This will be a rolling blog, each country in running order, so please refresh to update.
The organization seemed to have learned from yesterday's queues as there were hardly any this morning. That's why I'm able to say good morning and hello to you all this early today. Something interesting happened at the security gate. I spotted someone wearing a ''SENHIT ADRENALINA'' sweater who might very well be the rapper for San Marino's rehearsal today. AND IT WASN'T FLO RIDA! Was it a hardcore Senhit fan? Was it another member of the Sammarinese delegation? Or will Flo Rida indeed not be showing up today for rehearsals, because perhaps he's not coming at all? We're about to find out right away as we start with San Marino's rehearsal! Stay tuned!
🇷🇸 | Serbia
The ladies start standing quite far apart from each other in front of a black backdrop with a white square behind each one of them, doing sexy poses. After that they start doing their dance routines while smoke flares appear behind them. They are wearing a black dress with glitter all over it. The staging is mostly squares/stripes of black and white in different variations throughout the entire performance. Much of the performance includes the lyrics being shown on the backdrop with words like ''hurricane'', ''baby'' and ''loco''. At one point there's a red glow over the stage and the stage turns into a disco as a huge discoball comes down. Before the ladies dance towards the smaller stage for one last fierce dance routine, there's a camera shot from above showing graphics underneath each one of them..Although the choreo isn't spectacular it's fun and keeps the energy alive throughout the performance. Vocally it's a little shaky at times and you can clearly hear which ones of them have to do all the vocal work. They are supported by backing vocals though. All in all this is a fun performance to look at, the press centre loved it and I'm fairly sure this will qualify now.
🇮🇸 | Iceland
Dadi (I'm not going to bother with these weird Icelandic letters) and his five companions start in front of a (again) pink/blue'ish backdrop while standing in the dark. It looks pretty beautiful and after that it only gets better. The backdrop displays beautiful graphics of the universe in which there are these pixelled animated characters wearing fish bowls (like Sandy in Spongebob) floating around here and there. Dadi and the others walk towards microphone stands that are positioned somewhat more towards the front of the stage and start doing the routine that we know from them. The backdrop then depicts yellow and pink cubes. Dadi and his crew are wearing the same pullovers that we've seen before, but they've added some extra black layers over some parts, such as for example the shoulder area. Three of them have these curved half circled pianos and at one point they come together and make a whole circled piano, which looks pretty slick. The transparent LED screen at one point displays lots of these oldschool pixelled video game characters and it looks absolutely fantastic. It's probably the best usage of the transparent LED-screen so far. Towards the end there's a camera shot that zooms out and displays all of the stage while spots are directed on all of them. There's then some more of the dance routine and they all end doing a pose. They have a lot of fun doing this and it clearly shows. All in all this is a fantastic rehearsal that looks really good on screen. Vocally this is really strong as well.
But I still hate them all.
🇲🇩 | Moldova
Natalia seems to have borrowed Senhit's spinning platform as she's standing on a similar squared stage with her four dancers. She's wearing a silver glitter dress and her dancers wear black outfits. The backdrop and floor LEDs depict a three dimensional pink/white grid. Natalia and her dancers are performing a rather slick and sensual choreo that is similar to the one in the music video and is fun to watch (and very clean/tight!). At one point there's a camera shot from above on this platform while it is spinning. The floor graphics show several squares around this stage at that point, but 90 degrees turned. At the end there's a shot from above, the dancers fall with their backs on this platform and there's one last shot on Natalia while she's whispering ''sugar''. Vocally sufficient although Natalia is (obviously) holding back for these rehearsals as they're focusing on the choreography and camera work. It's all very fun to watch and looks good on camera. This will sail through easily and probably do well in the final as well.
🇵🇱 | Poland
Rafal is wearing a black suit and is accompanied by four dancers in white suits who have lights in their hands. In the beginning Rafal is grabbing the camera as if it's a selfie camera and moving it with his hands. The graphics on the backdrop and floor LEDs depict blue/pink neon grids and this neon theme is something that is reflected in almost all of the staging. At one point we see ''Warshaw'' in the backdrop, but then in Polish (remembering how to write the English name is hard enough already for me). Rafal and his dancers start on the main stage and dance their way to the smaller one. He plays around by taking his glasses off and putting it back on at a later point. It all looks a bit cheap, old-fashioned and vocally this is shaky too. Rafal looks like a middle-aged man having a good night in a karaoke bar. In the last run we find out there's quite a bit of pyro as well. Before the rehearsals started I thought it might qualify, but I'm going to say it's not for now.
🇦🇹 | Austria
We start with a gentle shot of Vincent on a dark stage standing in front of a heavy spot directed at him. He's wearing a long glittery black blazer and is standing on some kind of platform that has the shape of a runway, but it could also be that the floor's techniques allow it to be lifted a little. Lights are shining into two directions from the bottom to the top of the part the backdrop that's able to open up. Somewhat in the middle of the performance there's a side shot of Vincent walking on this platform with rays of light shining from the side of the arena. The camera shots are simple, but effective, although they're still trying to find the right angles. There's hardly any backdrop there. It's mainly Vincent with lighting. But forget about the staging, as it works, but isn't spectacular. *Vocally* this is very impressive, especially when the backing singers join Vincent. So impressive that I'm starting to believe he might just sneak into the final.
🤪 Lunch break, going to Benny's press conference and having him for lunch *nomnomnom* 🤪
🇬🇷 | Greece
Stefania's wearing a black glittered catsuit-like outfit with a sexy opening on her belly and just above her brests. She looks absolutely gorgeous. She's standing in the centre of the stage with a backdrop behind her that depicts pink/turquoise's clouds. The camera loves her and she's trying to play with it too as she gives a cheeky wink. At one point she's using a green screen and we're getting Sergey 2016 vibes. The green screen performance then continues as we're roaming through a city with tall buildings with Stefania and two faceless white hoodie wearing dancers, of whom I thought were projected but on second hand now look real, interacting with one another. Before these dancers, together with two others, then later later join her on stage for an actual real live performance with a fun choreo, there's a shot of Stefania with her back towards the audience and Arcade kind of lights all over the arena. Stefania's vocals are spot on. All in all this looks really good, although it's a combination of parts fun and parts silly (the latter mainly being the green screen part). Stefania does seem a bit nervous and tight however, but I suspect that she'll loosen up soon as it seems to be getting better with each run already.
🇨🇿 | Czech Republic
Benny starts off standing in the middle of about eight lighted poles. He is wearing a yellow glittered jacket with black sweatpants. He's dyed his hair blond and he lost his long hair. He looks rather yum. These poles are actually placed behind the backdrop because - since the backdrop is opened in the middle - Benny walks towards the actual stage when two of his dancers join his sides. They then continue to perform, lacking a real choreo. It's mostly about Benny walking back and forth a bit being swaggy. At a later point they are joined by two extra dancers. They then dance their way to the extra stage were they continue swagging around together. It ends with a camera shot of Benny bending down looking into the camera while looking lush. The backdrop and floor LEDs depict colorful graphics, but really nothing too impressive. Benny hardly ever looks into the camera and performs as if it's a live concert. It's all a bit underwhelming and I feel like they really could've gotten a lot more out of this. Although this may come across a little lacklustre to some, I think it's part of the swaggy careless act that really does suit him. Benny seemed to spare his voice, but at the parts where he did give it a go it sounded fine. We've seen nothing we're impressed by, but it's still fun to look at it and Benny is adorable. If he manages to interact with the cameras more in the upcoming rehearsals he might be able to save a lot from what was missing today.
🇪🇪 | Estonia
Uku starts off on his knees (a sight some of us will like), with a white circle/moon being depicted behind him on the backdrop covered in actual smoke/fog. The general atmosphere of the stage is very dark with flashes of lightning. Uku is lighted up in dark/blue'ish lights which adds to the moody vibe. At one point there's water displayed on the floor LEDs and the backdrop depicts splashes of large amounts of water. In between his performance there are camera shots of Uku falling inside water and going under which look like shots from a music video. These are probably shown on the backdrop and filmed live. Uku is wearing a white shirt and dark trousers, which looks basic, but works fine for him. The camera work is pretty well thought out and seems to work as well. Uku has no trouble finding the camera and there are several side shots of him. At one point there's a camera shot from above as he touches the water that is displayed on the floor LEDs and at that point the water gets a red glow. This red glow then is reflected in more parts of the staging such as in the backdrop. The performance ends with the backdrop displaying red/dark'ish skies/clouds and heavy lightning. In the very end we see the white circle/moon again. Like with Senhit most of Uku's vocals are alright, although there are some high parts where he struggles a bit. Adequate rehearsal, but a bit dull.
🇸🇲 | San Marino
I WAS RIGHT! I'm truly your eyes and ears over here. (as you can see I sneakily made a picture too).
Senhit is wearing a ridiculously (but fabulous) golden crown that is huge and has pictures of Christian(?) saints embedded into it. She's wearing a trouser suit, but thankfully not in a Trijntje way. She's accompanied on stage by four dancers who wear something that I can only describe as luxury linnen pyjamas. Next to that they're also wearing masks (not face masks, actual masks). Their entire outfits are covered with red stars here and there. The backdrop and floor LEDs are graphically hysterical and are similar to the colorful artwork we saw in her music video. San Marino is also making use of the extra transparent LED-screen. On stage Senhit is standing on the transparent spinning platform that we also recognize from her music video. Most of the beginning of the performance takes place on this platform with Senhit and her dancers performing their choreo. Although the entire performance is rather fun to watch it's nothing extremely interesting to look at. The rap part (which isn't done by Flo Rida) is done on the connecting part between the two stages. At the end Senhit, the no Flo Rida rapper and the four dancers end on the extra stage. The LED-screens sometimes feature part of the lyrics of the song and images of Senhit. San Marino is also making use of pyro in the form of puffs of fire and a larger firework spectacle at the very end of the performance. The performance ends with ''SENHIT ADRENALINA'' being depicted on the backdrop. Vocally this is alright as she gets helped by a precorded backing track as well, but Senhit does struggle with some of the higher parts. Winner? No. Will this do well? Probably, yes.