This article is being updated after each rehearsal so remember to refresh from time to time.
9. Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis - Alcohol Is Free
Day four kicks off with Elias Kozas and his band Koza Mostra together with Agathonas Iakovidis performing the frantic woeful tale of too much drink that is Alcohol is Free. Five men playing instruments - the accordion, trumpet, guitars and bozouki backed by a drummer spring into life, dressed in casual attire; dark t-shirts and trousers being the norm. Theirs is certainly a lively number that should shake things up a bit. They spin round, run around in circles, and generally look as if they're having the time of their lives on stage. The mix of traditional Greek elements with ska works astoundingly well.
The staging is quite stark, with various shapes and formations in black and white projected into the backdrop. Following the slower intro, bright yellow flashes set the stage ablaze. The younger members on stage run back and forth down the catwalk leaving the older Agathonas alone on stage strumming at his bozouki. Fantastic camera work makes for a packed performance with not a dud moment.
The vocals of both Elias and Agathonas were surprisingly powerful, with plenty of vibrance and energy. On the final run through, the screens suddenly went black as some slight technical problems struck, forcing them to start again. The act is rounded off with the members joining together to perform a Zorba the Greek style dance bringing this party to a raucous climax and each run through was met with rapturous applause from those present in the press centre. Thislooks like one of the more certain qualifiers from its heat and should soak up votes like a sponge.
10. Israel: Moran Mazor - Rak Bishvilo
Next on stage was the Israeli singer Moran Mazor. She sings a classic, dramatic and grandiose ballad. It was like watching a reprise of the national Israeli final since not much had been changed. Moran wore the same dress, though some glitter had been added, a piano in the left side of the stage and two backing singers. The lightning was dark with a blue backdrop. A very classic israeli eurovison entry.
Fans and journalists in the press centre do not agree on this one. Some say it is the female version of Harel Skaats "Milim" from 2010 and a sure finalist others say it is a candidate for last place in the semi final. Maybe the reference to Harel Skaat comes because the male backing singer is in fact his younger brother.
Moran's dress is another issue though. No one seems to like it. She did however deliver a flawless performance and even if you do not understand a word of what she is singing you do understand the dramatic story behind.
11. Armenia: Dorians - Lonely Planet
A darkened stage sets the scene for Armenia's Dorians and Lonely Planet. Piercing yellow rays punkture the blackness before they change colour to white and are cast in all directions. The band are dressed down for the occasion in shirts, t-shirts and jeans, with a look slightly rough around the edges. With their rock anthem slightly reminiscent of Gavin DeGraw, the contrast to the preceding song from Israel is rather nice, actually.
Gor Suyjan belts out his tune in true rock star style, wavering slightly in places, but then again, a pitch perfect performance of a rock song would sound rather odd. The general staging of their number is rather static, but in fitting with the anthemic feel of the tune. There are some good sweeping shots across the stage, as well as panning shots of Gor as he gives it some welly and the wind machine is finally brought out from storeage.
On the third run through, vocals come across as more shouted towards the end. In their final run through, the stage floor is flooded with dry ice. As the band launch into the final chorus of the song, a number of firework fountains around the edge of the stage come into play. These are followed by intermittent bursts of flame across the stage which are extremely effective. Despite good vocals, this nevertheless came somehow across as rather limp, so a place in the final is looking quite uncertain thus far.
12. Hungary: ByeAlex - Kedvesem
Last country before lunch break was Hungary and their song "Kedvesem".
ByeAlex was dressed in casual clothes - grey jeans, black jacket, and a black and yellow cap. It is probably not the outfit he will be wearing the 16th of May, but it could be as he wore smilar clothes in the national final. With him on stage he has e female backing singer to the left and a man sitting on a chair playing an acoustic guitar at the other side. It is all very relaxed and it comes as a great contrast to the songs seen right before (and after).
The stage has green and yellow lights and the backdrop shows the same animations that can be seen in the Hungarian preview video. It also features the lyrics for "Kedvesem" if someone feels the urge to sing along.
ByeAlex did a great job singing the song and had no problems reaching the notes. However, he did try some different versions during this rehearsal. Time will tell if he decides to change a few notes or stick to the original version.
Jens Erik Møller