#ESC18: Day 7 Rehearsals – #JoinUs from 10:00 GMT/11:00 CET for the #LiveBlog


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Just when you’d thought you’d had your fix of Live Blogs from us this year during the National Final season, we are back for daily Live Blogs from Lisbon – home of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

You can follow the LIVE BLOG HERE – as always just refresh the page from 10:00 GMT/11:00 CET for all the updates throughout the day. Honest opinions about how the rehearsals are going will be delivered to you by John, Richard, Andrew, James and Bogdan today.

The videos you will see on this blog are the official ones taken from

Day 7 Rehearsals

Today sees the second rehearsals continue. The second rehearsals continued, along with the first of the Big 5 and Portugal yesterday.

10:00-10:20 Russia

Bogdan: The performance was pleasant to watch and the dancers and choice of colours complement the song. You can only applaud the effort and enjoy her song. Elina has her dress, Julia has her mountain.

JAMES: First up this morning is Yuliya Samoilova, the contestant with the longest ever promotional run in Eurovision history after her participation was announced in early 2017. Considering Russia have sent quite spectacular staging concepts over the last few years, Yuliya’s stage is a lot more subdued and subtle. Sitting atop her mountain (much like the music video) Yuliya is joined by a group of backing singers and a pair of acrobatic dancers. There’s a lot going on, and televoters everywhere are going to remember the singer on top of a mountain.

10:25-10:45 Moldova

Bogdan: The best entertaining act comes from Moldova! And I’m not saying this because I’m Romanian. Everybody is laughing, cheering and I’m sure this will win a lots of hearts and bring lots of votes from all Europe and Australia too! Moldova is selling and I am buying it all!

JAMES: MOL-DO-VA!! I haven’t stopped smiling since they rehearsed! It’s a madcap Benny Hill-esq romp and it’s utterly delightful! I LOVE this so much!! They came 3rd last year, so we know they can get near the top of the scoreboard… dare I say it? I think Moldova may have a winner on their hands here! ❤ And I for one would be thrilled if they did! Noroc Moldova!!

Richard – Moldova has to qualify. I’ve never seen so many smiling faces and people dance around the Press Centre. If Russia fail to qualify, which is a possibility, Moldova will gain the points they would’ve been awarded.

10:50-11:10 Netherlands

Richard – The Bet Lynch outfit is still there. It hasn’t improved in any sort of way, but it’s bound to qualify.

Bogdan: I like the song, I’m tapping my feet to it. I don’t like the choice for the staging because it just looks a bit too weird. Again, I can’t fault his vocals, but I wish that all made sense – what’s your message Netherlands?

JAMES: A lot of people had high hopes for Waylon’s returning to the Eurovision stage. A country western/rock song was always going to be divisive when it came to votes, but this staging… yikes… literally nothing about this works. In his leopard print house coat, Waylon is joined by a troupe of dancers/musicians but appears above all of them on a platform. Trying to crowbar urban dancing into this number looks awkward enough any way, but the whole number ends up feeling quite unpleasant as Waylon sneers over everyone else on stage. Waylon sings well and it’s a decent enough song, but this staging…

11:15-11:35 Australia

Bogdan: Jessica is performing alone on the stage in a blue- rainbowish dress (of which I’m not a fan of). I love the song andI love Jessica, but here are my comments: First –  the first half of the song, the moves seem a little bit robotic like she’s counting; Second – I hope she can hit the high notes, because she’s having some trouble today… Other than that, I wish her best of luck, because her song is one of my favourites this year.

Richard – I ventured into the arena for the first run through before returning to the Press Centre to watching the others. For me, it’s a lot more vibrant and colourful. In some respects it’s a lot more polished too and shouldn’t have a problem qualifier.

11:40-12:00 Georgia

Richard – Like I was saying with some of the other semi finalists yesterday, they’ve turned up for the formalities of rehearsing. The performance was polished on Wednesday and shows nothing needed improving or changing. A qualifier.

Bogdan: I wasn’t a fan before the rehearsals and I’m not a fan after the rehearsals. Having said that, I’m not a hater either. I just wish the first half of the song would have been more powerful, because the last minute is really good. It is a pleasant song with good vocals and I wish them all the best.

JAMES: Georgia’s song is understated, but sublime. It doesn’t rely on flashes or whistles, it’s pure emotion and music. I know this has been the bottom of a lot of fans Top 43s, but this will qualify easily, I’m sure of it.

13:05-13:25 Poland

Bogdan: I suppose their goal is achieved: after watching the performance I’m still humming “Light Me Up” and I don’t even want to. I’m pretty sure they are not singing anything else but that the whole song lol. The stage is well used, the performance is energetic but I’m not really liking the dj’s hand moves. There might be some fish wave dance involved in there. Crowd will like this definitely.

JAMES: Poland have a cohesive look on stage, all in black. We’re getting a bit of a live gig feel with Gromee on the decks (and some awkward dad dancing thrown in too!) The neon pink lights are very similar to the UK and Australia, which makes me wonder how much this will stand out visually for televoters, which is why I expect they light it up with pyro and the dancing too. All in all, not a bad performance, but not terribly memorable either.

Richard – The Dad dancing is still there, which is a pity. I don’t think this will cause the Polish too much of a problem in terms of qualification. It is a party anthem after all.

13:30-13:50 Malta

Richard – Malta have come to the stage with a much slicker performance. The screens are more obvious that they are real now to the eye rather than CGI. While this semi final may come across as weird, Malta stands out as a sensible entry, which should help them in the long run.

John – This song has gone up in my estimations since I arrived. Christabelle is giving an earnest performance and the staging with the graphic screens really set it off nicely. In this semi-final, there is a very level playing field for nearly all the songs so this has as much chance of qualifying as the others. But if she can repeat next Wednesday/Thursday, this is nailed on to qualify.

13:55-14:15 Hungary

John – This is already a big hit with me. It’s a contrast with every other song, and screams ‘vote for me’. With the crowd-surfing, strong lyric and general energy it will make the public sit up and notice. The singer uses all the stage, including a bridge and the front stage. I appreciate that it’s a marmite song and there will be plenty of ‘WTFs’ knocking around. However, I think this will strike a chord and gets loads of votes. Please, Europe, you know what to do.

14:20-14:40 Latvia

Bogdan: Laura is channeling some Aminata, all in red and with a red background. I’m not really convinced by her vocals today – they are not the strongest I’ve heard from her. This might be a borderline qualifier.

14:45-15:05 Sweden

Bogdan: Sweden is doing the same show like at Melodifestivalen. I think though this time the jacket is better and shinier (lol). I can’t hate it, I’m just not impressed seeing the same thing all over again.

JAMES: Sweden send yet another slick and well choreographed performance sung by a handsome young man who looks down the camera and brings puppies back to life with his smile. It’s been hand crafted to come in the Top 10 and we know Sweden are desperate for that 7th win…. this will qualify, despite (from my point of view) being a musically dubious entry. It’s more style than substance, which I suspect will discount it from winning on Saturday.

15:30-15:50 Montenegro

Bogdan: Montengro is trying this year to get to the finals, but I’m not sure they are quite there yet. I love the song, I love the fact that they are singing in their native language and I’m enjoying the staging of the whole performance. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s enough. We just have to wait and see…

JAMES: Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good Balkan ballad – brooding, full of heartache and melancholy… And that’s exactly what Vanja is giving us! Simpler staging always suits this kind of song, so being joined on stage just by backing singings and piano player was a wise move. My biggest concern about the qualification of this song is that Vanja doesn’t connect with the camera very often and that blue jacket was a bad choice. For a song that’s so sombre, looking like a ballet company about to perform Swan Lake isn’t really the look you’d want to give everyone

15:55-16:15 Slovenia

Bogdan: Lea gives us a positive energy and she’s dancing alongside her dancers. Camera angles look right, her voice is on point. The only thing that is a little bit “meh” is the element of surprise before the end. You’ll have to watch it on Thursday and decide it yourself if it works or not.

JAMES: I can feel to sLOVEnia! Lea is a bundle of energy and owns that stage, strutting around and giving a very stylish and sophisticated show. Slovenia qualify roughly once every 3 years, but this song might actually break that cycle and get them in a year early. It’s fun and bouncy, and the touch of Portuguese language at the end is a nice nod to our hosts.

16:20-16:40 Ukraine

Bogdan: Melovin is serving us again his version of Dracula inside of the piano. The show works, it’s powerful, entertaining and I think it is one of the contenders to qualify from the second semi final.

JAMES: Let’s face it, Ukraine are known for giving us memorable staging props… Svetlana’s Doom Machine, Mariya’s Hamster Wheel… so Melovin’s Burning Piano Coffin fits right in! It’s bizarre and masks what’s probably not the strongest ever Ukrainian entry, but Melovin performs competently regardless. It’ll qualify based on the stage show alone as it has such instant impact, and the fact it performs in the sweet spot of closing Semi Final 2 probably won’t hurt either

Author: Richard Taylor

Source: Eurovision Ireland

1 reply »

  1. Its always fun to follow you:) But we are NOT desperate to win a 7th time. We just take Eurovision very seriously. Ireland can learn from us a lot :). We never send a entry that doesnt stand a chance. Its kind of stupid i think. We dont think we will win this year. 6-9th would be about right i think in the final.

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