Friday, 12 May 2017

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[LIVE] Final : Dress Rehearsal 1

And it's NORWAY! Norway win the fake voting of the first dress rehearsal! The artist stand-ins are then lead from the green room to the B stage and later the main stage. where they hug the presenters. We still have no audio what so ever. Congratulations over and done with there is nothing left but for the three hosts to hug eachother on a job well done and talk to us about the Eurovision App (we assume). Then off to the reprise and Good Night Europe!

And this is where we finish for today, 41 minutes later than planned. Thank you to all which have been involved in this. Thanking you muchly. Do pobachennya (до побачення) to you all!

Timur is in the EBU booth with Jan Ola Sand. They are talking about something but there is no audio so we can only assume it is about hygiene products and the price of alcohol in Ukraine.

We start the televoting with Bulgaria earning 19 points. There is no bar so we do not know how many points are remaining in the pot. Belarus received 40 points putting them currently in second place but this is soon pushed to third when Ukraine receives their 46 putting them momentarily in first place.

Germany only receives 83 points from the fake televote while there are still 10 countries left to receive points. Italy is currently last with 49 points. Sweden just got points and are currently leading on 274. Italy were just behind and now have 5th place on 211. Croatia, Moldova, Israel and Norway make the final 4. Israel is 4th ranking, but earning them top place with 293. We then have the shot of the current leader on top middle box and the three remaining nations on the bottom half of the screen.

Croatia gain 179 points from televote and are now leading with 325. Israel's lead was short. Moldova (127) or Norway (104) are left. Moldova earn 194 for 321, just missing out on top place. Now, the question remains, how many points are left?

The fake voting skipped most countries. We had Sweden, Azerbaijan, San Marino and Latvia give their points. However, we then went to the total board where Germany is in the lead with 180 points. Due to this, Timur goes to talk to Levina. He also goes to the Ukrainian pod who are currently second with 147. No time to talk to Jacques however, who is third with 146 points. We still have no audio in the press centre so going purely by visuals. UK on 139 and Belgium on 133 complete the fake top 5.

We have Volo and Oleks on stage with the platform however their mike's are off and we can't hear anything. But it appears it's the voting. And since it's fake, you know how this goes.

There is one more run through of the voting numbers happening at the bottom of the screen. Wouldn't be bad if it were not that France's number appears two seconds before we stop voting. I'm sure that will work well. Positive.

After the close, we then move to Timur who is with Eurovision Queen - Verka. And again another moment where no one knows what the f is going on. Wonderful. Please cancel that cab for 18:30 please, we may be a while.

Take 2: This is horrendous. Verka will make a falling star - which means she takes her helmet off for the first time ever. You wouldn't believe this cr*p unless you were watching it. Even Timur seems amused by the randomness of it all. "That was it" he says while starting to giggle to himself and hold his arms out in a wtf manner.

No one has a clue of what is going on now. Jamala is still on B Stage, and Volo and Oleks are now coming on stage but they thought that Jamala wanted to say something after the song, but apparently she didn't. Shambles.

First ever television performance of this song! Hurrah! It's basically Jamala just singing her new single I Believe in You. No real prizes for guessing why this is an exclusive. While she's singing, we get the numbers at the bottom of the screen for what could be the final time. I'm sure we should be done with this soon - or has the show been extended again?

And we have yet another reminder of the songs which are competing for your vote.

Timur is back on stage and gives us some more facts about Eurovision. Wouldn't be too bad if they weren't just re-used information that we've all heard before.

We then have a clip of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest winner, Mariam Mamadashvili from Georgia. She then comes on stage and hopes to see everyone in Georgia for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Volo. then asks her if she enjoyed the show. She unfortunately wasn't sure what to answer. Her cue card says "Yes, it was amazing" but her body language and her hesitation and loss of memory wants to say "it's been freaking sheit!". Volodymyr wants to do the part again. She clearly is not a professional presenter.

Unfortunately we're not seeing the names of the intervals, such as Ruslana's song and this. From what I can understand it seems to cover all areas of Ukrainain music into a decently modern catchy song. Starting off with a single flute, the sound then encompasses traditional Ukrainian trembitas , traditional drums and harps, violins and chellos, while also modern instruments such as a small keyboard. We then see someone playing an instrument which we've never seen before nor can find online. It's basically a drum but has a horse tail coming out of it and the sound is made by pulling on the horse's tail. Very weird. But works.

Timur interviews more audience members, well, one, Luke Gardner from Australia. We're all really interested in what is being talked about, really, riveting.

Another issue means we're not going to the next part of the show but get to see Timur just hanging around looking cute. Best part of the Hosts' involvement in the show so far.

Another recap is on its way - not before we can be reminded of the Eurovision app however - thankfully this time only on screen.

Ruslana is next to grace on stage. And there is a problem. So we'll need to start again.

Ah! So the issue was that there should a video - or so it seems. Yes, that was it, the video lasts a few seconds and then we have Ruslana on stage. Basically it's a new song with the same dancing style of Wild Dances and Dance with the Wolves and all other songs she may have had since. We're not sure which language this is in, it seems like it should be Ukrainian but sometimes there are some words which seem like we can understand and therefore it could be that it's English - or at least Ruslana's version of it.

The songs are recap'd for the first time tonight.

Well, just as the above mentions, Verka Serduchka is invited on stage and the voting is started. Very messy rehearsal.

[For some unknown reason we are not able to embed the video for France]

Postcard: Alma is having a petit déjeuner and is scrap-booking at the same time. Talented she is for sure. She also like to explore rooftops and fancy sky roof-lit hallways. Each to his/her own.

Vocally not outstanding but show is entertaining enough. Last time the contest was in Kyiv, France also closed the show with Ortal's Chacun pense à soi but it only managed a 23 out of 24 placing. Will Alma manage any better? On a side note, ending last that year was Germany - not boding well for Levina either.

Absolutely brilliant! No commentary I can give will do this justice. It doesn't give me the chills like the Dutch entry does but this will definitely score high on the night. Will we see another 'best placing ever' for Bulgaria two years in a row?

The break is mainly in order to fit the treadmills for the staging. It takes quite a while to get all 5 on stage and stuck together since they all need to be done in a specific order and it takes about 15 people working while trying not to be in camera shot in order to get it done in under a minute and a half. Robin knows this routine by heart so there is no issue. Vocally doing well but will I Can't Go On meet the expectations of the people and the bookies? Has it been hyped up a bit too much?

Another quick stop to inform the people of the Eurovision App. In case they didn't already know from the 27,654 times it has been mentioned over the course of three nights.

Still a bit confused as to what happened here. Does the 'dear in headlights' look work well on tv sets which aren't here? Whatever happened, and however it did, part of us feel relieved that this went through. Blanche is very sweet, maybe a bit too sweet for this cut throat competition - especially with the added pressure of your whole nation wanting you to succeed. Vocally today she isn't sounding terrible but it's not great either. Apparently however, from a NQ this song is now being seen as a top-5 in some betting circles. This is why you should keep your money and stick to something more stable - like the lottery.

Postcard: The boys from O.Torvald are rehearsing, playing some ball, and hugging nephews and sons. It's all about the buddies and family. Very wholesome.

And then you just get a massive head with lasers and later scary yellow-eyes. Wholesome indeedy. But all in all a good performance and this was enjoyed by the audience in the arena at least - we're assuming though that most of them are Ukrainian. Not a shabby entry and I would go as far as to say it would have probably qualified from a semi if it needed to. Will the luck of the host nation reign also on this band?

Postcard: Levina's been exploring the urban sights of some city (any idea where it is?). We also see twirling on an abandoned airstrip. While she's doing that, she gets to remember her highlight of her carreer so far: winning the national final of Germany. But she's ready to tackle more than that. After that last party with her friends.

Not much is being expected from Levina but she's still enjoying herself and giving it her all. Unfortunately when your song isn't really a crowd-pleaser it's not always easy to feel motivated but she is handling this professionally. And as we've asked before - will it be possible for Germany to avoid the 'last place consecutive hat-trick?!'

Unlike Romania which will be played over and over again for many years to come - in Eurovision circles obviously. Nowhere else will ever play this ... number. Not much more to be able to write about this song. I'm sure a decent few points will be arriving Romania's way however.

As with Australia, this was also probably one of the lower ranked countries in the semi to get through. Although starting with a probably 48 points before singing a note did not work against Hovig either. Although you might not agree with countries voting for one of their diaspora representing another country, this 'one of us' connection is very strong in some countries - especially Southern and Eastern Europe. Vocally in this rehearsal Hovig is doing fine, but not really demanding our attention. It's a background noise song which will soon enough be forgotten into the sands of Eurovision time.

Postcard: Lucie has found the make-up room in the International Exhibition Center. It made her think back of when her music video was being recorded. Luckily there was a behind the scenes camera team ready to capture some choice moments. And now Europe gets to enjoy them as well.

This is by no doubt the best staging of a UK entry in many a year. And it is shown by how the song has shot up in the betting odds. Yes, many Brits vote for the UK song winning even when they haven't even heard of it, but this time the betting could be correct. Lucie is pitch-perfect and is confident on stage. As always, it could go all wrong on the night (remember 17th placed Molly and Children of the Universe?) but doubt this will be the case in 2017.

God, these breaks are so bad! Really! Volo learned English from friends apparently "How you doin'". Oleks from the Royal Family, and Timur from Vitali Klitschko. The two high-five but Timur hurts his hand. Kill me now.

We are then on to a clip. Finally! Måns, dressed in a tux comes over and says he is there since he was the host of the very successful Eurovision Song Contest 2016 would the guys like a few tips. After informing them of the issues they will have to deal with, the guys accept the tips. We then move into a dramatic number which is held in a gym. This is actually reasonably funny. I guess it was written by a Swede.

This was a pleasant surprise wasn't it?! I did not predict Norway getting through just because from what I had seen previously it didn't look slick enough to convince. Gladly I was wrong. Although confidently performed, I doubt it will be setting the telephone lines alight tomorrow.

Postcard: Manel is visiting Kiev like it's his first time. He's on some square, walking in some kids park and plays football. We get to see him playing his guitar. He's been practicing the wrong part of his performance the whole time!

That shirt looks unbuttoned enough to give up #hairynipplegate once more. Let's hope he doesn't move too much, once was enough. The sad thing is, coming after Greece, this actually doesn't seem that bad. It's always gonna be a shit song, and it's always gonna be sung by someone you want to slap right in the face, but in comparison... Manel also does some bum notes but no one is really that fussed any more.

Well, she's still squeaky! But since when has that been an issue for the Greeks? I wonder how Argo must be feeling, knowing that they were so bad that not even their own tuneless people wanted to vote for them but they were willing to save this. After another three minutes of shouty torture, it's over. And we clap. If there is any justice this will be quite low in the board.

We have another quick break. Timur is in the green room and he gives a mention to Artsvik and the girls from The Netherlands. He also mentions about the new competition - Eurovision Choir of the Year which will be held in Riga, Latvia.

After a quick clip of the Choir competition, Volo and Oleks are back on stage. They try to be funny by mentioning that the audience "seem to have left their wife at home." Ha ha ha, *so* funny, stiches, remind me to get them next time we hear it. They cannot deliver these jokes.

Australia could have been 9th or 10th in the semi-final. The Aussies should consider themselves lucky that they managed to get through with this one. The vocals are still a bit shaky and it's not like there is some grand show which is that attention-grabbing. We know that Australia is no longer a 'by invitation only' participant, it will basically be a feature in most years to come, whatever your opinions are on the matter it won't make too much of a difference. If they insist on taking part however, they should bring their A-game. Yes, I know it's a double-standard but when you're basically breaking your own rule to accommodate someone, they better be more interesting than the others.

Well, we knew this would end up being in the final so we can't be too judgy. Jacques is also trying out various tones which are not the ones he should be singing in. And to be honest, they work really well - much better than what Salvador was trying to do. Once done, Jacques says "We're just having so much fun! Thank you for the support! Thank you!" No thank you Jacques, thank you!

After the quietness that is Portugal, this makes sure to wake you up! The whole team is on form - not much more to comment. The Azeris (and Swedes) know how to make sure the Land of Fire is not forgotten from the final. Will probably be able to beat the worst two placings Azerbaijan has had up until now - 22 (2014) and 17 (2016).

We now have a few random audience members being interviewed by Volo. We then quickly go to Azerbaijan but not until after Henrik tells someone off for having camera lamps on. Camera lamps are not allowed during the song "... unless they're our own."

"Hello" says Salvador before the music to his entry starts. He appears to be singing different notes to some of the lyrics. Not sure if this is just because he's bored or if it's just part of his personality or what it is. He then starts playing the hand trumpet which brings laughter to the centre. More strange gestures and sounds are made throughout the rendition of the song. If this clip ever gets onto the internet, watch it and comment. And the comment explains it all "I'm sorry, I rehearsed so many times that..." and we couldn't hear the exact words but we're thinking "I wanted to do something different."

She can really belt out a tune can't she! I don't know why anyone would not have this song in their predictions last night. Maybe a bit of a disappointment for Denmark being squashed right in between two hot favorites but this girl is not letting that dampen her spirits. She is giving it all she has, she knows she has to make sure she impresses since the reprise will not work in her favour.

Everyone seems to be convinced that this is the winner but you more and more start hearing pips of Portugal and Bulgaria coming through. It is unlikely to be the massive runaway winner that was though pre-Kyiv but do the other songs have the same energy and conviction to win? We have been used to the winner being played on the radio in many countries and last year was an exception. Will the EBU really want another non-hit winning the sow? As a side note, the gorilla only wore his head today, it might be a bit too warm to keep on dancing around in that costume which probably cannot even be dry-cleaned.

I think Joci could be my choice for artists who has improved the most since arriving here. Discounting Blanche obviously since that is still an unanswered question. But from the frightened, slightly constipated-looking lead artist we had just a few days ago, we now have a smiling, gleaming figure of a man who looks proud of managing to get Europe to put him in the top 10 of his semi and is now able to show the world that Roma can do just as well as anyone else.

And the first issue of the day. The skirts are still causing issues for the girls, one stuck a bit but then released while one just simply stuck so was left half-opened. The team really needs to look into this, it is no longer acceptable that the poor backing singers need to worry whether or not their costume will actually work while they're trying to do their choreography and sing at the same time.

A really short break just to ask people to get in touch with the show. Like anyone's tweets will actually be read out. #dontwasteyourtime

From one amazing song to another. Quite a shitty draw for Team NL to come right after Armenia but then it is a big contrast and we all know how much Mr. Björkman loves his contrasts. This gets me each time, the only song this year which gave me goosebumps in the host city. The girls deserve to be in the top 10 but if that will happen or not depends on the message that the viewers are receiving since although beautifully sung and all in harmony with lyrics which are powerfully charged, they could go missed without clear commentary.

There are many voices by people who supposedly know these things that this was the winner of the semi-final. I never claim to have such knowledge and fully admit that my predictions are mainly guesswork. I can see it however, mainly because I don't get the hype of Portugal. Then again, my and being proven wrong are quite familiar with eachother so who the hell knows. It's a good song sung really well and visually keeps the viewer wanting to see more. That is all what Europe really wants - entertainment!

Seeing from the clip from the semifinal we can finally see how the damned transparent box was not seen on tv - basically flood the stage with dry ice. At least it worked though so kudos! It is still seen a bit in this rehearsal but I guess it's just for the time being and tomorrow it will be back to super-dense clouds that ORF want. Don't see this being such a hit as Loin D'ici however.

I don't think anyone can be upset that this song went through! As previously commented these two are adorable and they are loving every minute of this experience and it shows! And with such a happy-clappy song who can blame them! Vocally they might not be superstars but they accompany each other well and their nuances are quite fitting for the song. It would have been nicer if they were given a spot a bit further down but let's see what they can manage to rustle up tomorrow. They have my vote already!

Still unsure how this managed to get through over entries such as Georgia or Finland however the power of the Polish plumber should not be discounted. Last year we all thought the shock third place in the televote for Poland was due to the popularity of Michał Szpak but could it be that finally after all these years the Poles managed to work out that their combined diaspora mean a guaranteed final and a good result in the final iteself? Could we see another repeat? This time the package is actually better!

IMRI keeps on winking at cameras - god knows he needs to help distract from his high notes. It just goes to show that a pretty boy can do anything they put their mind to. Really, he cannot hit one of them correctly.

The three hosts are now on stage and reading their lines from cue cards. It doesn't seem they were given them much time in advance. We get to see a picture of each of the presenters when they were younger. Again, the script is no masterpiece. Bring back Måns and Petra! Timur leaves the stages and the other two keep on talking about stuff we don't care about. We then get to see the board with the 26 competing nations. "Let the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 begin!"

We do not get to see the opening of the show nor the first three artists come on stage. However we see artist introduction as of Nathan Trent from Austria. There are flags appearing on the backdrop and the artists comes from backstage. There is a voice saying "number one", "number two" etc but they are not actually the numbers which the artists will sing in. I guess they are still getting this piece sorted. There is a couple of short breaks to let the artists get to the green room. One before Australia, one before Germany. Once all artists are in the green room, we are asked to welcome the hosts!

We made it! God, traffic on a Friday afternoon in Kyiv is just terrible! All in all, waiting for and riding with Uber took 57 minutes - and I thought I was being clever trying to get here with time to spare! Thankfully however the show seems to be a few minutes late which gives just enough time to set up and pretend you've got nothing to panic about.

How haz we did?

A quick look at yesterday's predictions shows we were equally good with 8/10, although we didn't get exactly the same qualifiers right or wrong. (Except for which managed 5/10).

So over the two semis we have predicted:

Sam - 16/20
Roger - 16/20
Sild - 15/20 - 11/20

It's a relief to know we are better than a random list generator.

Haiku #12

Fan faves come and go
A western type of drama
Time to dance alone