I have confidence in Semi-Final 1…

Ok, ahead of tonight here’s my thoughts on the dress rehearsal – see if anything has changed my mind.

The opening sequence sees Conchita Wurst welcome us to the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. An lengthy sequence will see all a participants parade through the arena. This is them metaphorically building a bridge between the artists’ green room at the back of the arena and the stage.

There is the (now) obligatory reprise of Rise Like A Phoenix, which gets a change of tempo and an extended performance. The arena looks stunning on the screen – can’t wait to see to tonight!

An enjoyable start, and the three female hosts will get the proceedings underwaay

01 Moldova

An energetic performance, with backing dancers dressed as sexy cops – only at Eurovision – or at a stag or hen do! 😀

02 Armenia

The vocal was a bit pitchy. You will like how it is presented probably more than the song. Nice touch as the six vocalists stand on a map to literally mark their territory. Still a hot mess, can’t see it getting through.

03 Belgium

A great vocal from Loïc on this song, with some ‘interesting choreography. Mind you, you might want to avoid Loïc’s creepy stare in places! This one’s a sleeper, we think. Will do well – there aren’t really that many songs that might capture the younger audience.

04 The Netherlands

Some weird lighting and staging for this one. Poor Trijntje hasn’t exactly been well lit. I still like the song, not sure that the presentation adds anything to the song. I thought is was going through, not sure now!

05 Finland

A suitably lo-fi performance to accompany the mood of the track. Some applause for it here in the press centre

06 Greece

There is indeed a wind machine! And a pretty frock! I know my Eurovision.

07 Estonia

The best so far. Sassy and confident staging – you will like the effect of the shadows on stage (not The shadows, their shadows rather!). If they don’t get too pitchy and flat this really will fly through. Great reaction in the press centre, judging by the applause the best so far!

08 Macedonia

There are indeed autumn leaves falling in the background for the Macedonian entry. Daniel Kajmakoski is also ably assisted on backing vocals by what looks like Boyz II Men! It looks and sound goods. Like I said earlier, nothing much like it in this semi, so I think it’ll get through.

09 Serbia

Blimey. Serbian singer Bojana gives it some welly! It’s our first big-hands-in-the-air type of tune. 10 out of 10 for effort, but perhaps it’s all a bit too much, with masks flying and vecro ripping outfits… Click here to watch.

10 Hungary

Some nice visuals and good effort on the presentation. Finishes nicely, but somewhere in the middle my mind starts to wander. Click here to watch.

11 Belarus

Uzari gives us some of his best rock poses in this performance – fist clenching with conviction. Violinist Maimuna is a dead ringer for Mylene Klass! Maybe she’s moonlighting! Sounds better with the performance than without, for me. Which is a good thing

12 Russia

As I said yesterday, it’s hard not to be cynical about the sentiment of the song. It’ll be the Marmite song (perhaps with Finland) – love it, or hate it. Love it because the song is actually really, really good, or hate it because of what happens beyond the fringes of the contest. For some it’s a case of oil and water – and the mix can’t work. For me it’s a case of Marmite. I like Marmite.

13 Denmark

The staging is as dynamic as the song – it looks great on telly. Good energy and familiar (and cool) vibes will see this through – and again, there are very few songs such as this will to appeal to the younger audience.

14 Albania

Reminds me of the song “Apricot Stone” from Oslo in 2010 – but at a slower tempo. Might be one for you to refresh your drink and top-up the snacks! Nice, but nice doesn’t win Eurovision.

15 Romania

Good vocals. Performance is a bit static, but the camera angles and backdrop visuals add a poignancy to the performance. I think is going through, Ruxandra!

16 Georgia

Gary Westhead, you will like this performance! 😀 Visually dynamic. Nina Sublatti gives is some welly for Georgia, and her boots are made for walking into the final…

I think it’s going to be a great show. Looks amazing on the telly – should look even better in the arena (although we do lose some of the intimacy of the television presentation. Stunning stage design and lighting and visual effects will have you hooked.

Next, the napkin of death…  stay tuned…

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