Our Predictions for Eurovision’s Second Semi-Final

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Ever wondered how that Eurovision broadcast runs so smoothly?

It’s because the entire show is rehearsed many times before going to air.

Last night we watched the dress rehearsal for the second semi-final which will be performed live tonight (or early in the morning in Australia).

Eurovision has clearly taken over Vienna, it’s everywhere you look. From the giant posters welcoming you at airports and train stations to Coca-Cola ads featuring last year’s winner Conchita Wurst. Around the city there are stages set up for performances, giant video screens to watch the finals on, and exhibitions about Eurovision’s history.

The show is staged at the Wiener Stradhalle, a giant arena built in the late 1950’s that accommodates around 16,000 audience members. Although the capacity for Eurovision is less because the artist area takes up a big chunk of the room. While it’s nowhere near as massive as last year’s show which was held in a disused shipbuilding warehouse, it’s still a mighty impressive set.

Before the show a DJ warms up the crowd by playing classic Eurovision hits from ABBA, Loreen, Bucks Fizz and Brotherhood of Man. Then two warm up hosts come out and chat to the crowd and get them ready for some things that happen during the show. The crowd are promoted to turn on the lights of their mobile phones and when to cheer and when to be silent.

The warm up guys have some fun with the crowd by playing around with a ‘kiss-cam’ focussed on the crowd. It was great to see both heterosexual and same sex couples being included in the impromptu kissing. Then there’s a ‘dance-cam’ to get people moving.

The hosts then have a mountain of fun re-playing Ukraine’s entry from 2007. Verka Seduchka’s ‘Dancing Lasha Tumbai’. Even though the song didn’t win the competition it’s still a crowd favourite. In no time at all the whole crowd is going crazy performing the dance moves from the song.

 

Next we’re given a performance from around 30 dancers that is a tribute to the late Austrian artist Falco. A mega mix of ‘Der Kommissar’ and ‘Rock Me Amadeus’.

Then there is a series of countdowns, countdowns to countdowns if you will – first there is a 30 second countdown to the beginning of the 15 minute countdown to the show starting, as the clock ticks away clips from big Eurovision hits play – 15 minutes zooms by.

We won’t give away too much about what happens in the show. The performances are very choreographed, the camera men run like a crazy to get close ups and then sprint away so they don’t get caught in a wide shot. At the dress rehearsals there are a few times they’re not quite quick enough.

The hosts deliver their tightly scripted lines and you realise there is little chance to go off script. At one point last year’s winner Conchita was interviewing Portugal’s Lonor Andrade. Conchita asks the singer what she’s wearing, she knows the name of the designer of her top but she isn’t sure about her trousers. ‘I’m not sure what this is?” she says to Conchita, ‘Oh Darling, that’s PVC I know what that is!” quips Conchita.

Conchita asks Andrade another question but before she can answer the music cuts in and we’re off to another part of the show. You can be assured that by tonight the segment will be ironed out and timed to the second.

Performances to watch out for at the second semi-final include Israel’s Nadav Guedj with ‘Golden Boy’ it got a huge response from the crows and people were singing it in the subway after the show!

Norway’s Moreland and Debrah Scarlett were sensational with their duet. Montenegro’s Knez captivated the crowd with his tune ‘Adio’. It really delivers a feeling of ethnicity that is lacking in some of the more pop orientated tunes.

IMG_7961_EVLatvia’s Aninata has one of the most intriguing and sophisticated modern tunes with ‘Love Injected’ and Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow captured the audience’s attention with ‘Heroes’ – but maybe it was the stunningly clever visuals rather than the song that was winning the crowd over?

IMG_8043_EVJohn Karayiannis from Cyprus has one of the most simple and romantic tunes with ‘One Thing I Should Have Done’ and it’s hard not feel some love for Poland’s Monika Kuszynska with ‘In the Name of Love’. The singer was badly hurt in a car accident in 2006 and here she makes a triumphant performance.

Only ten of the seventeen performances tonight will make it through to the Grand Final. It’s a tough call but we’re betting on The Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Slovenia, Malta, San Marino and Switzerland being dropped.

Graeme Watson in Vienna     

Image: Elena Volotova (EBU)

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