The Swedish delegation, fans and journalists turned out in force to catch a glimpse of one of this year's favourites, Carola, performing in her first rehearsal. The former Eurovision Song Contest winner returned in style and took time out on arrival to meet and greet some of the fans waiting for her entry Invincible.
As Carola took to the stage in a white and blue number the audience in the arena waited with bated breath to hear the voice of the most experienced performer of the comptetion. As the sound checks continued Carola proved that she really does have everything in her voice as she belted out the chorus with the backing singers accapella and sounded perfect although she was not pushing her voice to the maximum.
On the first run through of the full song performance the stage peformance took a back seat in favour of the vocal work. Any one in the arena with doubts about Carola's ability were soon mislaid in the midst of a vocally stunning rendition of the winning Melodifestivalen song.
After more sound checks came the checking of the all important wind machine and Carola's costume came into full effect and was met with enthusiastic applause from the watching crowd. The second run through was the full performance including the wind machine that lifted Carola's outfit from the floor. During the song a costume change occurred when the blue section of Carola's garment flew from her body to the floor leaving Carola in just a white outfit, this again was met with a cheer from the enraptured audience. We are informed that the white outfit will be replaced by another for the actual performance and dress rehearsals.
Two more run throughsfollowed and Carola had gotten it all down to a fine art and looked as if she was really enjoying being up on the Eurovision Song Contest stage once more. And who can blame her, the stage performance was simple but striking, the vocals were strong and Carola had a commanding stage presence the filled the entire arena.
Packed press conference
During the later packed press conference Carola spoke of how happy she was with her first rehearsal and how thrilled she is to be in Athens for her third Eurovision Song Contest. When asked why she has come here a third time, Carola told that the contest is a beautiful opportunity to have her music reach more countries through this fantastic music festival and that this contest brings out the best in people.
Carola was asked if we would see her in Athens shopping for a new outfit in case of a last minute costume change this time round (as happened in 1983). Carola joked that although she will not be shopping for any costumes to wear she may shop for her own personal collection.
Talking about the contest itself, Carola did note that the contest has a very modern feel and that it's great to see big artists like Anna Vissi competing. While on the subject of Anna Vissi, Carola commented that it was a pleasure to meet her. She was pleased that Anna had invited her to take part in her show singing Invincible and that she has invited Anna to do the same in return.
Carola was also asked why the decision was made to not sing live on Ireland's Late Late Show, Carola joked that they were not supposed to have told anyone that she did not sing live. She told that they asked if it was possible to not sing live and the show granted the request to let Carola save her voice for the coming weeks of competition following her throat problem that was very noticable in her winning reprise at Melodifestivalen. She promised to return to the show after the competition and give an amazing live performance for the Irish viewers.
A few questions were asked regarding carola's music, in particular her new material. Carola told that her new album will have a mix of ballads, pop, rock and some schlager type songs on too as well as the best of some of her English material. On the subject of the Swedish entry Carola did say that she would like to record the song a variety of languages although there is no need to do this anymore as English is a recognized language all over.
At the end of the press conference, Carola spoke of the great team of singers and crew that are behind her, how she would really love to win again and treated everyone in attendence to a small blast of the English version of her winning entry Fångad av en stormvind.