Welcome to Kiev

Ok, so we’re off with the final day of press rehearsals, and it’s the hosts and the Big 5: we’ve seen these now so just brief updates from me this morning. Refresh if you're following in rela time, I'll update as we go through Ukraine, Italy, Spain, Germany UK and France.

Ukraine – well, a standard rock performance, bur a solid one. There were some guests in a separate area of the arena this morning, and this went down very well with them, so I presume they’re Ukrainians. In the hall I spotted that the eyes of the giant head light up with revolving spot beams. I think this will be a mid-table result.

Italy is brilliant, so full of energy and freneticness. I love the backdrops with play with eatern imagery and the evolution of man line up, which turns into a rainbow at one point. Flying umbrellas for ‘singing in the rain’ line. It’s just beautifully done, enhanced from San Remo in just the right way.

Spain is on now and barely anyone’s paying attention, not even the Spanish. It’s something I suspect will be repeated on the night. Rubbish of the highest order.

I'm sorry, but I missed Germany entirely. I popped in to see the Ukrainian press conference in time to observe an international incident where a journalist asked about comments on an Italian TV show saying Ukraine has lost Crimea, it should also lose Eurovision. O.Torvald responded dismissing it, and an Italian woman leapt to say that this was not the views of most Italians. Zhenya, the lead singer, then came down and hugged her, and presented her with a pair of O.Torvald promotional knickers. As you do.

UK is setting up. We've had some video feed of them setting up Lucie's plinth. So far it's taken up half of her rehearsal slot. I hope it's not going to prove a problem on the night with a quick change of sets. We get a feed of the first run through and again Lucie is excellent. It's the best performance by UK in years. She's in a new frock: this one's more gold. The bursts look amazing in the hall. Daring to dream... (but measuredly!)

France is one of my favourite songs, not just of this year, but in Eurovision in general, and I'm gutted that this is how they're presenting it. I just don't think the backdrop works, impressive as the aerial views of Paris are. She sings it well, but it just needs more. Closing on a low note for me, sadly.

Monty x