17 December 2017
Saturday, 18 May 2013 14:04

Eurovision 2013: Voting Order Announced

In years gone by, the running order of the voting process was scheduled in the same manner in which the performances took place but nevertheless, the system was altered a couple of years back when the juries gained their voting priveledges back, and which now undoubtely decide half of the respective result. The European Broadcasting Union would like to make the best possible showcase for the millions of viewers watching all over the world including; China and Australia and therefore, where possible, changes in the leaderboard will be implemented just to create an exciting feeling for all to enjoy.

Valletta, the capital city of Malta will be the backdrop for the voting this evening with the spokesperson being none other than Emma Hickey, otherwise known as Jeremy's love interest in the music video for Tomorrow, which is the entry representing the country in the international music showcase. The song which is co-written by Dean Muscat and Boris Cezek with vocals provided by Gianluca got through to the final round following an initial qualification phase held on Thursday. Malta was announced as the ninth country following what seemed to a nerve wracking situation. This evening, during the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, Malta will be performing in position number #9.

  1. San Marino (John Kennedy O'Connor)
  2. Sweden (Yohio)
  3. Albania (Andri Xhahu)
  4. Netherlands (Cornald Maas)
  5. Austria (Kati Bellowitsch)
  6. United Kingdom (Scott Mills)
  7. Israel (Ofer Nachshon)
  8. Serbia (Maja Nikolic)
  9. Ukraine (Matias)
  10. Hungary (Éva Novodomszky)
  11. Romania (Sonia Argint)
  12. Moldova (Olivia Furtuna)
  13. Azerbaijan (Tamilla Shirinova)
  14. Norway (Tooji)
  15. Armenia (Andre)
  16. Italy (Federica Gentile)
  17. Finland (Kristiina Wheeler)
  18. Spain (Inés Paz)
  19. Belarus (Darya Domracheva)
  20. Latvia (Anmary)
  21. Bulgaria (Joana Dragneva)
  22. Belgium (Barbara Louys)
  23. Russia (Alsou)
  24. Malta (Emma Hickey)
  25. Estonia (Rolf Roosalu)
  26. Germany (Lena)
  27. Iceland (Maria Sigrun Hilmarsdottir)
  28. France (Marine Vignes)
  29. Greece (Andriana Magania)
  30. Ireland (Nicky Byrne)
  31. Denmark (Sofie Lassen-Kalhke)
  32. Montenegro (Ivana Sebek)
  33. Slovenia (Andrea F)
  34. Georgia (Liza Tsiklauri)
  35. F.Y.R. Macedonia (Dimitar Atanasovski)
  36. Cyprus (Loukas Hamatsos)
  37. Croatia (Uršula Tolj)
  38. Switzerland (Mélanie Freymond)
  39. Lithuania (Ignas Krupavicius)

All of the participating countries in this years' Eurovision Song Contest will be casting their votes, half of them as decided by a panel of professional experts and the other half by the million of people watching in their homes. As one could denote from the list above, there are a number of well known individuals who will be reading out the points of their country, amongst them being; Tooji (Norway), Anmary (Latvia), Lena (Germany), Alsou (Russia) and of course, the most famous one being Nicky Bryne of the former group, Westlife for Ireland. Speculation is running high that Italy did extremely well with the juries last night as opposed to Denmark who might have not scored one of the top results. This is yet to be seen. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more of the latest news.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Good Evening! Malmo, Sweden is playing host to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and in the past couple of days, thirty-three (33) participating nations had to compete for twenty (20) elite spots in the final round of the prestigious competition leaving thirteen (13) in the lurch. This evening is relatively important considering that juries in all of the participating countries will be selecting their favourites and of course, awarding half of the points which will be allocated tomorrow. It is important to denote that Malta will be competing in the final round for the second consecutive year after the qualification of Gianluca and his entry Tomorrow from the second semi-final which took place last night. We wish him the very best of luck this evening.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Coverage of the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest will be led by Antoine Farrugia, Senior Editor for escflashmalta.com alongside special guests; Lauren White who has most recently signed a Publishing Deal with Universal Music Group and Brooke, winner of the Best Solo Artist at the Malta Music Awards earlier this year. 

The Show (Part 1)

SVT, host broadcaster of this years' Eurovision Song Contest should be commended on such an astonishing production and the acts selected for the opening and the interval have provided great entertainment. It's like the Olympics as the bridge is lowered and all of the finalists are in a procession like poise promoting themselves prior to the start of the actual show. Once more, Petra Mede is clad in an original Jean Paul Gaultier creation and despite not being black as worn last night, it seems to be pretty pink!

France

Amandine Bourgeois is clad in a beautiful black dress which seems to have come out of the 1920s era when charleston had been popular. The backdrop is stunning and has to be one of the most elaborate to be honest with graphic designs in the form of a wallpaper but lit within the beat. Amandine is joined on stage by two female backing vocalists and this has a lot of sass and thus coming across beautifully on screen. This has to be an intriguing openinng number and whilst, it would not have been my choice to open, it definitely gets the attention of many. She throws the microphone stand to the floor with anger. Stunning vocals, will earn a lot of points from the jury for being artistic. 

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Lithuania

'I have to tell you something', how are you even competing in the final? Andrius Pojavis is lacking charm but nevertheless, managed to turn it on during the semi-final performance. This is a generic pop track which had managed to get my attention during the national final but has literally wilted. Andrius is wearing the same outfit from the semi-finals and is also joined on stage by the same team of backing vocalists. The backdrop is purple and there is nothing really wrong with this except that it is pretty boring. This is definitely a candidate for last year for singing number #2 and for being dull!

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Moldova

Pasha Parfeni, the representative for Moldova last year is back on stage playing the piano and dancers are spread out across the stage for what is a pretty elaborate choreography. The staging is kept dark but nevertheless is lit up as the night sky appears. Aliona Moon is terrified this evening but nevertheless, it is defnitely not showing in the vocals. This is one of the songs which has a gimmick through the dress which changes colour and unites with the backdrop at times. Mid-way through the song and then throughout the bridge, Aliona rises to the higher point of the stage and this looks astonishing. Whoa! Impressive, I think that this will be receiving a lot of points tonight!

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Finland

Krista Siegfrids is back on the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest and is performing her very own Las Vegas number which features a wedding which has to be re-thought. This track has been the centre of a controversy due to the fact that the lead vocalist ends up kissing one of the backing dancers. As a matter of fact, there are both backing dancers and backing vocalists on stage, clad as groomsmen and bridesmaids respectively. This is coming across beautifully on screen and Krista is definitely a good vocalist. Well, this is going to pick up tele-votes but I am not too sure about jury votes!

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Spain

Ohh! Despite wearing black in the opening number held on the bridge earlier this evening, she is now clad in a flowing yellow dress. The beginning of the song on the flute is just wonderful and as we turn to the main stage, there is Raquel joined by the boys of ESDM and she is barefoot performing the song in the best possible way. I must say that this is an absolutely wonderful song but for some reason this presentation is just not working at all and the vocals are rather disappointing. I had been saying that this will not be competing for one of the last couple of spots but unfortunately, I have to say otherwise. I am not sure this will be picking up a lot of jury votes but it do a France 2012. 

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Belgium

Roberto Bellarosa was one of the surprise qualifiers in the first semi-final and it seems that being clad in a suit and seen by millions of people has helped the artist garner recognition. Roberto is really performing well this evening for some reason and that could be just because the semi-final performance is out of the way. He is moving across the stage and is showing stage presence. The backdrop is featuring the title of the song and it has to be said that even I am thumping along to this one despite not thinking it would make it out of the semi-final stage. Roberto will be picking up a couple of points tonight but he will not be setting the scoreboard on fire.

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Estonia

This has to be one of the most wonderful ballads competing in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with Birgit wearing the same white gown she was in the semi-final. She is a brilliant vocalist and has always a stunning repertoire of notes. Despite being in Estonia, it manages to capture the essence of many and this should easily do well. Whilst it might not be setting the tele-votes on fire, it should pick up a lot of votes this evening. I am predicting a mid-table result for this one. Well done to Birgit! Sometimes, I am left speechless and this is definitely one of those times!

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Belarus

Following Estonia, Belarus just sounds terrible to be honest. Alyona Lanskaya walks out of the disco ball wearing a sparkling silvery dress. She is joined on stage by two dancers and three backing vocalists and whilst this might not be the typical jury favourite, it will definitely pick up some votes to finish mid-table. The vocals this evening are quite disappointing though and it seems that she is very nervous. Nevertheless, due to the strategic positioning of Belarus, this could manage to get Paelinck best result. Alyona Lanskaya needed to nail it this evening and I do not think she did. 

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Malta

Gianluca takes to the stage in his white shirt, bright orange trousers and black waistcoat. He is joined on stage by two female backing vocalists, a drummer, a ukelele player, and a guitarist. This came through the second semi-final last night after being announced ninth. The vocals this evening are easily resembling the ones of last night. The backdrop featuring the lyrics of the song is definitely not in the way and aids the performance getting the public to sing a long. The public are very much engaged in this performance and this is coming across really well. He was somewhat nervous at some points but nevertheless, worked through them brilliantly! Malta should at least get a mid-table result.

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Russia

Pink! but nevertheless, not anywhere close to the dress worn by the hostess because this is lighter and extremely salmon like. She is joined on stage by four backing vocalists and the staging has not changed a bit noting that there are balls on the stage and at the end of the performance is also seemingly throwing some balls into the audience. Dina Garipova is one of the most brilliant vocalists in the competition but I cannot believe I am saying this but she has just missed the high note and the juries will definitely penalise it for that. It might have just ruined her chances of victory. 

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Germany

Nathalie Horler feeds off the crowd and is definitely pleasing the public. Many people have stated that this track might be too similar to Euphoria but nevertheless, the group Cascada invented this type of music in recent years. She is definitely enjoying this performance and comes down the flight of stairs, takes to the catwalk in stunning fashion. I am definitely not ruling out a return to Germany for next years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Call me a fan, but wow, that was amazing!

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Armenia

Eyebrows! That is definitely the focus of this performance. Armenia definitely qualified thanks to the power of the Rock voters or rather, the fans of Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath who co-wrote the song. The performance is nothing out of this world noting that it is just a typical band who are spreading out a message. Armenia did not take part in last years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest for political reasons but are definitely excited to return in the final. Vocals are on key and are sounding pretty well. Nevertheless, this will do better than expected but won't be in the top ten. 

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BREAK

The Netherlands

Anouk, one of the most competent performers in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest takes to the stage for the final having managed to take The Netherlands through for the first time in eight years. She is wearing a dark outfit, the same within the semi-final. Initial reports were that she was supposed to start on the main stage but is giving the satellite stage another go. The lights are still in her eyes unfortunately but she is creating this mystical element by keeping them closed. The vocals are mesmerizing as expected from Anouk and I seriously believe that with a strong jury vote this evening along with a decent tele-vote that it could finish in the top ten. 

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Romania

Cezar had to be one of the most intriguing acts to compete in the semi-final stage last night and took Romania through to the final keeping their perfect record in tact despite maybe not settling in with the typical voter at home. The fact that the jury had to vote on vocal prowess, original and an overall performance might have helped him solidify that vote and indeed, this will most likely get a mid-table result due to the juries this evening. Vocally, Cezar is stunning and he is indeed one of the up and coming tenors in his country. The staging is beyond over the top but I will keep to the comments above. 

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United Kingdom

In the beginning, Bonnie Tyler had some vocal issues but nevertheless, she is a legend and does pick up after the first minute. This is a feel good country ballad and Bonnie does somewhat still have a vocal prowess that people might have to watch out for. There is a good round of applause in the press centre and the hall in the arena went relatively mad. Believe In Me will not be getting the top ten result that the United Kingdom would like to be honest but I am sure that her fanbase will enjoy this performance and vote for her tomorrow night to give her a mid-table result. 

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Sweden

The host country of this years' Eurovision Song Contest has selected a song by virtue of an international panel of judges noting that You was not the choice of the public. Robin Stjernberg is wearing a white outfit and he is joined by several dancers and this choreography is just out of this world and whilst it looks a little bit squashed in the opening rehearsals, it has definitely come across well. The vocals need to be perfect for this performance and wait for it, they definitely are. Sweden will most likely be heading for another top ten result, meaning it would be the third one in a row and a continuation of positive history.

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Hungary

Alan Montonaro, who was guest blogging for the Times of Malta absolutely enjoyed this performance last night and Alex is actually enjoying his performance ever so slightly this evening despite not showing it too much. There is no emotion for the performer but nevertheless, the look is very much translating well on screens. I had this as a qualifier last night and it is definitely giving everyone in the hall and the press centre an extremely good feeling. The vocals are fine and the song is just beautiful. Well done Hungary, this could be the best result for quite some time. There is a lot of applause for this one and considering the commercial sales, I would say this is picking up a lot of tele-votes.

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Denmark

The pied piper has just started playing the flute and the audience has just gone mad. The crowd is definitely enjoying this performance. Emmelie de Forest is wearing the same white dress which she was wearing within the semi-final and is joined by drummers and backing vocalists. Many people have this down as their winner for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but I am not too sure it will manage to. The vocals are good this evening and will definitely get a potentially strong vote by the juries but should this win, it will do thanks to the backing of the public. The pyro curtain has just been used towards the end. 

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Iceland

Eythor Ingi is one of the best male vocalists in this years' competition and has decided to stay with his black suit for the performance. The staging is kept really dark in order to accompany the mood of the song, which definitely reflects on personal experiences. Mid-way through the song, four male backing vocalists come onto the stage. Eythor Ingi has a stunning vocal range and he is definitely showing the jury this evening that he is more than competent to carry off practically the phone book. Stunning! Iceland deserve to finish in the top ten. This gets a huge reaction in both the press centre and the hall. 

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Azerbaijan

Farid Mammadov is one of the worst performers when it comes to nerves but has the best ability in the competition to handle them because his vocals are stunning as always. This will definitely win a lot of points in the staging and originality sections which the juries have to assess this evening. The man in the glass box is managing to keep up this evening as was the case last night whilst the female dancer comes along and adds to the drama. Whilst this is coming in a difficult part of the draw following Denmark and Iceland, this is still going to competing for points and will be taking most of the typical points which Turkey normally gets considering their absence. 

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Greece

There is a lot of commotion in the press centre for this performance especially due to the fact that this is following two ballads and a mid-tempo song. Greece are bringing about the only ethnic song in the competition and this is musically stunning. I am not too sure about the choice of lyrics but as soon as you start bopping along, you would lose the lyrics and just love the music. The boys are definitely good looking as been said by many and therefore will be getting that type of vote as well during the final tomorrow night. This is an extremely polished performance. I have no clue how this one will do but it could finish in the top ten.

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Ukraine

According to the Betting Odds, this is still the third favourite to win this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and I understand why because Zlata has one of the most powerful female voices in the competition. The initial walk with the giant is just silly though and might have come across as too much of a circus act during the semi-final. Zlata is wearing the cream/white outfit that she was wearing in the semi-final and seems that she will be sticking to this. Whoa! This part of the final is quite difficult and I am somewhat even more convinced that Denmark might not win. 

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Italy

Marco Mengoni, the Italian hearthrob who stole the show at Sanremo earlier this year. He is wearing a teal suit as seen in this afternoons' rehearsal video and whilst this might not look great on the same video below, it comes across beautifully on the cameras. This is definitely going to pick up a lot of votes with the juries this evening considering that Sanremo is somewhat riddles with juries. He is definitely trying to play with his vocals and it seems that the performance is far too emotional. The vocals are just stunning and he manages to impress. I am sure that the juries will give this an extremely high position.

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Norway

The magnificient Italy is followed by Norway who is represented by Margaret Berger. This is the second favourite for victory and clad in a tight white dress, this performance is far more convincing that the one that she gave in the semi-final in terms of vocals. The camera shots are good but it would have been better if they managed to recreate the feel of the Melodi Grand Prix. Berger is trying to convince the public. She does receive a lot of applause in both the press centre and the audience. It sounded strong tonight and it could derail Denmark. Norway have definitely managed to win over ample support in a couple of days. 

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Georgia

Sophie and Nodi take to the stage in one of the final performances of the evening. This is track co-written by Thomas G:son who actually wrote the winning entry last year. They are both clad in formal attire this evening as has been the case throughout all of the rehearsals. The choreography is as cheesy as the song to be honest. The vocals are good or rather better than they were in the semi-finals but I believe that nerves have been getting the best of her mostly. Georgia will not be finishing in the top five though as previously expected. Massive applause in the arena for this one though. 

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Ireland

Fire! Stunning end to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. I might not have been the biggest fan of Ireland when it was chosen to represent the nation. Ryan Dolan is still clad in casual clothing and the rest of his team is going about the shirtless look apart from the female backing vocalists. Ryan is a good vocalist but this is not the best rehearsal that he has had and will definitely suffer with the juries. Nevertheless, following the ballad that comes forward from Georgia, I would not expect this to do badly and whilst it would not be troubling the top ten, a mid-table position is very much possible. This is applauded well in the press centre. 

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The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede, our funny hostess for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is back on stage with the same dire outfit she started out with and says that the competition is actually over but time to turn to the public at home who will be decidnig half of the vote. A recap of the performances is currently being shown on screen and remember that Malta will be singing in position number #9. That's it from us this evening as we focus on the actual final tomorrow night. I have a sneaky feeling that the jury vote will be going towards Italy and The Netherlands. The interval act which will not be shown on Television Malta will include Carola and Sarah Dawn Finer.

The official website of the Eurovision Song Contest has just revealed the running order of the final of the prestigious event following an executive meeting between members of the Host Broadcaster and the European Broadcasting Union. Following a number of disappointing years in which the same genres were placed alongside each other, the organising body thought best to decide the running order. It wasn't a completely free reign though as each country had to draw their own half of the draw in an allocation ceremony which for the 'Big Five' was held during the first press conference following their technical rehearsal. 

It is important to note that Sweden had drawn their position beforehand in order not to create any bias. This therefore gave the organisers some limitation over the second half of the draw especially after drawing number #16 in the final. Malta, who qualified from the second semi-final last night thanks to a marvelous performance by Gianluca and the rest of his team, including; Louise Ann, Samaria, Kenny D'Ugo, Christopher Tate and Gabriel Cassar, has been drawn in position number #9 following an allocation to the first half of the draw. The allocation took place during the press conference held after the semi-final stage of the competition which saw to the qualification of Iceland, Finland, Norway, Armenia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Greece, Georgia and Romania.

  1. France
  2. Lithuania
  3. Moldova
  4. Finland
  5. Spain
  6. Belgium
  7. Estonia
  8. Belarus
  9. Malta
  10. Russia
  11. Germany
  12. Armenia
  13. The Netherlands
  14. Romania
  15. United Kingdom
  16. Sweden
  17. Hungary
  18. Denmark
  19. Iceland
  20. Azerbaijan
  21. Greece
  22. Ukraine
  23. Italy
  24. Norway
  25. Georgia
  26. Ireland

In the press conference following the semi-final, Gianluca who was accompanied by Anton Attard, Head of Delegation for Malta insisted that the position in the running order was secondary to him and the rest of the team noting that the performance is always more important. During the second semi-final, Malta had to perform in slot number #6 following an advert break and despite many saying that this could be detrimental, it did not prove to be the case. The editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to extend congratulations to Gianluca and the rest of the delegation from Malta, a nation which has managed to qualify for two years in succession thanks to ample hard work and dedication from everyone involved.

Source: Eurovision.tv

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The first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest might have proven to be a slightly subdued affair in terms of song qualify but nevertheless, the host broadcaster being SVT should be commended on the production of the show. There were a total of sixteen performances in this evenings' showcase and when it comes to analysing the qualifiers into greater detail, it seems that the typical blocks which have become popular at the Euroviison Song Contest might be breaking down with the respective divisions in the running order as created by the producers. escflashmalta.com covered the show through a live commentary with Emil Calleja Bayliss, Claudia Faniello and Simon Casey.

On their fifth participation, Montenegro have not managed to get through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest but what is surprising is that their neighbours, Serbia who have always been in the final apart from one occasion, have also failed. Moje 3, one of the most popular groups in the country were being coached by Marija Serifovic and thus this is quite a disappointing result. In the meantime, the other two countries from the Former Yugoslavia also failed to get through, these being Croatia and Slovenia. The other two countries which did not get through were Cyprus and Austria, the latter of which has not managed for two consecutive years and the former following a pretty successful year in 2012. 

  • Estonia - First Half
  • Denmark - Second Half
  • Russia - First Half
  • Ukraine - Second Half
  • The Netherlands - First Half
  • Belgium - First Half
  • Belarus - First Half
  • Moldova - First Half
  • Ireland - Second Half
  • Lithuania - First Half

Belgium and Lithuania were definitely the surprises of the evening with many not predicting them to qualify but nevertheless, their generic entries were met with great reception and might have been aided by the late draw. There were a number of expected qualifiers, including none other than Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Moldova and Ireland with the ones in the toss-up definitely including Belarus and Estonia respectively. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for coverage of the second semi-final dress rehearsals later on in the afternoon as Gianluca rehearses Tomorrow with his team on behalf of Malta. It is important to denote that the second semi-final will be covered on our portal by Antoine Farrugia, Davinia Pace and Christabelle.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Good Evening! Welcome to the live coverage of the first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Malmö, Sweden. Members of the European Broadcasting Union had to confirm their participation in the international showcase by December and as a matter of fact, during this period some nations had selected both their artist and entry for the event. Sixteen (16) countries will be performing this evening with six (6) of them being eliminated at the first hurdle noting that the other ten (10) will be going through to the final stage on Saturday night where they will compete with another ten (10) qualifiers from the second semi-final and the countries which have already qualified due to their respective financial status.

In recent years, social media has become an important tool to get a message across and escflashmalta.com has been proud to keep you updated through both Facebook and Twitter whilst bringing you exclusive content through Flickr and YouTube respectively. This evening, the special coverage that is annually planned is set to be conducted by our Head of Press, Emil Calleja Bayliss as well as guests; Claudia Faniello, a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and Simon Casey, a former first runner-up in the Irish selection as well as a successful recording artist with Universal Music Ireland. All of the three are extremely professional in their line of work and their interests in music have been duly recorded over time.

The Show (Part 1)

Good Evening! Welcome to Sweden and to the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, the arena is relatively small in comparison to other years but nevertheless, looks jampacked noting that it was sold out in less than half an hour. An extremely large choir is currently on stage as they perform Euphoria, the winning entry of last year before being joined by Loreen herself. This is a first to see the winner of the year before performing in the first semi-final but nevertheless, she will also be performing a brand new song in the final. Petra Mede, the only hostess for this evening takes to the stage in what seems to be a silver like colour although the material is very much like tin foil. 

Austria

Emil: She looks so scared. Her eyes look it and her voice is a tad shaky but she slowly picks up. The backing have a cool yet strange choereography. The staging is interesting and the small arena looks great on screen. The viduals are impressive. The song is a modern R&B number which should go down well but perhaps it is a bit too early for the viewers to remember. A good one.

Claudia: I think that this is a little bit average especially to kick off this evening yet the performance was good enough.

Simon: Our first semi-final is under way. Didn't really enjoy this performance and it didn't go anywhere, which is a shame as she a really good voice. Natália's Irish roots may not be enough for her to qualify tonight.

Estonia

Emil: A black and white start and surely an interesting trick for the viewers to remember. Kudos on the Estonias but the Maltese had done it first in the Junior Eurovision. The sweet simple ballad is performer strongly. She starts from the catwalk and walks back to the main stage. A flowing dress to hide her pregnancy  It is a typical Scandinavian ballad. The climax is a strong one, but I can't see the viewers voting for this one - the jurors would have to save this one. Interesting number.

Claudia: For the second time in a row, we have another average song and this does not really look to be the best of starts for this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Nice ballad singer and she looks great but I'm looking for something special from a ballad these days and I just didn’t enjoy the song. I was waiting for big finish but a in fact it was a little boring for me. 

Slovenia

Emil: An electro dance number which would help making it a summer hit. Would it be a eurovision hit? I doubt it. She might get a number of votes for her looks or her dancers though. The song is average and nothing that we haven't heard before. The vocals could be much better and sounded shrieky in a number of parts. I'd guess it is game over for Slovenia already. She needs a miracle to get through.

Claudia: This clearly remind me of an extremely famous club song and whilst it is a good track in itself, the vocals are clearly weak this evening. Unfortunately these type of songs are dominating the charts despite not being my cup of tea. 

SimonA good dance track. Hannah put in a great performance and a really catchy chorus. I enjoyed this performance and it has an outside chance of qualification. She sounds like Madonna.

Croatia

EmilThis sounds like music to my ears after Slovenia. Pure class with six great voices. This is what Eurovision should be about - countries presenting something traditional and strong. The only criticism I might have is that it is a bit static or sound a tad repetitive but the voices are impeccable with great harmonies. If viewers forget this, I can't see the jurors doing the same. Let's hope they manage to save it if that is the case.

Claudia: I must say that this is definitely not my cup of tea and the only thing that I can point out from this performance are their awesome boots. I am sorry Croatia!

Simon:  This is a little different, the Croats answer to Il Divo. Nice performance and good harmonies. I like it but I don't know how it'll translate European wide considering that it might be respected by minorities.

Denmark

EmilThe ULITIMATE Eurovision favourite - the odds are shortening like mad. A military tattoo feel and this song has WINNER written all over it. Can't see any other song beating this. The performance is interesting and the she sells it well even though she might not be giving her strongest vocal performance. The cheers she's getting in the audience suggest that this is hers to loose - although she's quite close to home so that helps loads. Winner of 2013!? I think so.

Claudia: First things first, it seems that this definitely a crowd favourite this evening and apart from that fact, they have also borrowed my outfits without asking, haha. This is a feel good with great lyrics. This is the second year in a row that they have a great song!

Simon: Good performance by Emmelie, I really like this song. Catchy as hell. I think it's a little reminiscent of last year’s winning song and the strongest performance so far tonight. Think this song has a real chance in the finals.

Russia

Emil: Her clear vocals are beautiful and she carries the song with such grace yet the excitement get the best of her in the beginning. The harmonies with the backing sound great though and the way the whole arena lights up during the key refrain is impressive. Another great stomper. Can't see it beating Denmark but Russia will possible fight to be in the top three this year. 

Claudia: This is definitely a Eurovision Song Contest entry because the key-change is extremely typical. It is also very much like an X Factor winners' single. Nevertheless, Dina is an extremely strong performer.

Simon: Vocally a great performance from Dina and one of my favourites. Certain to qualify. Really strong message here as well. There is a slight feel factor of Katrina and the Waves 'Love Shine a Light' (which is good). No need to bring back the grannies this year!!

Ukraine

Emil: Ruining a good song with a giant!? Well Jack and the beanstalk has been a great inspiration. Another great number which picks up as soon as she starts singing although her vocals sounded a bit low at first. She oozes charisma and she connest well with the camera. Will this gospel number appeal to the viewers at home? Considering it is Ukraine, and the song is a strong one it should do well. Ukraine can expect another top ten result. Three strong numbers after each other. Will someone suffer?

Claudia: Whoa! The giant is clearly an impressive touch and he is somewhat part of the choreography. The visuals are just stunning and the vocals on stage are coming across really well on the sound system. This is well performed! Not a winner though!

SimonThere's a real Disney feel to this song, certainly one of the strongest performances tonight and really should qualify for Saturday night.

The Netherlands

EmilThe famous Anouk is next. She looks beautiful on screen but she avoids eye contact with the camera and stays with her eyes closed during most of the performance. Clearly not the way to connect with your audience. It is the slowest song in the competition and although it has a classic feel to it and Anouk gives a strong interpretation it will be up to the jurors to save this one tonight I feel. It is a bit boring I fear.

Claudia: Anouk, a vocal genius and once more, another strong performance for this evenings' competition. The song in itself is nothing too extraordinary but nevertheless, the versatility is the key behind it's success.

Simon: Don’t like being too critical but I just didn't get this song, it certainly was very different and she has a very decent voice but can't see her qualify for the final. (She's for the birds)

Montenegro

EmilSpacemen make their way to the Eurovision stage too and they are joined by an alien. Not my cup of tea and can't see whether this song will have any appeal whatsoever. It is different to the one that came before it and that is the only reason I see her picking up some votes. I guess it is a bit too modern and the Eurovision stage is not the place to showcase this kind of music. Noise pollution? Quite close.

Claudia: Whilst I respect several genres of music, this is too electronic for my taste. The costumes for the performance definitely remind me of the ones used during one of Fab's latest videos.

Simon:  A very forgettable performance apart from its raunchiness, this song is going nowhere.

Lithuania

Emil: Lithaunia present a good modern pop song with an electronic feel to it. I feels a bit too generic but it is a good entry performed by a very likable guy which will pick up a few votes for his charm. The song might be a little mid table but with some neighbourly help, some luck and a good performance it might actually make it.

Claudia: A Pet Shop Boys attempt. Actually enjoyed this tune but I think the vocal was quiet poor tonight.

Simon: The crowd is really warm this evening and that is very positive for the performers. The track itself seems to have taken us back through time, back to the 80's in a genre similar to the one made popular by AHA, including the blurred visuals. 

Belarus

Emil: Belarus go with a cheesy cha cha number which would have been fit in the Eurovision Song Contest back in the 1990's. It is a bit too late. The performance is strong but the same cannot be the said for her vocals. They sound strained and weak in places. The outfits are cool though and her PR strategy was amongst the strongest. Will that help her pass? I doubt it.

Claudia: Typical entry from the Eurovision Song Contest, the outfit along with the staging has been done a million times before. Hmm, there is something about Alyona which reminds me of Charlotte Perelli although her figure is definitely more intriguing.

Simon: She reminds me of Shakira, and he tune is a little similar to the Turkish 2003 winner. Certainly has potential to qualify tonight, really think its a song that will grow on people. 

Moldova

EmilThe music is strong for this one and so is her voice but the fact that we can't understand what she's singing about is a distraction. The dress is spectacular though and the overall visuals are amongst the best in the competition. I wouldn't count this one out especially after that performance.

Claudia: The piano and the strings definitely catching my attention and the dress in itself is very similar to the one used by Olivia Lewis during the 2005 Malta Song for Europe. This song in itself does not really go anywhere and that is relatively disappointing. Good performance though! I would never see myself in such a dress!

Simon: A great vocal from Aliona, really good singer. Nice power ballad and the best we've heard from Moldova ever. I think she’ll qualify.

Ireland

Emil: Ireland haven't done well recently and they think that the best thing to do is go with an uptempo number with half naked men on stage. Will it work? I guess it will take them to the finals tonight. The song came to life on this stage and the drum beats sound and look great. Not your typical Irish sound but it's kind of good. Ryan gives a strong performance and surely merits the final.

Claudia: Well, I am not too sure of the graphics being used in this performance or the clothing for that matter but nevertheless, this is done well in it's respective genre.

Simon: Well done Ryan, this song has been growing in me the last few weeks and tonight he's given a great performance. A very different entry to what we're used to. I'm really hoping Europe vote or us tonight. Congrats Team Ireland.

Cyprus

Emil: This song is so beautiful, she performs it with such grace and her look reminds me of Celine Dion. Her vocals are strong and the traditional ballad leaves everyone haunted. One of my personal favourites for tonight and I think it should sail with ease to the finals. Touching. Well done Cyprus. Pity the Greeks aren't here to help you out tonight as you truly deserve all the help you can get.

Claudia: Whoa! What a choice of outfit! This looks amazing on screen. She does look a little bit like Celine Dion from far away. You need to have a really good song to succeed in a foreign language. I am not too sure.

Simon: Unfortunately this has been my least favourite performance tonight, just lacking pretty much everything. The weakest by far.

Belgium

Emil: He looks like a scared little boy on that stage. The backing are truly amazing but his voice is just weak. Pity as the beat of the song is quite good and if it was performed stronger it could easily make it but he literally kills it. One big car crash vocally. Sorry Belgium, next time think about sending a singer who can actually sing. Do not blame the lack of neighbours this year.

ClaudiaBelgium, I have to denote this as to having an extremely modern sound but the choreography is not too my liking unfortunately. It also has the feel of a radio song rather than a track that succeeds within the Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Good pop song and well performed. Roberto has a strong voice. Nice vibe to it and I'm thinking the Irish entry is a little similar (obviously we're tops)

Serbia

Emil: Barbies gone wrong. I guess they let a weird niece dress them up who has spent her life under lock and key by her insane parents. Whoever decided on the outfits should be SHOT! The song ain't bad but it ain't good either. They look stupid and the whole act looks ridiculous. Pity as the song would have had some potential if they had a decent performance. Thank God the vocals are in place cause it would have been miserable.

Claudia: I am quite disappointed with the songs in this years' first semi-final. This was yet another forgettable song but nevertheless, the vocals are well performed throughout the whole entry.

Simon: Good uptempo song to bring the the first semi final to a close. Has to be said its one of the stronger songs tonight. Three strong vocalists and there'll be plenty of young lads voting for them tonight. Serbia should qualify.

The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede, the hostess for the evening hast just opened the tele-voting and a recap of the songs has just been shown on screen. A series of interval acts will be taking to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest and first up is Petra Mede who takes us through memory lane and enters a number of performances. Well, the voting has just come to an end and now we have the proper interval act which is a choreographed set of movements to a magnificient backdrop known as Aurora or rather, the Northern Lights.

Emil:  Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Claudia: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Simon: Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia,  Slovenia, Ukraine

We just had Lynda Woodruff and she was epic in her sketch. A recap of the six direct finalists is currently being shown on screen. One has to note that they have an amazing set of songs especially compared to the quality of the songs performed this evening. Bonnie Tyler, Robin Stjernberg and Marco Mengoni are in the arena representing the countries directly in the final which are voting in this semi-final! The time for the qualifiers is here!

Moldova

Lithuania

Ireland

Estonia

Belarus

Denmark

Russia

Belgium

Ukraine

The Netherlands

Tonight! The time has arrived for the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest to take place and following two dress rehearsals last night and another one this afternoon, the excitement is definitely there and people are somewhat intrigued to be so close to the first evening. The first semi-final will consist of sixteen songs, with the countries ranging from all over the contintent. The main favourites for this evening have somewhat been drawn alongside each other and that may prove to be difficult. A non-scientific analysis is seen below to hopefully predict the qualifers of the evening pertaining to two different factions. Remember that escflashmalta.com will be having a live report conducted by Emil Calleja Bayliss and guest writers; Claudia Faniello and Simon Casey.

In recent weeks, escflashmalta.com has collaborated with a number of professional personnel from all across the world with vast knowledge about the music industry. The sixteen entries which will be competing in the first semi-final this evening were thoroughly analysed and graded both on an individual basis and also within the context of a competition. The latter scoring system was taken and added to the result of the public poll to create ten qualifers based on the system used at the Eurovision Song Contest which gives 50% weighing to the public and another 50% weighing to a professional jury. We are glad to reveal the results of the qualifiers according to this result in alphabetical order. The system was explained in order to answer any queries with regards to why countries may be missing from the poll on the right hand side of the screen which has now been closed.

There was a general consensus between the public and the professional panel of experts on eight tracks in total whilst noting that both factions predicted a song each which the other did not, leaving a song out in the process which had received the same type of result. In the meantime, out of the six (6) non-qualifiers predicted, both sides agreed on a total of four (4) entries and awarded them no points. escflashmalta.com would like to denote that this is not the opinion of the website with each of the professional panel as well as the public casting their personal votes. In the first semi-final the panel consisted of Magnus Kaxe, Lina Eriksson and Matt Mercieca (Muxu). Stay tuned to our portal in the coming hours for more of the latest news. Remember that Malta will be competing in the second semi-final. All shows will be shown on TVM with commentary by Rodney Gauci and Gordon Bonello.

Source: escflashmalta.com, eurovision.tv (image) 

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Good Evening! SVT, the host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest hosted all of the delegations present to an official welcome party last night where artists had the opportunity to meet their fans whilst wearing formal attire and strutting on the red carpet. 50% of the result will be decided thanks to a panel of international judges found in each respective country competing in this years' competition. This evenings' rehearsal is listed to commence at 21:00 CET and set to run for two hours until around 23:00 CET. For the first semi-final, there will also be three of the direct qualifiers casting their votes including Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom respectively. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Coverage of the first semi-final tomorrow eveing will be led by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Communications for escflashmalta.com, Claudia Faniello who is a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest as well as Simon Casey, former runner-up in the You're a Star competition in Ireland who has sold hundreds and thousands of records during his time with Universal Music Ireland. The clips present in this article are the ones from the second technical rehearsals last week.

Opening

The show has just started. Euphoria, winning entry of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is currently being performed by a huge choir of kids who are definitely giving the track an edge. Loreen, one of most popular artists to win the competition in recent years is now on stage and she is helping out the kids with her vocals. This is coming across beautifully on screen and it seems that the audience is singing along with the children and the lady herself. The first test of this performance took place during the final of the Melodifestivalen and they just decided to amplify it for the Eurovision Song Contest. Petra Mede, the hostess for this years' competition is wearing a stunning purple gown as seen in the photograph above. It is important to note that the designer is none other than the notable Jean Paul Gautier.

Austria

The opening entry of the first semi-final is an extremely catchy track noting that the title, being Shine is repeated several times throughout the performance. Natalia is still wearing a white top and sparkly silvery trousers and is joined on stage by both female and male backing vocalists who come together in the form of a circle mid-way through and stay at it until the end. Natalia is definitely enjoying herself on stage and this sounds really strong. There are no pyrothechnics for this performance which is disappointed but this is not getting through to the final unfortunately because it is coming on way too early. 

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Estonia

Birgit got the opportunity to represent Estonia with the wrong song in my opinion noting that she had an amazing track a couple of years back. Nevertheless, the performance kicks off in black and white for the people watching on television. When the colour does indeed come on, it is shown that Birgit is actually wearing a long white dress in order to accomodate her growing belly due to the pregnancy. This is vocally strong once more, something that has never been an issue. This was a stunning rehearsal and the press are really enjoying this. I will go ahead and say that this will indeed qualify to the final based on a dark horse status. 

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Slovenia

Hannah Mancini just canont sing and dance at the very same time, this has been a proven point throughout all of the rehearsals all week. As a matter of fact, when she did sing well back in Slovenia, she definitely was not dancing. The song itself is really strong but nevertheless, the vocals are just horrid this evening and this is definitely killing all of it's chances with the juries this evening. The public might go for it but it is definitely out of the running. Slovenia will not be qualifying to the final, and this is somewhat definite. It is quite disappointing as they did deserve qualification last year. 

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Croatia

This is not the typical balkan entry but is kept extremely traditional. The group is clad in traditional costumes used by Knights in Croatia and this might be looking a tad too static although the focus is definitely on the vocals which have been superb in every rehearsal. This is definitely trumping Slovenia's chances even more but nevertheless, this is going to be one of the most critical parts of the draw and despite this coming across beautifully, I am not sure the public will be going for it and therefore, am going to call this a non-qualifier but I would extremely love it if it managed to get through. 

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Denmark

Lise Cable, one of the most notable songwriters in Denmark is behind this entry, the favourite of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. This is coming relatively early in the running order but nevertheless, it is coming across well especially after the calm performance of Croatia. Emmelie is wearing a white dress, similar to the one used in the Melodi Grand Prix and which could be seen on the album cover. There are drummers and backing vocalists and it seems that this song in itself is a mixture of Fairytale and Euphoria. This is really strong vocally and thus sailing into the final but still not sure about this winning!

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Russia

This is the typical ballad given to the artist who ends up winning a talent show such as the X Factor. Dina Garipova, winner of The Voice in Russia is currently on stage in a pink/salmon dress and there seems to be a lot of support in the hall. On the stage, there are a number of balls, or somewhat huge lightbulbs. Four backing singers on stage, two of them male and two of them female and suddenly, the males have ballas which they throw into the audience. I am guessing that this is done for some sort of interaction. The idea of the balls is silly but this is definitely the typical Eurovision ballad by number and thus, will be qualifying with relative ease. 

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Ukraine

Zlata Ognevich is currently being carried by an extremely large man who has been termed as the giant and what the artists tries to create is a fairytale. There is a lot of dry ice on stage and as soon as we get the first key change in the beginning, the lighting is transformed. She is joined on stage by four backing vocalists as well. Zlata is wearing the tight white dress that she has used for the earlier technical rehearsals. The vocals are beyond amazing and I daresay, that she is far stronger than Dina this evening. Zlata is impeccable but the idea of the giant is clearly putting people off. I think that this will be picking votes like Russia, and this will definitely head through to the final. 

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The Netherlands

Anouk is represent a country which has not qualified to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in eight years and is definitely sounding really strong throughout the whole performance. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists, two of which are females and another one being male. The whole set up is relatively dark but the idea was definitely well received. They wanted to create an intimate concept. In the backdrop there are also Birds flying upwards and this looks really great. Whoa! Anouk has brought her A-Game this evening and the curse of four qualifers in a row but well be broken tomorrow evening. 

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Montenegro

Ouch! The vocals in the beginning of the song were absolutely awful and that will cost them a couple of points. The hip/hop artists known as Who See are clad in astronauts and they come out of dry ice which seems to have garnered colouring. Nina Zizic definitely has improved her performance from the original notes and seems to be in good form at the moment. Montenegro have never qualified to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest and I thought that this could very much make it following the earlier rehearsal. I am less sure because not sure the juries will be going for this. This is not a qualifer in my books. 

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Lithuania

This is not a typical single from an album of any musical artist noting that it somewhat falls in the category known as an album filler. Lithuania have somewhat never been expected to qualify in recent years despite the stunning performances on both counts but nevertheless, this is not really coming across well especially due to the fact that it is competing in the difficult semi-final. Andrius Pojavis just made two mistakes during the performance, both related to shots and that is definitely going to cost them some points. The vocals of both the lead and the backing are good but this song is just too average. 

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Belarus

Alyona Lanskaya is still coming out of a glittery disco ball and she seems to wearing whatever was inside the ball considering she is clad in yet a glittery outfit. The choreography is definitely interesting and this type of performance will surely get the attention of the public. SVT, the broadcaster is seemingly having slight difficulties with the camera shots this evening considering that the shots this time round are also being a bit off course. The pyrotechnics though look stunning on screen and that will most likely help this uptempo number across the finish line. The vocals are good but they were much better during the afternoon rehearsal. This will be qualifying and taking Belarus through to the final for the third time. 

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Moldova

The hairstyle for Aliona Moon is still weird but nevertheless, it is really attributed to the whole idea of the song being based on something out of this world. Aliona is clad in a huge white dress which changes colour according to the background. The vocals are good but I just cannot help feel that they could still be better. I am waiting to hear the high note and indeed, it comes and she does nail it this evening. The performance itself is based on the dress but nevertheless, there is a choreography going on as well and it is quite interesting. Moldova, you will be in the final and you will most likely be challenging the top five positions on the night of the final. 

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Ireland

Ryan Dolan has definitely improved in the past couple of days noting that he has gone on from a marginal qualifier in my books to a definitely qualifier. This entry is an uptempo songs which follows a ballad as already been noted in the song before. Ryan Dolan is a newcomer to the Irish music scene and is seen on stage wearing a black outfit whilst keeping it casual. His dancers have been receiving a lot of publicity as they are good looking in the eyes of many whilst the female vocalists are a weak factor in the song as they cannot seem to get it together. Nevertheless, this is looking and sounding good for Ireland.

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Cyprus

Despina Olympiou is clad in a nude dress embroidered in black lace and the camera work for this one is just impeccable. Her interaction with the camera is coming across brilliantly and she is all alone on stage. The vocals are really strong and there is no fault in this performance. This badly needs to pick up votes from the jury this evening and I have picked it as a qualifier because it is far too beautiful. Wind machine towards the end of the song. The higher register is just brilliant and I have goosebumps. I must say that the vocal gymnastics towards the end could have been slightly better. It should qualify!

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Belgium

Tedious! Roberto Bellarosa just cannot get a grip on this performance as his vocals are dropping notes all over the place at the moment. The backdrop with the title of the lyric is looking really good on the monitors. The juries will not be giving this song high points this evening because it is just going wrong and mid-way through the song, it seems that Roberto realises as he is picking up slightly. Ohh! he just removed his earpiece and that is definitely not a good sign. It seems that he has been encountering technical problems. Belgium looked better earlier but this is awful tonight and will not be getting thorugh to the final, definitely!

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Serbia

Prior to the performance, it seems that the general consensus is that this is a definite qualifier. Moje 3 are clad in outfits that resemble delicious desserts. The song is relatively original and something that has not been at the Eurovision Song Contest, at least in recent years. Serbia have been playing about with their representation. The vocals are really good this evening and somewhat better than they were in the afternoon but I am still not sure with the silly choreography. There are three backing vocalists, all female and they help support the girls. Nothing to add to this one except that it is indeed qualifying. 

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The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede is back on stage and she is introducing the tele-voting porition of the competition before announcing to the public that out of the sixteen (16) entries performed, a total of ten (10) will be getting through to the final.  A recap of the songs is currently on screen as the public makes the decision. I believe that the definite non-qualifers will be Slovenia, Croatia and Lithuania whilst those being close but not making it will be Austria, Montenegro and Belgium. I think that the definite qualifers are Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova and Denmark with those getting through after them are Ireland, The Netherlands, Cyprus, Belarus and Estonia

Seems like Belgium have requested a second performance due to technical issues and the European Broadcasting Union have accepted the request. This could make or break with the juries and could steal a spot from someone else, most likely Cyprus from my list! The interval act is first before the performance as music composed by Kleerup is being performed. Clips of the songs competing in the final are currently being shown following a script by Lynda Woodruf, a comical person played by Sarah Dawn Finer.

Good Afternoon! SVT, the host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest hosted all of the delegations present to an official welcome party last night where artists had the opportunity to meet their fans whilst wearing formal attire and strutting on the red carpet. This is an extremely important day considering that there will be two dress rehearsals taking place, the first one one commencing at 17:00 CET and set to run until at least 19:00 CET, bearing in mind that everything goes as supposedly. This will be important for the artists and their respective delegations in preparation for the evening dress rehearsal commencing at 21:00 CET which will be voted upon by the juries in the sixteen participating nations as well as Sweden, the United Kingdom and Italy. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Coverage of the first semi-final tomorrow eveing will be led by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Communications for escflashmalta.com, Claudia Faniello who is a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest as well as Simon Casey, former runner-up in the You're a Star competition in Ireland who has sold hundreds and thousands of records during his time with Universal Music Ireland. The clips present in this article are the ones from the second technical rehearsals last week.

Opening

Euphoria, winning entry of last years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is seemingly being transported across the continent in the opening sketch which is being shown by the broadcaster. Suddenly, we're in the inside of the arena, and there are a number of children on stage who are set to perform the song with Loreen set to follow in a couple of minutes. This is a brilliant verson of the song and was seen during the Melodifestivalen Final. It was well received and indeed, the people across Europe will enjoy it. Petra Mede is on stage following the performance and indeed, it seems that she has decided to go without any make-up on apart from the fact that she wearing what seems to be an extremely weird costume.

Austria

Natalia Kelly is clad in a white top and silvery trousers. She is clearly a stunning vocalist and the fact that she has been put on first is actually quite important because it seems that the public is warming up to it. There is a mixed reaction for this one from both the fans and the media because she has been performing it well. She is joined on stage by a number of backing vocalists who are also having a strong performance. At the moment, I just cannot see Austria getting through to the final unfortunately being unsuccessful for the second year running. 

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Estonia

Stunning! It starts off in a very monochrome sort of effect with the idea that this is back into the sixties especially due to the fact that it is in black and white. She is clad in a white outfit is attributed to her pregnancy extremely well. The vocals are just amazing this afternoon and I just cannot help think that this will surprise many by virtue of qualifying. The male backing vocalists are enjoying themselves and are performing brilliantly. The song is a bit bland but she definitely pushes it up the rankings system. 

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Slovenia

Hannah Mancini was selected internally for this years' competition and it seems that the choice is somewhat received in a mixed manner. This is an extremely difficult song and she definitely cannot sing and dance at the same time. I have no clue how the juries will be ranking this tonight but nevertheless, this has to be one of the better performances from Hannah. Straight Into Love has an amazing choreography and this is coming across brilliantly on screens. Visually appealing but vocally disappointing especially towards the end of the performance and the bridge where she completely goes off key and shouts her way.

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Croatia

Klapa s Mora are the next act on stage and they are wearing traditional costumes which they have already stated to be outfits worn by Knights in Croatia. Another internal choice from the Balkan nation and this is definitely standing out after Slovenia. The vocals are strong and they cannot be overlooked by the juries this evening but I am not sure that the public will enjoy this as much especially after listening to Slovenia's last part of the song which was completely off key. Croatia are the dark horse and remain a marginal qualifier, especially if they managed to collect points from all across the balkan region if predicted.

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Denmark

Emmelie de Forest is still the outright favourite to triumph in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and as a matter of fact, she is clearly enjoying the status. Clad in a white flowing dress, she has decided to thump down the wind machine effect in order to have hair going everywhere during the performance. The vocals are really strong this afternoon and this is definitely making it through to the Saturday final and could very much finish in the top three but I am still not convinced that this will be the winner for some reason. It could be that I never really got into the full element of liking the song all that much.

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Russia

Dina Garipova, winner of The Voice of Russia was clearly a smart choice especially considering the amount of votes that she received in the talent show. She has astonishing vocal capabilities which somewhat resemble the ones that Chiara, three time Eurovision Song Contest representative for Malta has. Dina is still wearing the pink/salmon lace embroidered outfit. Male and female backing vocalists all round to create a choir effect. This is really looking good on screens although, one has to denote that the meaning behind the use of the balls on stage is pretty much mis-understood. 

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Ukraine

A major prop from this performance is definitely the giant who is walking onto the stage with Zlata Ognevich in his arms. The female artist is joined on stage by two female and two male backing vocalists and this is actually looking pretty slick on cameras. This was definitely a wise decision in terms of attire, as she is wearing the white tight dress seen during the first technical rehearsal. I must say tthat this is sounding the best that it has been thus far. The higher vocal register sounds incredible and Ukraine is really giving me shivers this afternoon. Well Done! This could be the winner tomorrow night unless the giant completely ruins the performance in the eyes of the public.

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The Netherlands

Anouk, a true star from the music industry is taking to the stage for The Netherlands. She is wearing extremely casual clothing with a dark top and jeans which adds to the idea of an intimate performance. Anouk is a strong vocalist although this is not the best of performances in my opinion but it is definitely getting better. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists, two of which are female and another one which is male. The bridge is absolutely wonderful and the majesticism of the music is wonderful. This is sailing through to the finals based on the votes of the juries and a decent tele-voting tomorrow night. 

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Montenegro

This has to be the first up-tempo song in an extremely long time. The running order has been adapted well to help Montenegro stand out and most likely see them through to the final for the very first time. The whole performance is definitely bordering on crazy but nevertheless, it does look visually amazing on screen. The fact of the matter remains that should there have been more up-tempo numbers in the competition. Nina Zizic is the best thing about the song in my opinion as she has attributed strong vocals to the songs. The rappers are wearing astronaut outfits and have a tendency to emerge out of the smoke. This is sounding really good!

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Lithuania

Andrius Pojavis is in relatively casual clothing for this performance. This is one of the songs which will definitely not qualify for the final and is just making up for the numbers in the competition. Despite saying that, my foot is thumping along with it because it is slightly catchy but the draw is not helping and the fact that it is competing in the strong semi-final, isn't either. There are four backing vocalists who are somewhat choreographed. The vocals are really shaky this afternoon and it seems that he completely lost it. This is definitely bordering on the possibility of reaching last place unfortunately. 

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Belarus

Alyona Lanskaya is nowhere to be seen but nevertheless, as soon as a disco ball is pushed onto the stage, she comes out of it and is set to give the audience the show of a lifetime especially following Lithuania which has not been receiving outstanding comments. The delegation has really put in a lot of effort for the performance and as a matter of fact, the choreography is coming across brilliantly from a visual perspective. Alyona is enjoying the performance and it seems that she will most likely be taking Belarus through to the final for the third year. At the end of the performance, there are pyros. 

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Moldova

Aliona Moon was the favourite to represent Moldova during the national final especially having been a backing vocalist for Pasha Parfeny at last years' Eurovision Song Contest. The female artist is wearing a huge dress which changes colour according to the backdrop. This is actually one of the most intriguing performances on stage because she is coming across as extremely professional and living up to the artistry of the song itself. The vocals are relatively strong although one could easily note that she is holding back for the performance this evening which we remind you will be in front on the juries. Moldova will also be getting through though. 

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Ireland

The stage is relatively dark in this performance noting that the backdrop being used is made up of symbols which correspond to Gaelic traditions. Ryan also keeps to the element of the song, one which is casual and fun at the very same time. The female vocalists are somewhat finding it difficult to stay in line with the track and it seems that this is an annual problem for Ireland. The vocal performance from Ryan is actually good considering that it has been having mixed reaction in recent days. I still believe that the uptempo track will get through to the final and continue the recent success of Ireland. 

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Cyprus

Despina Olympiou is kicking off this performance in acapella form and sounds on form during the first dress rehearsal. She is wearing a long nude dress with black lace embodied around it. This is coming across as absolutely beautiful both in terms of vocals and presentation but one can also note that Despina is keeping back a tad slightly for tonight. Many people have discounted Cyprus across the past couple of months but nevertheless, I am almost sure that this will be picking up enough jury votes to get through to the final. The tele-voting could be detrimental but it should be mid-table on that count. Beautiful!

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Belgium

Roberto Bellarosa was winner of The Voice of Belgium and I just cannot understand how that actually took place considering that the vocals are extremely disappointing especially when it comes to performing in English. Love Kills is a pop-infused entry which is getting applause today and that is because this has to be the best rehearsal thus far. I think this is very much a marginal qualifier and could make it through pertaining to how excited Roberto is on the night of the semi-final, tomorrow.

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Serbia

Moje 3 will be the final act on stage tomorrow night and one cannot help but sing along to this track for the simple reason that it is extremely fun and catchy. The three ladies, all equally beautiful are enjoying this performance and the vocals have definitely continue to improve this afternoon. Serbia have an almost perfect record and this is definitely making it through to the final where they will most likely be managing a mid-table performance. This is definitely a strong end to the semi-final though and the audience in the hall is definitely loving it. 

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The Show (Part 2)

The performances have officially come to an end, and Petra Mede is on stage to introduce the tele-voting portion of the competition which will amounting to 50% of the final result. The recap is kept in a standard format and it seems that the graphics are quite intriguing. Petra Mede is back on stage and she is hosting in English and French apart from throwing in a couple of Swedish phrases. It seems that the tele-voting time is going to close early for this afternoon and that means that the mock qualifers will be revealed releatively quickly. Before that though, there seem to be a couple of features supporting the Eurovision Song Contest. In the interval act, there is a sketch with Petra Mede included in all historic features as well as music which is performed through the medium of dance.

Good Morning! It seems that the host broadcaster is somewhat adapating the schedule to the artists considering that rehearsals will not be commencing prior to noon. All of the delegations are expected to arrive between today and tomorrow as the countries competing in the big five will be taking to the stage for their first rehearsal on Sunday. In the meantime, the press centre has also officially opened today and therefore, accredited individuals will definitely feel more at ease with familiar surroundings. The first two days of rehearsals saw everything move in a swift manner but there where a couple of technical issues during the second two days of rehearsals and as full run throughs start taking place, it is expected that odds and ends will be corrected even by the respective delegations. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest and some of those uploaded include Gianluca from Malta and Farid Mammadova who will be representing Azerbaijan. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Today, as already noted above will see to the beginning of a run-through for each semi-final. It is expected that rehearsals will be ending at around 21:00 CET with a number of interludes in between for lunch and dinner amongst others. The first semi-final is up today and that is the show taking place this Tuesday which will be covered on escflashmalta.com by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Commications as well as Claudia Faniello, runner-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and 2012 and Simon Casey, runner-up of the Irish final back in 2003 and successful recording artist in Ireland.

Press Conference

SVT, the host broadcaster in conjuction with the European Broadcasting Union held a press conference earlier this morning to welcome all of the media to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. There were a number of questions addressed to the organisers of this years' event including with regards to the use of the press centre as from today and the possibility of any returning countries as from next year. In the meantime, Jan Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the European Broadcasting Union revealed that next years' edition of the international spectacle is set to take place on the 13th, 15th and 17th May pertaining to decisions taken up by the winning country.

Slovenia

Hannnah is clad in leather attire, and joined on stage by three male dancers and two female backing vocalists with a darkened backdrop resembling the one used in the preview video. The graphics as a matter of fact are kept extremely simple in order to keep the focus on the choreography and the singing, which frankly speaking should be distracted from. Mid-way through the performance, Hannah takes to the catwalk from where she performs the bridge of the song to a series of spotlights which light up the arena. Visually, this looks absolutely stunning but vocally, it is definitely in complete contrast. 

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Estonia

Whilst Slovenia is visually stunning, this entry is vocally stunning and one cannot help but enjoy listening to Birgit perform because there is something in her capabilities, an element that makes you want to listen to her even more. She is joined on stage by four male backing voclaists and the backdrop is mainly black with green diagrams, having additional gold ones for the chorus. The spotlights in the bridge do wonders and this is surely coming across really on the screens. This was a competent second rehearsal from Estonia but nevertheless, still remains a marginal qualifier due to coming on so early. 

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Austria

Natalia Kelly is wearing a white top, silver like jeans and beautiful shoes to match the outfit accordingly. She is joined on stage by five backing vocalists who carry out a simple yet effective choreography. For most of the performance, the main stage is used but nevertheless, Natalia decides to strut a bit and with a wind machine in action, this does indeed look fantastic. The vocals whilst not flawless sound much better today and like Estonia which in the running order will actually come after it, this is still very marginal. The reason being that once more, this is an opening song and therefore, might be forgotten by the end unless it makes a real impact on the public. I have a sneaky feeling that the jury will love it though. 

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Croatia

One of the more traditional entries to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is Croatia who have decided to send the genre known as Klapa. The most effective element in this song is surely the vocals which are perfect. The setting is extremely beautiful noting that int he background, there are stars and what seem to be resembling the Northern Lights. The clothing used is also traditional with the group saying that it is normally worn by Croatian knights. Technically speaking, the music is quite catchy, as in the beat and therefore, I believe that this one is throwing off three entries before hand. I am thinking that this one has just turned into a qualifer in favour of the others that preceded it. Well Done, Croatia!

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Denmark

Ohh! Someone has been to the hairdresser it seems because the hair looks absolutely lovely this morning. Emmelie is clad in a white dress, the one used for her album cover and which has been specifically designed for the Eurovision Song Contest. There is a wind maching effect relatively early and this is proving problematic for her dress because it's going up a tad too much and causing the singer to worry. The staging for this one is not simple but kept the same as it was in the national final. Three backing vocals, two females and a male and two frummers, both male. The vocals are strong for most of the song but are sounding pretty strained towards the end. Still making the top three nevertheless!

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Russia

Pristine Vocals! That's the first thing in mind when one watches Dina Garipova perform. The Russian singer is wearing what seems to be a pink/salmon type of gown which has a beautiful design but slightly off colour. The staging is kept well lit noting that in the backdrop there is a mixture of pink, and blue with white being somewhat predominant in the chorus. Mid-way through the song, Dina is joined on stage by four backing vocalists who have a simple choreography which is somewhat similar to the one used by Belarus back in 2010. It has also been reported that audience members will all be given a bracelet on arrival to the arean of Tuesday which will light up during the key change towards the end. This is looking beautiful and I would not discount Russia on winning this year!

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Ukraine

Bizarre! These one word expressions tend to describe a whole performance especially when at the beginning of the song, there's a giant clad in Roger Pontare's clothing scheme from the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest who is manhandling Zlata onto the stage. The stage is lit in completely dark blue and there is dry ice across the whole stage. Zlata is wearing what seems to be a dress made up of three colours, blue, purple and red, a candidate for the Barbara Dex Award. In the beginning, backing vocalists are airlifted onto the stage with a dumb-waiter like system. The vocals are solid as they have always been and whilst this one will sail into the finals, the whole performance is just ridiculous. 

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The Netherlands

Anouk commences her performances on what has been donned the satellite stage and there is a certain aura surrounding he performer noting that her facial expression is somewhat flirtacious at the beginning. The backdrop is just stunning featuring a dark sky which lights up quickly when the chorus kicks in. On the main stage, there are three backing vocalists whose harmonies are strictly on cue and definitely on key in every run. This atmopsheric ballad is definitely coming across well on screen and The Netherlands should be proud of having this as their entry whatever the result. Anouk keeps to her position throughout the song which might be seen static but goes on well with the song. She is clearly enjoying the rehearsals and why not when the simplicity of this is completely trouncing the mess coming from Ukraine. Beautiful!

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Montenegro

Smoke! Who See come out of the smoke dressed in astronaut outfits and this is clearly going to look relatively mad following the performance of The Netherlands. Funnily enough, this is not even looking half as mad as Ukraine. Nina is somewhat in the background but her vocals are solid and definitely add to the hip/hop vibe of this entry. The backdrop is a mixture of green and yellow, somewhat modern and very appealing visually. Montenegro are always in a bit of a tussle but nevertheless, they somewhat surprise people each time and might succeed in qualification this year which would definitely alter their perception of the competition, slightly!

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Lithuania

The first technical rehearsal for Lithuania was remarkably disappointing because it came across as too static especially considering that this is a competition which judges on several aspects. The stage is bathed in purple lights and Andrius is wearing a black leather jacket, black pants and a white shirt. The vocals are good but nothing extraordinary. I believe he has even altered the key in a couple of verses to make sure that all of the notes are reached. His eyes and hand movements are very innapropriate and he seems very uncomfortable. On stage, he has a number of backing vocalists, all of which are singing well but do not have a major role. Lithuania will be missing the final for the first time in three years following yet another disappointing rehearsal. 

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Belarus

The noughties were known for these type of songs in the Eurovision Song Contest but it is remotely intriguing that they have never went out of fashion and tend to do relatively well. Alyona Lanskaya is definitely throwing everything including the kitchen sink into this performance considering that she comes out of a disco ball in the beginning and is then showered by an extraordinarily exhausting dance routine.She is as a matter of fact joined on stage by dancers and backing vocalists. The lighting is red, and yellow with some blue thrown in for contrast. The vocals are strong nevertheless, and this is definitely seemingly like a qualifier at the moment. 

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Moldova

A star studded night is definitely the idea of the backdrop with stars and white bright lights being predominant in the performance. She is joined on stage by three dancers and a pianist although it is important to note that Pasha Parfeny is not making an appearance today. The dancers whilst not required for this entry are not distracting because the focus is definitely on the dress, one similar to Sabina Babayeva at last years' Eurovision Song Contest. It changes colour according to the feeling of the track. The vocals from Aliona was not good, or excellent but they are perfect! Many people have discussed the idea to turn to Romanian rather than stick in English and this does indeed add to the authenticity of the competition. Ohh Ohh, mid-way through the song she rises up and seems several feet high. Stunning!

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Ireland

Ryan Dolan is on stage for Ireland this is definitely his best day thus far since he has been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest noting that the vocals are on point and the whole act is coming together quite nicely. The backdrop is featuring a number of symbols, all related to Irish tradition and could also be seen as tattoos on the dancers and drummers respective. The whole stage act looks really polished today and the backing vocals are well tuned to the rest of the song. Truth be told, I never thought that Ireland would qualify for this years' final but my perception has just changed drastically following this rehearsal. Well Done to all of the team for a sterling performance. 

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Cyprus

A couple of years back, Malta had a couple of songs in the national selection which started acapella and they both were laid back and pretty much endearing. Cyprus is even more authentic for the simple reason that it is performed in Greek. Despina Olympiou is clad in a nude dress which is embroidered beautifully with lace. It suits her figure well and the look is just stunning. The backdrop is kept very simple with light blue throughout. It seems that she is harmonising slightly this evening and that is definitely positive because she adds more charm to the song. The vocals are just stunning today and the higher register is reached withou any issues. Perfect! With a late draw and the jury going for it, Cyprus are heading into the final!

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Belgium

It is quite difficult to understand certain phrases when Roberto is definitely not a native speaker. Back to the stage though, it seems that the artist is overcoming his nerves. Clad in a dark suit, he is joined on stage by two female dancers and three backing vocals. All of them are somewhat enjoying this performance with the choreography being just enjoyable to watch. Like Malta, Belgium is making use of their song lyrics in the background and this is definitely a positive as they are blared out to the people. The bridge is coming across better and it seems that Roberto is feeling more confident. This is a very competent rehearsal from Belgium. I am still unsure whether this will be screaming out to reach the public and the jury but he is definitely doing his best. 

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Serbia

Pop! The definition of this lies in the typical trash songs that come from girl-groups and Serbia have definitely gone for this type of number. The ladies are almost flirting with each other on stage in their weird colourful outfits. The staging is a mixture of pink and purple but definitely works with the whole setup. There atr three female backing vocalists on stage which are kept to the right hand side, when facing the audience. The choroegraphy of the girls is quite silly but nevertheless, this is is the closing number and people will enjoy finishing off with a thump. The vocals are much better today than they were during the first rehearsal. They are enjoying themselves on stage and therefore, that is the most important. Serbia are qualifying into the final with relative ease, possibly a top five finish in the semi-final. 

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Good Morning! The editorial team of escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Radio International and escXtra.com will be bringing you all of the latest news directly as it happens from Malmö, Sweden. As a matter of fact, we are not opting out of bringing you comments from the rehearsals as they unfold but nevertheless, we might be slightly delayed for the simple reason that rehearsal videos from fan sites are not permitted this year during the first week because of technicalities. It seems that the first rehearsals are going to be the ones to tweak the final performances and that fan videos will only be permitted as from the second week onwards. Nevertheless, the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest will still be filming some impressions for each country that rehearses so do not fret. 

Things kick off with the first semi-final, and it seems that the Tuesday show is set to be quite the fire cracker considering that there are quite a number of favourites competing including Emmelie de Forest for Denmark, Zlata Ognevich for Ukraine, Anouk for the Netherlands and Dina Garipova for Russia. It is quite astonishing to denote that these four (4) will also be following each other when it comes to the running order with the producers thinking that their flow of music genres benefits each other. We have reason to believe that this might kill off the chances of one (1) of the four (4) tracks although this is yet to be seen through the rehearsals. It is important to note that due to the fact that Malta will be competing in the first half of the second semi-final, the first technical rehearsal will not be taking place before Wednesday afternoon. Once more, we ask you to be patient whilst staying tuned to escflashmalta.com during the whole forthnight.

Austria

Natalia Kelly, one of the youngest singers to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is the first to make use of the staging which looks extremely beautiful on the screens. Whilst the vocals sound strong, her presence on stage is not coming across as brilliant and this is something that was noticeable even during the national final. There is a lot of technical work which is needed especially in the camera shots but hence why these are just the first rehearsals. She needs to ease up on the stage and feel more comfortable. At the moment, people are somewhat stating that this track itself is a marginal qualifier but remember, that it is competing in the tougher semi-final and therefore, chances are much more limited.

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Estonia

A toss-up is clearly indicated with the second rehearsal noting that Birgit is a solid performer having already proven her skills across the years through another two participations in the national final including a runner-up finish and also winning the Estonian version of Idol. In recent days, the track has been released to the public in various languages and once could note that the country ballad has so much more to offer that it's missing out in Estonian. Clad in black and white attire, she takes to the stage which is lit in dark colours which change according to the different parts of the music. This sounds brilliant and could very much surprise. Unfortunately, one cannot help but be left slightly cold with the actual song but nevertheless, she is definitely doing her best to lift it up. 

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Slovenia

The first uptempo entry to compete in this years' Eurovision Song Contest comes from Slovenia and Hannah, who currently lives in the United States is joined by backing dancers and vocalists, the latter of which are hidden off stage. It seems that the issue with this is the vocals early this morning because visually, this is coming across brilliantly on the screens. Wearing large heels, she is literally strutting around the stage but everything is forgotten as she tries to hit the upper register of the song and fails miserably on each respective run. This is currently looking as a non-qualifier but nevertheless is getting applause in the current press centre.

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Croatia

Croatia have decided to take on a very traditional take on their participation in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and one has to start off by saying that the guys from Klapa s Mora sound incredibly good vocally. The whole performance might be seen as slightly static especially coming after Slovenia but nevertheless, this is providing an extremely nice contrast. There is applause in the press centre for this one as is expected. The clothes are also extremely traditional with long black coats and high boats. This is going to be another issue of whether the fact that a slow song coming after an uptempo track will prove vital because otherwise, Croatia might not be making it through. This would be extremely disappointing especially considering that this performance was just impressive.

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Denmark

The flute sound at the beginning of the song is just beautiful and it does give one the instant goosebumpbs that both Fairytale (Norway 2009) and Euphoria (Sweden 2012) gave but nevertheless, this early draw is not doing her any favours. It seems that Emmelie is wearing a 1920s inspired dress for her debut appearance today and the vocals are relatively strong. It is important to note that the female backing vocals are very much being given credit in the performance. They are somewhat throwing everything into it including confetti, and pyrotechnics but nevertheless, charisma is surely key for Emmelie as she strusts on the catwalk. This is coming across really well on the screens although some shots definitely need to be edited out according to our sources. Huge applause from the press centre.

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Russia

One of the eastern countries which practically everyone has to pay careful attention to due to the fact that the results that they tend to obtain are quite strong. Last years' first runner-up have a much better song in my opinion although it could be said to resemble a typical original X Factor winning single. The vocals by Dina Garipova are enchanting and this was the first goosepimples moment just based on the vocal performance. Dina is clad in a salmon pink dress which is making her look beyond her years unfortunately but it is unknown whether this will actually be the dress. In the meantime, the shots are very much on point and won't need a lot of changing. This will definitely challenge the top three. 

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Ukraine

Once more, another favourite and the third in succession within the running order but it seems that the beginning of this performance is going to be the laughing stock of the whole entire audience in Europe. A giant is apparently carrying Zlata onto the stage and this is creating a couple of technical difficulties. They are quickly settled and we've got the first run over and done with. The vocals are impressive especially where the gospel is concerned. On the other hand, one has to denote that this song is clearly going nowhere and based on the duo that come before it, might be in trouble to be honest. Ukraine should qualify based on their typical results in the Eurovision Song Contest but this entry performed by another nation would really struggle.

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The Netherlands

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this years' entry for The Netherlands due to the fact that Anouk will be taking to the stage with the hope of making the final for the first time since 2004. Powerhouse vocals, Anouk clearly puts in a lot of effort within this performance and the choir which is doing the backing vocals sounds incredible. It seems that she is going for a chic look this afternoon with everything in black and a padlock necklace. The staging is relatively dark apart from the chorus which lightens up with birds in the backdrop. Whoa! Second time round and this sounds even better. The Netherlands deserve to qualify this year. One of these past four entries will most likely fall at the first hurdle but as things stand, it could very much be Ukraine!

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