Good evening from the press centre in Malmö. Sild, Yair and I are here to blog the jury final, where half of the votes for tomorrow's contest will be cast. That means its important for the acts to give their best - especially for those who will be hoping to appeal to the juries in particular (we're looking at you Iceland).
We'll blog our thoughts on each song, and all three of us will give a prediction on each song's chances.
As we saw earlier, while Benny and Björn and Avicii's song plays, each of the acts walks on to the stage with the flag bearer of their country, just like the Olympics, except with more difficulty walking down steps (so more like the Paralympics in that regard, one could say).
Petra Mede gets a huge round of applause at the beginning, despite a horrible hot pink dress. Her script and delivery are much tighter this evening, even if she is referring to a prompt card for much of the introduction. 44 countries watching this year? So that's the 39 competing, Australia and...? All in all, it's a long intro - it's nearly 14 minutes into the show before we make it to the first postcard.
Incidentally, it's good to see the hall so full for a jury final!
FRANCE - arty shots are the order of the day, almost like in 2008. I'm not changing my opinion much from earlier - it's a safe, solid opener, but not one to challenge the scoreboard. Amandine will probably be relying on the juries for most of her votes, and accordingly is giving a much better performance than earlier - but even so, I'm not sure she really hits the notes with all the potential she could.
Sam: 16th-20th, Sild: bottom 5, Yair: 19th-25th
LITHUANIA - an enthusiastic crowd clapping along, and Andrius really is getting sexier with each performance. Though what will the juries think to the little pokey-out tongue he's giving them? This is a song that really has improved throughout rehearsals, and certainly deserves to be in this final. A good performance with genuine charm - not just eyebrows.
Sam: 17th-22nd, Sild: 15th-20th, Yair: 15th-19th
MOLDOVA - Hi Pasha and Pasha's arms! And hi dancers' arms too! Aliona is back to the swoopy-to-the-side hair for tonight. Despite what Martin said earlier, I'm not sure this is a very good draw for this song - it really benefited from standing out near the end in the semi-final, and I think it risks being forgotten here. And possibly the weakest she's performed it all week too - sounding not quite on top of everything, voice cracking very slightly on the biggest notes. Let's hope the juries didn't mind.
Sam: 13th-16th, Sild: 9th-14th, Yair: 10th-15th
FINLAND - tonight isn't really Krista's night - the juries aren't her key audience. It's a good performance as always though, both vocally and visually: this woman really does have so much personality! And it's certainly one that will get the audiences talking, but I do wonder if it's the kind of song that people enjoy, talk about... but don't actually vote for. Which is a shame, as it would actually be a pretty decent winner for the contest - punchy, contemporary and a social media genius.
Sam: 15th-20th, Sild: 18th-23rd, Yair: 12th-17th
SPAIN - a different yellow dress with horrible gold blingy jewelry on the shoulders and what looks like a stain on one of her boobs. We always said that this risked being a televoting nul points, but should pick up enough points from the juries to keep it off the bottom. I'd changed my mind earlier this week, but the first minute of the performance was enough to make me worry that we could be seeing our first overall jury/televote nul. It got better but... I worry. Notably, the last line of the song is now in English.
Sam: last, Sild: bottom 5, Yair: bottom 5
BELGIUM - uff, a nervy and pitchy start. It got a lot better, and this is just the same as it's always been. Roberto is a combination of terrified and/or overly expressive and he's wearing very pink lipstick tonight. Oh, and the last note was completely off, very croaky. But he seemed to like it, we even got smiles at the end!
Sam: bottom 5, Sild: 19th-24th, Yair: 15th-22nd
ESTONIA - this is actually a lovely draw for Estonia, after the loudness of Belgium and Finland and the not-very-good-ness of Spain. Birgit sings beautifully as ever, and is incredibly expressive without taking it over the top. I'd like to think this could surprise, and the performance tonight won't hurt that in the slightest.
Sam: 13th-19th, Sild: 17th-25th, Yair: 19th-25th
BELARUS - "Why do they have a monkey on a disco ball in the postcard?" wonders Sild. Good question. A good performance from Alonya, probably her best all week actually, both vocally and in terms of not being so wooden on stage. Everyone's back in their costumes from the semi-final, arms out and all. A strong performance, and it's one of the few songs fishing in its pool - could do well.
Sam: 9th-13th, Sild: 18th-23rd, 18th-25th
MALTA - smiley smiley Gianluca is just loving being there, and it's really very endearing. I wonder how the juries will take this - it's either very arty and genuine, or it might be a bit amateur. But they're the questions we've been asking all season. Gianluca is increasingly falling into the habit of chopping his phrases too early, probably because of breathing issues, but it makes the song sound a little rushed. He's back at the bench very late again after lots of high-fives - perhaps a deliberate decision?
Sam: 18th-22nd, Sild: 12th-18th, 12th-17th
RUSSIA - if the juries are going for a big vocal, here it is. Dina hasn't put a foot wrong all week, and the five singers on stage really do create a huge wall of sound. As I mentioned earlier, Dina is starting to get to grips with emoting the song too - she does look like she means it. And once again the audience didn't bat around the stupid balls the throw into the audience. Crappy idea. And the lights on the wristbands looks far too calculated, with far too many shots of them, to be as effective as the Russians were probably hoping.
Sam: 6th-10th, Sild, 8th-13th, 6th-11th
GERMANY - the sparkly heels are back! There's a great shot during the middle 8 (we are glo-o-o-o-o-o) where the camera soars from behind Natalie over a celebratory audience, which is very effective, as are the shots where she's surrounded by flags on the catwalk. I'm not sure she completely nailed it tonight, but her big market is tomorrow.
Sam: 6th-10th, Sild: top 5, Yair: top 5
ARMENIA - some unfortunate shots of a crowd who really don't care here. Another professional performance from a very professional act it remains to be seen what the juries think though.
Sam: 12th-16th, Sild: 14th-20th, Yair: 10th-17th,
Hm, interesting, we went into the postcard for Netherlands, leading us to assume they'd moved the break back to between Songs 13 and 14. But no, the postcard suddenly cut out and we're back to Petra introducing Lynda Woodruff. Lots of laughs in the press centre for the EBU spokesperson's tour around Stockholm.
And NOW it's time for Netherlands, and I will hand over to Sild for the second half of this rehearsal!