The rehearsal finally started. First an intro which is badically Emmelie and Only Teardrops in various formats, which seems to go on forever. But eventually the hosts do get on stage, and basically telling us the vital information on how the show and voting works.
Armenia started off with a vocally good performance. Aram looked tired though. Maybe in need of some make up.
Latvia's microphone volumes were all quite off. It seemed as if the other people were louder than the lead singer. Intentional?
Estonian Tanja struggled a bit with the singing, but it might just be that she didn't bother to give it her all. After all, this rehearsal is rather pointless for the singers, as the jury performance is already done.
Sanna was vocally steady, and got a big applause from the press centre. I dom't know why, because she sounded exactly the same as she's done every single time she sang this song.
Iceland performed well and seemed to go down well in the hall. I don't see why many people have this down as a non qualifier.
Then a history book section thing, focusing on hair. They claim Jedward hold the record of the highest hair ever in Eurovision. Really? It doesn't sound like it ought to be true
The Albanian girl has also quite clearly skipped the make up today. That's about all there is to say. The Russian twins have also not done any styling apart from the fake hair, and are wearing jeans and t-shirts. But vocally better than what I heard yesterday.
Moving on. Dilara is in her dress and hair. Vocally good, but there's some backing vocals that I've not noticed before, who were quite loud.
Ukrainian Marija gave us another no-make up face. I still don't like that they seem to skip the whistling bits. Surely it could be included in the backing track, as it's not a VOICE. Or maybe it's there but we just can't hear it because the sound isn't great in here.
Belgium... Well, it's the same as it always was. And Axel's suit and shoulderpads still make it look like he has really short arms. (Perhaps they're shorter than Jedwards hair? Something for the record book)
I don't really understand this new version of Moldova, nor the hair pulling. But otherwise performed and sung the way it was intended.
The stage does look amazing in the first half of San Marino. If it was about visuals alone, it would sail to the final. Except for when it goes all yellow and Valentina starts doing her signature off-rhythm hip sways. But vocally she's alright.
Why are so many countries hiding their backing singers though? In performances like these, the staging could really gain from having more people visible on stage. Especially as you can clearly HEAR them, just not see them.
Anyway. A new record book segment. "Most silver". The winner is apparently Verka :) (again... Coincidence that it's a well-remembered entry and not something obscure?)
Portugal really comes across as different after so many slow songs. I do think it could quite easily end up quite high in this semi much thanks to standing out so much. And Suzy does sing it a lot better than she did originally.
Netherlands is hard to predict. It's all very competent on stage, even if maybe a bit dark. But they definitely delivered today. Both wearing black this time.
Montenegro works great vocally, and thanks for SHOWING the backing singers. The staging is beautiful, but it sometimes comes across as if the Girl-Skating-In-Her-Nightie is the main performer, and Sergio just her backup singer.
Last but not least Hungary. Lots of screams from the audience for this. Not sure if it's that appropriate that the girl at the piano keeps showing us her crotch when dancing though, considering what the lyrics are about...
First recap now. They mostly seem to be pretty sensible bits of the songs. Right now they seem to be from today's performance, but I'm told that in the actual show, clips from the jury performance will be used.
The interval act... A modern dance version of The Ugly Duckling. It seems they want to give people a good reason for a toilet break.
And now we're off to eat something.