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Semi-Final 2, First Dress Rehearsal: Live blog

by | May 19, 2021 | 2021 Rehearsal Liveblogs, escgo at Eurovision, Eurovision

Semi-Final 2, First Dress Rehearsal: Live blog

by | May 19, 2021 | 2021 Rehearsal Liveblogs, escgo at Eurovision, Eurovision

title photo © Daless

This liveblog is in reverse chronological order – so if you want to read about things as they happened, go to the bottom of the page and scroll up!

And now we’re seeing the snippets of today’s finalists again – and that was it!

Thanks for reading, and remember to follow Shi’s live blog from tonight’s second dress rehearsal – the important jury show! See you here again at 21:00 CEST.

The stream we get is a bit late, and cuts right into the hosts talking. We’re learning what to expect on Saturday. Now we’re getting another introduction to Martin Österdahl, the new executive supervisor, which is here in person. No Fake Martin Österdahl. That would have been fun.

Time for fake results:

1. Austria
2. Czech Republic
3. Poland
4. San Marino
5. Denmark
6. Serbia
7. Moldova
8. Iceland (we’re getting a test card here, probably we’ll see them reacting somewhere else?)
9. Finland
10. Bulgaria

In the postcard, Blas has a very violet tiny house, and very cute dogs sitting on his legs. Okay, now the song. I thought I wasn’t very sensitive to off-key singing before, but Blas proved me otherwise. That was pretty bad. The moon didn’t burst. Blas is partially cute. Nothing else to report.

United Kingdom
James now does a Russia and wears a golden outfit under his unchanged black jacket. The UK clearly made their homework which was “how to get this even closer to Electro Velvet”, and no, it’s just not helpful. The singing isn’t great, either. In parts he was off key, in other parts he had no voice. “That was fun”, at least for him.

Focus was not on my side, sorry for that. The broadcast in the press centre stopped before France rehearsed, and it looked like that was it. Anyway. France just rehearsed, and I must say, that after having heard all the other songs in semi-final 2, this is really not a song for the late part of the show. France has drawn second half, and I really hope Barbara gets a spot around the middle of the whole show.

We’re indeed getting the rehearsals of France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Was that it? Shouldn’t we get the fake results now? Apparently we don’t! It’s indeed over. Update: IT’S NOT!

Nikkie’s “Eurovision Tutorials” is back, and today focussing on team work, similar to yesterday’s.

We’re getting to the funny part of the dress rehearsal, in which the hosts talk to fake artists. Edsilia talks to Fake Stefania, who today is a guy with glasses. Then she moves to Fake Benny Cristo. Edsilia bursts out in laughter. Lovable.

We’re getting the countdown – and Europe stops voting now (theoretically). Then, we’re back to Edsilia and Nikkie, who introduce part two of previous winners watching their victory moments. Duncan Laurence takes Johnny Logan’s central role in this one. We’re seeing Izhar Cohen, Teach-In’s Getty Kaspers, Ruslana, Nicole and Niamh Kavanagh. Did I miss anyone? I don’t think so, but it’s a sweet part of the show, in my opinion.

Then, more home performances of social media savvy Eurovision fans, talk about the rules, how to vote, the app, and finally, the second recap. The unnecessary background music they use for the hosts keeps playing during the recap. I can’t even. It’s beyond me why they use it in first place, and totally unacceptable if they don’t stop it even for the recap! Seriously? Background music during the recap? I will ask Shi to pay special attention to this, when she blogs tonight.

16:22 Host break
We’re seeing the first recap. Afterwards, time for an interval act: We’re seeing Ahmad Joudeh and Dez Maarsen with a performance called “Close encounters of a special kind”. Ahmad is combining classical ballet, contemporary dance and Sufi whirling, accompanied by many dancers, which eventually make space for BMX rider Dez Maarsen. It’s all slightly weird, in my opinion.


Of course, I have to clap along, before writing any word here. We’ve all seen this already so much, because there’s hardly any change compared to the national final performance. So what’s left to say, in a dress rehearsal that doesn’t “count” for votes? I think it’s got a very good spot in the draw to remain in people’s memory, and no matter how many people dislike it – it does have a lot of lovers. People who like this, LOVE this. This alone should be enough to help it into the final.


The harsh light on Gjon’s face is still very unflattering, I think. He doesn’t look like this? Anyway, he sounds like this: As good as he can, and probably still a bit headroom left for tonight’s jury show. It’s still a little bit too much dancing, I think, but I’ll stick with my very first impression that I had of it in the first rehearsals, and that’s: “winner vibes”. Should have a safe space in the final.


I never thought I’d be looking forward to watch Latvia again, but well. That big a margin is there, between my 39th and my 38th place. No changes regarding the outfits. Green, green, and again, green. I get the impression Samanta’s dress could be a little bit too long, did she try not to stumble there? Hmm. Anyway, I guess, for the potential audience that this surely has, Latvia has a damn good spot in the running order. Samanta delivers a powerful run here, but powerful isn’t always equal to solid, which it wasn’t. Trying a bit too hard maybe, and the song isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, either. If anything, it’s borderline.


I forgot I have to blog this another time. Is it okay if I avoid looking at the screen? I really want to blog about the remaining minutes of this dress rehearsal, too.
Is saying “it’s what it is” too lazy for a live blog? Is saying “it’s my last place by a large margin” too personal? Maybe both. I’ll say this, if it qualifies, which wouldn’t be a super big surprise, I’ll be happy to have a safe toilet break on Saturday. Ugh. Next.


Victoria sits on her rock prop, with the framed photo with her and her father next to her. Not sure if the running order is in her favour, but we all expect her to qualify. In theory, this should be one of my favourites, but for some reason, it doesn’t quite reach me. It’s a solid run-through, apart of the very last note, which was about a semitone off.

15:59 Host break
Chantal is talking to Helena Paparizou, who’s apparently standing on the rooftop already, on which she will perform in the interval act on Saturday. We’re seeing parts of her victory in Eurovision Song Contest 2005. Then we see Edsilia and Nikkie, who are announcing the next song: Bulgaria.


This one has grown a bit into a dark horse (for qualifying) here in the Online Press Centre. The running order isn’t totally on their side I think, but it’s still getting a lot of love from the online press here. Our love is on their side, but maybe not tonight? Check out what Shi thinks, in her second dress rehearsal liveblog, later today!


Back to wind machine galore! Anxhela looks a bit different today. Not sure if it’s something with her hairdo, or make-up? Anyway, it’s her. I really have a hard time with predicting this. On one side, it’s not the best Albanian drama entry ever, on the other side, it has quite the monopoly on ethnic sounds in this semi-final, and she performs it really, really well. Borderline? I don’t know. Check out our predictions tomorrow.


I still think this is the best switch ever: From Hurricane to Tornike. Super relaxing after Serbia. If I see correctly, they reduced the projected lyrics on his body a bit. But it will probably have the same fate as North Macedonia and Slovenia, the other ballads with lonely solo singers, and he doesn’t have the same stage presence that Vincent Bueno brings along. I like it a lot, but I don’t see Georgia in the final.


Back to actual rehearsals!
Hurricane are not as tight as I’ve previously seen them, but it doesn’t matter much now. I think they got a pretty good draw between Iceland and Georgia. They got the staging absolutely right, and will most likely not “do a Croatia”. The wind machines are on turbo, and yeah, qualifying. Not much else to say here.


We’re seeing the recording of Iceland’s rehearsal performance from last Thursday, because – as mentioned earlier – one of the group is tested positive, and they decided to not take part in the live shows. So all we ever get is this recording.
Vocally it’s alright, and the show is as it’s supposed to be. I seriously can’t predict how the fact that they are not performing live are affecting their results. Just like with Australia yesterday, we’re seeing the last second of the performance displayed on the backdrop screen, as the camera also shows a bit of the audience, making it obvious that they’ve only watched the video.


Natalia is in very bad vocal shape. Very off key, and the attempts to sound “sexy” sound really horrible. I get the feeling she has absolutely zero interest in what she’s doing here and now. This is an obviously lacklustre rehearsal. I’ve never seen this at the borderline, and this rehearsal makes me believe it’s a candidate for last place in this semi.

15:32 Host Break
We’re again seeing some snippets from fans performing Eurovision songs on their social media. We’re seeing a bit of the Netflix movie (which I never watched) and now Molly Sandén is talking. Then we’re seeing a snippet of Jeangu at Nikkie’s Looklab.


Now on to the last delegation that remains in the live shows, that was previously isolated due to a positive COVID-19 test. The light dancers are not as tight as we’ve previously seen them, but Rafał is vocally actually quite okay today. Relatively spoken. I previously considered this a definite non-qualifier, but today’s run makes me think the ride made it to the borderline.


Vincent is just another one who is clearly holding back in this rehearsal. We fully expect him to shine in tonight’s jury show. Still, this run is very solid anyway. It’s getting a huge reaction from the attending audience, the biggest one so far I think?
If this doesn’t qualify, I’m in the wrong place.


Stefania still wears the violet dress with the many sparkly applications. Her vocals are really good in this run. The green screen effect still isn’t as clean as it should be to make it a top notch production, but that was always a rather risky choice. For example, her hair is partially grey or invisible. The general audience probably doesn’t notice those fine details and will be more amazed by the (predominantly working) effect. Update: Someone in the press chat pointed out that thanks to the effect glitches, she looked like in a horror movie. Okay.

Czech Republic

Benny comes without glasses (good), and performs the first verse rather freestyle, and not sticking to the melody we know. Doesn’t matter. He’s fine at doing so. This isn’t the best run I’ve seen of him, but again this dress rehearsal doesn’t matter a lot. I think the rather contemporary music and his personality could help the Czech Republic into the final, but it’s pretty much borderline, especially if he doesn’t get back to his best shape by tonight’s jury show.


After the firework that San Marino was, I can see this not getting a lot of attention.
Uku isn’t really hitting the right notes in parts, and the open bow-tie is still a very awkward thing to see on a Eurovision stage. Just like with Slovenia and North Macedonia, the prerecorded backing vocals are a bit more obvious here too, considering he’s all alone on the stage. But maybe this genre makes it more tolerable, and less obvious.

San Marino

Senhit wears a new mask. We wonder what happened to the other one!
Also her dancers are in different outfits. Instead of the masks with the star-shaped cuts, we now get them with something else on their forehead. I can’t work out what they actually wear. Oh, it’s LED visors. A rapper joins, and apparently it’s indeed Flo Rida, according to the press chat. I wouldn’t be able to recognize him. After the changes that I first had to adapt to, I must say this is a very catchy performance. In the end, there’s a hug between Senhit and Flo Rida.

I’m still not a fan of the underlying music playing while the hosts are talking. They talk about the usual rules and the app, and finally… let the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest begin!

We’re seeing a break dancer alone on the main stage, and a lady singing to it. After some more dancers joined for a performance, our hosts arrive!
Edsilia has a striking neon yellow dress, Chantal comes in escgo! turqouise.

Te Deum!
We’re seeing a clip showing landscapes and cities of the Netherlands, similar to that we’ve already seen for semi-final 1.

Good afternoon and welcome to the Online Press Centre! Almost as soon as we said goodbye to six songs in last night’s first semi-final, it’s time to turn our attention to the second semi-final. Unlike the other day, we already know about the hosts, the stage and the postcards, so we can mainly focus on the 17 songs and how they’re working back-to-back in the running order – including the performance from Iceland, which will be on tape due to a positive test in the Icelandic band that has ruled them out of appearing live.

So stay tuned and keep refreshing escgo!’s rolling live blog for all the latest from the first dress rehearsal of semi-final 2!

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