#ESC2019: Blog of Day Six Rehearsals – #DareToDream Live from 09:00 CET

Day Six? Where was the Day Five rehearsals we hear you cry? Well, Day Five was Memorial Day in Israel, so everything stops in terms of work. This will be why we started rehearsal coverage on Saturday instead of the traditional Sunday.


Welcome back to day six of rehearsals for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Today we see the first fifteen acts of the first semi-final artists. Will the ten qualifiers be amongst them?

You know what to do. Hit ‘Refresh’ to see our latest thoughts. Feel free to add your views.

All times are in CET (local time is one hour ahead of CET) and subject to change.


Shalom from Tel Aviv! We’re just getting settled in at the Press Centre for another day of Eurovision 2019 rehearsals! Keep checking back for all the latest goings on, live from sunny Israel!

Cyprus: 09:00 – 09:20

JAMES – Tamta’s performance is slick, raunchy and feels like Fuego 2.0 in terms of staging. It’s a great way to kick off the semi-final, no question about that! For me though, it lacks that emotional connection essential for a victory.

RICHARD: This is the first time I’ve seen the Cypriot entry during rehearsals. Once Tamta’s leather jacket is removed by her backing singers (looking very much like the spawn of Hatari), we quite clearly have the raunchiest outfit of the Eurovision Song Contest of 2019. Clearly the opener that this semi final needs.

John – Very much like before. Choreographed to within an inch of its life with a bit of raunch thrown in for good measure. Effective staging. Relatively clear vocal, although there’s still a line that sounds like something inappropriate for a family audience. However, the casual viewer will get drawn in by this and hopefully stay to the end of the show. And yet, there’s something not quite right to complete the package. Not quite sure what though.

Montenegro: 09:25 – 09:45

RICHARD: Another entry I’ve yet to see rehearse. D-mol are trying their best, on what is an improvement of their National Final performance. It’s a very classical, balkan performance, which actually could do well considering what is yet to come. They show more energy, now they are no longer attached to a giant keyboard.

JAMES – After Cyprus’ more risque routine, D Mol feel much more wholesome and traditional. I love this song and it’s great to see them look like they’re having the time of their lives! It’s fun and definitely has its fans here in Tel Aviv – me included!

John – The Montenegrins are a game old bunch. Lots of fun and games, and general larking about in addition to the singing. They’re here to have a good time and there’s a bit of exuberance about the staging. However, I think it will get lost because nice doesn’t win prizes in this competition any more, and it’s just a little too high school for me.

Finland: 09:50 – 10:10

RICHARD: I felt quite underwhelmed about this performance. It does completely nothing for me and having Darude as a big name representing you, won’t guarantee you qualification – it isn’t happening. Sebastian, the singer is also wearing knee high boots over his jeans – just why? Barbara Dex award anyone?

JAMES – As a club or arena show, Finland rocks the house with its thumping baseline. But Sebastian connects so poorly with the camera, that for viewers at home it’s the same sentence over and over with little to set it apart. Still not sure why he looks like he’s been wading in tar… juries may flock to this because of who Darude is, but I suspect televoting may keep this from the final.

John – Sebastian was in key this time, so that’s a bonus. The sing rumbles along nicely, and Seb uses a lot of the stage. Darude is watching his protégé do his stuff and not getting too involved. But why is Seb wearing waders? That’s what baffles me most about this song.

Poland: 10:15 – 10:35

RICHARD: Poland for me is full of culture and ethnicity. Starting on a rotating circular stage, before lining up like we’ve seen in the Official Video. Tulia wear some magnificent head dresses, along with some colourful dresses/red jackets – which are revealed when the shrouds are dropped. If you didn’t like the entry from Poland before, you will do now.

JAMES – Poland’s staging still feels stilted and uncomfortable for me. I know Tulia are known for their static performances, but what little movement there is seems hesitant and not like it comes naturally. It should be very simple, but feels like it’s trying to be very highbrow without really knowing how to. Can their harmonies and memorable dress sense pull them into the final? I think it’s not impossible, but it’s a tall order…

John – A false start for Tulia first, before they got into their groove. No issues with the veils that plagued them earlier this week. Or the fun and games when the microphones get moved. The girls clap at various points, and encourage us to do the same. There are parts when this works, but others when they don’t need to. However, this is the thing that’s appealed to me most so far today.

Slovenia: 10:40 – 11:00

JAMES – Having nipped into the arena itself (which is amazing, by the way!) Slovenia’s rehearsal came across well in the hall. Zara’s hypnotic vocals, the wheeling light show of stars and galaxies gives a feeling of weightlessness and a real sense of calm. The staging hasn’t changed at all since EMA, but why fix what isn’t broke?

John – There’s not much to add about Slovenia. It’s a simple staging of a very soothing song. Zala and Gašper look at each other longingly. He’s got his guitar and fiddles with the mixing deck from time to time. They’re dressed in white to contrast with a dark stage and stars, galaxies and nebulæ on the back drop. It’s very good and nicely stripped down. A pleasing rehearsal for me, especially as I was able to get into the arena for the first time.

RICHARD: It’s a simple performance to be brutally honest with you. The National Final performance remains unchanged. The back projections of the stars etc work, but nothing in this performance grabs me.

Czech Republic: 12:05 – 12:25

Due to technical difficulties in the Press Centre, we were unable to watch the Czech Republic rehearse on the screens.

Hungary: 12:30 – 12:50

RICHARD: While I’m not a fan of Joci’s entry, just like in 2017, I can truly appreciate it for what it is. Traditional Hungarian culture. However, I don’t feel having Joci on his own on the stage works – unless the camera shots remain close-up, rather than long distance.

JAMES – Other than the fact I still think the floating heads are a mistake, there’s little else I can fault about this performance. Joci is incredible and the performance sublime. Would be nice if he could connect with the camera a little more, but still, it suits the mood of the song. The firework curtain is a nice touch without going too OTT.

John – Joci still emotes his way through this gentle little song. He’s definitely a storyteller, and even though you might not know Hungarian, you get the general sentiment of the song. And as he’s done this thing before, he has a fair idea of how to bring out the best of his three minutes on stage.

Belarus: 12:55 – 13:15

JAMES – WOW Belarus! Earlier in the week this felt a bit lacklustre and messy, but it looks a lot neater now. Zena’s costume choice is much much better (I can’t stress how much better!) and the whole production feels like it’s been revamped and improved immensely. They’ve even added a reveal! Good job Belarus, I’m impressed!

John – Zena has changed her outfit to something that suits her better. In fact, the whole act seems far more polished now. I’m pleasantly surprised. The vocal still isn’t quite there in places, but I’m guessing that some of the lyric she’s learned phonetically. I could be wrong. Nevertheless, this could well qualify now.

RICHARD: I briefly saw this rehearsal. Zena has changed her outfit that was worn in the first rehearsals. The performance is colourful, thanks to the back projection graphics, along with the high energy Zena gives off. While the overall performance has been tidied up a lot, vocals could still be worked on a bit. A qualifier? Im not sure to be honest.

Serbia: 13:20 – 13:40

JAMES – Nevena gives a very polished performance of Kruna, with enhanced CGI effects that add a nice flourish to what’s otherwise quite simple staging. She is emotional, intense, connects to the camera well and yet at the same time seems to be really enjoying herself on the stage and her smiles down the camera are genuine. It all works really well together and I think shouldn’t have any problem making it to Saturday’s final.

RICHARD: Serbia was the last of the first rehearsals I didn’t see. Nevena has strong vocals and delivers that performance. The CGI graphics swirl around her on stage (blues and yellows), making the performance look mystical and magical on stage. In a tough semi final, Serbia’s balkan classic should qualify.

John – Yeah, it’s OK for me. There are more effects now, including a swirling turquoise tornado around Nevena. Other than that, there’s not much to comment on that’s new.

Belgium: 13:45 – 14:05

RICHARD: Nothing really has changed since Sunday to be honest. It does take a bit of time to get going and isn’t one of Belgium’s strongest performances from the past few years. Eliot appears now with his jacket open and looks a lot more sensible. Sadly, this entry is easily forgettable.

John – Eliot is still dressed in something black and orange. The staging is the same as previously, and it still bounces along in its own Belgian way.

Georgia: 14:35 – 14:55

John, James and our new star Staggy have left the Press Centre to interview Paenda from Austria. Will Staggy get out alive, look out for the interview over the next 24 hours.

It’s Richard here for the rest of the afternoon. Georgia and Oto are back with the strong, dramatic performance from Sunday. Nothing has really changed and it didn’t have to neither! One small note – right at the start on the back projection, some heart rate graphics were used that I hadn’t seen before.

Australia: 15:00 – 15:20

It works – the whole performance is coming together for Katie. The CGI graphics of the globe has finally been sorted out and it doesn’t look messy. The bendy straw concept is original, but not controlled, could cause an interesting production! It’s no surprise this nation is rocketing up the odds with the bookies.

Iceland: 15:25 – 15:45

Hatari are back on the stage polishing their already polished stage performance. The hammer is back for the band member on top of the giant Gladiator’s atlasphere. Can it qualify? Probably. Can it win? That’ll be down to your average Saturday night television viewer and the hype in the country you are based in – some will hype it up more than others.

Estonia: 15:50 – 16:10

Estonia is having issues and it’s nothing that Victor Crone is doing. It’s more of the production side of things that is letting this performance down and hindering Victor’s chances of qualifying further. Camera shots need to be tidied up to avoid seeing stage hands and the inclusion of CGI graphics need to flow in and out more smoothly. I pray the production bits can be sorted – no bias here, oh no!

Portugal: 16:15 – 16:35

The sea monster is back and I still can’t see how this is going to qualify or do well for that matter. It’s a very particular niche genre, which many will fail to get. Nothing has changed from last Sunday and time is running out now for further changes – the dress rehearsals are the next time you’ll get to witness this performance.

Join John and Richard from 09:00 CET tomorrow morning, followed by James and Bogdan (he joins us on-the-ground tomorrow!) around late lunchtime. We will have the final two acts from the first semi final, the first nine acts of the second semi final, Israel and the Big 5! It’ll be a long day, but stick with us here at Eurovision Ireland because it’ll be worth it.

Author: Eurovision Ireland

Source: Eurovision Ireland

2 replies »

  1. So far,only had time to see two a acts:
    Cyprus…. it’s slick, choreographed well very like Fuego but somehow,I just can’t warm to it in the way I did Fuego. It all seems a bit too clinical.
    Slovenia: I am really starting to warm to this song now. It’s staged well ,going with the mood of the song. I really enjoy watching it

  2. Morning all. Working today,so can’t tune in at the moment but will have a look later and share my thoughts again

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