LIVE BLOG – Semi Final 1 – Press rehearsal

Join us live here from 22:00 local time (8pm, UK/Portugal - 9pm Western Europe) to hear what we make of the Jury rehearsal of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. It's the first semi final today.

As a reminder, here's the running order:

  1. Sweden
  2. Georgia
  3. Australia
  4. Albania
  5. Belgium
  6. Montenegro
  7. Finland
  8. Azerbaijan
  9. Portugal
  10. Greece
  11. Poland
  12. Moldova
  13. Iceland
  14. Czech Republic
  15. Cyprus
  16. Armenia
  17. Slovenia
  18. Latvia

Join in with your comments below. 

Phil Colclough May 8, 20179:45 pm

Evening all – I haven’t moved from the Press Centre and my seat is still warm – well I have been to the Novus Supermarket but failing that, not gone anywhere. Rehearsal starts in 15 mins – Start your engines, charge your glasses etc..etc…

Phil Colclough May 8, 20179:50 pm

My Rantings this afternoon came up with:



Czech Republic
Phil Colclough May 8, 20179:54 pm

and just so you know, the Garlic buns are very VERY Garlicy…. No kissing Freddie from Hungary for me ( He’s here as a commentator)

Phil Colclough May 8, 20179:58 pm

Less than four minutes to go – this will start

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:01 pm

And we’re off – almost on time which is a change – same old intro than from this afternoon but only completed once!

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:02 pm

Some completely useless Rap Artiste is still introducing the contest and I have no idea why – guess its to show that Ukraine are modern (!) – Just get the songs on…. Am sure the jury feed wont have been turned on yet

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:04 pm

This rap artiste goes on longer than some of the entries tonight ( Yes Czechia I am looking at you) – But thankfully he’s finished and on come the presenters….

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:05 pm

As this is a recording the Presenters are dressed in their Sunday best…… Though not sure learning English by syllables is a great thing. Amazing nr 1..

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:05 pm

Amazing Nr 2

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:08 pm

Presenters are still speaking……….

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:09 pm

Right then – Off we go with Robin….

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:12 pm

I just can’t warm to this song to be honest, They (SVT) believe that they have the polished and finished article on stage and the fans literally cream themselves.

The jurors will see a weak song with a very good stage show that doesn’t look as slick as it did this afternoon. Perhaps that’s just my reading of the song but there was a small lighting issue ( as in the cameras went blank for about 2 seconds) – It won’t affect anything jurywise though.

Standard and servicable. Still not winning though.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:16 pm

I’ll start calling Tamara by her real name now I know what it is and, ftr, the backstage camera angle before she starts was not flattering!

But back to the thing the juries are voting on… Tamara is trying to be a diva and singing that good old Bond Tune but it lacks stage presence. This song should be sung by someone like Shirley Bassey, however they have got a low class Glennis Grace. Even the dramatic bits look forced and the song has an obligatory high note.

It’s fighting for the lower qualifying places.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:20 pm

Australia are not making the right noises here for me. Isiah has a dog of a song that is awful lyrically and has every cliche in the book. The jurors should mark it down for that. He still has massive versions of himself on stage and that is totally off putting. I’m not sure why they haven’t been toned down.

The only thing that is redeeming it here would have been his voice till he just missed the all of the high notes at the end of the song and looked as though he knew he’d missed them. Again, another massive mark down.

Not in trouble, but concerning for them.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:25 pm

Lindita is trying hard, bless her, but it seems the more she tries, the more desparate the song comes across. I’m not sure the wedding motif is the right way to go but she has hit all the right notes on this run through. She hasn’t connected with the camera much though and it does sound a touch like she is howling at times. The heart gesture she makes is really not in keeping with the slightly dark undertones. Struggling.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:30 pm

Blanche in not mumbling shocker. Her diction has miraculously got better ( Lets face it it could not get any worse) and she’s also doing things with her hands I still think that the song is too difficult for her and she’s not putting enough into the song and the mumbling *is* a problem, though it didn’t do bad things to Loreen. Maybe Blanche has relaxed when it matters but I still think it’s a touch too late to help.

Also when the camera panned to her at the end. She looks like she is about to cry and the vocal went off again. Better though.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:31 pm

Phil’s ranking after 5 songs (Brackets are movement after 5 songs)

Sweden (+1)
Australia (-1)
Belgium (+2)
Georgia (-)
Albania (-)
Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:32 pm

Montenegro is what Montenegro is. A song that is more in the DQ mould than the Johnny Logan mold. What he has, though, is energy and that bursts all over the stage. It’s 3-4 or chorus’s too long and he’s just gone mental with the hair but I still think that vocally it’s one of the better performances but it needs more people on stage to do anything of note.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:39 pm

After the obligatory commercial break, Finland are next in line.

This is classic music to slit your wrists by but it has that Finnish etherial quality that makes it both haunting. The bridge played by piano is excellent and the hall has phone lights turned on when the camera pans around Leena. This is just magical in a different way to Salvador etc…

Beauty doesn’t have to be schlager. Jury boxes ticked.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:43 pm

Azerbaijan – The good news – It sounds a lot better. The bad news, I didn’t actually see it as I was running to the bar.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:48 pm

It took me about 35 seconds to start crying at this performance. It gets less every time.

He has the audience in the palm of his hands and it’s absolutely on point and perfect every time. The boy doesn’t know what he has done to most of Europe and if the juries have any musical sense at all, this will melt them.

Juries, do your duty.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:52 pm

Demy can’t make the notes. I told everyone this but you didn’t believe me. She pulled out of them and has taken them down and this emasculates the song. The main point of this song was the high notes and now they are gone, what does this song have left? – Not a right lot. Even the backing singers aren’t helping her. This is dead in the preverbial water now.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201710:56 pm

Phil’s standing after 10 songs

Portugal (-)
Sweden (-)
Azerbaijan (+4)
Australia (-3)
Belgium (+2)
Georgia (-3)
Albania (-)
Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:03 pm
Poland coming after Portugal negates this song like you would not believe. Kasia has a fair pair of Lungs on her though and has done justice to that song for the 2nd time today.
Moldova is the uptempo one after a run of having my heart broken by Portugal and then having it forced back into my body for Poland. Epic Sax guy is being “Epic” but they are not selling this to me like some of the other songs this evening. The gap at the end of the song is pointless. Gets people smiling, but not me.
Iceland – Most improved this evening goes to Iceland. This is 100% better than it was than at any point this week. Svala has got the word that she needs to try and boy is she. This might now just sneak in and it’s back to where it belongs.
Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:04 pm

Right – we’re back on track after slow php server issues – Stay with us!!!

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:07 pm

Phil’s ranking after Thirteen songs

Portugal (-)
Sweden (-)
Azerbaijan (+7)
Iceland (-1)
Australia (-5)
Moldova (-)
Belgium (+2)
Georgia (-4)
Albania (-)
Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:10 pm

God almighty the Czechs make me weep in a different way to the Portuguese. I’m struggling to find any redeeming features for this song. Seriously, I know I come across as negative some of the time but seriously CT, You need to put a good song in, not just make up the numbers and channel Romina Power.

It’s an earnest ballad but after some of the songs that have come up, it’s just boring and the jurors cant be motivated to vote for this surely?

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:17 pm

As intimated earlier Hovig has indeed found the tuning fork when it matters ( after being told by someone on my left at this moment) and it shows. It seems he’s not trying as hard and he is relaxed. Having just typed this he misses a couple of notes but overall its a million percent better. The song, to me, is very trite but it is actually performed reasonably well. This has shot up in my estimation in this field. Well done Cyprus.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:19 pm

Armenia had the Czech Republic track played and as such would have to start again when everything is reset. That must be very off putting. Even the presenter was caught out. For the first 30 seconds Artsvik was all over the place because of the issues but she got it back reasonably quickly and gained back the ground she would have lost with the juries.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:26 pm

Slovenia is still somewhat boring if we are really honest. He still looks like Barry from EastEnders but whilst its better than it was this afternoon and Omars voice is better, i’m still in two minds as to if it will qualify.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:29 pm
Latvia. This song is in trouble again for me. I can’t see where its natural constiuency is going to be and that, by definition, is going to cause an issue. She seems to have attacked everything this afternoon and left fuck all for this evening. Vocally it seems to be all over the place. This was qualifying this morning, I think she’s just warbled, combined with how it looks on the telly, her way out of qualification
Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:30 pm

So not only did Demy not hit the high notes, it appears she couldn’t and, as such, she gets another go… HOLD EVERYTHING

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:34 pm
Greece in getting a 2nd run through shocker. There were unspecified technical problems therefore the juries will be told to stroke the first performance. Demy is still not hitting the high notes but the backing singers now are, so the balance has been restored to the audio mix but does it make a difference?
To me it sounds no different than it did earlier in the evening and, if anything it sounds more unbalanced.
Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:37 pm

Spain First of the big 3. It’s still exactly the same and whilst it seems a bit better ( though we’ve had alcohol at this point) – It’s still surfing towards the bottom.

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:49 pm

United Kingdom time.

The more she does this, the better that Lucie looks ( and i’m not saying that cos i’m British). She’s finally hitting all of her marks with astounding regularity. A delegation member of another country said “as she’s second half,she’ll be Top 10” – You know what though…. 😉

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:54 pm

Italy are winning this at a canter. They literally just have to turn up I think and its theirs. This is a good thing and Francesco doesn’t over play the fact that he knows….

Good times

Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:56 pm

Phil’s Jury scores from tonight – This is where I have placed them one against another like the Juries should do. Prepare to guffaw

Portugal (-)
Finland (+3)
Armenia (-1)
Sweden (-)
Azerbaijan (+9)
Poland (+1)
Iceland (-1)
Cyprus (+5)
Slovenia (+6)
Greece (+2)
Australia (-8)
Moldova (-1)
Latvia (-3)
Belgium (+2)
Montenegro (-7)
Georgia (-7)
Albania (-)
Czech Republic (-)
Phil Colclough May 8, 201711:57 pm

Numbers in brackets are where I placed them this afternoon