Wednesday 11 May 2022

Semi Final 2 - Jury Rehearsal

Welcome to the live blog of the jury rehearsal of the second semi final. This is the moment of truth for another bunch of participants hoping to make it to the final. Tonight, they can make a first step and I’ll be here to praise and bitch about anything I see. Buckle up - and let’s get started!

Shocker, EBU intro is still the same.


We see one of the hosts backstage pretending everything is organized and we’re all set to go. Why don’t you fix the sun if everything’s so well-organized, eh? Opening on stage consists of various lush Italian men in suits dancing.Very cheeky. People in green cat suits joining now and I’m not sure why because there seem to be no special effects. 

Hosts (minus one) walking in and welcoming everyone (and the four excited fans in the audience). Laura Pausini looks better than during the first semi. The other hosts now notice the one host who made sure everything is well-organized is now back from his well-organizing.

The other hosts have now been impressed by Mika’s French and we’re off to go. And so ESC has begun.. again?


Lead singer still has a huge forehead and going for that Chucky look. Singing is solid. Not too keen on the stage that has been filled with huge balloons. Overall the basic “look at us being rocky” vibe. Should probably qualify.


Yas, gurl. Opening has a runway show vibe. Graphics on the floor and the use of props is rather slick. Dancing is on point. This brings much needed fun to the stage, especially after Finland. If Israel was in last night’s semi, this would’ve made it. I suspect it might struggle tomorrow night.


Brilliant or bizarre? I’d say brilliant, but I was wondering how they’d translate the brilliance on screen. The answer: the lyrics are subtitled. Despite that, will the audience get the meaning in between grabbing snacks (nom nom) and drinks (a dry white wine please) though? If not, I’m afraid people will tend to get bored easily.


I see Azerbaijan has copied Farid’s stage choreo, removed the transparent cage and purchased stairs. There’s nothing wrong with the staging, but there’s also really not that much that makes it stand out. It’s all a bit impactless. Vocals are solid and should receive a fair share of points from the juries tonight.


On par with the awfulness they brought to Rotterdam, but at least Tornike was easy on the eyes. Oh right, eyes.. eyes, mouths and possibly other body parts are part of the graphics projected on the LEDS. But of course you knew that already because this is the gazillionth rehearsal. To me this is as hopeless as Bulgaria was yesterday.


First impression: gorgeous staging, Emma looks stunning. But at the same time: oy, shaky vocals. It’s a pity because I think the song has potential to do better than it’ll probably do. Shaky went to terrible real bad in the meanwhile. It sounds like they’re only making use of the on track backings, while she probably could’ve used the help of some singers om stage as well. I’m afraid this is a non-qualifier. Unless they paid the juries a little extra of course.

Small break

Did I say Laura looks good? Haha, silly me. We’re getting some information about the San Remo Festival now and some cringe lines from the hosts.

San Marino

This is so pretentious and ridiculous it becomes amazing. Achille brings the Mรฅneskin appeal without the song or talent. The staging is everything every average Eurovision viewer expects from Eurovision; glitter, glammer and pyro. This will do really well in televoting, I imagine. Crazy thought, could this go Top 10 on Saturday? He sounded solid too.

Short break again, before we move on to Australia

I was expecting quite a lot going by the fact this is pretty high up in the odds, but I find it a tad.. irritating? I’m not buying the fashionable look, the song is mediocre at best and his endless whaling makes you forget the nice features there are to this performance real bad and remember. Juries will probably save this, but I doubt many people will pick up their phone for this. Marija Serifovic ain’t winning again this year.


Dodgy vocals and she seems to be off from the track a little in the beginning. Ouch. Nice prop, but really doesn’t add anything to the performance. A complete waste of a great song. She completely blands into her prop which makes her stand out even less. There’s as much charisma on stage as there are visitors in the audience. Emma’s vocals sound fine now.


A nice surprise after the Irish screw-up of last year. Is it unique and total awesomeness? No. It *is* a very welcome breath of fresh air after the line-up we’ve seen so far. Vocally solid’ish. She could really use some help from backings. I’d say this has a good chance to make it into the televoting Top 10. I’m afraid all in all the juries will keep this out of the final though.

North Macedonia

Anyone who’s followed the news around her can’t help but feel sorry. I’m a little confused here.. she sounds bad? Is she purposely not making a proper effort? I thought she was a better singer. I’m a little baffled. She better asks for political asylum in her last sentence.


Stefan is looking very lush and sounding very stable. The staging is sufficient, nothing too special, but it’ll do the trick. Pretty safe qualifier, I’d say. He’s actually the first one who manages to hype up the audience. 

And yet another break, Mika is going on about alarm clocks for some unapparent reason.


Romania brings some much needed fun to the line-up, although it’s surprisingly tame. Vocals aren’t great and therefore I’m afraid the juries will bury this. As a Eurovision fan though, I’m really digging this and hoping the televoters will pick it up.  


I can see why this allegedly received so many applause from within the press centre. The staging is well done, although it has some really rough parts of incredibly cheap on-screen graphics and effects. My problem with this isn’t so much the staging or the song, but rather him. He has the charisma of a sandwich and hardly ever makes a connection with the camera. I suppose this will qualify, but no freaking way this is coming anywhere near winning.


First impression: gorgeous staging and Vladana looks beautiful as well. If she sounded anything like on the studio this was a sure qualifier. Now, with these vocals, it’ll be tough, but not as unlikely as the current odds might suggest.


From the very first few notes Jรฉrรฉmie shows he’s vocally very capable. Capable is how I’d describe the staging as well. I can’t really find anything wrong with this apart from the fact it’s all a bit repetitive and therefore boring. A few notes off towards the end as well in his eagerness to vocally impress. I’m fearing for Belgium’s qualification.


Whatever you saw at Melodifestivalen. Flawless. The first real contender for victory on Saturday. Head and shoulders above anything else.

Czech Republic

I was afraid this would be this semi’s Austria, but the staging is slick, her vocals are much more stable and the song definitely belongs in the Top 10 here as well. Qualifier.

Going through to the final:

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฒ ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ 

Semifinal 2 - first dress rehearsal live blog

Good afternoon, ESC Nation and other readers. Today I'll be live blogging from the first full rehearsal of the second semifinal.

The show starts with some backstage "funny" segments with Alessandro Cattelan. I'm not quite sure what's going on. Then he enters the stage and the stream starts buffering a lot, bu we catch a glimpse of him dancing to the TikTok hit "My Name Is" by the band D Billions (If you don't know this song yet, good for you). 

Then we get Laura and Mika on stage instead. Just talking. Thank god. It's clearly a rehearsal, because Laura is sometimes literally just going "bla bla bla bla bla bla" to fill out spaces where the script possibly isn't ready yet.

Alessandro is wearing a black suit with glittery silver details, Laura is in a dark red dress, and Mika is in white trousers, a white t-shirt and a baseball cap. I assume his outfit made sense with something in the intro that we couldn't quite see, but it does make him look like he's their 6 year old son. 

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland with even more silly hair than we're used to seeing. Vocally it sounds... fine? Definitely comes across better than in some previous performances. It's adequate for the type of song that it is. If it'll qualify or not will probably not have anything to do with the vocals, if he can sing it like this during the evening shows as well. I'm still not sure who thought that the yellow wellies were a good idea, though.

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel starts of with a vocally perfect performance. As with Finland, if this doesn't qualify it probably won't have anything to do with underwhelming vocals. Then... unfortunately the stream dies. Did the EBU deliberately cut it to hide something?

๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia next. Konstrakta performs it confidently without any issues. I'm still not sure what the viewers will make of the subtitles that come and go. But I do like that they look like regular subtitles rather than just some artsy words smacked on top of the picture. 

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Azerbaijan up now. Another vocally good performance. It's all dark and gloomy, and comes across as perhaps slightly boring. But there's some serious power vocals in this, especially near the end. I can not imagine that this would not do well with the juries?

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ช Georgia has a slightly better sound mix than before. We can actually hear the high falsetto vocals in the verse a bit better. But the staging feels like it's darker than before. They band members are quite badly lit, even when the rest of the stage is bright. Not sure if it's a mistake or intentional. But even if it's intentional, it's clearly a mistake. 

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta is the last one to perform before the ad break. Emma struggles a bit with the low notes in the first verse, but once she gets to the chorus she gets a lot better. Overall I think the vocals are far better now than in some of the earlier rehearsals. Not amazing, but perfectly adequate. 

And here's Laura again, introducing a segment about the history of the Sanremo festival. We get to see some footage from past editions. The speaker also points out that it was the FIRST song contest to be broadcast on television and was the inspiration for Eurovision. 

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฒ San Marino is on, quite fittingly, right after the Sanremo mini documentary. With ALL THE PROPS. And ALL THE PYRO. The vocals are sometimes slightly off, but again, probably perfectly fine for the type of song that this is. Even when he's being thrown around by the mechanical bull he manages to sing this quite ok. But visually, this really is a lot. 

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia next up, but first a quick greenroom visit with Mika. Probably to get some extra time for the stage people to get all the props on and off the stage. And now the song starts. Somewhere behind all the feathers and rhinestones and frills there's a Sheldon who does his best to outloud the backing track. Vocally there are no issues at all here. 

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus also has another huge prop, so we get one more quick break before the song begins. Shorter than the one before Australia at least. Andromache looks stunning in her oyster-prop, but also slightly sulky. The vocals are not quite spot on. Not bad enough to be bad, but also not good enough to be good. 

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland up next. Brooke stars off on the floor in the centre of attention a big heart. Another vocally fine performance. But most importantly, all of Brooke's charm and likability shines through quite well. The spoken part still comes across as a bit forced, but overall it works fine both visually and vocally. I've no idea if it will manage to qualify or not, but I think Brooke's giving it quite optimal chances with this performance at least. 

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ North Macedonia up now to change the mood. Andrea sings it well, and the LED-floor has some really nice moments. But everything also looks quite dark and sad. And there isn't much to disguise the fact that it's essentially just a person alone on an empty stage. Though after all the crazy props and dancing we've had before this, maybe it will be a good thing?

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia is another song that very much is just a single person on an empty stage. But we do get a lot of walking. Stefan does handle the empty stage better than Andrea. And he sings well. But there is not much done to hide the fact that most of the chorus is just basically a bunch of pre-recorded vocals where he doesn't even pretend to sing. 

And here's a break. Mika is talking about birds and Mรฅneskin and whatnots. And then we get footage of... babies.. and rain... and coffee...?? I have no idea what's going on. I think it's supposed to be some sort of ASRM-themed bit, but it's not very relaxing. 

๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Romania up next. During the opening party he revealed that he does have on live backing singer. And it very much sounds as if both he and the backing singer are singing everything together. I think there might still be some adjustments to the mixing that should be done to make it sound right. But it's a confident performance. Could be enough to get Romania back into the final.

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland now. Can't tell what's the stream buffering and what's deliberate effects. Ochman sings it perfectly and the high notes are very impressive, but if he has a personality the cameras are unfortunately not quite catching it in this rehearsal. 

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช Montenegro's Vladana in another dark staging now. She's wearing a blue dress with a giant umbrella attached to the back, with lots of tiny lights on it. Vocally some notes are a little bit off, but nothing major. At the end she switches to Italian, and then back to English for the final climax. 

๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium has stage lights quite similar to the previous two entries that were just performed. Dark stage, blue and white lights. The producer-made draw feels weirdly odd here. There might also be something wrong with the lights, or they've made some odd choice, because Jeremie spends a lot of the song being just lit from the sides, leaving the front of his face in darkness. Vocally this is excellent, though! If there are a lot of singers, vocal coaches and Idol/The Voice/X Factor judges in the national juries, this will surely get a lot of points. 

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden, and we have our first obvious technical issue. Cornelia sings the first line, then the song stops, she suddenly goes "YEEEAAAAAA!!!" and interrupts the performance. Alessandro comes on to explain that things are not quite ready yet and gives us some filler-talk. Then Sweden gets to restart.  Cornelia seems to hold back slightly (probably wise) and her hair goes a bit rogue and fluffy at times. But overall a convincing performance that I think does manage to stand out in spite of being the last of 4 ballads in a row. 

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic are up last, but the stage is once again not ready. So Alessandro has to come up with even more things to say while we wait. Finally We Are Domi get to start their performance. Vocally there's some slightly shaky bits. The high notes are definitely not 100 % in the correct pitch.  Just like with Austria, the off-stage backing singers are quite prominent in the mix. This is sounding better than that, at least. But after a lot of strong vocal performances in this semifinal, this does stand out as vocally quite weak. Let's hope they can improve for tonight. 

And... after about half an hour of fixing some technical issues, the rehearsal continues. Romania are about to rehearse again. We don't know why. But the stream buffered a bit during their first performance, so perhaps something went wrong that I couldn't see. This second rehearsal feels like it sounds and looks the same as the first one they did earlier this afternoon. 

And now... Poland are on again? Are they going to re-do all the six last songs? This might be a very long rehearsal. He's now taken off his suit jacket and is in just a white shirt. Is it deliberate or is it just because he had already got out of his outfit and was ready to leave the venue when he got called back? His dancers might have left, because they're now missing. (Which, to be fair, makes the whole performance look a lot better)

And of course... here's Montenegro. She's at least wearing her umbrella-dress this time as well. Vocally, she's better this time. Maybe there were issues with the in-ear sound for all the last 6 entries before?

Belgium on again now. Looks and sounds the same as before. Same outfit, same dancers, same lights. 

And here's Swe... no, here's Czech Republic again. For some reason we don't seem to get another performance from Cornelia, so We Are Domi are the next in line. Vocally, it's about the same as before. 

Back to the hosts. And it's time for a recap. 

And now some interval acts. Mika and Laura are singing something. And then some various pre-filmed bits. 

Now, Chanel on stage to be interviewed by Laura. Who asks Chanel "When was the last time Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ won?". The shade! Followed by about a minute of the footage from Chanel's earlier rehearsal. 

Then United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง, with Sam wearing a more covered-up version of Chanel's black and silvery outfit. And we get to see a minute of Space Man. It looks and sounds good. 

And last, Malik and Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช. He talks about his grandfather. For the clip they're showing they're starting off with the spoken part, which is... a choice. 

And now... I kid you not... we get a postcard from Serbia. But... it's not Serbia rehearsing again, instead it's Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ. So we get to see her full performance. The main thing I'm learning from this is that they've re-arranged the song to include a brand new intro. It sounds a bit like the trumpet intro from I Wanna. The trumpets also appear quickly before the dance break. Overall they've made it more latin. For the final chorus she takes her jacket off and we're getting a very big pyro curtain. Muy pretty!

And here's the United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง and their full performance. Sam is singing very well but comes across as maybe slightly over-excited and ad libs a bit much even in the 2nd verse. The props look nice, and he pulls out a guitar in the end. Otherwise it's a pretty straightforward performance that highlights the song quite well.

Finally, Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช. After a looong break to get the stage ready. Did he not bother to get changed into his outfit and ended up in his lazy-sunday-at-home-clothes? Nope, that's just his actual stage clothes. Vocally it's fine, but the spoken bit still sounds a bit awkward. He walks around between all the various instruments placed all over the stage. The stage is another dark stage with blue lights. 

It's now been 3 and a half hours since the rehearsal started. And we're still waiting for the fake results announcement. I feel like I'm being held hostage. 

And... here's another UK rehearsals. ffs. By request, I'm now paying extra attention to whether you can see the stagehands open the props. And no, I can't see them do it. The camera films it from very far off. 

And finally, nearly 4 hours after the rehearsal began, we're soon about to get the "results". Alessandro is the only host still left in the arena, so he just said that he'll have to try to do the scripts of all three of them by himself. 

But... No! Now we suddenly get Il Volo performing. 

That's it! I've had enough. I'm giving up. This rehearsal has officially broken me. I'm off to try to recover, and you'll have to find out about what happens during the remaining 2 hours of it from somebody else.