We’re now reaching the business end of Eurovision fortnight, with dress rehearsals starting today! Tonight, the juries will cast their votes for the first time as the jury rehearsal for semi-final 1, and this afternoon the artists have a chance to perfect their performances and we get a chance to see how the whole show will Come Together (har) for the first time.

The dress rehearsal starts at 5pm CEST and you can follow our thoughts live from the press centre below.

Also don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (our user name for all the above is escXtra), and to hear how the rehearsal is coming along on our live stream at escxtra.tv.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20166:00 pm

Now we’re getting performances from France, Spain and Sweden, although on the night these will just be 60 second clips.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:52 pm

The interval act for this semi-final is “The Grey People” which is inspired by the refugee situation.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:39 pm

Qualifier predix….

The Netherlands
Armenia
Russia
Czech Republic
Cyprus
Austria
Montenegro
Iceland
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Malta


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:34 pm

We’re getting the voting recap now…


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:34 pm

The performance from Malta is a little bit boring but anything beats the complete mess of the first rehearsal. Ira is in good voice and she looks fantastic. There really should have been more water, or at least more presence of water in the backdrop / concept.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:30 pm

Another performance that has been polished now from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The message of the staging is a bit on the nose, but it should hopefully hit home for viewers and they’ve done enough with the song and staging to make it different from the regular Balkan ballad. Another probable qualifier (but I think I’ve said that about 14 songs now or something).


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:26 pm

Greta’s performance has become a lot more polished in the last week, with the lighting just right, the interaction with the backing screen on point, and just a small bit of tidying up to be done in the part where she disappears. This should be an easy qualifier, and she owes a lot to Sergey Lazarev as he will be taking a lot of the heat off her that we thought she might be getting for being similar to Heroes.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:21 pm

I really think that Montenegro could be a dark horse to qualify you know…

The song is really not everyone’s cup of tea (including me), but it’s a very professional performance in comparison to Azerbaijan for it, and more memorable than Estonia before that. You can get 8/1 odds for this to qualify lads, just saying…


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:17 pm

Samra is really trying for Azerbaijan, bless her, but the vocals still just are not there at all. It’s one of my favourite songs and I like the staging (pyros ahoy!) but Azerbaijan could really struggle to qualify now and I never thought that this would be the song that caused them to become unstuck!


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:13 pm

Juri isn’t wearing glasses in this rehearsal (and he’s wearing considerably less in his postcard!), and this is very solid. I have my doubts over the chances this has though. It’s fighting over the same cute-guy-singing-an-adult-contemporary-song-competently vote that The Netherlands is, and I think the Netherlands might have a slight edge when it comes to the actual song. I would like this to qualify though, I’d not rule it out completely.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:08 pm

Zoe for Austria singing a very pretty song very well and looking very pretty while she’s at it. Pretty is a good way to describe this whole thing really. I really hope this qualifies (as many people here do), but could it come across as a little bit too lightweight after Cyprus?

I’m calling it now though – the fans will be sweating it out either way because if Loin d’ici qualifies it has got 10th envelope written all over it.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20165:03 pm

Minus One still on top of their game for Cyprus, even though they have been partying in Euroclub every. single. night.

A very polished performance of Alter Ego that almost looks like a music video. It also stands out so should be a definite qualifier too. They still don’t seem to have finally settled on how the wolf bits are going to look though – they’re running out of time for that!


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:58 pm

The stage looks very pretty for Gabriela’s performance for the Czech Republic. She still takes her hair loose at the end of the song, but there is a cutaway to a wide shot when she does it so it’s not a clunky Moldova moment. It’s a bit boring but very well sung and the only song of its kind in the semi-final so it should go through.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:53 pm

Russia’s performance looks very impressive, especially the middle section where Sergey climbs up the projection screen, but I still don’t think it’s enough of an improvement on Heroes for voters to take it all the way.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:50 pm

As predicted, there is a little bit of filling for time from Petra while they set the stage for Russia.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:50 pm

San Marino is as you would expect. Ridiculously camp and cheesy, and nothing much to say about it other than the stage has never looked more like a game show set than it does in Serhat’s performance.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:48 pm

Armenia is a masterclass in how to make an OK song brilliant through performance without resorting to gimmicks. Iveta is a pro, singing the crap out of the song and completely owning the stage and working the cameras. Lots of camera cuts, lots of smoke and lots of fire all help to underline the drama in the song. Definite qualifier and probably top five in the final – and this is coming from somebody who has never been crazy about the song.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:41 pm

The Netherlands now, and the pause where there is meant to be cheering still comes across as so awkward! Hopefully it will be much better with a full, liquored up arena. Still a very professional performance, that may well be the first qualifier of the evening.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:38 pm

So there is a “Eurovision taxi” segment during the commercial break where Petra and Mans disguise themselves as taxi drivers to pick up Eurovision fans visiting Stockholm. Expect some familiar faces and surprises during that part!


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:34 pm

Nina from Croatia has got the dubious honour of sporting two Barbara Dex winning dresses in one performance. Her vocals are OK but not as good as they should be. The song gets really good at the key-change… the stage looks beautiful, the backing vocals sound lovely, and it’s quite atmospheric, but it might be too little too late.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:29 pm

OK Freddie’s money note was fine to be fair.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:28 pm

Freddie from Hungary now, and yet again it’s a weak vocal. Red staging, unconvincing drumming, and cute singer. Overall, non-qualifier I think – the song is just not particularly inspiring at all.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:26 pm

Moldova also not spot on vocally, but she’s performing it well. The astronaut makes a bit more sense as she visited the observatory in her postcard, although he looks a bit like the Tin Man in a primary school production of the Wizard of Oz. She tries an ad lib at the end but it’s not great. This is the first time the music seems to have filled the hall, so I’m glad about that, but it’s still not going anywhere. The French verse is gone again.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:21 pm

Greece now, and it starts off very shaky vocally – it will need to sound much better if the juries aren’t to sink it. The sound levels are a bit all over the place as well. They’re all in white and cream again – two singers, two instrumentalists, a rapper and a dancer. It’s unfortunately dropped off a bit since the first rehearsal and in the context of everything else it looks a bit amateurish.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:17 pm

Sandhja is in her teal catsuit and her hair is shaved at the back and sides with a “mini Suus” do on top. It’s a fun opener and I can’t get enough of the cheesy backing dancer action, but I’ve come to accept that this is just fun filler really. Maybe if Sandhja’s vocals were better then it might stand a chance of going further but she’s yet to deliver on that front.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:16 pm

So after a VERY on-the-nose “Come Together” gag from Petra, it’s on to Song 1, Finland.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:13 pm

Mans speaking French is doing funny things to us here in the press centre…


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:10 pm

We now have the opening VT featuring a dandelion, being blown all over the world, then the little seeds all come together in Stockholm – it’s a very nice opening but perhaps a little long. There’s a good moment when the Globen becomes a giant dandelion.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20164:05 pm

The opening, as we knew already, is Mans reprising Heroes in a stripped back version with real kids instead of cartoon stick kids. If you saw Melodifestivalen this year, you’ll have seen this.


Peter Dunwoody
May 9, 20163:35 pm

Hello peeps – the show starts at 5pm CEST, so just under half an hour to go. Stay tuned!

Content Manager: In the real world I work in PR and I love pizza, dogs and gin. When it comes to Eurovision I can be quite a cynical fan at times, but I can always be won over by a killer key-change.

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9 Comments

  1. BB

    May 10, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Peter are you serious about Freddies vocal or you are just mean?He has on of the BEST MALE VOCALS this year.Im a musician so I know.Im surpised that you drag down somebody and you dont give a chance because …Just. I don’t think you really think this that he has weak vocals or if you do you are really not objective.I think this song will easily qualify and it will be 3rd-6th in its semi final.

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