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ESC Reporter | January 23, 2018

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Summing up: Day 1 of Eurovision in Copenhagen

Summing up: Day 1 of Eurovision in Copenhagen
  • On April 28, 2014

It was a busy day on Eurovision Island, as the first rehearsals on the Eurovision Stage took place.

Stand-in rehearsals have let the crew practice in the past few weeks, but for the participants, it was all new.



It’s always interesting when the participants from all over Europe come to the same place, the same stage, and perform in the same surroundings, in an equal playing field. We get to see them all in the same context and how they really look in a unified show.

Each country gets 30 minutes to rehearse, with most getting three run throughs, some managing to squeeze in a fourth.


Armenia – Aram Mp3

The rehearsals started out with a big player, as the betting favorite Aram Mp3 from Armenia was first up, and will be first on the night. We could hear the Armenian rehearsal from the press center, but only from the loud sound that escapes the arena, as the feed did not immediately come through. Once it did, we saw how the song will be presented.

Like the song, it slowly builds up until it really breaks through. This is also where the lights almost explode, creating a really powerful impression. Aram wears a hands-free microphone, which makes him a little uneasy about what to do with his hands. At least it looked that way. His vocals were strong though and he is alone on stage in middle of it all. He definitely delivered.




Latvia – Aarzemnieki

You might expect cakes all over this performance, but instead, the backdrop LED screens displayed trees with party lights in them, creating a cosy atmosphere. That is, at least when using the closer shots, the group does look a bit lost on the very large stage when seen from the wider shots. They are vocally good, sounding pretty much like the studio track.

To do something, two of them walked onto the left runway, and then ran back again. Overall pretty much like the national final.




Estonia – Tanja

The stage changed into a dance studio for Tanja from Estonia, with the camera starting off on her with her dancer laying on the floor as it raised up to reveal the surprisingly large stage floor area. Colors are mostly warm, orange and yellow.

The dance moves are mostly like what we saw in the national final and same goes for her vocal, which is impressive considering some of the crazy moves she throws herself into. It takes a toll on her, as she sounded out of breath once the rehearsal was over, but she is definitely up for the challenge.




Sweden – Sanna Nielsen

After an hour lunch break, it was the Swedish Sanna Nielsen who was up next. She is currently set to come second, according to the betting.

The performance stayed very close to the original from Melodifestivalen, one notable difference being the ring of lights forming a twisted shape for the beginning, while also adding lights to make it bigger. As you would expect from Sanna, her vocal stayed right where it needed to be for each of the three rehearsal performances.

The crystals are gone, as the Swedes couldn’t get permission to hang them from the ceiling, but are instead replaced by sparkling crystals displayed on the cube metal grid. The disco ball did make it though. Overall makes a very strong impression, like it did at Melodifestivalen.




Iceland – Pollapönk

Another Nordic country was up next, with the band Pollapönk from Iceland. As expected, the stage is one big color explosion, looking like something out of an 80’s TV-show. The cubes in the metal grid all light up in different colors and later display different colorful animations.

The group sounded good, much like the studio track, and appeared to have fun on stage. They are for sure going for a happy impression.




Albania – Hersi

The stage turned blue, like it does for a lot of the countries in the first half of the first semi-final, and Hersi appeared on top of a podium with a long slope leading up to her. Her vocals were strong throughout, though she didn’t appear all that comfortable, a little lost among the bright, flashing lights, busy animated LED screen, and dry ice on the stage.

For one of the run throughs, Hersi did not sing, but simply stood on top of the podium as the song and camera work were run through. It’s hard to tell how this will go down with the jury and voters.




Russia – The Tolmachevy Sisters

Russia supplied the strange and confusing act of the day. The twins first appeared on what looked like an elevated runway, which later turned into a tilting board, like a see-saw, with a twin on each end. The Twins also started off by having their pony tails tied together, holding glass rods as batons.

In the latter half of the song, a random man enters the stage to manually unfold a big fan over the see-saw, before a curtain of pyro fire rains on the stage.

Vocally they did better than expected, though they are among a lot of strong vocals. Their charisma and camera connection is like what we’ve seen in the video for the song, but the whole stage act just leaves you puzzled.




Azerbaijan – Dilara Kazimova

One of the slowest songs this year, the star here is really Dilara’s voice, which is very strong. Coming after the previous songs, it does stand out.

On stage with her, Dilara has brought an aerial dancer, a trapeze artist, who is suspended from the ceiling. Images of the New York skyline flash on the LED screen, with the lights being very restrained. It’s a classy impression you get from it all and is not the bathroom break a lot of people had been calling it out to be.




Ukraine – Maria Yaremchuk

Like the cakes from Latvia, you would expect clocks from Ukraine. They did not appear. Instead, a large hamster wheel showed up on stage with a dancer inside, who, like a hamster, could run and run. And he did.

Maria sings the song well, and likes to twirl around with her dress in the wind from the wind machine, and even gets on top of the wheel. It’s still a little puzzling, maybe even distracting, to have a hamster wheel with a guy inside who spins around like a rinse cycle, but they could have more in store with this.

If anything, it’s memorable and the song is catchy, while Maria is good at creating a connection with the camera.




Belgium – Axel Hirsoux

Belgium was the last country today, with Axel singer his song “Mother.”

It was very much like the national final, even as far as the camera work, with the stage being purple in floral patterns, and otherwise rather dark. No new tricks have been added here. His vocals were also on par with what we saw at the national final.




Other impressions

With these first rehearsals, we got to see the stage in action for the first time, from the broadcast cameras’ point of view. It’s definitely impressive, with very good lighting and animation design so far, and it’s big. This also causes some of the artists to appear very small in a very big space when the wider shots are used, like we saw in Moscow in 2009. But for anyone who likes a flashy show, it’s definitely for them.

The camera work is also good, nothing too mind-blowing, but similar to the Danish national finals. There’s of course work still to be done, as these are only the first rehearsals, but it looks very promising.



If you missed today’s live blog, you can re-read it by clicking below. Also check out some pictures from today on our Instagram profile.


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