And we are back LIVE at a Dress Rehearsal for the first time since Tel Aviv! Yes, while first rehearsals have been taking place behind closed doors, we’ve since provided live coverage and interviews of the second rehearsals.
Join me (John), along with Richard and the odd squeak from Staggy along the way today, from 16:00 CET/15:00 GMT, where we will be within the Press Centre yet again to cover all things #JESC19 for you.
Refresh from 16:00 CET/15:00 GMT
RICHARD: Good afternoon from Gliwice! We are go and are currently on a tour of Poland via the opening titles. The stage is revealed with dancers and big neon tubes.
Here come’s the flag ceremony with all the participants alphabetically.
RICHARD: Ida, Alexandar and Roksana have been introduced as the hosts of the show.
JOHN: We’re welcoming people in Europe, Kazakhstan and Australia. Kazakhstan is definitely NOT in Europe then. Anyway, our three genial hosts remind us that viewers can vote online.
RICHARD: A strong start in the show with Jordan. A performance with a start, middle and end. The start and end at the piano, while everything else takes place at centre stage.
JOHN: Jordan Anthony looks confident with his very pleasant song. He flits between playing piano and singing towards the front of the stage. It’s a great opener.
RICHARD: Quite a difficult performance Carla has. Very modern and even an adult would struggle probably. Carla breathes in the right places and nothing phases her.
More confidence from Carla with lots of bright colours and words on the backdrop. And umbrellas. It’s a decent interpretation of the song and it all bounces along very nicely.
RICHARD: Nothing wrong with the Russian entry. However it’s been done before – boy meet’s girl type of thing. While previous participants have found it hard, these guys have connectivity.
JOHN: A duo – the only one of the night. Tatyana and Denberel are in boiler suits in different shades of silver-grey. He’s the one with the very husky voice belying his age. It’s pleasant enough and they should be proud.
RICHARD: Wow Mila – such a strong a flawless performance. The first to have the whole of the Press Centre in raptures. Best so far.
JOHN: Mila is very confident. She could teach a few Big ESC singers a thing or two on how to deliver a song. She works the camera, doesn’t make a meal of hand gestures, and just gives the song the right amount of oomph when it needs it. The dry ice and flame-themed backdrop work really well. Best performance so far.
JOHN: The backdrop for this song is stunning. Melani is on her box, surrounded by crumpled plastic bottles, emphasising the message of saving the planet. Her voice is excellent for someone of her age and that will definitely help with the voting. An engaging performance.
RICHARD: As John said, Melani is certainly engaging. She also know’s how to belt out a note or two… Spain performs after a break and sadly that will not help in their quest for victory.
RICHARD: Giorgi performs a pleasant performance – there are no gimmicks (apart from the balloons), just him. Sadly the song doesn’t really get going, but certainly put’s a smile on people’s faces.
JOHN: A male soloist – it’s been a while. Giorgi maybe small, but he’s got a great voice. And he’s on stage alone which must be daunting enough. This reminds me a little of ‘In the country’ by Cliff Richard in places. Nevertheless, it’s a jolly performance, and the heart-shaped balloons are a nice idea.
RICHARD: Well, this is the Belarusian act taking from one stage in Tel Aviv, to another in Gliwice. The similarities are there, but I can’t see a mid-nineties dance number making the top spot this year.
JOHN: Funky and modern are Liza’s watchwords. It’s not dis-similar to Belarus’s Big ESC song. Bright colours and slick choreography mean it’s eye-catching and probably very memorable.
RICHARD: Simple is sometimes best. While Eliana is struggling with her vocals this afternoon, having the lyrics on the backdrop helps her deliver the message of “We Are More”.
JOHN: Eliana seems permanently smiley and that helps with her putting across this song. It is a challenging one to sing, but she manages it. It may not win, but it’s good all the same.
RICHARD: Another huge response here in the Press Centre this afternoon. Erin definitely should be proud and Wales will improve on their result from last year – when they sadly finished last on their debut.
JOHN: Erin Mai gives a good old honest song. It’s I love the violin-strong accompaniment showing off it’s Welsh roots. And who doesn’t love a bit of clog dancing? It’s all very good and gets one of the biggest cheers in the press room so far. A definite hit from me.
RICHARD: Yersham is such a likeable character and another that hit those high notes – and able to hold them. The staging has a feel of The Greatest Showman – something that will no doubt attract the target audience.
JOHN: Yerzhan nails this song, which has everything. A false shadow backdrop, a costume change, curtains to walk through, and several dancers in striking outfits. Throw in a good voice and you have something special. A very good performance.
RICHARD: Viki is here to take the second successive win for Poland. Just like Roksana’s performance last year, we have a very modern number, while the inclusion of sign language makes it accessible for more to enjoy.
JOHN: Talking of striking outfits, here comes Viki. Yellow and mirrors. And sign language. And an assured performance. It’s another song that would sit well in a Big ESC and if the crowd gets behind it – which it will tomorrow afternoon – we could seriously be looking at a double.
RICHARD: Having a musical theatre background certainly helps Anna deliver this song – in fact one of Ireland’s best yet to date. Anna delivers a strong enough performance that she doesn’t need extra bodies on stage – a skill that not everybody has.
JOHN: It’s Anna time! A star if ever there was one. She has this brilliantly done. Her voice is excellent, she nails the key change, and the backdrop just enhances the dreamy nature of the song. Nothing wrong with that at all. If you’re out there, vote Anna!
STAGGY: Squeak, Squeak!!!
RICHARD: I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll mention it again. Sophia gives off a Melodifestivalen vibe to this performance – while isn’t a bad thing if you enjoy Melodifestivalen. Sophia delivers a power performance.
JOHN: Pink-clad Sophia’s song is slightly more jazzy, and I can’t put my finger on why. She does OK and there’splenty of applause at the end.
RICHARD: Matheu delivers a fresh performance, which could see The Netherlands as the accidental winner. Can The Netherlands really do the ESC/JESC double? This up tempo, fun number has it written all over it. Will we hear Maastricht Calling next November?
JOHN: There’s something about this song. It’s catchy and fresh. It’s choreographed to within an inch of its life. If you’re looking for, perhaps, an accidental winner, Matheu’s is the one for you. And just watch the bigwigs at AVROTROS if this wins. And it would be a good winner if it does.
RICHARD: For fans of Disney, this is the performance for you. Fairytale castle, big dresses, fairytale gates to the castle – it’s all there. Karina will need to make a big impact following The Netherlands to score highly in my opinion.
JOHN: If Disney did JESC… No, this is genuinely very nice. Lots of dancing, big costumes made of lace, a set of pearly gates. It’s all good. That could surprise a few people.
JOHN: Joana is alone on stage with her song about saving the Earth. She gives it her all and it comes across very well. Her smile should win her plenty of votes too.
RICHARD: Joana’s performance is very simple, yet while she is vocally good, I find myself concentrating on the words on the back drop, which deliver the message just as well. The criticism is towards the camerawork here, not the participant.
RICHARD: A classical number that Italy is known for sending to JESC and is another that has got wide acclaim in the Press Centre. Marta’s voice is strong enough to carry through this as she looks a bit lonely on stage with her been so small.
JOHN: Marta has another Earth song and for someone so small she has a very powerful voice. Especially with some of the high notes. She sells this song really well, and is very endearing to the camera. That could surprise a few people.
JOHN: Another powerful voice in someone so young. She has a challenging song to put across, and the acquits herself very well. The pink and blue dress really sets things off too.
RICHARD: Everything is bright and cheery about this performance by Isea. From her dress to the back drop graphics – another song to make you feel summery. Can Albania beat it’s best 5th placing?
JOHN: Last on is a very professional Darija. There is a wind machine, but don’t let that put you off. She knows where the camera is, she knows when to emote, she knows when to stand still and when to move around. In all, this would be a good winner for the contest. There’s also a shot when wings on the backdrop are made to appear on her. Very good. This could be your winner.
RICHARD: Darija is the star of the night when it comes to al those environmental songs. Connectivity with the audience and camera is there. The emotional aspect could help her win this.
The VOTING (pretend) has now opened.
Roksana has taken to the stage to reprise her winning entry “Anyone I Want To Be”.
JOHN: And now it’s Roksana Węgiel. She’s showing off her winning song from 2018. TVP is getting its money’s worth out of her, what with her co-hosting as well. Her single’s gone platinum!
JOHN: You know the score from here. A window will be open for you to vote online – there’s no televoting here oh dear me no. And Wales and Ireland would love your votes.
RICHARD: #ShareTheJoy, the Common Song is now been performed by this year’s participating artists. Roksana performed this during the Opening Ceremony.
The Common Song is over and the (pretend) VOTING has now closed.
At this point, this is where we will leave the #LiveBlog for today. Don’t forget, you’ve got until 15:59 CET/14:59 GMT on Sunday afternoon to cast your online vote, before it reopens for 15 minutes during the interval – make your vote count!
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland