Eurovision 2018

#ESC18: Grand Final, Dress Rehearsal 1 – #JoinUs fro 13:00 GMT/14:00 CET for the #LiveBlog

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After what can only be described as a shock-fest given to us from the semi-finals,  I am here with coverage of the first Dress Rehearsal for the Grand Final.

You can follow the LIVE BLOG HERE – as always just refresh the page from 13:00 GMT/14:00 CET for all the updates throughout the afternoon.

Refresh from 13:00 GMT/14:00 CET

Today sees the first Dress Rehearsal of the Grand Final, now that both the Semi-Finals have taken place.

As with any rehearsal, nothing always starts on time. The blog will get going, once the rehearsal gets going!

And we are off! Same opening titles as the semi-finals – a first I think. Ana Moura is on stage as the opening act to give us some Portuguese musical flair. Ana is followed by another Portuguese singer, Mariza.

Then comes the annual flag ceremony with the artists. The flags are carried by people dressed as sailors – tying in with the nautical scene.

The hosts are now on stage, thanking the Portuguese singers and the flag bearers. They say hello to the whole world. The voting details are been explained alongside the running order.

01. Ukraine
The Ukrainian take on Count Dracula is here. Another year, another semi-final two closer opens the Grand Final. There is nothing like a dramatic performance to kick off the Grand Final. We have Melovin rising from the dead, singing his song, before returning to his piano up the stairs. How will he escape with the stairs setting fire? A great start to the competitive side of proceedings!
02. Spain
So the dreaded second spot this year falls to Spain. As many of you may have read previously in this fortnight, I do find this a bit repulsive. It is sickly at most. It’s a safe song that won’t go anywhere.
03. Slovenia
Now to one of the shock qualifiers from Semi-Final 2. This is certainly a party tune that’ll get many dancing about their living rooms – no drink required! Again, this is a harmless contender that isn’t necessarily to everyone’s taste. The deliberate halt in music is nothing new to the eagle eyed amongst you – remember Spain 2016? It’s a safe entry that won’t go far in the competition.
04. Lithuania
If this doesn’t make you all warm and fuzzy inside, I really don’t know what will. This is a story that is multi-generational and love combined. If Salvador had you shedding a tear last year, the Ieva will have you doing the same thing again this year – or at least bring a lump to your throat. This is a potential winner.
05. Austria
Austria must be rubbing their hands with glee. The song was rejected in Switzerland, the UK and potentially other National Selections. While Cesar has brought the Austrians to the Final again, it’s another safe performance that’ll do better than a few others. No fireworks expected here.
06. Estonia
While Estonia have slipped slightly I the odds, it surely must be still seen as a contender. Yes opera isn’t necessarily a genre that works well at Eurovision, but this year it does stand out amongst the crowd. The projected images on her dress – ok, nothing new at Eurovision, are suppose to tell a story. I’m guessing if you can speak Italian, you’d have a clearer idea what the images are about. Visually and vocally epic. Don’t rule the Estonians out quite yet.
07. Norway
Whether you believe the bookies or not, you can’t deny Alexander Rybak’s entry for Norway is infectious. This song has a hook that’ll stick with you. Another entry you can’t rule out – whether you believe the bookies or not.
08. Portugal
Portugal are now on stage for the first time. They have given a very competent performance on stage for their first full Dress Rehearsal. While the country won’t do a double, I doubt they will be disappointed after the results.
COMMERCIAL BREAK
09. United Kingdom
SuRie has performed well throughout all her rehearsals. This afternoon was no different. SuRe just needs to nail it again in tonight’s Jury Rehearsal and she’ll be half way there. As  I’ve said before, the staging is very 3D, therefore she has great use of her stage.
10. Serbia
This was another shock qualifier from last night. It is great to have a balkan ballad with us in the final and vocally you can’t fault them. It’s hard to see where they will gain their votes from though.
11. Germany
Germany won’t finish last this year. It is a very sincere and emotional performance that has been known to bring tears to the eyes of some in the Press Centre. He had a slight wobble earlier in the week, but Michael has proven he has what it takes to succeed. Germany won’t win, but they’ll do well.
12. Albania
Eugent is perfuming this perfectly. Vocally he amazes me time after time – these vocals will help the audience remember him. This could be one of Albania’s best performing entries of all time. It definitely deserves it’s place in the final.
13. France
France have brought style to the proceedings this year. There is great vocals, great visuals and great eye connection with the camera. The only concern I have personally is the potential language barrier with ‘mercy’ and ‘merci’ – something that many won’t pick up on. France deserve a sixth victory, but we will have to wait and see.
14. Czech Republic
Within the first verse, I feel Mikolas had breathing issues and missed a couple of lyrics. After the slight mishap at the start, everything seems to be back on track. No backflip during this rehearsal – but is he saving himself for the big live show on Saturday night?
15. Denmark
Visually, Rasmussen is going forward like any other rehearsal. Vocally though this afternoon, it does seem slightly off. Is he saving himself for the juries tonight? It did sound slightly off in the semi-final last night too though. If he carries on like this, Denmark won’t be seeing that next victory sadly.
16. Australia
I’m pleased to say that after a slight dodgy Jury and Live semi-final, Jessica’s vocals seem to be back on track. Visually there is nothing wrong with the performance and do well tonight, Australia could be back up there as a contender.
COMMERCIAL BREAK
17. Finland
Saara Aalto is doing her thing! Vocally and visually you can’t fault the performance. The question I have is: Is this to gimmicky or perfect for the Eurovision stage? Considering last year’s simply staged winner, will the voter go for it? Saara has her fans and hopefully that’ll get her to reputable finishing position.
18. Bulgaria
Equinox’s vocal ranges are what will sell the Bulgarian entry to the television voter. The staging does strike you with an air of mystery, starting off very dark, before lighting kicks in with whites and blues. An early bookies favourite, could just climb back up the odds again if it is performed just as well for the juries.
19. Moldova
The fun and innuendos in DoReDos’ performance never get boring. Vocally and visually you can’t fault this very well thought out staging. While some may consider this a very retro performance, it also shows what can be done without LED screens on a stage – would we really have had this fun three-door prop if those screens were in-situ? There are high hopes for “My Lucky Day”.
20. Sweden
Benjamin Ingrosso perform “Dance You Off” like he has always done from Melodifestivalen and all the way through rehearsals here. It’s safe, but doesn’t include any new elements, which one might expect to turn it into a winner. The large neon-tube staging looks bigger on screen than it is physically.
21. Hungary
AWS, the Metal group from Hungary, turns the Eurovision stage into a Metal concert for three minutes. While this has clearly split opinions across Europe, there is obviously a fan base for this genre. The question is, will the juries from all participating countries like it enough along with the viewing public – I’m not sure.
22. Israel
Just like Alexander Rybak, Netta has suffered in the bookies odds over recent days. The clucking and chicken dance is a hook and memorable enough this late on in the running order however. If this scores 6, 7, 8’s with the juries throughout, we could be close to heading towards Israel next year.
23. The Netherlands
Another slight-shock qualifier from last night’s Semi-Final. Waylon brings his vocals to the forefront with this performance. Visually, the guitarists should just stay playing the guitars, rather than turning into dancers mid way through – it just doesn’t work. Mid table if lucky at the moment.
24. Ireland
Vocally and visually, nobody can fault the Irish entry. It has brought a tear to my eye this afternoon I will openly admit. The Irish have started to creep up in the odds and stand out in the running order, in terms of been the only ballad. Will it happen?
25. Cyprus
Can Cyprus do any more? They’ve had the vocals and the visuals since Day 1 of getting on the stage here in Lisbon. Eleni just needs to impress those juries and voters back at home.
26. Italy
I feel the Italian entry will get lost after the Cypriot entry. I fear viewers will get mesmerised by the CGI lyrics, rather than what is happening on the stage itself. I fall fowl of that myself sometimes. While they are conveying an important message that is relevant to today’s world, Cyprus will still be in the foreground of many peoples minds. A safe entry, but won’t go anywhere.
The VOTING PERIOD has now opened.
We now have some more Portuguese artists on stage to entertain us.
Another VOTING recap.
We now look at 53 years of Portuguese Eurovision entries.
We now have Suzy on with a Superfan.
Are attention is now turned to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and Polina, last year’s winner is in the arena. Polina sing’s last year’s Portuguese winner.
Salvador Sobral then takes to the stage.
Another VOTING recap.
That is it for this afternoon. Join John again tonight for the Jury Final coverage.

Author: Richard Taylor

Source: Eurovision Ireland

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