Eurovision rehearsals – The view from home

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With Israel marking Independence Day, there are no rehearsals today. It’s easy to get caught up in the rehearsal bubble, but how do things look like from the outside looking in? OGAE UK’s Editor-in-Chief, Jamie McLoughlin, gives his thoughts from the comfort of his living room.

I’ve only set foot in a Eurovision press centre once. That was 16 years ago.

Ever since then, come rehearsal time, I’ve spent many a lunchtime when I should have been catching up on Very Important Things pressing ‘refresh’ on my browser every 30 seconds to absorb as much info about the hopeful nations going for Eurovision glory as possible. It’s fun, very distracting, but it also gives a bit of distance that can come in very handy.

Take yesterday, for example. The man who could be king, Duncan Laurence, was due to give his first rehearsal for the Netherlands. Surely it would be a foregone conclusion. His performance would knock the annual supply of Dodger Stadium’s balls out of the park with one deft vocal stroke after another.

But it didn’t seem to work like that. Even though the clip which surfaced later online seemed to reinforce the power and subtle grandeur of the Dutch entry and its noble trajectory towards a top five finish, that didn’t seem to be the view on the ground in Tel Aviv. Fourth in the press poll at the end of the day, it broke my heart this evening to see some Netherlands-based fans, hoping for the trophy to make that seemingly impossible return to Dutch soil for the first time in 44 years, giving up on their Dunc straight away.

Arcade will never be a personal favourite, it’s a tad too plodding for my taste, but I can appreciate how it would be a deserving Eurovision winner. And I still think it could. Perhaps that’s because digesting rehearsal season in handy, nibbly chunks hundreds of miles away from the stadium makes it easier to spot a winner than living with the songs day in, day out for two weeks. Not that I wouldn’t give a month’s worth of chippy teas to be there myself, getting loads of predictions wrong while nomming away on a bucket of falafel. Just wait until Friday, I’ll be sweating like your nan at bingo waiting for Michael Rice’s first rehearsal and no matter how far away I may be from Tel Aviv, I’ll be overanalysing that little number with the best of them.

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