Malmo Blog DAY 2 Tuesday 7th May

Hass Yusuf still reporting live from Malmo.

Usual disclaimer: As this is being written live, please expect typos, missing words, etc.

Well here we are with the second half of semi-final one rehearsals.

What’s that racket? Ah, Montenegro has started, Not really my style of music – but I’m warming to it. As rap goes, it’s not bad – and it is fun to watch. The boys are clad in white with caps of course. And Nina Zizic is very watchable for various reasons.

The first run through was just a sound check, but here they are again…hurrah, lots of dry ice mist – and emerging from it are two astronauts! And from the ground up comes a robotic female looking like a Borg from Star Trek. Suddenly, I’m interested! Eurovision and Star Trek – well you can’t go wrong! A fan-boy’s dream. I’ve missed Seven of Nine. Warp factor 9 to the final please. The grand final needs this. It’s certainly woken me up.

And everyone needed waking up – it was a late night – the Euro cafe opened up. It was karaoke night. Eurovision fans aren’t shy about getting on stage to ruin their favourite songs. I didn’t partake. Didn’t want to show off.

Ah, Who See are back with Nina. The act gets better with each viewing. Rap and hip hop is slowly creeping into Eurovision.Well the contest has to keep up with the times. And as long as you can still have your ding-dongs and la,la,las, no one can really complain.

Anyway, Who See have wisely decided to give the viewers a memorable show. Which in some cases can be beneficial. Many a Eurovision winner have won because of a good act, rather than a good song.

It’s now 10.42 in Malmo – this really is live reporting – and we’re just waiting for the Belgian act to come on stage for their sound check. Watching these first rehearsals on a big cinema screen isn’t too bad at all. Though I’m looking forward to the Press centre opening on Friday, where they’ll have decent press conferences.

Anyway, here’s Roberto Bellarosa, for Belgium singing Love Kills. This song was reworked after the national final, and now sounds top notch. It’s the sort of song that has universal appeal. Roberto is somewhat baby-faced, and he’s obviously struggling to grow a moustache. He’s also a bit wide-eyed with eye brows to die for. Anyway, let’s concentrate on the act and leave the poor boy alone – which is more than his backing dancers are doing. Robbie, wisely, is just standing still singing his heart out, while two female singers attempt to molest him at every opportunity. Let him be you hussies!

Seriously though – this is a good performance all round. A fairly straightforward act, that tells it’s story simply – with good choreography. This is one of my favourites, so I would love it to get through to the final. Despite it’s title, it’s a great upbeat sound.

Next we have Belarus.The beautiful Alyona Lanskaya sings Solayoh – a Latin/Greek sounding cha-cha offering. This is pure Eurovision campfest. Alyona emerges out of a sliver globe in a frilly shirt strutting it all about, with two hunky male dancers trying to upstage her. But she’s having none of it – the girl owns the stage. This is as cheesy Eurovision gets this year, so make the most of it. This could easily become a summer hit in those places young people go to – to get sun, sea and whatever.

C’mon, let’s all get up – you too Grandma – and cha-cha the night way. You know you want to. But take your tablets first.

Should this Eurotrash offering get through to the final? I think the contest needs it.

They’re  having their last run-through now – and out comes the dry-ice mist. This act has it all. Oh – and there’s more – blasts of fire. We’re being spoilt.

Anyway, enough of that – time for Moldova now. The striking Aliona Moon sings O Mie (A million). Moldova always give us a fun offering, and it’s the same again this year. This may be more of a traditional straightforward song, but think of a Phoenix rising from the ashes as the theme. Aliona wears a fab bodice with a rather large shirt – which you know is going to play a big part in the show. And it does. Up she rises – up and up – images of fire and such are projected to it. Very impressive. It’s what we like. No one’s going to forget this performance. If anything it takes it away from Aliona’s quite impressive vocal performance which doesn’t really need any special effects – but this is Eurovision.

Lunch break for rehearsals now, but on the main floor at the Euroclub the Montenegro delegation have just arrived for their Meet & Greet. Who See said they had a few problems with their two run-throughs, but they got used to the stage by the third time and got their bearings. The female singer, Nina, said she was amazed by the whole technology around the stage.

Back from lunch — hurrah — they have decent cooked food at the Euroclub – and the Belgian delegation have arrived for their Meet & Greet. Roberto comes across as a likeable young man. He says no matter what he outcome for him at Eurovision is, it’s a dream come true to be here performing. H remembers watching the show with his family while growing up.

Back in the cinema now – watching the Irish song being performed by Ryan Dolan singing Only Love Survives. This is quite a powerful song from Ireland this year. It seems like you have to do something different to get noticed this year. And the Irish have gone down the homo-erotic route with three muscled, bare-chested and tattooed dancers beating on various drums! (Eat your heart out Denmark) Ryan himself is dressed in leather.

It’s a very confident performance by the young Irishman – the whole act is lively and upbeat. Ireland are back on form again. The pyro effects at the end of the act aren’t really necessary – but I guess if it’s available, go for it. Lots of luck to our nearest neighbours.

Next we have Cyprus with Despina Olympiou singing An Me Thimasal (If You Remember Me). Despina was actually born in the same town as myself – Limassol – so I shall give her the thumbs up already. This is a nice offering from the Greek Cypriots his year. A very pleasant ballad. She’s just on her own on stage. Very brave. But the country is stripped of cash these days. However, her sexy outfit looks like a million dollars. It’s an extremely understated act – which may stand out, or get lost among all the drums, glitter, tattoos, mist, fire, giants, cyborgs, astronauts, etc. Just stand there and sing should have its benefits! Well good luck to her.

Next we have Lithuania, with Andrius Pojavis singing Something. He produces nice sounds – despite his accent. Another understated performance here. It’s another one of my favourites. It’s got a slight Brit/rock quality to it. He got quite a scary expression at times. Gives the impression of being a cheeky chappie.  He sings about wearing a shoe of love and a shoe of pain. Alas, Europe will probably give this act the boot, as it will have trouble standing out – despite my approval rating of it. Shame really – it’s about Lithuanian joined its Baltic bothers as a Eurovision winner.

He’s back with his last performance – now wearing dark shades. Not cool my man, not cool at all. He’s taking a very laid back and relaxed attitude here – he had better buck up his ideas!

The last act of the day to rehearsal and to finish semi-final one is Serbia. The three-member girl band, Moje 3, sing Ljubav Je Svuda (Love Is Everywhere). It’s true of course – love is everywhere at Eurovision. The slogan for this year’s contest, says it all – We Are One.

Back to Moje 3. Oh dear. Talk about making a fashion statement. How to describe – it’s like seeing Andy Pandy let loose in the 1980s. But if we concentrate on the song – it’s actually a fun act. Not sure if the three voices actually all work well together – but it’s a bright and colourful ending to a rather impressive semi-final one. The girls are telling a story with their act, which is somewhat lost on me – maybe two of them fighting over their rag doll? Girl bands don’t usually do that well at Eurovision, so good luck to them. I suspect they’ll need it.

The Irish crowd are now in the main hall for their Meet & Greet. Everyone – singers and dancers were happy with their first rehearsals. Good to hear it. All the Irish lads are now mingling in the hall having chats and photos taken. What a nice friendly bunch.

Cyprus are next in the hall. Despina was happy with her first rehearsal. She’s avoided falling off her high heels. Her song talks about someone who had loved and lost.

Lithuania next. Andrius was excited by his first rehearsal. He found the stage cosy. He’s hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst just in case. Very wise.

Just had a quick private chat with Despina of Cyprus about the whole Cyprus division issue. She was quite interested in my views and would like another chat again – as we’re on opposite sides of the fence so to speak.

Just Serbia left for tonight. And here they are. The girls describe the angel and devil theme of their song. But love conquers the devil.

And with that uplifting note, time to call it a day. Back tomorrow with the first half of the semi-final two rehearsals.