the audience are more than happy to cheer for the star of the 1979 and 1993 contests.
Once again, the artists wave from the green room after their recap clips are played – a really nice touch!
The mock vote moved swiftly, save the first country up – Montenegro – having a problem with sound. Mikko and Jaana returned to the jury later and there were few other hitches. There was a fake voting 'mistake' with Greece, which gave Svante himself a chance to rehearse procedure. Happily for the host country, Finland won the rehearsal vote (which was, we have to stress, completely random!) and the United Kingdom came second.
And that's it – no more rehearsals, no more scheduled preparation, just rest before the big show tonight. There really is only one, huge chance for every artist to make a good impression now, and that chance will be before the millions and millions of viewers at home all over Europe tonight.
Good luck from the whole esctoday.com team to all tonight's performers, production crew and fans – may you all have a superb Eurovision Song Contest final!