First rehearsals begin for Robin Bengtsson, Tamara Gachechiladze, Lindita and Isaiah

Today the first rehearsals began for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. You can read our live reviews as the rehearsals continue.

The first four countries to perform this morning are Sweden, Georgia, Albania and Australia.

Sweden

Robin Bengtsson started the show with the song  I Can’t Go On. On the first go round you could see Robin and his dancers but there was no sound. One of the dancers has changed, but the choreography is exactly the same as in Melodifestivalen 2017. Robin is still wearing his blue suit while the dancers are wearing light grey. The dancer who hands him the microphone at the start is showing no nerves. Sadly on the second rehearsal there is no sound to begin with, but now and again you can hear sounds as if it’s coming out a speaker at a fairground. Some are saying the lack of sound improves the performance, but not us.

The song starts backstage and the dancers are also singing the backing vocals. Last rehearsal, there is a bit more sound and Robin throws in some different riffs. The moving floor is still there. It seems a little early in the day to have Robin in his suit, but the acts are doing a dress rehearsal at these first rehearsals. Robin seems confident enough – pity we didn’t hear him, too much.

Georgia

Tamara is a powerhouse of a vocalist with her song Keep The Faith. Although the acts are supposed to be wearing their stage costume, Tamara wore a pair of casual jeans which may be what she’ll wear on the night, but it’s unlikely. A sparkly pink jacket was worn over a white T-Shirt. Tamara stood stagnant at the microphone for the first verse, but removed the microphone from the stand as the song progressed. The outer stage is totally red and on the first rehearsal there was no video wall.

A red cape was worn for the second practise and Tamara accidentally dropped something, but whatever it was could not be seen. The video wall this time was blazing red and grey smoke but again it does not seem likely that this is the final version.

Tamara was stopped on her third try as the pyrotechnics did not work. A moment resetting and grey smoke rose from the stage. It seems the red cape is the final costume and although she performs with little movement, red and grey flashlights lift the performance to a stunning level. A simple song very well performed, there was none of the political messages from the qualifying show in Georgia.

Albania

Albania are next, because Australia are using the same stage manager as Georgia, so they need a rest. Australia however will still perform third in the actual semi final. Standing at the front of the stage, Lindita performs her song World, dressed in a white lace crop top and bright pink jacket. She is joined some distance behind, by four backing vocalists, two male, two female, all dressed in black. The stage is covered by a white clock, maybe stolen from Douwe Bob from last year. A simple first rehearsal, sound is still a problem.

The main stage colour here is blue and there are more clocks on the back stage wall. The second rehearsal was much the same as the first and although Lindita was smiling, something didn’t seem to be quite right yet.  At the third sing through there were candles or chandeliers flowing on the stage, which lights up like a yellow mountain in the background. Lindita was powerful enough, but can probably do a lot better.

Note, something was wrong as a fourth rehearsal took place. Lindita was a little off key but can be excused due to the number of times she had to perform. Next time, no doubt they will have it perfected.

Australia

Isaiah was dressed in a long grey coat over a black T-shirt to sing his song Don’t Come Easy. If you like yourself some Isaiah, you’re in luck, as many images of him are shown in the background. The vocals here were a bit shaky to start with, but when the backing vocalists joined in, Isaiah gained more confidence, The stage spins so no side of Isaiah is left unseen.

The second rehearsal started flawlessly. Isaiah’s image again appeared in pink, which broke into a blue wall. Isaiah walked around on stage a little bit. He needs to smile a bit more.  At this point we have been told Australia will give us two more run throughs. Some hand gestures do not seem to add to the performance, as Isaiah has a great voice and needs to just sing the song but it seems he has been told when to move. A little more practise will get rid of the stilted moves.

The fourth try was much improved. Isaiah is spun round on the stage at the beginning and of he goes. The backing music was louder and seemed punchier. Pyrotechnics, the golden waterfall, were dropped in towards the last chorus. Our charming stage manager thanked Austria for their patience. Oops.

This afternoon will see rehearsals from Belgium, Montenegro, Finland, Azerbaijan and Portugal. We will have details on them as soon as they happen.

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