So there we go, we've now seen all 16 of the first semi-finalists, and of course we all know exactly who's going to qualify for next Saturday night. Right?
It's been a funny old day really, because most of the rehearsals have kind of confirmed what we already knew. With that in mind, I'm calling today's winners as Russia in particular, who put themselves in pole position to win the semi-final; Hungary, who were vocally really solid and whose staging includes some of the most impressive use of the video wall we've seen yet (and not one mention of dead kids in Gaza!); Denmark, because for all the song isn't really my cup of tea (who am I kidding, it's my #40 by some distance), they've basically delivered the same performance as in the national final and are going to get exactly the votes they were always going to get; and Georgia, who basically kicked ass. Nina is a scary woman, but in all the right ways.
Somewhere in the middle, we'll put Romania, whose creative use of scenes from the music video is offset somewhat by curious fashion choices and unimaginative lighting; and Belarus, who were perfectly solid (and as Roger said, Maimuna even smiled during the last run-through!) but a bit empty and uninspiring in the staging department.
Losers is a harsh term, but there's no denying that Albania delivered an underwhelming and confusing set of rehearsals, though things did get better towards the end (which is the point of rehearsals, after all!); and, I'm afraid, poor old Serbia, whose entire choreography and styling concept may well be in keeping with the message and vibe of the song - but what if that message is tacky and awful in the first place?
And with that, it's time for us to oximate in the direction of a Danube boat trip! "Viennese appetisers" are promised. Photos may follow if they turn out to be substantially better than our drawer full of Smash. See you tomorrow as the second semi-final starts to reveal its joys!