Now, to my Jaded eye (do you see what I did there?), none of these looked half bad - until the last 30 seconds of Latvia, in which we totally lost the lead singer off the radar. Reports are coming to me that Intars has a cold. Nine days before the biggest performance of his life is a good time to go down with this year's official Eurovision cold, even I don't usually need more than a week to get over one and I'm the most cold-prone person in the entire world.
The trouble with Croatia is still the song, which is nice yet ignorable in a Bosnia '07 kind of way. For those of you who can't remember Bosnia '07 - exactly! I expected a lot worse of the Irish performance from comments made earlier, and there was definitely a bit of trouble in the last section of the song, but I've no problem at all with what I saw and heard there as a first rehearsal. And Latvia - well, what a sneaky way of mentioning near enough every country in the contest!
Serbia is very very silly. It's very very silly in a Leto Svet kind of way, and I would generally regard this as a good thing. My small problem with this rehearsal is not the ol' melodeon or the cartoon Marko on the backdrop - it's more that there were precious few signs that Marko was actually singing the song for much of this performance. That there Eurovision cold is obviously pretty infectious.
This leads me onto Poland, who had as weak a first rehearsal as I can ever recall seeing. The poor chook was struggling for every note there, and didn't catch many of them. The dancers were nice enough, but it's one part Strictly Come Dancing and nine parts Strictly Come Off It, I'm afraid. I miss Isis Gee.
Norway was everything I expected it to be. Nah, I'll come off the fence again - I wish the bookies were offering some sensible odds about it, but it's streets ahead of everything else I've seen so far. The background's magical, the dancers work, and even the fleeting glimpses of the camera monitor make it look like this is going to be three very special minutes of television. Then another three. And probably three more at the end with credits rolling over it. I can already SEE credits rolling over that. Very, very good indeed.
Cyprus is a lovely attempt, but Christina's voice is made for this song in exactly the same way that Cheesy Wotsits are made for dunking in Fanta. Give her a Stronger Every Minute and I'd be lapping it up, but Firefly's just wrong for her. Pity. Either the singer or the song could have made inroads here, but both together may be relying on the sheer awfulness of most of the Semi 2 competition.
Slovakia... oh, meh. Meh, meh, meh. Nico and Vlad aren't such bad role models in theory, but these two are no Nico and Vlad and the song's no whatever Nico and Vlad's song was called. Something about Sonja Lumme, if my memory's serving correctly. This is not a blog entry about Nico and Vlad, however, it's about this year's Slovakian entry which I don't like and makes my ears hurt.
Brinck - gee whiz, has everyone in Moscow got Eurovision flu today? Vocals yet again seriously shaky in places, and I genuinely am curious why he's chosen to perform in front of a picture of my garden shed. It makes no sense. Maybe it's because he's never had a picture of an ant? I'm shockingly unimpressed.
There better be a HELL of a lot of finalists performing tomorrow, that's all I'm sayin'... and if OnEurope aren't absolutely smashed on cheap 50% proof Fanta right now, they've got more discipline than I have.
Sheesh. I need a nice chocolate biscuit or six now to recover my composure before I work out how to preview Day 4. Anyone up for a bourbon cream?