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Live Blog: Monday 1 May

Welcome to the Live Blog for Monday 1 May (Day 2).

Remo Forrer rehearsing Watergun for Switzerland at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena : Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / EBU

Day 2 is done!

Well, that was definitely a very satis-factory (thanks, Andrew Lambrou) ending to today’s rehearsals – thank you for joining us and for all your likes and shares and comments on social. Tomorrow we’ll be back for the remaining ELEVEN acts performing in the second Semi-Final. Here’s the schedule:

🇪🇪 Estonia
🇮🇸 Iceland 
🇬🇷 Greece 
🇵🇱 Poland 
🇸🇮 Slovenia 
🇬🇪 Georgia 
🇸🇲 San Marino 
🇦🇹 Austria 
🇦🇱 Albania
🇱🇹 Lithuania 
🇦🇺 Australia

We’ll be starting about 10:30 GMT/11:30 CEST, so please join us then then!

🇨🇾 Cyprus gallery is up!

It's our final rehearsal gallery of the day, and it's Cyprus! 

📺 WATCH: 🇨🇾 Cyprus first rehearsal 📺

📺 WATCH: 🇧🇪 Belgium's first rehearsal 📺

Want to take another look backstage?

We've captured some great shots backstage today - here are a selection of our favourites. 

📺 WATCH: 🇷🇴 Romania's first rehearsal 📺

The rehearsals are done...

...but we'll be around for a while to share the final galleries and TikTok links, plus any other arena dog sightings. Thanks for sticking with us today!


Can confirm that Cyprus has floor smoke AND four banks of flames - our first real flames of the contest!  Anyone got any marshmallows? 🔥🔥🔥🔥

📺 WATCH: 🇦🇲 Armenia's first rehearsal 📺

🇧🇪 Belgium gallery is up!

Please take a moment to enjoy these photos from Belgium's first rehearsal. 

🇨🇾 Cyprus takes to the stage…

This is a great way to end what has been a brilliant second day of rehearsals. Break A Broken Heart is a powerful, heartfelt ballad with a marching drumbeat that's vibrating through the Liverpool Arena floor - Andrew's vocal is sublime, and there’s something electrifying about the way this song builds from the first big note to an even bigger finish. The LED backdrop transitions from waterfall to flames, and the whole thing is a massive Monday afternoon MOOD. Surely there's some pyro incoming?  

Andrew Lambrou rehearsing Break A Broken Heart for Cyprus at the First Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

And finally for today…it’s 🇨🇾 CYPRUS!

Get ready for Cyprus’s Andrew Lambrou, who sees Reiley’s broken heart and raises him one that you can’t break because it’s already broken 💔. Someone call Israel’s Noa Kirel for her unicorn healing powers. Andrew is a Cypriot Australian, and he's got fans in both countries - you can read more about him on the link below.

FUN FACT: We asked Andrew to tell us a joke, and it’s a good one. “Where are average things manufactured? In the satis-factory.” (His favourite cheese is halloumi, obviously.)

📺 WATCH: 🇩🇰 Denmark's first rehearsal 📺

🇷🇴 Romania gallery is up!

Want to take a closer look at Romania's first rehearsal? Of course you do. 

🇧🇪 Belgium takes to the stage…

This is such a feelgood pop anthem, and Gustaph’s pink and white outfit is incredibly stylish. It's a love-filled inspo bop about the people who never let us down, though good times and bad, and Gustaph is SLAYING it. 

Staging-wise, there's a flight of stairs, three backing singers, and an LED backdrop of vogueing, drag queens and all the people who make Gustaph's world a better place. We’re having a Green Room dance, and can’t wait to see the crowd go mad for this next Thursday. 

Gustaph rehearsing Because Of You for Belgium at the First Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

Are you ready for 🇧🇪 BELGIUM?

We are VERY ready for Belgium – Gustaph’s Because of You is a huge 90s-style bop, and he absolutely rocks a big hat. This is Gustaph’s third time at Eurovision, but previously he was very much about the backing vocals, and now he’s centre stage.

While we’re waiting for his rehearsal to start, feel free to click the link below to find out more about Gustaph and his career in music. 

FUN FACT: Gustaph’s biggest fashion disaster was “ripping some black velvet pants on stage while wearing white underwear. I’ve been coordinating my underwear with my pants ever since.” We all learn this lesson the hard way, Gustaph. 

📺 WATCH: 🇫🇮 Finland's first rehearsal 📺

🇦🇲 Armenia gallery is up!

Some amazing photos from Armenia's first rehearsal. 

We have confirmation...

...on the Pikachu socks. Good choice, Theodor Andrei.

Chloe Hashemi / EBU


🇷🇴 Romania takes to the stage…

So this feels VERY different from the Romanian national finals, staging-wise - Theodor is looking sharp in a bright yellow shorts suit - we saw him backstage earlier, and it looked a lot like he was wearing Pikachu socks - we'll try to obtain photo evidence. 

This is completely different D.G.T. (Off and On) from the recorded version - the first half is stripped-back acoustic, with just Theodor and his guitar and powerful voice. The second half picks up the rock tempo to a performance that feels much more familiar, with Theodor bringing ALL the sass and energy, as well as a bonus dancer for a dramatic finish. NOT what we were expecting today, but definitely one we won't forget. 

Theodor Andrei rehearsing D.G.T. (Off and On) for Romania at the First Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

Next up…it’s 🇷🇴 ROMANIA

It’s Romania’s Theodor Andrei up next, singing his sassy rock track D.G.T. (Off and On). Our Romanian needs work, but the English bits of this song seem to be quite…suggestive for this time on a Monday afternoon. Bit warm in here. 

FUN FACT: We asked Theodor what his most disgusting habit was, and he said “I forgive my cheating ex-girlfriends”. There is much to unpack here, but we're available for wine and therapy.

🇩🇰 Denmark gallery is up!

Pictures of Denmark's first rehearsal, you say? Oh, go on then. 

🇦🇲 Armenia takes to the stage…

This starts off as a soft piano ballad, with Brunette lying on a sloped structure that's been erected at the front of the stage, against a backdrop of swirling graphics. Then just as the audience is swaying dreamily, Brunette drops a fierce rap interlude and the whole thing goes OFF. Brunette has incredible stage presence and a powerful vocal, and this staging makes really clever use of light and graphics during the tempo changes. Powerful stuff -  you can see Brunette's costume in the backstage photo below. 

Brunette rehearsing Future Lover for Armenia at the First Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

📺 WATCH: 🇳🇱 Netherlands first rehearsal 📺

It’s 🇦🇲 ARMENIA’S turn to rehearse!

Next up on stage is Armenia’s Brunette, singing Future Lover. She’s a big star in Armenia, and the recorded version of this song is sung in English with a final section in Armenian. Can this match the huge success of Rosa Linn’s Snap in Turin last year? You can find out more about Brunette on the link below. 

FUN FACT: The most British thing Brunette has ever done is “talk about the weather to start a conversation.” We feel VERY seen. Although it's not raining today, despite that being a British public holiday tradition.

🇫🇮 Finland gallery is up!

Some lovely photos from Finland's first rehearsal, for your viewing pleasure. Iggy 🐾🐾

Iggy is a very important part of the Liverpool Arena security team, and we love him. He'll be supporting Pasha Pawfeni in next Tuesday's first Semi-Final. 

Chloe Hashemi / EBU

🇩🇰 Denmark takes to the stage…

This is definitely one of the more contemporary tracks in this year’s Eurovision, and we’re having a little bop in the Green Room. Reiley's set is a really clever three-pronged revolving structure - each turn presents a room in a different colour as he moves through the doorways, making good use of the LED floor and projected graphics too. The visuals flow from swirling clouds to hearts and emojis - it's fun and cute and gives the whole performance a dreamlike quality. Very Gen Z, but right now everyone in the arena is smiling. 

This is also one of several songs this year about hearts, broken or otherwise. Unleash the appropriate emoji 💔💔💔

Reiley rehearsing Breaking My Heart for Denmark at the First Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU


It’s time for 🇩🇰 DENMARK!

So now we’ve moved on to artists performing in the second Semi-Final, and it’s going to be Denmark’s Reiley opening the show with his uptempo bop Breaking My Heart.

Reiley comes from the remote Faroe Islands, which has a population of about 10% the size of Liverpool. But he’s also a HUGE star on TikTok, with nearly 11 million followers, which is Denmark and Norway combined. You can find out more about him on the link below.

FUN FACT: If we went looking for Reiley at a fun fair, he told us we’d find him in “the kissing booth”. Maybe we could set one up in the Eurovision Village? What are the Covid rules around that?

📺 WATCH: 🇨🇿 Czechia's first rehearsal 📺


Clearly this performance was too subtle, because for the final rehearsal there is a big firework finish. Also when you're watching on Tuesday, look out for the very clever use of shadow graphics on the LED backdrop during the first section, and also the human caterpillar towards the end. We need a cocktail and a lie down now. 

🇳🇱 Netherlands gallery is up!

Would you like some photos of the Netherlands first rehearsal? Obviously you would.

🇫🇮 Finland takes to the stage…

We’re delighted to confirm that the acid green bolero jacket has made it to Liverpool, along with four pink-clad dancers. There's also a stack of pallets and a huge wooden box - he starts inside it, then climbs on top and throws a few moves before returning to the floor and leading his dancers in a routine that is uniquely Käärijä.

This song is performed in Finnish, but the lyrics are essentially a bar crawl where Käärijä starts out with a few piña coladas and ends up pouring champagne all over himself, at which point the thumping techno/rap first half transforms into a joyful schlager anthem to the end.   It's crazy, it's party, and it's exactly why we love Eurovision. 

Käärijä rehearsing Cha Cha Cha for Finland at the First Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

*Inevitable joke alert*

Please note that every English-speaking commentator, radio host, journalist and podcaster is legally obliged at this point on Tuesday to refer to Käärijä's Cha Cha Cha as the BIG FINNISH to the first Semi-Final. We don't make the rules, and there's nothing we can do about it, other than get in first. So here goes:

This will be a VERY BIG FINNISH to the first Semi-Final. We're here all week, folks. 

Are you ready for 🇫🇮 FINLAND?

However ready we think we are, we’re never truly ready for Finland. This year’s Finnish entry is Käärijä, singing Cha Cha Cha. It’s a unique fusion of rap, EDM, metal and schlager that defies normal Eurovision categorisation, so let’s just call it Finland, doing their incredible Finland thing. 

FUN FACT: Käärijä’s favourite cheese is Gouda. He should have asked Mia and Dion to bring some, he and Loreen could put together a lovely cheese board. 

📺 WATCH: 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan's first rehearsal 📺

📺 WATCH: 🇮🇱 Israel first rehearsal 📺

It's lunchtime in Liverpool 🍕

It's time for a short break so we can all enjoy the outstanding crew catering. We'll be back in the arena at 14:10 GMT/15:10 CEST for 🇫🇮 FINLAND, which you definitely don't want to miss. See you then! 

🇨🇿 Czechia gallery is up!

Here's some photos of Czechia's first rehearsal, taken by the best photographers in the business. 

It's getting smoky in here...

Just for even added atmosphere, The Netherlands have added low-level smoke to their final runthrough. Or maybe it's just burning spotlights?

🇳🇱 Netherlands takes to the stage…

Well, this is sad and dreamy and uplifting all at the same time. Mia and Dion are on a small revolving stage, and it creates a beautiful effect as they move around each other against the backdrop of spotlights in the arena. It's a complex camera set-up that makes the whole performance feel really intimate - if you're watching live in the arena next week, you should definitely watch the video version too, because it presents a completely different perspective. They are both vocal powerhouses, and the harmonies are really quite special - you can see their costumes on the backstage picture below. 

Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper rehearsing Burning Daylight for Netherlands at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

Next up…it’s 🇳🇱 THE NETHERLANDS

Time for a dramatic change of pace now, with Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper from The Netherlands singing their heartfelt piano ballad Burning Daylight. This was co-written by 2019 winner Duncan Lawrence, and you can definitely hear the influence in the soaring chorus. 

FUN FACT: We asked what Mia and Dion’s most disgusting habit is, to which Dion replied ‘Each morning I meditate in front of an infrared panel. Butt naked.’  It doesn't SOUND disgusting, but maybe we need more information. 

🇦🇿 Azerbaijan gallery is up!

Please enjoy this gallery of Azerbaijan's first rehearsal. You're SO welcome.

🇨🇿 Czechia takes to the stage…

We love a fierce song of Slavic sisterhood, and the huge bassline on this track sounds amazing in the Liverpool arena. The floor is thumping and what was left of the roof after Israel has now been blown off. 

Vesna are performing in matching pink pantsuits, so very different from the bright colours in the Czechia national finals and the official video. The six members of the band perform a super-polished dance routine, and the whole three minutes feels really cohesive and well put together, with bags of female empowerment energy. Choose love over power, people. 

Vesna rehearsing My Sister’s Crown for Czechia at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

🇮🇱 Israel gallery is up!

While we're waiting for Czechia to start, please enjoy this gallery of images from Israel's first rehearsal. 

It’s time for 🇨🇿 CZECHIA!

Time for our first all-girl band of the contest, with Vesna singing their female empowerment banger My Sister’s Crown. Vesna are a well-known band in Czechia, and this track pop and rap elements, with a bit of folk thrown in for good measure. This song is performed in a mix of English, Czech, Bulgarian and Ukrainian, which is quite a lot to cram into three minutes.

FUN FACT: The song that gets Vesna on the dancefloor is September by Earth, Wind and Fire, which is exactly the same song chosen by Ireland’s Wild Youth. We will do our best to make this this international disco happen in the delegation bubble.

The 🇨🇿 Czechia delegation have arrived...

...and they're bearing gifts. We're now the proud owners of a tiny Vesna crown. 

The Czechia delegation merch is in the building

🇦🇿 Azerbaijan takes to the stage…

After Israel bringing all the lights and camera action, this is joyfully low key and charming - just Tural and Turan on a heart-shaped podium centre stage, wearing matching green and purple suits and giving it beautiful harmonies. No sign of the trademark fedoras from the official video, but maybe they saw Gustaph from Belgium and decided not to get into Eurovision hat wars. 

Have there ever been two more stylish men backstage at the Liverpool Arena? 

TuralTuranX backstage for their first rehearsal.
TuralTuranX rehearsing Tell Me More for Azerbaijan at the First Rehearsal of the First Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

Next up, it’s 🇦🇿 AZERBAIJAN

We’re continuing this morning’s rehearsals with TuralTuranX, who are identical twins Tural and Turan Baghmanov from Baku in Azerbaijan. Their song Tell Me More is an uplifting pop/rap number that is the perfect way to ease us through Monday morning. You can find out more about TuralTuranX on the link below.

FUN FACT: We asked Tural and Turan about their biggest hair/fashion disaster, and they told us “Turan got his hair burnt when leaning to the stove to light a cigarette. Never ever do that.” We've also done this, but with the added disaster accelerant of hairspray. Maybe just quit smoking, it's safer 🔥


Obviously Israel has pyro - the routine finishes in a hail of fireworks. We've also just noticed that Noa ditches her trousers for the dance break, and wraps up the routine in boots and underwear. Happy Eurovision, everyone.

🇮🇱 Israel takes to the stage!

Noa starts her performance in a huge box lit with LEDs, with some nice rotating camerawork and lots of strobe lighting. She's supported by five backing dancers, all in matching black and pink costumes, and the whole routine is pop-video polished from start to finish.  

‘I’ve got the power of a unicorn,’ sings Noa, and you’ll be delighted to hear we took the opportunity to research what specific powers unicorns have. It turns out their horns have healing properties, so we’ll be calling on Noa for all our backstage first aid needs.

DO YOU WANNA SEE ME DANCE? asks Noa. Yes, yes we do. And we can confirm that it’s well worth the wait. THAT'S how you kick off a Monday.

Noa Kirel gets ready for her first rehearsal
Chloe Hashemi / EBU

First up today…it’s 🇮🇱 ISRAEL! 🦄

It’s time for Israel’s first rehearsal, with Noa Kirel singing the extremely emoji-friend Unicorn 🦄. Noa is a big star in Israel, and we’ve known since last summer that she was going to be performing on this year’s Eurovision stage. 

While we’re waiting for her rehearsal to start, you can find out more about Noa on the link below.

FUN FACT: We asked Noa what the best dip or sauce to have with fries is. Her reponse?  Truffle mayonnaise. Good luck with finding that in Liverpool, Noa. 

Rehearsal run-down…⏰

If you’re joining us for the first time today, here’s how rehearsals work: each delegation gets exactly 30 minutes - there’s a giant countdown clock and everything. Usually that’s enough time for each act to perform their song three times, depending on how much time is needed to re-set props and staging. 

If their performance features pyro (so flames, fireworks, steam jets, spark fountains, dry ice), that’s usually only added during the final rehearsal of the session, because that stuff is EXPENSIVE. So we'll give you a summary during the first run-through, but hang around because there might be a pyro 🔥 update. 

Here's a Day 1 catchup...

If you missed all the action from yesterday's first rehearsals, here's our TikTok with a quick reminder. 

We're back for Day 2!

Morning all, and welcome back to Day 2 of Eurovision 2023! It’s a public holiday in the UK today, but are we having the day off? We are NOT, because in Eurovision world the show must go on, or at least the first rehearsals. It’s Heidi back in the liveblog hotseat today, keeping you company for another day in the Liverpool Arena.

There are ten artists/bands performing throughout the day – a mix of the remaining five acts from the first Semi-Final, and the opening acts from the second. Apart from Estonia, who are rehearsing tomorrow. Here’s today’s running order:

🇮🇱 Israel
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
🇨🇿 Czechia
🇳🇱 Netherlands 
🇫🇮 Finland 
🇩🇰 Denmark 
🇦🇲 Armenia 
🇷🇴 Romania 
🇧🇪 Belgium 
🇨🇾 Cyprus 

We’ll be watching from the Green Room area in front of the main stage, giving you a flavour of the staging, costumes and performance. Later we’ll post some pictures and an EXCLUSIVE 30-second TikTok clip of each first rehearsal, so don’t go away.

Rehearsals start around 10:30 GMT/11:30 CEST, so join us then!