Today saw the opening rehearsals and press conferences in Dusseldorf, beginning two weeks of an intense schedule for the organisers, singers and delgations, not to mention the media covering the event.
Poland has the honour of being the first country to perform in 2011 and so Magdalena Tul was the first of the 2011 performers to step on to the stage on the opening day of rehearsals. At her press conference afterwards, she said she decided to sing in Polish because "The song was written in Polish and after winning, I was undecided as to which version to sing, but all of the fans from Poland and beyond said that it’s a good sound from the song in the Polish language. Also, many people from Poland really wanted to hear the Polish language again here at the Eurovision Song Contest"
Norway was one of the early bookies favourites for victory in Dusseldorf. Stella thinks that the auditorium is “like a spaceship”. Although it is only the first day, the Head of Delegation was keen to stress how much they are enjoying their time in Germany. At the end of the conference, Stella showed the gathered fans and journalists how to dance the Haba Haba.
Aurela Gaçe from Albania opened her conference with the old favourite for winning everyone over, singing part of her song. Does she want to win? "Eurovision is like a holiday for me. I make music because I love it, and the competition doesn’t matter to me. If it was up to me, I would just go on stage, sing, and go back to Albania. But as it is a competition – please vote!”
Armenia’s Emmy explained how she became a singer. She comes from an artistic family and started singing when she was 8 years old following advice from her parents. The Armenians took the opportunity to promote the tourist attractions in their country.
After a commendable 2ns place last year with a rock song, Turkey is trying the same genre this year. Yüksek Sadakat said that their song, Live It Up, is typical of their style. They said that they had analysed what songs had been successful in the contest over the last few years, and as a result, they wrote an up-tempo song for the contest.
Serbia won the contest in 2007 and their hopes this year are on the shoulders of Nina. She was asked if she ever thought she would represent her country. She said "I was dreaming about it, but no I never expected it. YouTube was my big success story, I was singing my song from 2008, and the composer Kristina Kovač saw it on line and invited me to sing her song, and of course I accepted right away." Since the song was selected, it has been unclear if the song would be sung in Serbian or English. The final decision was to sing in the native language because "It’s a tradition in our country to sing in our own language, and I feel more comfortable performing in the Serbian language."
Alexej Vorobjov from Russia entered a very crowded conference room. Those present were treated to a traditional Russian song and then a rendition of Get You. Up to now, the song has had English lyrics only, but some Russian has been added to the beginning and end of the song to add "little part of Russian heart" to the song. Alexej added that he will record a Russian version after the contest.
In their press conference, the Swiss revealed that one or two changes may be made before the semi-final, but insisted that they are ready for next Tuesday. In Love For a While was the first song picked for the contest late last year. Responding to a question, Anna said that she must have sun the song about 350 times.
Georgia is represented by a band, Eldrine. They said that their song, One More Day wasn’t written specifically for the contest, but entered it for the national selection when they realised its instant appeal. The Head of Delegation stressed that the stage clothes are based on traditional costumes from the East and West of the country.
The last country to rehearse and meet the press was Finland. Singer, Paradise Oskar, said that the lyrics are inspired by the problems which are caused by adults, but that even children understand that, in his opinion, we can’t go on living like this.
Tomorrow, Malta, San Marino, Croatia, Iceland, Hungary, Portugal, Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Greece will all rehearse and hold press conferences.