Unfortunately due to my usual Sunday routine I was not in a position to stay in live mode for the afternoon. Anyhow here's how the rehearsals look to be going for the first half of the the first semi-final.
Latvia - Rehearsal Video
Those who have followed the blog will know that this is far from one of my favourite entries. Anmary's vocal performance today is really, really good but I don't like the display behind her. I think it lacks a strong colour. This is as close to my lovely horse as you can get and I suspect that it will stay this way. Anmary still is a very strange performer onstage too. This needed something really special to stand out onstage and it has not delivered on this. I cannot see this qualifying.
Albania - Rehearsal Video
Without a doubt I am really delighted by how well this is working onstage. Vocally this is just outstanding. The only issue that could be a problem is that Rona needs to make far more contact with the camera for this song to really score well on the public televote, but otherwise it has been a great performance. The extra drum towards the end should lift it and make it a little more anthemic. This does mean though that sound mixing will need to be very, very good for this all to work. Media reaction to this song has been equally positive but no one seems to be predicting this as either a qualifier or not.
Romania - Rehearsal Video
Romania has impressed me today. I found this a bit boring up until now but the extra bass in the song is excellent. If it doesn't come across on TV this will flop. Up until now I have felt that it is just a bit soft. But no, instead it is more like something from a club which I would listen to. This is well listened to and liked by the press and people seem to have a soft spot for this. Vocal concerns were also knocked today with a strong showing from the lead singer. After the first five songs this really should stand out to the televoters.