Welcome all to our coverage of the first dress rehearsal for the grand final! It’s the first time we’ll get to see how the songs will line up together in the running order as revealed last night, and our first look at the show.

Join us on our live stream at escxtra.tv and on Twitter @escXtra.

Meanwhile follow our thoughts on our live blog below – enjoy!


Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:42 pm

Petra was doing SO well in the dress department until she delivered that last link in an awful bright green monstrosity. There are also a couple of special guest cameos, but I won’t spoil that for you.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:41 pm

This is so so tough. So many of these songs have the potential to get a lot of votes, but not all of them can.

Joe and Jake aren’t in their best voice for the UK this afternoon but if they sing it well tonight it should do OK.
Armenia is an interesting choice of closer but very powerful as always.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:31 pm

What a fantastic draw for Austria. After a run of songs that could be quite divisive, Loin d’Ici sounds like a breath of fresh air. Just so cute and colourful and gentle and easy listening. The crowd in the arena will help when they go crazy for this and could push this into the top ten.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:27 pm

Malta have added some new glittery graphics and also a couple of Ira’s faces in the backdrop during the middle-eight. Unnecessary additions and I’m not sure it’ll do much to improve the result, which I fear, now we know the final line-up, could be embarrassing for Ira.

Georgia is Georgia. A contrast to Malta and well, pretty much everything! It could be quite damaging to Cyprus as it sounds a lot more authentic and people who would vote for this will be very relieved to hear it when it finally comes on in the final.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:18 pm

One of the more confusing running order decisions for me is placing Ukraine straight after Latvia, as two of the more left-field songs of the night. Jamala knocks it out of the park though, even in rehearsal, and this could blow Justs out of the water…I take back what I said about him having a great draw!

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:13 pm

Justs is going for this just as much as he did in last night’s semi-final, but he needs to be careful not to cross the border into shouting. Right now though, this is a great draw.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:11 pm

I have to say, I think the biggest loser of this running order is Spain. Say Yay is such a lot of fun after the slick calculated performance from Russia, but at the same time, people will no doubt be talking about Russia well into this. It also could come across as a bit ordinary or even amateur after Sergey’s kitchen-sink attempt.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:05 pm

Russia. Oh this is going to win isn’t it?

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20163:02 pm

After pulling it out of the bag quite well on Tuesday, Nina is struggling vocally again. Now she’s made the final, I think it gets a bit more lost amongst everything else (especially considering what’s about to come), but it was good to see that the dress wasn’t actively offputting to voters.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:58 pm

Donny Montell has got the guns out today from the point he does the acrobatics onwards. I can’t quite call how this will do…it still seems like a poor example of a very voter-friendly genre of music, so it could go either way. It seems like the most generic song of the lot though and with so many other songs with strong appeals, I’m not thinking Donny will improve on Love Is Blind in terms of results.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:55 pm

Sanja is such a good performer and she can really tell the story through her expressions and her voice. The staging is very effective and it’s just a very professional package, but is this going to get votes so soon after the vocal powerhouse from Australia? I think it might damage this slightly.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:50 pm

Australia is as strong as ever. Dami is saving her voice which is very wise, and this is now looking like a real challenger for the win!

Cyprus is also strong just after Dami, kicking the show back into life after a mid-tempo / ballad section.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:49 pm

Poland is well sung, but pretty much as one would expect.

And then we cross over to Mans in the Tele2 arena during a commercial break. The arena is looking very “crash boom bang” this afternoon which is quite strange to see!

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:35 pm

A strong performance from Amir from France. Not much has changed in his performance and he is as vocally strong as ever. He sure looks handsome in his wine coloured suit. His charming smile is definitely what will score him some points too. All round a good efford.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:31 pm

After a short interlude from Mans and Petra to allow time to clear the stage, it’s time for Germany. Jamie-Lee is cute and her quirky style may be the only thing that saves this from another last place. Sandwiched between Sweden and France is not a great position for this.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:25 pm

Frans is the same as it’s always been… I think it needs to make a good impression straight away and right now he’s rather flat on the first couple of lines, as he has been a few times. Other than that you know what to expect here, it’s just like the Melodifestivalen performance.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:22 pm

Bulgaria is so so catchy and Poli is such a great popstar. She sells this so well and it’s so much fun, but I’m afraid that it might get lost now. It’s as good as ever, but obviously the performance has its shortcomings. The one thing that might happen is that it maybe kills off Sweden after it…

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:19 pm

Not a great running order position for Israel – it looks great but I’d imagine it will be overshadowed by other big ballad moments later on (I’m looking at you Australia). Hovi is struggling on some of the higher notes this afternoon…heavy night after qualifying?

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:14 pm

Italy now, and I was so wrong about this one – it has turned out to be one of the more standout songs of the year! There I was thinking it would just blend into the background. Even though she’s performing in 6th I think this will do very well for Italy and I couldn’t be happier.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:10 pm

I didn’t have much time for Hungary in the semi-final but it really is utter filler in this line-up. Freddie is very easy on the eye, but this afternoon he’s not particularly easy on the ear. I’m thinking bottom few for this.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:05 pm

Time for Azerbaijan and this has reverted vocally back to how it was in the first rehearsal. Clearly the sound engineer is hung over! An audible groan ripples across the press centre as Samra delivers her PAINFUL last line. This is going nowhere.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20162:03 pm

The Netherlands as assured and strong as ever, although that silence before the final chorus is really interminable when there’s no crowd in the arena. It’s a shame its impact will have been diluted slightly by performing so early on but I’d say it could still do respectably. That being said I’m having reminders of Austria last year…

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20161:55 pm

Anyway Gaby is singing this as well as always, no worries on that front at all.

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20161:55 pm

So it’s the Czech Republic’s first ever appearance in a Eurovision final and they’ve been thrown on 2nd. Ouch! To be fair this is filler in the final so it makes sense, but harsh. One can’t help but feel they’ve been thrown under a bus slightly for Australia…

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20161:54 pm

And we start where we finished last night, with Belgium. It’s a natural show-opener really. Probably was never a contender to win but will really get the arena going (as if they won’t have been ridiculously hyperactive anyway).

Peter Dunwoody
May 13, 20161:51 pm

Good afternoon Europe!

The show begins with the now traditional parade of the contestants on stage, which is to a medley of Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and other Swedish producers – it will go down great in the arena. More good banter from Petra and Mans including a joke that had been cut from the semi-finals. Nice to see it back.

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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