After months of preparation and national selections, some of which started last year, it was finally time for the first of the shows of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. A reduced number of participants, mostly for financial reasons, gave those delegations who have travelled to Malmo a great opportunity be among the ten to qualify for the final.
Tonight we will know which ten countries will qualify to the final from the first final. Before we come so far it was however time for a third dress rehearsal this afternoon. This was the last chance for the acts to get rid of the nerves that might still be back.
Throughout much of the contest's history, the opening sequence of each entry has been portrayed with a postcard. Whereas the trend used to be to use postcardsto show off the country's sights and nature for what it was worth, SVT have made the postcards more personal, following each artist at home.
The question on the lips of every Eurovision Song Contest fan is who will qualify for the final from Tuesday’s semi-final. Well, I’m going to stick my neck out, put my reputation on the line and other clichés to predict who I think will be celebrating and who will be drowning their sorrows.
The fifth day of rehearsals also saw the acts competing in the first semi-final on Tuesday meet the press for the first round of press conferences. All sixteen countries should have given conferences today. However, the Moldovans cancelled their conference to express their unhappiness with the production.
Croatia took to the stage with the sextet Klapa S Mora - could we expect just as enchanting a performance as they treated us to on Monday? They seem to carry off the powerful vocals so effortlessly, so anticipation for their second rehearsal was high.
Austria's Natália Kelly was the first of the artists to rehearse on the Malmö stage today. She will be followed by participants from Estonia, Slovenia and Croatia in the first half of the day. In this article, which will be updated after each rehearsal, you can read all about how their first encounters with the stage went.
The bookmakers have Denmark as their top favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest next month in Malmö - and so far the fans are pretty much in agreement with this. After the points from five of the fan clubs Emmelie de Forest has a clear first position as the fan favourite of the year.