Tomorrow we move into the last day of the semi-finalists' first rehearsals. With just eight countries left to rehearse on stage, we're getting a good impression of how this year’s contest is shaping up.
Highlights in this morning's session include Bulgaria, who take to the stage at 10:40, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they’ve managed to adapt the highly produced sound of their studio version to a live vocal. Malta’s first rehearsal was slightly controversial, as their backing track contained what sounds like processed vocals – will Bulgaria be the same?
Right before lunch we’ll have one of the contest's favourites, Ukraine. We’re never sure what to expect from Ukraine – they’d probably get along fine just repeating the national final performance, but we're talking about a country that in past years have brought a hell machine and a man in very tight trousers spinning in a hamster wheel (#hamsterbutt). Even when they last brought a ballad, Ukraine stuck a sand artist next to the singer, so who knows what we're going to get at 12:20.
Following lunch will be the rehearsal of Norway. As reported earlier this week, Agnete has been struggling with mental illness – she told Norwegian newspaper VG that she has struggled with the condition for a number of years, and it is this that has led her to pull out of all public appearances prior to the contest. Our thoughts are with her, and we hope that her recent problems won't affect her performance. 'Icebreaker' is seen by many here as a borderline qualifier, and NRK have told reporters they aren't repeating the MGP performance, so it'll be interesting to see what they have in store.
And after Norway we have what's looking like a long two hours, with the rehearsals from Georgia, Albania and Belgium. All three were looking like outsiders until the running order was announced, when Belgium climbed into a qualifying position with the bookies, but frankly we'll be glad of the early finish this afternoon. See you in Euroclub!