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LIVE: Eurovision 2024: Semi-Final Two first dress rehearsal are live for day three of Eurovision 2024 week!

Today, the Eurovision week finally starts, and accredited members of the media will see a full run-through of semi-final one from start to finish.

From 15h35 CEST onwards, we will be updating this page with our first reactions to the FULL performances of the following entries:

  1. Malta: Sarah Bonnici – “Loop”
  2. Albania: Besa – “Titan”
  3. Greece: Marina Satti – “Zari”
  4. Switzerland: Nemo – “The Code”
  5. Czechia: Aiko – “Pedestal”
    France: Slimane – “Mon Amour”
  6. Austria: Kahleen – “We Will Rave”
  7. Denmark: Saba – “Sand”
  8. Armenia: Ladaniva – “Jako”
  9. Latvia: Dons – “Hollow”
    Spain: Nebulossa – “Zorra”
  10. San Marino: Megara – “11:11”
  11. Georgia: Nutsa Buzaladze – “Firefighter”
  12. Belgium: Mustii – “Before the Party is Over”
  13. Estonia: 5miinust & Puuluup – “(nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi”
    Italy: Angelina Mango – “La Noia”
  14. Israel: Eden Golan – “Hurricane”
  15. Norway: Gåte – “Ulveham”
  16. The Netherlands: Joost Klein – “Europapa”

For the first time this year, the automatic qualifiers will be performing in their semi-final during the live shows, inserted within the running order.

Refresh the page to see updates on the dress rehearsal below! (All times are in CEST)

15h45 – Let the show begin!

As the “Te Deum” resonates between the walls of the press center, the rehearsal of second semi-final begins. A recap of the first semi-final should introduce the show, but we’re told that it is not available yet.

So for now, no music, just “Recap SFA Not Available” on the screen, in capital letters.

15h45 – Let the show begin!

As the “Te Deum” resonates between the walls of the press center, the rehearsal of second semi-final begins. A recap of the first semi-final should introduce the show

We are then introduced to a short dramatic parody of “Tatoo” by Målin and Petra Mede, filmed in a very dramatic music clip, before getting to the stage.

15h48 – The hosts are back

Petra is wearing a long, bright red dress, while Målin walks in wearing a shorter dress in the white and pink/red/orange colours found on the graphic schemes of this year’s visual identity.

To introduce the songs of the Big Five performing this year, the names are not given by the hosts, but by a parody of Miss Universe candidates shouting their countries name. This introduction is much more on the “meme” side of the force, compared to yesterday’s show.

15h52 – 🇲🇹 Malta – “Loop”

Sarah Bonnici’s postcard is introduced by the 1998 and 2021 entries of Malta.

The performance itself is slick. The “Slomo” style is clearly there, but she owns it and looks very confident. The blind backflip works as well as it did in the rehearsals. Vocals-wise, she is good, but her voice is sometimes drowned in the music.

An enthusiastic response from the press center!

15h56 – 🇦🇱 Albania – “Titan”

It’s the 2009 and 2012 entries that start the Albanian postcard.

Besa starts in the centre of the stage, wearing a blue/jade dress with a veil on her hair, and a dancer dancing on the floor in front of her. The dancer’s mooves are reproduced on the “cubes” in the air, which looks quite efficient.

For the second chorus, she is joined by two others, who dance around her. She is later joined by two others, who are her backing dancers.

Vocally, nothing is at fault, but it lacks some punch. With such a position in the running order, qualification may be a tall order, unfortunately.

16h01 – 🇬🇷 Greece – “Zari”

It’s the 1974 and obviously the 2005 entries that start the Greek postcard.

This should be all done in one take, from the same camera. It starts in the vertical “smartphone” format, with hearts emoji pouring from the bottom as in a livestream. The screen then suddenly widens to get to the more classical rectuangular format, following Marina around, before her dancers join her.

The performance uses all the parts of the stage, which the public should love.

The “one take” is not complete, as the entire performance ends up on the floor, with the ceiling camera being used for a “de-zoom” shot before the bridge. After that, several cameras and angles are used.

This is vocally on point. The backing vocals are a bit loud, but do not really try to hide the vocal capacity of Marina.

16h05 – 🇨🇭 Switzerland – “The Code”

It’s the 1988 and 2021 entries that start the Swiss postcard.

Nemo starts on the stage, next to the parabol we saw on rehearsal footage. They step on it as the song rises to the first chorus, and jumps off it before the rap part. They then get in and out, sliding, jumping, etc. until the second chorus. It is not as “messy” as it sounds when I write it.

They then walk up the parabol in a very hesistant way during the “Somewhere between the 0s and 1s” part.

The costume is much less expansive visually than in the footage we saw last week. The shoes are back to a more “discrete” size, for example, which gives a slicker look to the performance. And this is vocally very good, as predicted.

16h09 – 🇨🇿 Czechia – “Pedestal”

It’s the 2018 and 2022 entries that start the Czech postcard.

Aiko begins at the center of the stage, with the cubes just a few centimeters above her head. It’s all very red and dark, as the cubes rise.

A surprise bridge appears before the last chorus, as Aiko and her dancers get under the central cube, which lowers to “trap them”, and a small scene of domestic argument plays.

The vocals are unfortunately drowned by the backing vocals and the music.

16h12 – Ad break and Jahn Teigen tribute

After Czechia’s song, the hosts take to the stage for a small tribute to Jahn Teigen, triple representative for Norway (1978, 1982, 1983), and his last place with no points in 1978. Jahn passed away in 2020, but it is never too late for a tribute.

The show then displays a video of a few songs that did very poorly throughout the years, before going back to the hosts.

16h16 – 🇫🇷 France- “Mon Amour”

It’s the 1977 and 2021 entries that start the French postcard.

Slimane starts on the floor, looking intensely at the camera, his mic lying on his arm. The mic actually slides off as the performance starts, but he professionally grabs it back.

While the performance looked very “white” in rehearsal footage, it has a slight blue tint for now on the LED screens and the lights. Slimane remains on the ground until the second chorus, with only one camera on him, with which he interacts a lot. It’s just one take for as long as Greece, perhaps longer.

The show only changes camera for the massive last chorus, away from the mic.

Obviously this is vocally on point. This looks impressive. This should do very, very well on Saturday.

16h21 – 🇦🇹 Austria – “We Will Rave”

It’s the 2014 and 2018 entries that introduce the Austrian postcard.

For some reason the stage took some time to set up, as we waited almost thirty seconds between the postcard and the beginning of the song.

Lasers, white and purple lights, dancers, this is the atmosphere we expected from Kahleen. She wants to enjoy herself on stage, and calls out to the crowd in a concert fashion. During the bridge, she does some acrobatics with her dancers, before the last chorus hits.

Her vocals could punch a little more, but visually this is very professional!

16h26 – 🇩🇰 Denmark – “Sand”

It’s the 1988 and 2000 entries that introduce the Danish postcard.

Saba starts with a shaky voice, but not shaky vocals, which gives some roughness to her song. She’s wearing a white dress and spilling some sand on the ground. There are a few effects with the back screen where she does movements with her arms to send sand, in a Sweden 2015 style, but some are not well synchronized/aligned well yet.

The performance also alternates between her and a virtual version on her on the back screen.

This remains vocally on point, though I suspect she’s preserving the strength of her voice for the performances that matter.

16h30 – 🇦🇲 Armenia – “Jako”

It’s the 2009 and 2022 entries that introduce the Armenian postcard.

Once again, there is a small delay between the postcard and the song to make sure everything is ready. The performance begins with a burst of energy from Ladaniva, in a colourful stage, with the floor being decorated by LED illustrations of traditional Armenian motives.

The band on the center, on a podium, while Jaklin (the singer) jumps around, full of energy. Vocally on point, very happy, this is definitely qualifying, and it may make it very hard for Denmark to qualify, coming right after them.

16h34 – Ad break after 8 songs

The hosts come back on stage and talk about the national origins of the public, as the most represented country in the ticket buyers is the UK. They call out different nationalities (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden)…. This is just the automatic qualifiers, actually, now that I think of it.

This doesn’t get a very strong response with only a few journalists in the arena, but this should work very well in the live show.

16h38 – 🇱🇻 Latvia – “Hollow”

It’s the 2002 and 2015 entries that introduce the Latvian postcard.

Dons is, as usual, vocally strong. He starts inside a big circle standing up at the centre of the stage. The performance is very laid back, it’s only the birg circle and Dons, wearing his blue pants and “chest piece of armour”.

Some graphics do appear on the main screen for the second chorus, reproducing a tree, as seen in the rehearsal footage. But this relies on Dons, his charisma and his vocals. It may not be enough to qualify, but this semi-final is more open.

16h42 – 🇪🇸 Spain – “Zorra”

It’s the 1968 and 2022 entries that introduce the Spanish postcard. And we once again have a small delay before the performance.

I will try not to sing along too much in order to describe this well… Maria starts inside the central cube with her dancers, as it rises. The rest of the performance is close enough to the Benidorm Fest’s one, including the public shouting “Soy más zorra todavía”.

The performance is unfortunately not on the beat, although the beat itself is not completely in rythm with the rest of the instrumental, which is very distracting. This may be a technical issue.

16h46 – 🇸🇲 San Marino – “11:11”

It’s the 2014 and 2019 entries that introduce the San Marinese postcard.

The singer Isra starts on the ground, like she did in the rehearsal footage. The whole performance is very Tim Burton-like, in pink and black colour schemes. A few effects on the back screen, or added directly to the feed, push this atmosphere very well. The two dancers, wearing pink skeleton costumes, and their head completely painted in white, add even more to that.

This looks more and more like a qualifier.

16h51 – 🇬🇪 Georgia – “Firefighter”

It’s the 2007 and 2015 entries that introduce the Georgian postcard.

Nutsa starts at the center of the stage, as a red circle draws itself on the screen behind her, making up a sort of red-tainted solar eclipse. She leaves a small podium to be joined by four dancers. The “put out the fire” bridge is the dance break, a bit early in the song, reminding me of “Unicorn” last year.

The atmosphere is very red, firey, but there is barely any pyro.

This is vocally good, and the performance is good enough though it does not “tone down” the overall feeling that too much is happening in the song, for those who feel that way.

16h55 – 🇧🇪 Belgium – “Mustii”

It’s the 1986 and 2015 entries that introduce the Belgian postcard.

Mustii begins alone on stage, and joins his circle of microphones before the first chorus. During the second chorus, he crawls and the cameras look at him with the mics-stands between them and him, creating a nice effect of focus and blur.

He leaves the circle to get to the front of the stage for his bridge, as the song explodes. He doesn

t move away from the front, but multiple cameras angles, from afar and zooming in, are there to counteract against the repetitiveness of the end.

It is vocally very strong and confident, much better than what people were afraid of after the rehearsals. What may be lacking is some eye contact with the camera, and a crowd to react to the end. The latter should be there very soon.

17h00 – 🇪🇪 Estonia – “(nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi”

It’s the 2001 and 2009 entries that introduce the Estonian postcard.

This will be a crowd pleaser. The entire performance is very energetic, with members of both bands singing from different parts of the stage. The cameras focus much better on Puuluup than they did in Eesti Laul when they sing, and it’s working well overall. The beginning, however, was quite off key.

17h03 – 🇮🇹 Italy – “La Noia”

It’s the 1987 and 2021 entries that introduce the Italian postcard.

Angelina starts on the floor, with her “root” dress, among the roots/floral LED. She then gets up and sings and dance in the center, with her five dancers. They go to the side squares too, but remain mainly in the centre. This is clearly a song for the cameras.

She sits on a throne made of a rose tree before the last chorus, then walks up to the front of the stage. Cut to a the latest “Vivo per morire” with the camera turning around her, and the last chorus exploding with a shower of glitter, as she majestically walks back to her throne.

This is very good, vocally, atmospherically. The winner potential is there, but it is not a clear path yet.

17h08 – 🇮🇱 Israel – “Hurricane”

It’s the 1991 and 1998 entries that introduce the Israeli postcard.

Eden Golan starts in the middle of a circle, at first alone, then joined by dancers for her chorus, who then carry her out of the circle. The performances is quite heavy on the smoke machine, and with the camera shots, it hides the true size of the stage, for the first half of the song.

The colour schemes is dark and blue for the first half, and turns to a more golden, sun-like colour for the climax of the song.

17h12 – 🇳🇴 Norway – “Ulveham”

It’s the 1986 and obviously 2009 entries that introduce the Norwegian postcard.

And we’re back to the recipe of “not changing too much from the national selection staging”. The atmosphere, the shower of light on Gunnhild, etc. are back. The camera shots, however, are a bit more diverse, with more focus given to the instrumentists and the backing singers.

Gunnhild looked slightly uneasy at the beginning, but she got more and more confident during the song, and the press centre was very enthusiastic at the end of the performance.

17h16 – 🇳🇱 The Netherlands – “Europapa”

It’s the 1998 and obviously 2021 entries that introduce the Dutch postcard.

Did you ask for memes? You got them with Joost! We start with his face “scattered” like a paper pattern on the cross-stage, seen from above.

The back screen is showing all kind of things, images in the style of the videoclip, images of food, etc. The dancebreak will get the crowd going, and the final emotional part got a round of applause from the press center, with chills going through all of us.

17h21 – Start voting and recap

The voting starts very shortly after Joost Klein’s performance, and a recap follows. The most surprising choice here is The Netherlands, who only show the end of the performance, the serious part that punches your feelings, instead of showing the more “dance-friendly” part.

17h28 – Sing-Along

The mysterious “sing-along” accross Europe is introduced by Petra and Målin, and starts as a giant karaoke with people accross Europe on the screen (photos for now) and the lyrics written in the middle. We start with “My Number One”, and Helene Paparizou walks up to the stage before the first chorus.

Charlotte Perrelli arrives after that, and sings her 1999 winning song “Take Me To Your Heaven”, with the main screen still displaying the lyrics in karaoke style.

And finally, Sertab Erener graces us with her presence in a stunning yellow/green dress, as “Every That I Can” starts playing.

17h45 – Sweden just loves Eurovision too much…

As we wait for the (fake) qualifier, Petra reminds everyone of how strong Sweden is at Eurovision. This is the introduction to an interval act entitled “We Love Eurovision Too Much”.

This is very much in the style of “Story of ESC” and “Love Love Peace Peace” from 2016, as Carola joins her, to sing about how Sweden is mad about Eurovision, with quite a few jokes only the fans will get. Next is Lynda Woodruff, who continues the song. This is basically a big parody of everything, throwing shade at Finland’s potential hosting, before Käärijä seamlessly takes for a short version of “Cha Cha Cha”.

I can’t explain everything here, as it’s a long number with so many references. But those who focus on the screens in the Press Center are loving this and laughing very loudly.

17h53 – Preparing for the fake qualifiers

Like in the first semi-final, the back screen slides open to reveal the green room, as Petra and Målin prepare for the first fake announcement for this semi-final.

17h55 – And the fake qualifiers are…

Albania, Malta, Armenia, Switzerland, Belgium (revealed on screen before the hosts could say it, so they had to rewind a bit….), Czechia, Latvia, San Marino, The Netherlands, and finally Greece!

And with that, we’re good to go. Thank you for following this live blog! And don’t forget to stay up to date with the latest news with ESCXtra!

Sarah-Louise Bennett/EBUESCXTRA

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