LIVE BLOG: Semi Final 2: Dress Rehearsal 1

It’s a first run through the second semifinal, and I’m here to mutter inanely as it all takes place long distance.

I regret that due to poor stream quality, we were unable to provide a full live blog this afternoon, but have raised this with anyone who’ll listen. We lost the whole middle part of the show. And big chunks as the service resumed. But I hope what’s below helps you get an idea.

The team will be back online tonight with a (hopefully) less botched up by the organisers live blog.

May 8, 2024 13:42
ENDED
Latest update 2 weeks ago
16:53
Back tonight

The team will be giving you a far more detailed - and hopefully continuous account of events tonight -n live stream permitting.

Sorry for the gaps.

16:50
We just love Eurovision too much

More library film from the red/whatever coloured carpet ceremony and then Petra gives us a song about how not everyone was happy about Loreen winning last year. 'Did those bastards win again?'

Plenty of jokes about recycling the host and Charlotte takes over as the schlager queen to duet. There's plenty of dancing and it's incredibly camp. Lots of piss taking of the classic screen stealing jury members. And a glimpse into what might have been if Finland won last year!

It's another classic SVT Eurovision interval act.  Douze points.

16:42
History lecture

Petra talks us through a bunch of songs that did and didn't make Eurovision. It's sort of interesting in parts.

16:41
My rough guess

There's no point denying it. The second semi final is way way way stronger than the first where it was harder to pick ten worthy of the final than five unworthy.

My gut tells me we might lose Austria, Czechia, Georgia, Estonia, Armenia and almost surely Malta. I reserve the right to swap in San Marino.

16:34
Time to singalong

Petra and Malin start a bit of a singalong trying to get the audience to join in. It's obviously going to go much better tonight.

Then it turns into two embarrassing drunk aunties at karaoke, until WAHEY the actual 'old school' acts appear and take over. Helena Paparizou gives us a solid 'My Number One'. Charlotte Nilsson/Perrelli takes us to her heaven. Sertab Erener looks stunning with 'Every Way That I Can' - a song I still think gets criminally underrated by fandom.

There are screens all around and I think the idea is 'fans' get to sing along on them. The words are projected on the backdrop. Petra and Malin are jigging just off stage.

It's going to make me lose my dinner I think.

That said I love how this year there feels to be an effort to use the huge back catalogue of material Eurovision owns rather than employ unrelated acts to fill space.

16:26
Recaps

I'll try to pass comment on the bits I missed ...

Austria: She's not got the greatest voice and it's a bit minimal

Denmark: Very traditional old school Eurovision

Armenia: Lots of people on steps and a fair bit of folksy styling - It looks fun

Belgium: Not sure he's got much in the way of charisma, shame

You know how Ireland picked a really weird extract for their recap yesterday, Norway has done the same ... and Nederland has gone with the slow bit at the end like they don't truly believe in their song.

16:22
Sorry for the gaps

SVT have posted numerous apologies about the quality of the stream this afternoon and promised to sort out all kinds of everything for this evening.

16:20
Netherlands (the)

Checkerboard floor, a very blue background with cartoon screenings and a lot of shoulder pad action and maybe just a bit too much 'I can't hear you' pleas to the audience who may or may not be on board with this tonight.

There are two white clad dancers and two people miming instrument playing, a fair bit of strobing so maybe take your pets and anyone elderly or sensitive to light out of the room for three minutes.

The song ends with subtitles just in case we thought this was all a joke.

I still can't bring myself to like this - but it's going all the way.

16:17
Norway

This was one I was sure I'd hate when I read about it, but ended up loving after seeing it performed live. Or as live as you can get with NRK's policy on click track.

It's everything I wanted it to be. darkness and blue lights and close-up shots of trad fiddle-like contraptions. The vocals are haunting and the overall use of lEd screens exactly what you might expect - a fair bit of tidal overflow.

It all ends in flashing blue light and, if I could nitpick, way too many long shots.

Felt cold and impersonal.

16:12
Israel

I really do love Eden's voice, it's smokey and strong at the same time. And she looks great in a sort of peach white dress. 

She's alone in the big circle at first then the usual dancers appear from around her. It's all blue backdrops and dry ice abounds. They circle her, hugging and throwing each other apart. It's all a bit 'seen it too many times before'.

I'll be honest Eden struggled vocally in the second half but hit the big notes with verve. It ended a little out of breath and I suspect I've just watched a singer who hasn't had the best of fun at the Contest.

16:06

Angelina Mango nipped in to fit as many words as is humanly possible into three minutes with a sneaky peek at the Italian entry.

She's was in a black lace thing and lying down on a bed of LED roses. With apologies to anyone who might be expecting more detail, I'm afraid the relentless buffering took a hold again.

There looked to be more people in similar attire joining her on the stage before the familiar 'Playback cannot continue' message appeared.

16:03
Estonia

Yellow and purple backdrops and everyone in black bouncing around the stage and all-told a total mess. Big holograms of the band means we get them twice - yay!

This is the kind of dream I get after eating mature Cheddar before bed. Except in my dreams, the men often manage to hold more than the odd note and it sounds a lot less like a student political rally.

My word, but that was terrible.

15:59
BELGIUM

I got to see this from about half way through. Again with buffering. In total I saw about twenty seconds of Mustii in white wearing golden gloves and surrounded (for some reason that might become obvious later) by microphone stands. he sounded OK.

15:57
And that might be it again...

Just as the EBu apologised for the poor stream quality, everything froze and again they threw us all out of the virtual hall. If I can get back in, I'll bring you more as it happens. Hold tight.

15:54
GEORGIA

Nutsa Buzaladze starts all breathy centre stage in flickering red light as a fire circle is picked out and then it all goes a bit red. What else did you expect?

She's thankfully joined by the typical stomping Eurovision backing dancers in black vests who've passed their Level 3 City & Guilds in stomping.

As the blasts of fire fill the stage, Nutsa writhes and wriggly worms around. Her vocals suffer from the movement and her accent seems way stronger than in the preview video.

This is one I've downgraded since seeing it live.

15:51
San Marino

If you can't find anyone local, nip over the border. And that's what happened here with Spanish rock band Megara landing the gig.

It's all very bright pink and purple with a fair bit of fluffy bunny business and a lot of shouting ... and skeletons

The staging is truly awful with manga-style backdrops over complicating what seems like shoddy camera angle choices. The performance sounds utterly lifeless which is hard to do in a song infused with energy.

Like the band you wish you hadn't bothered to hang around to see late in the afternoon at a League Two outdoor festival.

I'd been planning a cheeky tenner each way on this right up until three minutes ago.

15:46
SPAIN

Mr Phil detests this and I love it. 

It is a bit Seaside Special on stage I admit and the vocals are far from perfect. All in black and rather conservative at the start compared with the video.

There appears to be a velvet buttoned sofa on the stage and a glitter cutrtain on the back screen. Overall the effect is that RTVE has soent just short of twelve Euros on the staging.

The two burly dancers end up in what look like black control pants bouncing around the stage and even doing the splits while the lead singer looks a lot like she really wished she could have had her time again and just said 'no'.

You remember how I gave this 12 back in the day of 'Countdown'. I'd like to amend that to 3.

15:42
LATVIA

After being frozen out by poor tech from the organisers, we all got back in just as Latvia was taking to the stage following a lame Eurovision Thong Contest joke about Finland.

Doms is alone on stage in a dark blue rubber suit in a big hoop with LED water beneath him and lots of lightning effects on the back screen.

He's in strong voice and I have to admit this is far more of a contender than I ever thought now I've watched it live. Could be one of those that sneaks into the top ten with no fanfare.

15:12
Czechia

A darker staging with red lighting overhead and a fair bit of fishnet.

Aiko has four female dancers in black and gives it the full Belinda Carlisle treatment as she prowls around and gladeyes the camera.

The improvised 'fight' is handled so well in a box above the stage and really does add to the overall feeling that this song is completely and utterly out of place.

15:08
Switzerland

I switched browsers to help reception, not sure it's helped. Nemo is in a pink feather boa affair (with a 'confusing for grandad' skirt) and sliding around on stage all over the shop. This is still a song with so much at the start before settling into a solid contender.

The staging itself is clever use of the effects and it's one of the rare occasions where a solo singer doesn't look too alone on the big stage.

A bit breathy here and there, but it's a rehearsal.

15:04
Greece

Marina Zatti has a song that I detested when I first heard it, and I get how it's supposed to be ground-breaking and all and my disliking the vibe makes me like really old, and stuff, but this still isn't cutting it for me.

She's wearing a short silver puffball and on stage with four burly lads and one lass in black crop tops. There are plenty of overhead shots with the signature 'singer lying on the floor' thing going on.

There's so many ideas being thrown out here that it's hard to either love or hate the song. If you don't like the song she's singing right now, there'll be another along in twenty seconds, so hold your fire.

My internet is appalling so I may have missed something, but I still can't say I'm keen.

15:00
Albania

I've only ever heard the polished up version of Besa's song - having ignored whatever rough cut they picked back in the days of mince pies and brandy butter.

More semi clad men and Besa with what looks like a glittery throw from Home Bargains draped around her torso. I'm going to suggest that she's a tad on the weak side vocally - or is she holding back for the big night itself?

Plenty of wide angle shits and what looks like rubbish AI-generated video on the backdrop. 

The semi clad dancers morph into a backing choir in silver and that's where the whole song sort of falls apart. Besa really buggers up the last part of the song.

Shame

14:55
Malta

Ten minutes in and we're away with the first song - Sarah Bonnici who - let's be frank - isn't seeing much in the way of love from the bookmakers.

It's a fade to black start with a flash of blue and Sarah is lifted by four lads in black outfits I'd put money on them losing at some point soon. She's in a silver one-piece that wouldn't look out of place at the Stourbridge Baths outdoor lido.

There's a lot of overhead shots of Sarah lying on the ground and overall this is justifying the lack of support from those betting on the outcome of the event.

She's being manhandled all over the shop in the dance break and oddly enough everyone gets blindfolded and UYEP, off those tops come and the lads are all chesty sweat as Sarah totally loses it vocally.

Note to songwriter: Don't put a big note in if your singer doesn't have a hope in hell of hitting it.

Cyprus opened the show in a similar vein yesterday and looked like a breezy qualifier. Can't see this one going through.

14:50

It's all so much better now Petra is all in red while Malin is canary yellow with hints of peach. It's a miracle how Vogue hasn't grabbed me to write for them, right?

14:46
Good afternoon

My live blogging skills are rusty and I've not really had my head in the game as much as usual so some of these songs I've only heard the one time, but lets' travel together through the first rehearsals together and see where that gets us.

Right now there's a black screen - so that's not quite what I hoped for.

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