Good morning from Stockholm! In the press centre we are ready for Day 1 of rehearsals.

Nine of the acts for Eurovision 2016 Semifinal 1 will be performing soon.

This will be the schedule for the day:

  • Finland 10:00 – 10:30
  • Greece 10:40 – 11:10
  • Moldova 11:20 – 11:50
  • Hungary 12:00 – 12:30
  • LUNCH 12:30 – 13:30
  • Croatia 13:40 – 14:10
  • The Netherlands 14:20 – 14:50
  • Armenia 15:00 – 15:30
  • BREAK 15:30 – 15:50
  • San Marino 16:00 – 16:30
  • Russia 16:40 – 17:10

Simon Wells
May 2, 20163:57 pm

And we’re back, after a little break with a second runthrough. Vocally everything is in tune, but the backing vocals are very strong in the mix. As the key change hits, the staging turns bright and yellow. Sergey is no standing above the original screen. They’ve tried to recreate a lot of the music video on stage here but it doesn’t look as impressive as many will have hoped.

Simon Wells
May 2, 20163:50 pm

Very dark lighting to start. Sergey is in all black in front of a… yes you guessed it projetion screen with dark wings extending from his arms. 4 male dancers align with him for the chorus.
In the second chorus Sergey starts walking “up” steps hidden in the projector screen – a nice effect but it doesn’t really fit with the song. However, half way up the screen Sergey falls off one of the ‘step’ – the music stops, the video feed stops… we await news…

Simon Wells
May 2, 20163:14 pm

San Marino!
Yes, this happened. First rehearsal complete. Between Armenia and Russia this stands out, shall we say. The disco remix feels rather staid, and it is hard to feel it get going.
Peter says to me: “Oh shut up you joyless old fart.”
Brent says: It’s Eurovision meets Dreamgirls”

Peter Dunwoody
May 2, 20162:22 pm

Armenia is a cut above everything else so far today, and I’ve never been a fan of the song at all. I suppose it’s much more of a performance number than a “listening” song. Legs, sass, wind, lightning speed camera cuts, dramatic lighting and belting. This looks visually stunning and really suits the song. The one thing that I think is missing is a filter of some sort to make the overall picture a bit more glossy, like a live music video. Then I think it would be a lock-in for the top five.

Simon Wells
May 2, 20162:03 pm

Armenia: Iveta is in pretty dark lit atmosphere at the start. She’s wearing a black body outfit with a long cape. The lighting is mostly, dark alternating between red and dark blue. Her presentation is emotional without being overcooked. Come the end of the second chorus we have animations of her alongside the real Iveta, which sounds clumsy but works really well as the dance. The other vocalists are hidden in the shadows with nobody else appearing on stage. Vocally very secure.

Peter Dunwoody
May 2, 20161:36 pm

Netherlands: This is very solid and that in itself is very refreshing compared to what has come before. There is definitely an audience for this kind of thing, and that audience will sit up and take notice of this even if 80% of the viewers find it a bit bland. The staging and direction isn’t as adventurous as previous entrants and it won’t set the world alight come final night but it’s such an incredibly obvious qualifier. There is now a pause between the instrumental and the final chorus while Douwe Bob goes down to the B-stage, which is a little offputting if you’re not used to it being there.

Simon Wells
May 2, 20161:28 pm

Douwe Bob is front of stage with his guitar, wearing a dark blue suit and a calmly lit stage, tje floor of which shows a clock face. Joining him on stage are a pianist at an upright, drummer, electric guitarrist and bassist. There’s not a lot of great movement in the song, although towards the end, Douwe Bob takes his mic stand with him for a little wander at the front of the stage.

Simon Wells
May 2, 201612:52 pm

Matteo here. I wouldn’t know what to say about her vocals because maybe she’s just having problems with the monitors or something.

The whole thing has a very slow paced camera panning, very “I’m going to show you my inner peace and believe this is a landscape you have to take in”. The back drop is very dark and gets lit up towards the end.
The biggest thing here is the kimono/dress that was not the best thing ever. Very big, silvery and black that also gets torn apart halfway through.

Simon Wells
May 2, 201612:45 pm

Looking for Croatia that should have started 5 mins ago.

*insert jokes about not seeing the Lighthouse here*

Peter Dunwoody
May 2, 201611:19 am

Sandhja being refreshingly honest about being a complete “Eurovision virgin” in her meet and greet. She seems to be enjoying the whole circus though.

Simon Wells
May 2, 201611:13 am

Torn blue jeans, white tshirt, brown leather jacket. A very straightforward performance, complete with the three male backing vocalists to stage left and drummer to stage right. Vocally secure, this fills the stage reasonably, even if Freddie never moves off his spot.

Peter Dunwoody
May 2, 201611:05 am

Hungary: The performance is pretty much the same as A Dal for this. Freddie’s vocals are very strong (if you like that sort of thing) and the stage is very striking and red, but the whole package still feels a bit “ordinary” to do anything. I’m going to call non-qualifier.

Simon Wells
May 2, 201610:56 am

Five minutes to Hungary….

Matteo Manta
May 2, 201610:30 am

And sound was.

Her voice is a bit overshadowed by the backing vocals – but mind you this could just be them testing the audio volumes, seen that they had “problems with the signal”.
I’d want to see the whole thing with the proper dresses because as of now it looks quite amateurish..

Matteo Manta
May 2, 201610:20 am

There has been much talk of an astronaut / cosmonaut theme. Rehearsals are just starting. Standing side on, Lidia is in a simple neutral dress, standing still After the first chorus, the astronuat appears, and soon takes off his helmet. Once that happens, which is only a few seconds after his appearance, there is not really anything to the astronaut theme, that we can see in this rehearsal anyway. The PA system in the press centre announces they are having problems with the sound, as if we hadn’t noticed!

Matteo Manta
May 2, 201610:12 am

Simon says: The staging for Greece is very Greece-at-Eurovision. For an unconventional song, the look is super-conventional. We have not yet had the luxury of hearing what is going on in the arena, but their rehearsal slot has passed without audio feed coming through 🙁

Matteo Manta
May 2, 20169:58 am


The whole of the performance is really greek. We would like to hear the vocals, but after 5 seconds they went mute – so well.
The backdrop starts red and goes yellow with geometrical shapes that resemble a sun.
There is a dancer on stage that interacts a lot with the rapper guy (sorry, I’ll learn the names by end of week) and the choreography is there.
And there’s a drummer!

Peter Dunwoody
May 2, 20169:25 am

So Finland is a song that I really quite like and I think it’s getting a bit of an unfair ride from the fans. But yes this performance probably isn’t helping its chances. It’s solid enough but its not going to jump out. I do like the cheesy backing singer dancing but I sense the general public probably won’t.

Matteo Manta
May 2, 20169:15 am

A second runthrough for Finland is not yet underway. The screens are running through VT from the first runthrough to check things out.

Matteo Manta
May 2, 20169:13 am

Essential press centre updates:
What there are lots of: men, printers, power sockets, screens, tables, paid restaurant.
What there is some of: women, LAN sockets, white sofas, air conditioning
What there is none of: free food, well slept people

Matteo Manta
May 2, 20169:03 am

Sandhja is in a light blue jump suit, well, tight onesie effort and the staging is pretty, well, Swedish. Vocally she is in tune but things can get tightened up quite a lot. In the middle 8, Sandhja is making her way along the catwalk to the front section and then returns to the backing singers on the stage for the final chorus. The 5 of the backing singers are clad in black with microphone stands on the middle of floor. They quite a lot of schlager strutting around!

Italian in the UK, with a strong preference for Sweden. I support myself tweeting (not even joking) - and that's why Social Media is my kingdom. Drama tends to follow me, hence why I really feel connected to the #skandal and #fiasko hashtags.

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  1. […] “Douwe Bob is front of stage with his guitar, wearing a dark blue suit and a calmly lit stage, tje floor of which shows a clock face. Joining him on stage are a pianist at an upright, drummer, electric guitarrist and bassist. There’s not a lot of great movement in the song, although towards the end, Douwe Bob takes his mic stand with him for a little wander at the front of the stage.” – ESCXtra […]


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