Semi-Final 1 rehearsals

The final preparations for Eurovision in Tel Aviv has started, and over the weekend the contestants of Semi-Final 1 had their first round of rehearsals on the Eurovision stage, with the rehearsal order usually follows the running order.

Day 1

First on stage, Saturday morning, was Cyprus, who are taking full advantage of once again having a giant LED screen as background – something that was missing from last year’s event in Lisbon. Tamta is backed up by a group of male dancers wearing matador-style black hats, and of course revealed a dress change mid-song!

Next on stage was Czech Republic, who had swapped places with Montenegro in the rehearsal schedule. Lake Malawi seems to borrow some of the stage elements from the Czech entry from last year, though this time it’s the musicians boxed in, also mimicking the instagram boxes from the music video. They are also wearing the same clothes as in the video, with the yellow sweater especially standing out.

Finland‘s Darude and Sebastian Rejman next took to the stage, in what looks like some very large boots. A female dancer was dancing on a podium in the background while the LED screen was showing various images of mountains, icebergs and the like, reminding people of the global warming message of the song.

The four singers of Tulia from Poland were next, standing on a rotating platform, in colorful dresses covered with a black veil, almost reminiscent of widows. At the same time the LED screen behind them were showing pre-recorded unveiled close ups of them singing.

The duo from Slovenia, dressed in white in front of a background of stars and galaxies, were standing around a keyboard, playing and singing to each other, looking slightly awkward at times. We’ll have to wait and see how it actually looks on TV to judge it.

It was finally time for the six young singers from Montenegro, all dressed in different variations of a white jacket and grey pants, some with a dash of red around their necks. With no room for backup dancers (they are already at the six people limit), and no LED background, the six singers were the front and centre of the performance.

Next on stage was Joci Pápai from Hungary, who went through all of this last year as well. This year he is accompanied by an LED backdrop of pictures of fathers from across Europe, and swirling lights that gather into a family tree, to help carry across the meaning and message of the song.

From Belarus, ZENA was accompanied by two backup dancers, and two backup singers, on a stage, that looked like the backstage of a concert, with black anvil boxes for storing instruments and like placed all over the stage, and a show on the LED screens that contained everything from running dogs and floating heads, to various shapes in neon lights. The 16-year-old singer was wearing white over-the-knee leather boots, and a top and pants in a variegated pattern.

The final rehearsals of day 1 was Serbia, with Nevena taking the stage in a dramatic black dress with a high slit over the right leg, and adorned in silver or metallic gauntlet wristbands with crowns attached to them. Using both the floor and the background LED to show swirling patterns of what looked like ice or diamonds.

Day 2

The first to rehearse on the second day was Belgium, with Eliot taking the stage with two background dancers/percussionists. Singing, dancing, and beating the drums to an array of moving lines and colors on the LED background, it surely woke up people for another day.

Oto Nemsadze from Georgia took to the stage, with his five backup singers, all wearing black. The LED background stated of with serene mountain top landscapes, before going all apocalyptic, with pyrotechnics and the background changing to a fiery version of the former, including blood-red skies.

Next up was Kate Miller-Heidke from Australia, with her two backup dancers. The performance is similar to the one from Australia Decides, with the twist that instead of Kate standing stationary in a big dress, she is also now flowing around, 6 meters up in the air, on a bendy pole. The background shows images of stars and planets, to really give that feeling of Zero Gravity… or as Kate’s son sings it, “penis gravity”, as Kate revealed during the press conference following her rehearsals.

Iceland had a big circular metal cage on stage, and the band and the dancers were all wearing black and white leather and latex clothing, that felt very bondage or S&M inspired. The cage, outfits, dancing, the pyrotechnics, the fiery chains in the background all gives an impression as was it hell, or a future apocalypse world, like Mad Max.

Estonia took the stage next, with Victor Crone. The overall performance is very similar as the one we saw in Eesti Laul, with Victor starting with a guitar, and then getting rid of it to move more freely around the stage, being circled by the camera, and having images of storms in the background. The female singer Victor had on stage in Eesti Laul is gone now, and instead another male singer is part of the show.

Conan Osiris from Portugal and his male dancer took to the stage in a deep green outfit, accompanied by a LED background of large red roses — the colors of the Portuguese flag. The performance on stage was very similar to the one seen when he won the Portuguese selection show.

Greece‘s Katerine Duska was on stage with five backup singers and dancers. The stage performance included light sword fighting, flowers on the LED background, and a flowery backdrop that looks like a bridal podium from one side and a weird “condom” from the other side. Overall it looked like a recreation of the official music video for the song.

The last country from Semi-Final 1 to rehearse was San Marino, with Serhat taking the stage with five backup singers and dancers, bringing full on 70s disco vibe to the stage, all dressed in white, with the backup singers in bell-bottom pants, and the dancers carrying megaphones. And in case you forgot how to say na na na, the LED background helpfully repeated the lyrics over and over, including a small language lesson how to count to three in Turkish.