The Grand Final of the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest will take place on May 12th at the Altice Arena of Lisbon, Portugal. Forty-three artists will take to the stage over three nights to perform their contributions for the contest, fighting to become the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. Over the next week, all of the artists will have the chance to rehearse on stage and make any last minute changes to their performance before the live broadcasts. Today, nine countries will rehearse for the first time.
⭕ LIVE COVERAGE | Live blog has ended
11:00 CET – Azerbaijan – Aisel – X My Heart
11:01 – Good morning, we’ve just awaiting the first rehearsal from Aisel of Azerbaijan.
11:05 – Aisel starts the performance laying down on a triangular block. She is wearing a white flowing dress, with purple lights in the backdrop. She then runs across to multiple triangular blocks.
Wind machine kicks in for the chorus, a lot of soaring lights. She is joined half way in by a backing dancer, then three more dancers. The triangular blocks light up on the second chorus.
There’s some impressive floating floating glitter that goes around her on the third chorus.
11:08 CET – They’re just reviewing the first performance, focusing on the first half of the show.
11:13 CET – They are still reviewing the performance.
11:17 CET – The running between the blocks doesn’t really work on camera. It looks messy in place and a bit rushed. First dancer rises out from behind a block.
The performance can be summarised by a lot of running around by dancers and Aisel. It looks impressive and is a safe qualifier. This looks like a sold performance and a great opener.
11:27 CET – Third run through for Azerbaijan. Dry ice has now been added to the performance, which really lifts the performance. The dry ice makes the performance look far more impactful in the first minute.
11:32 CET – No change on the fourth run through.
11:40 CET – Iceland – Ari Olafsson – Our Choice
11:43 CET – Ari is wearing a white suit with red stitching on it in a sort of tribal/electronic motif.
11:49 CET – Starts off staring down the camera with his back to the audience. He is surrounded on stage by five backing singers.
The performance feels cold until the start of the first chorus. Iceland has opted to use the same blue lighting of Azerbaijan. Nothing happens until 2 minutes in to the performance, then we see the backing singers at 2 mins 10. At 2:20 the lighting changes to yellow and red lighting with dry ice.
12:01 CET – Second run through Ari is a bit more emotive in the first minute of the performance. The backing singers need to be better utilised in the performance, they are too static at the minute.
12:09 CET – Vocally there are no issues with this performance. Ari is heading in to the semi-final as an outsider to qualify and the performance is unlikely to move it up the odds.
12:20 CET – Albania – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
12:26 CET – Albania starts with a shot of a guitarist before going to Eugent. Vocally he is good, on stage he is joined by two backing singers, two guitarists and a drummer.
12:27 CET – Apologies if there is a delay in the live blog, the WiFi is temperamental.
12:35 CET – Everyone seems to be starting with the same blue light. Begins to reveal all of the performances at about 40 seconds in before the stage fully lights up at 50 seconds in.
The performance is very much how you’d expect it to be staged. It reminds me of previous Albanian entries such as 2013, where it feels like more of a concert.
Lighting ends of Blue and Red. From the first three countries, the lack of LED’s is really making you focus on the singer and the song.
12:46 CET – The performers outfits are all black and white. Eugent is wearing a textured leather jacket and a long white shirt. On this run through Eugent decided to try some vocal tricks which could earn him a few jury points comes next week.
13:00 CET – Belgium – Sennek – A Matter of Time
12:57 CET – Sennek is just setting up, all you can see at the start is her eyes covered in a beam of light.
13:02 CET – Sennek is slowly revealed from the start of the show. She is wearing an armless dress, with slits across her stomach. She is performing from the catwalk of the stage.
The performance feels very dark, there’s something uncomfortable about it all. Mixed opinions on the performance so far, it’s very marmite, you either love it or you really don’t like it.
13:07 CET – The delegation are just going back over the first performance.
13:14 CET – Vocally Sennek is good, the performance is just jarring in places. This will look interesting when an audience is surrounding Sennek. Think of Anouk and “Birds” surrounded by a sea of flags and fans.
13:33 CET – We’ve now had the final run through for this morning.
How You Can Follow This Year’s Contest
Over the next two weeks we’ll be bringing you live blogs from all of the rehearsals at this year’s contest, kicking off at 11:00 CET this morning, with Aisel from Azerbaijan. Live blogs will keep you up to date with all of the rehearsals, the staging and the first impressions from Lisbon.
We’ll bring you up to date news from all of the latest goings on at the contest, expect all the details about the spokespersons, artists and the host city itself.
To get the most out of our coverage of this year’s contest in Portugal, make sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms. We’ll be running some special contests to win one-off prizes from some of these artists, so you need to pay close attention.
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