Good morning from Stockholm! In the press centre we are ready for Day 2 of rehearsals.

The remaining acts for Eurovision 2016 Semifinal 1 will be performing soon – alongside Sweden.

This will be the schedule for the day (all times in CEST):

  • Czech Republic 10:00 – 10:30
  • Cyprus 10:40 – 11:10
  • Austria 11:20 – 11:50
  • Estonia 12:00 – 12:30
  • LUNCH 12:30 – 13:30
  • Azerbaijan 13:40 – 14:10
  • Montenegro 14:20 – 14:50
  • Iceland 15:00 – 15:30
  • BREAK 15:30 – 15:50
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 16:00 – 16:30
  • Malta 16:40 – 17:10
  • Sweden 17:20 – 17:50

Simon Wells
May 3, 20165:08 pm

So rehearsals are done for a second day. Head to youtube.com/escxtra.com to see our interview with Juri from Estonia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LCGVdPrwRQ

Rehearsals from Semifinal 2 take place tomorrow, and we’ll be streaming on escxtra.com/live plus follow our thoughts and faces on snapchat and instagram (escXtra). Thanks for tuning in, see you tomorrow!


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20165:03 pm

The Euro Café got pretty crowded for the Swedish rehearsal and people are applauding afterwards. Nobody seemed to be overly impressed, though. I agree that the simplicity of the performance is extremely refreshing. It still doesn’t make me become a fan of Frans.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 20164:59 pm

Sweden: Basically what we saw in Melodifestivalen with a few more ambitious camera angles, but it worked before, it can work again. He comes out to the B-stage at the end. A couple of favourites have disappointed in the first couple of days, so this is looking good for going all the way…


Simon Wells
May 3, 20164:53 pm

Sweden’s performance is a refreshing change after recent events, with a simple performance. Frans is looking pretty engaged and vocally tight enough. The second runthrough he’s added a grey (H&M we think) jacket to his green tshirt. I’m pleasantly surprised by this!


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20164:42 pm

Sweden:
First things first: Frans is wearing a beanie! We get to see the same golden lights on screen in the background creating words and crossed out hearts as in Melodifestivalen. He is leaving the main stage towards the end, and that was that. No surprises, a very clean and simple performance.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20164:21 pm

Malta:
Looking at it for the third time, I noticed the huge Ira-heads on screen in the beginning and they are kind of scaring me. Throughout the song, Ira is not moving a lot on stage, which makes everything look a bit undynamic. The whole performance and the viuals are not really supporting the otherwise great song, unfortunately.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20164:19 pm

The projector-screen dress doesn’t seem too effective, so there will be some tinkering to do here. Ira’s vocals and the backing vocals are great, but I feel like the performance would be a lot better overall if she just wore the short black dress throughout so that we can focus on the song.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20163:57 pm

Malta:
Ira is wearing a shapeless beige coat which she gets rid of towards the end of the song revealing a black mini dress. Except for the blue floor I think the background visuals don’t go well with the song and that single dark dancer lurking around Ira is not doing the trick for me. Her vocals are naturally strong, however.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 20163:24 pm

Bosnia-Herzegovina

OK so this sounds pretty much as you’d expect. Visually I like the barbed wire separating Deen and Dalal but I’m not sure why they’re all wearing those foil shock blankets at the start…I’m sure it’s some wider concept. Also you can all quiet down, I like the rap. Without it, it would just be yet another bland repetition of the Balkan Ballad formula – at least they’ve tried to take it into another direction.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20163:17 pm

Bosnia & Herzegovina:
The girl with the cello is wearing a thermal blanket, there is barbed
wire between the two singers, and the rapper guy (sorry, but I refuse to
learn their names) had some sound problems at first. I wouldn’t mind if
he was muted for good to be honest. I guess there is supposed to be a
deeper sense in this, but I think it’s all just very disturbing.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20162:24 pm

Iceland were ten minutes late to start, presumably after some technical faffing about.
The performance is not greatly changed than at Songvakeppnin, but there is more use of the stage rather than solely the projector screen.
There are seemingly some uncertain moments in terms of where Greta needs to move, but vocally there are no problems. We never see the backing vocalists.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20162:23 pm

Iceland:
I thought they would never start again… The Icelandic performance has not been changed much from the national final. A very dark setting and projections playing with shadows, birds, and smoke. I wish she would at least have changed her clothes into something less shredded.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 20162:20 pm

Iceland: Very ropey rehearsal, but that’s what rehearsals are for. This will be good when Greta knows where she’s meant to be standing, the timings are slicker, and the lighting cues are tidied up. The elements are all the same as the national final, but put together slightly differently.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20161:44 pm

Montenegro:
Confusing, yes, but I like it. And a great contrast to the other 41 songs. It will be interesting to see how this is met, but I like that the presentation of the song has not been watered down or Eurovisioned to make an appeal to fans of the contest or appear as a novelty.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 20161:39 pm

Montenegro is very slick as a performance and if you like the song, you’ll be very happy with it. If you don’t like the song, you’ll still not like it. The girl from the music video is back, and it’s another song with a lot of camera cuts and flashing lights – it certainly suits the song, but I can’t help but think a lot of people will just never get on board with it as an entry.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20161:31 pm

Montenegro:
Well, this was confusing. A lot of camera cuts, lots of light flickering through the darkness which suits the song quite well I guess. There is a girl on the front stage who is wearing a tattoo necklace. I’m not quite sure what her role in all of this is, but I hope she’ll be wearing that necklace for the show!


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20161:16 pm

Azerbaijan:
A pyro and fire fountain overload in the final run-through.Not helping.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 20161:08 pm

Azerbaijan:
After Samra cut off the second run-through after a few seconds they started again, but her vocals didn’t exactly get any better. I’m sorry about your money, Peter!


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 20161:02 pm

Azerbaijan: Well I had money on this to win…that’s down the drain. It started off positively with some fierce hand-ography and mic stand action, but things went off the rails badly at the chorus when it became obvious that Samra simply cannot sing. It never recovered. Good staging and choreography but it’s all wasted as people will be busy cringing at the horrendous vocals. WHY do they not have backing singers turned up to 11 doing the heavy lifting for her??


Simon Wells
May 3, 201612:58 pm

I agree with Sophie, as did many in the press centre. Those were the most uncomfortable vocals we have heard this week. The staging is surprisingly simple by Azeri standards, although the backing dancers/vocalists are kept busy. They have more work to do though!


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 201612:52 pm

Azerbaijan:
There was a piece of dandelion floating across the screen and then people were working on Samra’s microphone for a couple of minutes. Finally, she appeared out of the dark, a lot of virtual fire and golden lights surrounding her. I like the dancers, but her vocals sounded rather painful.


Simon Wells
May 3, 201612:32 pm

Ten minutes until Azerbaijan take the stage for the highly anticipated first rehearsal.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 201611:29 am

I’m reliably informed (I made the mistake of looking away from the screen for 5 seconds) that the card-producing part works quite well now they’ve sorted out the camera shot. Looks quite cool apparently.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 201611:18 am

Estonia: Juri is looking very suave in his blue suit and his glasses, and the stage has a Vegas deck-of-cards type motif. Although the random bit in the middle where he produces an Ace of Hearts and chucks it away can go. I think the song is catchy but he’s getting a bit lost on the big stage and I can’t help feeling he looks a bit too intense for what is quite an uplifting song really. This is another one on the borderline – like the Netherlands I think this will have a definite audience, but at the same time it could get forgotten by the end.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 201611:15 am

Estonia:
I love the glasses on him, but they make him look even younger than he actually is (which is already pretty young). Besides that it’s all very classy with the suit, the lights, and the playing cards – a good match for the song and Jüri’s remarkable voice.


Simon Wells
May 3, 201611:03 am

Matteo here.

There was a sort of a surprise when Juri appeared on stage with some glasses and my comment was “IS THAT TIJANA?”.
He looks sharp in a blue suit. Vocally it should be a bit better, but I guess he’s testing stuff out. Turns out the Brits don’t have a proper word for the symbols on the cards – which are called SUITS. So, the stage has suits on the background, he’s doing some card tricks throwing aces here and there, standing still in the centre of the stage.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 201610:41 am

Austria:
A peachy dress and a build-up to a colorful fairytale world in the background as expected. It’s all a bit too much for my taste, but it does go well with the song. Her trying to move in sync with the animations seems a little clumsy, but I guess they will work that out. What is it with the finger flicking everyone seems to be enjoying so much this year?!


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 201610:36 am

Austria: This is as sweet and lovely as one would have expected. Zoe is singing it well but will no doubt be better once she has warmed up a bit. The stage doesn’t look as striking as I had hoped but I don’t have as much of an issue with her standing still, because at least it looks less like a standard Mans projection rip-off. I hope that this can make it, but it’s so on the cusp.


Simon Wells
May 3, 201610:31 am

Zoe is standing still. Throughout.
Most of the graphics are similar to the video. The dress is peach and a taffeta gown. Simon translates this to a blancmangey dress. Very nice. Zoe pulls a couple of unfortunate faces on the higher notes while the camera is in close, but that will be tidied up I am sure. A solid effort here. A little more movement would help we think.


Matteo Manta
May 3, 201610:20 am

Run through number three. They are sorting out the video bits which is cool. He started choking a bit towards the final and we assume (ASSUME) it was for the exaggerated smoke. But anyway, good vocals (even though he doesn’t have to make much of an effort to sound good), good directing and exciting to see them on stage.


Sophie Haustein
May 3, 201610:11 am

I’m ready to join in today from the Euro Café which has just opened its doors for the day. I missed most of the first two rehearsals, but caught a little bit of Cyprus. Was a bit shocked about those cages at first, but they kind of work well with the whole setting. I really don’t like the appearance of the wolf and the howling though.


Peter Dunwoody
May 3, 201610:05 am

Very well directed performance from Cyprus. The band are in cages and looking generally quite rough and rocky. Lots of dynamic lighting and quick camera cuts and it’s all very eye-catching, for many reasons…

There is video footage of wolves being played in which needs to look less clumsy, but this will do very well once it’s tidied up a bit. Promising.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20169:57 am

Yesterday, the screens at Euroclub with generic welcome messages had countries labelled as “Great Britain” and “Moldavia. And San Marino’s welcome was in Turkish. Things are written more conventionally in the press centre screens this morning.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20169:51 am

“Finally says rock!” says the stage manager as he introduces Cyprus’ first rehearsal. The drummer and guitarists are behind bars, effectively in half a cage. The lighting is quite dark
Francois’ vocal is reliable and the balance between lead and backing vocals is much better than we have seen in many a first runthrough.
There are graphics of black wolves that are shown sporadically, meaning we don’t see the stage or band at all at these points.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20169:36 am

Press centre updates:
tatcheck in the press pigeonholes today provides us with a CD courtesy of Zoe from Austria and a teamdouwe scarf.


Matteo Manta
May 3, 20169:32 am

Apart from the confusion in the name of the country, she’s very qualified in singing. She clearly used the first rehearsal to test the audio and now she’s doing it better. She stands (well) where she is supposed to, solemnly and without moving. The camera work does the trick and the second try seems very well polished and a very comfortable qualifier.


Simon Wells
May 3, 20169:19 am

Czech Republic / Czechia
The first rehearsal of the day is a little while in starting, and there is a false dawn as Gabriela enters from the back of the stage and is not sure of her point to stand for the song, so after a short conversation with the production crew clarifying Gabriela’s need to check the LED marker before setting out on her journey to the stage, as it will be gone by the time she arrives at her mark.
There are many wide shots showing the expanse of the stage on which Gabriela stands alone, with her backing vocalists hidden. There are no vocal problems at all. The lighting is blue and pink, in contrast with Gabriela’s white dress.

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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