All Kinds Of Everything for Eurovision

The build-up to the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in Baku

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Rolling Blog for Dress Rehearsal 1
Elaine
akoe07
Well I arrived in the arena just as the rehearsal started and El and Nicki were singing their winning reprise from last year - Running Scared. Unfortunately the live link to the arena has now stopped so currently we are looking at still pictures from last night.

We now have a picture back but have missed The U.K. and Hungary and currently Albania are on screen but we have no sound.

Lithuania - we now have a feed of sorts back and just caught very end of Lithuania, 5th in the running order but still having technical difficulties with the picture. We can at least hear now 

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Maya in long black sparkly dress. This song on gets going for me when she stands up from the piano to sing latter part. She looks great on screen and last camera shot. Hard to judge as part of running order as we missed the previous songs. Don't see it doing much.

Russia - the same routine from semi final and still the most endearing thing you will see on screen this year i reckon. Makes a big impact coming on after Bosnia. The close camera work on little granny is genius as she is by far the most sought after and famous of the Babushkie This draw has given Russia a great chance now as it is the first upbeat song of the final in 6th place in the running. 

Cyprus - Casual clothes for Ivi and the gang. The main thing that strikes me about her performance is how much she is enjoying herself whilst she performs and this translates through the screen to the viewer and will hopefully encourage people to pick up the phone. I have heard Ivi give a better vocal performance but as long as she is saving it for tonight and tomorrow night I think we can see a very favourable result for Cyprus.

Iceland - Rehearsing in casual clothes. This is still a strong powerful vocal performance - will it's draw after Russia affect it's chances? I hope not as it is still a top 5 contender for me. 

France - 2nd of the big 6 entries. Anggun is in dark gold sparkly bodice with chiffon floaty skirt and still has the whispy attachments for the gymnasts to play with during the performance. The slow motion shot did not happen in this rehearsal but the final shot with the wind machines blowing the chiffon scarves up in the air looks good. I just feel this performance has been messed around with too much and there is a bit of overkill. They have concentrated on the performance and not the song. 

Italy - Nina Zilli is on stage in her silver sparkly dress and has bright blue hair up on top of her head. I actually think this is some form of setting her hair for tonight's dress rehearsal. Nina is definitely not giving this performance 100% but she doesn't have to. We are still suffering link problems and this has been interrupted several times. I have no doubt Nina will be brilliant tonight.

Estonia - Ott is in casual clothes but I actually think this dark jeans and dark jacket with white t-shirt is a better look than his waistcoat ensemble. Sound has gone again so no idea which one of the 11 versions of this song he is currently singing. Still think this will do well.

Norway - Tooji on stage in casual clothes but we have no sound. I feel he needs to improve his vocal performance but very hard to judge today. This is definitely one of the dance routines that has improved the most since rehearsal day 1. Tooji certainly knows how to work the camera. Some very dreamy looks down the lens to the voting public at home.

I do apologise for the lack of clarity in this blog - i am struggling against a very poor link to the press centre affecting sound and vision 

Green Room Break

Azerbaijan - Sabina is in her stage dress. White and floaty with feathered shoulders. Lights are projected onto the dress thus changing it's colour during the performance. She hit a very dodgy top note during this performance but apart from that gives a confident and assured vocal. I am still not convinced that the man singing in the second half doesn't take away something from this song but I am sure Azerbaijan will be very proud of her on the night.

Romania - another good contrast to the ballad from Azerbaijain. Without doubt one of the most upbeat and fun dancy tunes in the contest. This had the arena jumping in it's semi final. All in casual clothes for today's rehearsal. Elena sounds a little bit out of breathe over the microphone today. 14 is a good draw for this song - I want it to do well.

Denmark - Soluna is in a grey casual suit and large neck scarf today and has her hair up in big loose curls. I really like this look for her. Gives the song more of her own personality. First time I have seen her perform without the hat. I imagine all will be as was for toinght's jury final though. She looks relaxed and confident. Perhaps I have just totally let this song pass me by as have never really felt it's appeal but it made it to the final and a good draw in position 15.

Greece - It is definitely the catchy uptempo tune that gives Greece it's appeal this year as the performance I  find messy and out of tune in many parts. I can't help but compare it to Cyprus and I think Ivi does it much better. The Greek dance performance is not as tight and the vocal far poorer but they also have a far more favourable draw in the final. May Greece take points away from Cyprus? 

Sweden - Loreen gave one of her best performances last night and it got a massive reaction in the arena. She looks far more confident on the stage now than she had done in earlier rehearsals. Perhaps the pressure to qualify when she was the out and out favourite had been affecting her a bit. Looks great today on screen. This still top 5 potential for me. 

Break - and the annual wave to Lys Assia in the audience

Turkey - by far the biggest reaction we have seen so far in the arena when they performed last night. The golden envelope was a massive anti climax as everyone in the hall knew it contained Turkey - This song is going to get nearly as much support as the home country of Azerbaijan. I like this ethnic song but the performance is definitely even better than the song and puts Turkey in with a good shout of a top 10 finish. I actually began to wonder last night whether this could be a dark horse for the win???

Spain - gorgeous ballad from Pastora. Stands out greatly against Turkey. We really do get a far better mix and contrast of songs in the latter half of the draw than the beginning and this could really benefit Spain. Pastora is in long pale blue floaty dress. Her long high note is totally stunning. and the yellow/orange lighting really helps build this song to it's terrific climax. Should put Spain in top 5 . Great reaction in press centre.

Germany - Roman Lob wearing brown trousers, white t-shirt and navy shirt. Still has the beanie hat on - a good look I feel. This is such a simple song and performed with ease which i feel is part of it's charm. Roman's eyes are gorgeous and he makes the most of them with his smouldering looks down the camera. This song could quietly pick up points from lots of countries and sneak up past some of the favourites. 

Malta - probably the surprise qualifier from last night and one of the favourite qualifiers of last night. This was definitely his Night and a great song to have in the final. Kurt has definitely provided us with the dance routine of the contest and many press and fans can be witnessed doing it in the Euroclub every night. A draw towards the end of the final is great for Malta coming after 2 ballad type songs. Let's hope this picks up points and gives them a good result. Deserves to. I am still not keen on the small solo for the female backing singer - never seems to be in tune but a good relaxed performance in casual wear for Kurt.

Macedonia - delighted for Kaliopi and Macedonia. First time in the final for 5 years and what a draw they have been given. 22nd out of 26 - they must be in dreamland. Kaliopi is a tremendous performer and deserves a good result. I just wish the song appealed to a wider demographic as she really could figure highly in the top 10 with cracking performance. 

Ireland - well the boys got a cracking draw. On near the end of the final with the best finishing shot in the competition. Jedward are performing in their final costumes. They are still performing with hair down. This definitely gives the fun element to the end of the draw. There was no fountain involved today and it shows how important to the performance it is as the routine looks messy and disjointed without it. Hard to judge this afternoons performance as it is about the effects and the energy. Will give 100% on the night be in no doubt!!!

Serbia - Zeljko could not have asked for a better draw. Position 24 after the madness and chaos of Jedward with a stunning Balkan ballad. One of the biggest contrasts in the competition weighing heavily in Serbia's favour. This performance is in casual wear today and still looks stunning. Will be amazing on the night - may have to provisionally book my room in The Park Hotel, Belgrade again. I would be delighted to head back there.

Ukraine - big dance number now with Gaitana. Full of energy and colour. Hr dancers also give 100% which adds to the appeal and performance of this track. Singing better rather than shouting today too. Casual clothes for this performance. I imagine this will be in the top 10 on Saturday night.

Moldova - what a draw for this over the top fabulously camp number. Great song to end the final. I just wish one of these last uptempo numbers was in positions 2 or 3 just to split up the slow beginning to the final. Moldova could do really well due to being on last. I hope so as Pasha is a great performer. 

Now i seem to have about 8 predictions for the top 5 which poses a problem. As there were so few in stage costumes today and no special effects, and add to that the technical difficulties we had, my top 10 could be way off and change later in the day but at present in no particular order I see the following 14 countries vieing for top 10 places

Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Iceland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Sweden, Romania , Cyprus, UK, Ireland, Azerbaijan

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I really can see uk in the bottom 5 its far too boring il give it a neighbourly vote but can only see it maybe getting 12 from ireland if we even give 12 i can see our 12 going to russia

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