My pre-opinion: This is the best vocal harmony of the contest, a bit like O'G3NE but with a slightly better song and a much more eager broadcaster. Are they eager enough to take it all the way (if it's even possibly with this song)? Let's see.
First run-through: Similar to last year, a lot of quick camera changes and split screens. Venetian blinds Power Point transitions. Not for epileptics. They seem to have thought this through and hired Christer Björkman's best staging directors, I'm sure the younger attention-deficit viewers will love this. The vocals sound higher pitch than the studio version.
Trey stops the second runthrough after five seconds and says he's sorry.
Actual second run-through: More focus on Zhana (who looks a bit out of place and wears too much lipstick). They're standing on three platforms that look like they're made of scaffolding (not sure if this is their final form), and change positions, a bit like Modern Folk Üçlüsü & Aysegül Aldinç. Overall, a solid rehearsal.
I've skipped the rest of it to watch the Israeli press conference, and no, I wasn't a stupid boy, although the songwriter wore a "stupid bøy" t-shirt, and this kind of diacritic misuse annoys me to no end, but it was fun and Netta owned it.
My pre-opinion: When I first saw this, I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did. That's not exactly promising, and knowing the whole dress saga, not much is going to change. This kind of thing should have enough fans to take to Saturday though, one would think.
First run-through: As expected, an improved version of the Eesti Laul performance, in a darker, larger stage. The dress is centred in the round stage, which suits it well. Some nice patterns on it, including flowers and a swirly thing like ice cream n ithe end. Elina herself? She's good vocally, but I didn't notice her much, attention goes to the dress.
Second run: Much of the same, she's giving more effort and sounding good. Not much to say, this will do as well as this song can. My main reaction is that I really want ice cream.
My pre-opinion: I've yet to see a good performance of this, but the one that matters hasn't happened yet and I'm not ruling this out completely. Alekseev has the face to appeal to a lot of teens, and the song is 'basic' in a catchy and comforting way, and if done right, may slip into the final in this whole mess. Either way, I'm very much looking forward to see what kind of prop they've come up with this year - can they top a holographic baby and a futuristic airboat?
First run: LOVE IT. Alekseev pulls out a rose, gives it to the camera(!), camera gives it to a Flamenco dancer. Flamenco dancer shoots it back using a crossbow, then breakdances. Press centre is in hysterics. This is Eurovision. Wait, there's more. This ends with him on a very high platform revealing a torn shirt in his back and fake blood (or is it crushed roses?). I don't even.
Second run: I'll try to pay attention to the singing this time, the visuals were so distracting I didn't even notice it. Really, the amount of shock was so big that I didn't even steal Elin's unattended brownie. Well it sounds okish, except that he's mumbling the words. Sorry, got distracted again by everything that's going on. His eyebrows have their own choreography on top of everything. And did I mention rose effects on screen? This is loltastic. I Love Belarus.
Third run: The rose has lost its petals by now so he's just holding a stem, which is actually made of a metal cord with a rather sharp tip, and he nearly pokes himself in the eye. Watch it, Alekseev, we already have too many artists taken to hospital today!