Shalom from Tel Aviv. This is your OGAE UK team reporting ‘live’ from the press centre at the Expo Tel Aviv. Hass Yusuf is reporting, along with additional reporting and social media stuff from Danny Lynch, and Robin Scott who is kept busy with photos and videoing stuff.
DISCLAIMER: Typos and such are bound to happen as we write along, so just go with the flow. All opinions are of course personal and not necessarily those of OGAE UK.
The press hall is slowly starting to fill up and the city is being flooded by lovely Eurovision fans. I would say watch out Tel Aviv, but the city has probably seen a lot worse!
Today we have the second rehearsals for the host nation and Big Five. And that’ll be it until the first dress rehearsal for Semi-Final 1 on Monday night.
First off is Israel, Kobi Marimi is singing Home. Personally I think it’s much underrated. Kobi really puts all the emotion needed for this very personal song – and one can’t exactly escape from the politic aspect of the song – a homeland for the Jewish nation. But even if that isn’t suggested, it’s still a very, very classy, but simple act.
Eurovision has a bad habit of placing host nations last in the competition (Austria and Portugal (last year) come to mind) – it really shouldn’t this time.
Next up is France, with Bilal Hassani performing Roi. This act has caused a bit of controversy with its message of acceptance, but it does make you sit up and listen. Don’t judge a book by its cover is the concept here. Bilal is once again accompanied by a rotund ballerina and a lovely Asian looking woman using sign language. They’re all dressed in this year’s black – white.
At his press conference Miki pick up selected a second half performance for the Grand Final.
Italy just keep on improving, with Mahmood performing Soidi perfectly. The smart money seems to be a Italian win, but who’s going to win is constantly changing.
There’s still debate if his dancers actually add anything to the act, but it all works.
Mahmood also picked, out of the hat, a second half placing for the Grand Final.
Went into the Arena to see the UK‘s Michael Rice perform Bigger Than Us. He nailed it each time I’m pleased to say.
I asked Michael what has been his ‘wow’ factor so far, he replied it was loads of things including working with his experienced backing vocalists. He’s definitely a competent young man and really seems to believe in his song.
And the good news is that Michael picked the UK to perform in the second half during the Grand Final! Hurrah. It really doesn’t matter where you sing really – it’s psychological more than fact that only a latter performing song can win.
I take back what I said about the girls from Germany, as S!sters do perform Sister with a bit more chemistry between them.
While they were waiting for their rehearsal to star, the dark-haired ‘sister’ was humming Bigger Than Us. That a a good sign!
And on that sign, that’s actually it for today – an early finish – and the press centre is closing down early. It’s the opening orange carpet tonight followed by the Euroclub party. And speaking about the Euroclub here are a few pics from last night’s opening show there. It’s a massive area with a decent stage and bars – and chicken hotdogs!