LIVEBLOG: Eurovision 2024 Grand Final 2024 – Technical rehearsal

Grand Final – Dress rehearsal 1

Join me this afternoon as I bumble my way through a (hopefully) more stable webstream beamed to my ‘home office’ just outside Birmingham from the throbbing Eurovision metropolis of Malmö.

I rather suspect the ‘secret surprise’ special acts planned for the interval won’t be revealed today, so it’s more than likely you’ll get me bumbling on in much the same way as I’ve done at previous rehearsals, but it fills a few hours and allows me to maintain a pallid-from-lack-of-daylight complexion.

Join me from 12:30 (UK time) add one hour for Malmö time.

May 10, 2024 12:00
ENDED
Latest update 2 weeks ago
15:32
In the words of Abba ... That's me

I'll be signing off for today then, and hope you'll be back for our next live blog - which I sort of think is with Mr Phil tonight on this very hallowed ground.

It's just a load of rehearsing the fake voting now, and nobody needs to see or report on that.

Mo Fanning
15:28
AVROTROS

The Dutch broadcaster responsible for the Eurovision entry has issued a statement that's just about as revealing as the bland EBU one, confirming an investigation is underway into an 'incident' adding they don't wish to place any bets on the outcome at this point.

Video posted by De Telegraaf shows Joost Klein preparing to perform, then walking off stage as he was due to begin his song. In the background the Israeli set waits in the wings.

Mo Fanning
15:24
Recap

In reverse order ... for reasons

Joost is still in there, so the fact he's unfollowed the official Eurovision social media accounts and deleted all his Eurovision posts hasn't quite upset anyone at EBU HQ yet. They'll be bribing him with bitterballen and a cup of tea with the spoon still in the mug.

I dare say one of us will be able to shed more light on this 'breaking news' later, but for now, feel free to nip over to X (Twitter) where you can find all kinds of unsubstantiated rumour and a fair bit of general hellsite nonsense.

Mo Fanning
15:20
What did she sing then, Mo?

She spent a lot of time writhing about on an up-cycled office chair from Ikea's Lidkullen range. The echo machine is cranked up to full.

The songs were ...

  • A special orchestral-inspired take on the intro to Tattoo
  • You Make Me Feel Like Forever
  • Tattoo in full (and far more shouty than I recall it being)
Mo Fanning
15:14
LOREEN

Petra and Malin introduce Loreen's spot wearing super long plastic fingernails and here she is ...

Mo Fanning
15:12
Filler

It's all over the place so thankfully this is a tech rehearsal. Petra is in the green room after a few shots from Junior Eurovision played out.

Petra gets to show a postcard of her prep for the contest! It's genuinely brilliant

Mo Fanning
15:04
INTERVAL 2 (Spoiler - maybe avoid this if you don't want to know)

Crossing to London where we get something taken from the Voyage show (which I saw just a couple of weeks ago). At Voyage Waterloo is presented in video with lots of screens showing scenes from Abba's performances, videos and such.

Then we switch to the Malmo stage where the promised trio of Conchita, Charlotte and Carola take over.

Truth be told it's a mess. I just sense this could have been done so much better.

And then a quick message of good luck to everyone in Sweden.

And another recap.

Mo Fanning
14:59
INTERVAL 1

A fair bit of teasing about Abba never reuniting, but then a promise three of them will be on stage (obviously they won't be - I suspect the 'joke' is that they're not who they claimed to be).

First though, we get Alcazar singing 'Spacer'. A bit like being promised a full Sunday dinner and getting a slice of boiled ham around your Nan's house.

Mo Fanning
14:50
RECAP

They included Joost in the recap, so there's still hope from the organisers this is just a hissy fit they can fix.

Mo Fanning
14:48
AUSTRIA

You know, this actually didn't sound anything like as bad as last night. For one thing, Kaleen didn't miss out the notes and words she couldn't hit and the whole performance held together.

Not the disaster Mr Phil dreaded.

Mo Fanning
14:46
JOOST update again

According to Dutch tabloid ‘De Telegraaf’, there is speculation that Klein wanted to make a statement on stage, but was removed from the stage by organisers ahead of this.

During the qualifiers press conference last night, Israeli candidate Eden Golan was asked: "Are you aware that being in the Eurovision Song Contest is putting the public and other participants at risk?"

The moderator quickly intervened and assured her that she did not have to answer.

But Joost clearly thought otherwise. "Why not?" he wondered out loud.

However, the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet states: "According to information given to Aftonbladet, this is instead another incident, which would have occurred after the semi-final, so that Joost Klein did not respect."

Mo Fanning
14:41
FRANCE

Slimane is the second act tonight to make this all about the song rather than the stage - such a rare thing.

One thing I will add is that it's notoriously hard to sing when lying down - especially if you're totally exposed, but it's his choice, so, I'll let that wobble go.

The bit where Slimane steps back from the microphone and let's the microphone he's actually singing into all along take over feels ever so slightly gauche (look at me with my French). 

All of that said, this has to be a stand-out for being utterly gimmick-free, well performed and very much a song as opposed to a bunch of sounds and ideas.

And if anyone knows where he got that shirt, could they email me off site, as I've got the perfect book signing event coming up.

(Did I mention my 4th novel, 'Husbands' is out in paperback, ebook, audio and hardback on 6 June and I'll be on BRMB on 8 June, and signing books the same day in Birmingham bookstores? Really? I didn't.... well now you know).

Mo Fanning
14:37
GEORGIA

There's a feeling of 'making up the numbers' here. I wouldn't be at all shocked to find this came 9th or 10th last night. Still it is good to see Georgia moving on from beardy mumblers and back to dance-break songs about fire.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the song, and the performance is great, but it's utterly forgettable and feels like it got placed here because something had to follow Croatia.

Dated. Bottom five.

Mo Fanning
14:34
CROATIA

This is the natural successor to last year's runner up and could very easily go all he way - mostly because it's a way better song. And unlike some countries (San Marino, you again) the team haven't thrown way too much at the staging.

Baby Lasanga has just the right level of charisma to carry everything about this song and it's been put together on stage as a song rather than a show - which is where I feel Finland sort of ended up pipped at the post last year.

It's got a strong starting place and that suggests it has to be between Switzerland and Croatia - with all the other songs I've said will be in the top five too. 

I know, I'm so indecisive, right?

Mo Fanning
14:30
Joost update 2

Again, to confirm what Mo has already said, this is all speculation

but

Joost has deleted ALL his Insta Stories about the Eurovision and his socials have gone quiet.   

AVROTROS and the EBU have been predictably silent.  

Phil Colclough
14:29
SLOVENIA

This really feels even more like filler coming after Switzerland and a meandering break where the hosts flogged merch.

As a song, I find it inaccessible, but perhaps I'm not the audience. Obviously enough people out there thought otherwise.

There's nothing wrong with how it's performed - it's sharply choreographed and note perfect.

In any other year, I'd put this stone cold last, but this year ... nah, actually strike that, even this year I'm putting it last.

Mo Fanning
14:27
RUMOUR

Joost Klein might be breaking that promise to his Dad and not taking part in Eurovision after all. He was present for the 'flag ceremony' and his props readied for a rehearsal today, then whisked away.

AVROTROS is not yet commenting, Dutch media are speculating he planned to make a statement (perhaps about Israel taking part). But we stress this isn't confirmed.

Mo Fanning
14:22
BREAK

Time to clear  away Nemo's clutter with another Eurovision memory or two. Get the idea this is a new bit as Malin has to use cue cards.

Mo Fanning
14:20
SWITZERLAND

One of the big faves and flawless last night with staging that made everyone I know sit up and pay attention.

Have to say today the sound mix felt a bit off, with him too low in the output, but that sort of fixed itself by the mid-point and his vocals were way from as strong as last night. BUT let's remember this afternoon really doesn't count for anything. He could just stand there and recite the words if he felt so inclined. Or not turn up at all if he happened to be Dutch, it seems.

Still very much looking like one to beat, and placed in one of the much sought-after starting slots, so I'd say this is going to be in the top three.

And deservedly so, it's way more innovative than the other fave - coming soon.

Mo Fanning
14:16
CYPRUS

This opened the Tuesday show and felt like a perfectly inane dance number - and I'm pleased that most of the dance break in a leotard songs fell at the semi-final fence - that Chanel-inspired trend should be nipped in the bud for 2025.

Lyrically this is complete and utter rubbish - and how did it take quite so many people to write such an utterly ordinary song.

Lower end of the list by midnight on Saturday, surely.

Mo Fanning
14:12
ARMENIA

This is way more fun than I expected it to be and it really did translate on screen - even if - let's be honest - it's not the greatest song written. If anything, there are a few too many wide shots that dilute just how much fun is being had and the miming of instruments is WAY too obvious.

BUT I'd expect a Rosa Linn style placing - if not quite the same level of after-contest fame.

Mo Fanning
14:08
PORTUGAL

Look, I get why this made it. I even had it as one of my predicted qualifiers, but it's dreary as all hell and as worthy as the vocal sounds, there's still the fact iolanda has decided to take make-up tips from the kind of drag queen who mimes to Diana Ross in backstreet Birmingham gay pubs.

What it has in its favour is it makes everything about the song and not the stage. And this is something Portugal seems to have mastered in recent years, turning in results that rank way above what I might have expected.

This time though, I'm fairly sure it's 23rd.

Mo Fanning
14:05
Update on Joost

Image

Phil Colclough
14:03
FINLAND

Oooh look, how TOTES hilair. Man with no pants on and rubbish hair and lots of smoke and stuff.

I DETEST THIS

Mo Fanning
14:02
INTERVAL NEWS

Charlotte Perrelli, Carola and Conchita Wurst are set to perform an homage to ABBA at the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final on Saturday night.

The celebration of ABBA's Waterloo won't be the only musical treat that viewers can look forward to at Saturday night's Grand Final. Another interval act that is sure to have audiences entertained as they await the votes is a return to the Eurovision Song Contest stage by reigning champ Loreen.

And there are a few more surprises promised for anyone tuning in, too...

So Bjorn and Benny then.

Mo Fanning
14:00
SERBIA

I really under-rated the chances of this getting through - though regional support sort of helps make its qualification more logical.

It's still not a particularly memorable dirge - and lacks the genius sparks of recent years.

Still it's a nice break from the big bang numbers, I suppose.

Bottom five.

Mo Fanning
13:56
ITALY

Small technical hitch break before Italy started. That'll be ironed out by tonight.

The OnEurope mantra is 'Italy could win this thing any year they choose'. They haven't chosen this year.

BUT this is still a damn good song and hard to tear yourself away from. Angelina must have broken some kind of record for the number of words rammed into three minutes on the Eurovision stage. She hits every mark perfectly and is in great voice. It looks and sounds just perfect.

It has to be top ten, but not one of their 'down to the wire' regular contenders. I dare say this means we'll get a bloke again next year.

Mo Fanning
13:52
NORWAY

Twelve songs to go - it's fair zipping by.

Last night two songs felt to over-load their staging. San Marino gave us approximately 300% more than we needed and rightly lost out. Norway can't have been far off the lower end of the ten for much the same reason.

It's still a lot like Within Temptation had a minibreak in the wilds of Ireland. But I get why there are fans of the song - I didn't discount it in my Countdown review to be fair.

My sense of the staging is it all starts so well, but things build and clearly there were words exchanged about having 'a big ending' which is one or two mega steps too many.

I just don't know who this is going to appeal to apart from my niece who is 12 and insists on a lock her bedroom door because she hates everyone.

Mo Fanning
13:47
You're good to go

'Linda' gets to sing a song based on 'Martin Estrogen' and his 'good to go' stock phrase. It sounds like something Cyprus would enter.

Mo Fanning
13:45
BREAK

Ah, right, now they need time to shift the stuff used by Olly. Linda Woodruff is back - I'm sort of still not sure if I find her funny or forced.

Mo Fanning
13:44
UNITED KINGDOM

I'd been expecting a bit of a break but it seems the rather elaborate set being used by Olly isn't quite as hard tio wheel on or off as I thought.

It's great staging - and staging has helped boost many a duff song before (Eleni Foureira, anyone?), but it's still not the strongest song. It's rather dated and half arsed Pet Shops Boys b-side, if I'm honest.

I assume his battery pack is now superglued in place and the vocals felt soft if on-point. Everywhere I look in fandom, Olly is said to be off-key. I don't hear that.

18th?

Mo Fanning
13:38
RUNNING ORDER

Thought I might break up the text with a picture so you know where we are and what's next

Mo Fanning
13:36
GREECE

I'm going to be polite and say 'this is not for me'.

Performance etc much as it was last night. Will score way more points than I think it deserves, including the Cypriot 12.

Mo Fanning
13:35
LATVIA

Doms is again wearing that moulded chest vest that I believe you can buy from any joke shop for a fiver - but let's not speak of that.

After Ireland this is a contrast that works. A very traditional song with (sorry) slightly dreary staging. But he hits every note and it's a strong enough song in its own right. 

Tuesday night was something of a circus so it was pleasing to see this awarded a place in the grand final and I don't think it's going to set the scoreboard on fire, but it's one I can see I'll listen to after the parade leaves town.

I feel like Doms will hear his public vote quite early on in that part of the show.

Mo Fanning
13:32
IRELAND

I've been told to place money on this by Mr Fanning. And while it's not my bag - I tend to prefer songs - I get how it's one of those performances you can't help but watch. That may or may not translate into votes. 

Put aside the 'They're coming to take me away ha-ha' bits and there's a enormously conventional song hiding under the sideshow and screaming, meaning the jury members might also chip in a few points.

For me the staging is hit and miss with a few shite camera shots, but Bambi Thug gives a great performance - even now when it doesn't really matter.

Top ten for sure.

Mo Fanning
13:26
ESTONIA

When Esyonia qualified, it was my first true 'what the fuck?' moment of the year. I deplore this almost as much as I did Dave and Tanel. So on that basis, expect it to win.

It has all the charm of a bunch of woodwork and metalwork teachers having a sing song in a rough pub just before the summer holidays.

I get how people compared it to LT United, but that had some sort of humour, this feels like calculated 'fun' and I'd like to see it crash and burn - expect it to do way better than I'm predicting.

I will be using these three minutes on Saturday to reheat my Swedish balls.

Mo Fanning
13:22
SPAIN

Last night, Mr Fanning surprised me by saying he rather enjoyed the song - and let's be honest, Nebulossa had a big lift from the Spanish fans in the arena. I loved the promo video for this but felt it sort of lacked the energy on stage - but live with a supportive audience that all changed.

I gave it 12 in my Countdown review, then revised that down at the tech rehearsal. Now I'm mid-range.

Without an audience it feels a bit flat again, but that's going to change big style on Saturday and it has a real party song feel going on again.

They know their demographic and they aim squarely at the big old pink vote.

Not a classic year for Spain, but not the huge disaster Mr Phil insists. And I'm way too far away from him for a slap.

Mo Fanning
13:18
Filler from Petra

Title says it all.

Mo Fanning
13:16
Joost Update

He's not singing fifth - In Fact be is not singing at all and no stage show just a very shite pause....

Phil Colclough
13:16
SHORT BREAK AGAIN

Petra has changed out of what looked like an ill-judged heavy black leather dress into a mother-of-the-bride cerise suit.

Big tribute to Karin Falck and how she had to deal with technology that wasn't up for playing ball.

Plus ca change!!

Mo Fanning
13:14
Lithuania

I think anyone named after an item of clothing deserves a chance. There was a tiny delay before Silvester got to sing complete with that strange silver snore strip thing he's taken to trying to make into a thing.

The time was filled with some film I suspect they intend to show later about how much Abba's win changed Brighton - TL;DR: 'It hasn't really'.

My feeling about the Lithuanian song is that it should have been cut to about a minute, since that's about all there is. He just seems to be repeating a few threadbare ideas over and over. And then it just stops without any build or fanfare.

Perhaps the youngsters of the televoting world will know better than me, but I'm not so sure it deserves to be there when so many better songs bit the Thursday dust - but them's the rules.

For me, this would be bottom five. In reality, mid table.

Mo Fanning
13:11
Just so you all know

I am here and safe.... but not gambling tonight's star prize hiding behind Jan Ola Sand!

Im in the press centre, jacked up on antibiotics cos of my dodgy foot which happened to kick in just as Eden went on screen - a total co-incidence I assure you!

Phil Colclough
13:09
Israel

And time to activate the software that hides all the booing 'fans' and overlay some cheering. I'm not getting into the rights and wrongs here. This afternoon the audience is well-behaved fans who value their accreditation passes too much to play up.

Eden has such a great voice. She can do smokey quiet and full throat. Most performers are good at one and rarely both.

This is a very 'old school' Eurovision song and staging, breaking no new ground but it's easy on the ear and eye.

Last night Italian Rai did something a bit naughty and appeared to reveal on screen that almost 40% of their televote went to Israel, so you can expect a decent televoter score all round. The juries may well have been told to keep things more on the download.

Mid table for me.

Mo Fanning
13:04
BREAK

A few 'off beat' spokespeople building their parts. 

Mo Fanning
13:04
Luxembourg

I'm still a bit surprised this made it through. But let's put that behind us, given the Tuesday show was as weak as a third-time used teabag,

She's stuck with a hairstyle that you'd be annoyed to be stood behind at any buffet table, and the song is a mishmash of so many ideas. It starts well and seems to be going in one very certain and obvious direction, but then takes so many other paths to the exit.

Tali is a tad out of breath by the end. Little tip - if you're going to struggle, don't agree to do a bunch of dancing before the last and most exposed part of your song. That said, it was a lot better than Tuesday.

Luxembourg isn't returning to another top five, but it's a fair enough effort - let's see how much more effort they put in next year.

Mo Fanning
13:00
Germany

First of the BIG FIVE nations feels to have drawn a fairly rubbish card with his third-on-stage placement.

Again, this is the kind of thing I've seen a bit too often in recent years. A singer with a great voice and a fairly stock-image song.

I'm still not sure what the out of control chiminea thing is all about, it's like a back garden barbecue that went horribly wrong after grandad was caught having a sneaky fag behind the new (highly flammable) plastic hedge.

I feel a lot better when he gets out of his cage of certain death by fire even if the stage is still a bit flamey. Perhaps someone out there can explain why the Germans went with fire as a theme. I'm not sure it fits.

Vocally he was a tad croaky in parts this afternoon, but it doesn't count. And he didn't exactly ooze charisma.

It's going to be propping up the bottom of the board I fear - and he's so much better than hat.

Mo Fanning
12:55
Ukraine

So, they've put Ukraine in the 'graveyard slot' - the second spot from which nobody ever won - and I don't see that changing this year, but it's going to knock up the average placing for that starting block.

This is a song I've grown to really like after finding it a bit 'typical' on first listen - and sure, it brings nothing particularly new to the Contest or gives me any new view on Ukrainian music, but it's brilliant staging that pulls no punches.

And that ending - wow!

I'm sensing a top five finish.

Mo Fanning
12:51
Sweden

Just 17 minutes of filler and we're off with Carola reminding us of that time she didn't win and Loreen of when she last took home the trophy.

It's sort of sweet that the producers put the home town on first to get them out of the way.

Sweden's answer to PJ and Duncan remain solidly bland with good use of the LED screens and stage effects with a song that's truly forgettable. 

If I had to take a guess at where this might end, I'd say it's not a vintage year for Sweden - but that's fairly what you might expect for a host nation, neither is it going to shame anyone. I'll put my money on 14th and be done with it.

Mo Fanning
12:45
Start voting now

This year, you're able to vote from when the songs start rather than waiting until the end - not that this means we'll escape yet another way too long interval - but it shouldn't be another Tel Aviv experience.

Or will it?

Mo Fanning
12:42
Welcome your hosts

With Abba's 'Winner takes it All' Petra and Malin appear. Malin in white, Petra in black, floor length frocks, looking rather lovely, although Malin could do with nipple guards and more tit tape.

Mo Fanning
12:38
Welcome to the stage

That bit where they make everyone walk on stage in order of performance is happening with various Swedish produced pop playing in the background - lending everything the air of a regional branch of B&Q.

When they finally make me king of everything, this parade and that 'heart thing' people do with their fingers is being outlawed.

Mo Fanning
12:36
AND WE'RE OFF

It's a bit of a weird start with Bjorn Skiffs singing 'Hooked on a Feeling' - although it was a hit in 1974 - which you may recall is when a certain group won Eurovision. He looks every inch the sort of man who washes his car every Sunday whether it needs it or not and can offer advice on what to do if the birds have been at your fruit trees.

Mo Fanning

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Maclaren
Maclaren
15 days ago

Mo, congratulations on your forth book! Is it traditionally published or self-published? Irrespective, great news. Can you provide a link to the Amazon site (or your site, or whatever site) from which the book could be purchased, please? I’d love to buy. Thank you!