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13. Ireland: Ryan Dolan - Only Love Survives
Back on track after lunch, and what better way to start than with the cheery, uptempo Only Love Survives by the baby faced Ryan Dolan. Not a heart in sight, rather celtic crosses in hues of ochre and brown on the backdrop. Ryan looked very sharp in a two piece black leather suit and a piece of bling in his ear. He has with him two topless tattooed male dancers banging bodhráns alongside another man beating a huge set of drums to the side of the stage. He had with him two female backing singers, whose vocals were slightly drowned out by the thumping backing track.
Ryan doesn't move about much, concentrating instead on working the camera with plenty of cheeky grins. He uses some of the same poses from his music video, arms outstretched, as do the backing singers, forming hearts with their hands. He attacks the song with fantastic energy and gusto, and again this is a case of a singer with hugely improved vocals since the national final. The dancers perform their routine around him with dizzying speed, leaving you out of breath just from watching. He sounded slightly reduced on his third run through, but not a major problem. On the final run through, pyro effects were tested out - a burst of fireworks at the back of the stage towards the end of the number and a number of small pops above the stage when he hits the final note. A great first round of rehearsals for Ireland and young Mr Dolan should be extremely happy with his efforts today. The highly contemporary and clubby Only Love Survives will no doubt capture its fair share of votes on the night.
14. Cyprus: Despina Olympiou - An Me Thimasai
From an up tempo song with lots of action we go to a ballad from the island of Cyprus. Despina is all alone on stage and doesn't move a lot. Her only company is a microphone stand. She is wearing a black transparent dress and - I must admit - she looks stunning. A true beauty from the south. But it can't hide the fact that Despina has a few difficulties reaching all the high notes. Hopefully she will nail them all on the night.
Blue seems to be the favorite colour of the year. Once again the backdrop turns into that colour. It looks nice but perhaps the viewers at this point (song number 14) are a bit bored with blue?
Something we missed so far in this year's Eurovision is the wind machine. But don't worry, Despina brought it back. It is the classic thing to use during a ballad, but again, maybe a bit to classic?
15. Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis - Something
Tousled haired Andrius took to the stage with his own brand of adult MOR pop rock. He looked quite unkempt, in a white t-shirt and black leather jacket, flanked by four backing singers. The backdrop is a vibrant mix of rather fetching purples, blacks and blues. Andrius' vocals are rather lacklustre, lacking the punch and sheer exhilaration that he showed during the national final. There were some good panning shots of him and he certainly knew how to work the camera.
The backing vocals came across as pretty flat and subdued during the first two run throughs, improving slightly towards the end. Andrius needs to work on his diction considerably. The song itself doesn't exactly jump out of the screen at you, and just seems to meander along. Bizzarely he sported sunglasses for the third run through, which meant he was unable to engage with the camera. Instead of finishing with a bang, the number just petered out. This made for a rather odd general impression of the first Lithuanian rehearsal, left with a feeling that things simply don't gel whatsoever.
16. Serbia: Moje 3 - Ljubav Je Svuda
The female trio Moje 3 (Mirna Radulović, Nevena Božović and Sara Jovanović) closes the day with the upbeat tune that is Ljubav Je Svuda. What is immediately remarkable is that the outfits from the national final are now exchanged for more colourful dresses. Apart from the outfits the routine is quite the same as seen in the national final with Sara representing the devil, Mirna the good and Nevena being the girl who is trying to be persuaded by the both girls. The background is mainly in pink colours.
The performance is competent and even if the songs structure (and maybe also the new outfits) can come across as somewhat messy there should be a fairly good chance qualifying especially from starting last and also having in mind that Serbia has a good record of qualifying.
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