Lisbon Blog: Day 3, Tuesday 1 May

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Reporting for OGAE UK and Vision magazine we have Hass Yusuf (words), David Ransted (photos), and along with Robin Scott who’s helping us out, especially with any videoing. This blog will be updated throughout the day.

It’s May Day! Happy Worker’s Day!

We’re back in sunny Lisbon again and today features the first closed set rehearsals  for the first half of Semi-Final 2.

So far, we’ve had a great contest – and nothing seems to have gone wrong, except maybe Mikolas from the Czech Republic injuring his back.

Norway is first on stage today – and what a great start to the show! Previous Eurovision winner, Alexander Rybak is back with his new song, That’s How To Write A Song. And he should know. The act relies on on-screen special animated effects (very popular these days), but they do work. Alaxander’s personality really shines through this energetic and up-tempo performance. It’s fun, fun, fun from him and his backing vocalists and dancers. Even if you don’t like the song you can’t deny that he’s a consummate performer. Has he got another winner? Difficult to say.

So, how do you get round the six people on stage only rule? You do what Romania does, who are next on stage, you bring on loads of manikins. The Humans perform Goodbye to good effect here. This is a powerful rock song that starts off slowly then explodes into rock goodness. Romania have never failed to get into the Grand Final and this is a grown-up entry from them.

Now for something completely different – Serbia, where Sanja Ilic & Balkanika perform Nova Deca (New Children). This is all white gowns and tall drums and… quite stunning – if you like the Balkan ethnic sound. It’s a brave effort from Serbia as most of Europe may not get the Balkan sound, but the performance here is top notch and very classy. The haunting sound they produce deserves to be heard in the Grand Final!

Next we have the tiny state of San Marino – they may be small, but this year they’re hitting big! Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening perform Who We Are. And they also get a lot of help with a few robots on stage! The act starts with Jessika all robed-up, until she’s properly revealed in true Eurovision style. Throughout the act Jenifer adds in her effective raps. All this the message the robots hold up, just adds to a lot of fun. It’s a really up-tempo song – and probably the best entry the country have given us, with the pop and rap working nicely together. Fingers crossed that it goes through to the Grand Final.

Time for Denmark with the moody Rasmussen and his pals singing Higher Ground. We have lot of banners, with a big flag being waves and longboat sails – and with a snow thrown in for good measure, the stage is set for a Viking invasion! But this actually a peace song – there are other ways to achieve things rather than violence. Mind you it’s all muscles poses and macho strutting, so the no one should feel at ease! And those of us who have lost our hair yeas ago are being teased by a wind machine flinging all that red hair around! But this is a really good anthemic song that should do well.

Russia is next with Julia Samoylova singing I Won’t Break. Julia is a wheel-chair user and is singing her song on a mountain peak. Below on the ground level we have two dancers expressing the song, and three backing singers to aid Julia. It’s a decent enough song and Russia will no doubt qualify for the grand Final as usual.

Next we have Moldova with the trio, DoReDos, singing My Lucky Day. The three singers are dressed in colorful outfits and are eventually joined in similar clad backing dancers and singers. The act is very visual with boxes that make up windows and doors. It’s a fun uplifting and bright performance that will be memorable – it sort of reminds you of a hotel-room saucy farce, with people coming in and out of rooms. It’s nice to have something very colourful and fun. You either love or hate that Moldovan sound – this year it’s one to love!

Time for Netherlands, where we find Waylon performing Outlaw In ‘Em. It’s a good old Country and Western romp! Waylon’s band include musician and dancers doing a new dance craze called ‘krumping’. It’s an energetic performance of from the band who throw away their guitars and disappear one by one. As Country songs, this is an impressive entry, but only if you’re into that genre – but the more, the merrier! It’s good to see Eurovision so diverse.

The last act of the day goes to Australia, with Jessica Mauboy singing We Got Love. She’s a great singer and the song will do really well – but the staging is a bit uninspiring – it’s just Jessica walking around the stage dressed in a nice purple dress and some bright lights behind her. She deserves more – but you can’t fault her performance!

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