So that’s it for today’s rehearsal schedule - it’s been such a great experience to sit in the Green Room in front of the Rotterdam Ahoy stage and watch some incredible performances start to come together. Not to mention seeing live music on a big stage again - amazing.
You can watch all the snippets from the rehearsals over on the official Eurovision YouTube channel.
Tomorrow we’ll be back at 10:00 CEST for another BIG day on the main stage, with:
Great to see Manizha from Russia and Tusse from Sweden hanging out and having a dance together in the delegation bubble. Manizha is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Tusse arrived in Sweden as a refugee from Kongo-Kinshasa when he was five years old. Keep dancing, guys!
Make sure to follow her on Twitter and show her some love!
Montaigne: “I’m still absolutely stoked I can present Technicolour”
All the other performers today have managed three run-throughs, but Ireland only managed two because of the complexity of their staging. Each delegation has exactly half an hour for rehearsal - there's even a big countdown clock. In Eurovision world, half an hour means half an hour...
We'll post a preview video soon, but you can take a look at the gallery now.
Ireland First Rehearsal 2021
Ireland have brought some really creative staging, with huge digital trees and camera frames that makes it look like Lesley is in a storybook.
The way it's set up on stage means you won't be able to see the full effect on the 30-second video we post later, but we watched it on a monitor in the arena and it looked really effective. I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the official second rehearsal video later in the week to see the full effect. We're all about building the suspense...
And finally for the first day of rehearsals, it’s Lesley Roy from Ireland singing her song Maps. The official video for this was filmed in the beautiful Irish countryside, so we're looking forward to seeing if Lesley will recreate that sense of space digitally, or whether she takes a completely new approach for her live performance. They're setting up the stage right now, and it looks VERY interesting.
North Macedonia's rehearsal time is over - we'll be posting a 30-second video of Vasil's first rehearsal of Here I Stand soon, along with a gallery of images from his performance. In the meantime, here are some pictures to keep you going.
North Macedonia First Rehearsal 2021
Between rehearsals, Vasil has removed the jacket and we can confirm that the silver t-shirt is in fact a silver vest. More breaking news as it happens.
Vasil has opted for a classic black suit with a sparkly t-shirt, and is all alone on stage apart from a smoke machine, some beautiful lighting and a backdrop of stars and glitter. With a voice like that, what more could he possibly need?
This year's postcards will feature 'tiny houses'... one of which has landed in the Rotterdam Ahoy Press Centre.
This one is filled with items from Montaigne, The Black Mamba, Fyr & Flamme....
Postcards from the Netherlands soon to be delivered
It's nearly time for Vasil from North Macedonia to rehearse Here I Stand for the first time, and even though he couldn’t bring the orchestra or the gospel choir to Rotterdam, we’re hoping for some epic and theatrical staging to match the song. Just a few more minutes, then he'll be on the stage.
Even though Australia aren't rehearsing in the arena today, their live on tape performance is being played shortly so the crew can agree some technical transitions.
Montaigne's staging features three female dancers, rainbow hair, some spectacular lighting and PVC catsuits for everyone. Australia may not be here in person, but they're still bringing a little of the spirit that's going to make this year's show so special.
Lunch is over, and it's getting busy in the arena again. Happy to confirm that the catering at Rotterdam Ahoy is very good indeed. Rehearsals are starting again soon!
🇸🇪 Watch: Sweden's First Rehearsal
We'll have a 30-second video for you very soon, but you can browse the photo gallery from Sweden's first rehearsal now.
Tusse (Sweden 2021)
Watch: Russia First Rehearsal
Australia was originally scheduled to rehearse in this afternoon slot, but of course they’re not able to make it to Rotterdam due to travel restrictions. So Montaigne will be performing live on tape on the night.
If you’re not sure what ‘live on tape’ means, you can find out here.
....and it looks like Gagnamagnið are bringing the potassium 🍌
...and the acts and crew head to the canteen for lunch.
We still have performances from Australia, North Macedonia and Ireland to come, plus video clips of all the rehearsals so far...
Will have a 30-second video of Russia's performance soon, but you can enjoy the gallery now!
Russia First Rehearsal 2021
Tusse's not only brought the platform boots, he's brought the red velvet suit and some sparkly armbands too. He's joined on stage by four amazing dancers, and performs Voices against a backdrop of watery graphics and moody lighting. Tusse has real stage presence and it's the same confident performance we saw at Melfest - the graphics go cosmic after the key change for a HUGE finish.
The stage is being prepared for the final rehearsal of the morning session, from Sweden’s Tusse. He’ll be singing Voices, and the big question is - will his glittery silver boots have also made the journey from Stockholm to Rotterdam?
In the final of their three rehearsal run-throughs, Russia bought some huge flames to the stage. Apparently they only test pyro once, but it will be part of their Semi-Final performance. Hot Hot Hot!
We have our first pyro of the day...
Team Russia are testing 5 metre flames in between rehearsals.
The dress is fine but Heidi's eyebrows are gone.
Preview of Slovenia's performance coming right up... in the meantime, check out the photo gallery of Ana's barefoot performance:
Slovenia First Rehearsal 2021
The performance begins with Manizha in a huge colourful dress that floats around the stage like she's the queen on a giant chess board. Once she's out of the dress, Manizha and her four backing singers perform in the round similar to the official video, with a backdop of powerful graphics featuring motivational messages and real Russian women. An inspiring, powerful and fun performance.
Next to rehearse is Manizha from Russia, who is performing Russian Woman. The official video for this feels like a piece of performance art with graphic backdrops and spinning camerawork. Really looking forward to seeing how Manizha will make the most of the huge Rotterdam Ahoy stage.
Manizha - Russian Woman - Russia 🇷🇺 - Official Video - Eurovision 2021
Snippet of The Roop's first rehearsal on the way...
Ana’s staging features five UFO lights and a backdrop of graphics that take us on a journey from the cosmos to the ocean. Her sparkly white outfit is similar to the one she wears in the official video, and she really commands the stage without backing dancers or props. Or shoes!
Don't cry, honey, don't cry...
Up next to rehearse is Slovenia’s Ana Soklič, singing her song Amen. The official video shows us what powerful stage presence Ana has – today we’ll find out how that's going to translate to the live stage.
Ana Soklič - Amen - Slovenia 🇸🇮 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2021
The Roop have completed rehearsal number one... the Contest is underway!
Ana Soklič up next...
While The Roop are rehearsing Discoteque, we have breaking news from the... Fish-coteque!
Eurovissie and Eurofishion are Rotterdam Ahoy's resident fish, bobbing around their tank right next to the Green Room.
They're very active for Discoteque - so it's a definite 'douze poisson' from our Golden Boys.
It’s so exciting to sit in the Green Room in Rotterdam Ahoy watching Lithuania perform such an upbeat, fun song. They’re all wearing canary yellow, and have brought every one of those dance moves from Vilnius to Rotterdam.
It builds on their performance from the Lithuanian National Final, with a similar dance routine. A really assured first rehearsal from Lithuania - we’ll be sharing a 30-second video clip soon, so keep an eye out here for the link.
Lithuania will open the first Semi-Final , so The Roop are up first up on the main stage today to rehearse their song Discoteque. If the official video is anything to go by, we’re expecting some ICONIC dance moves.
The Roop - On Fire - Lithuania 🇱🇹 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2020
So what can we expect from this year’s staging? The rules are no different from previous years, in that six people are allowed on stage at one time, and performers can use real props and plinths and pyrotechnics, or digital projections, or all of these things.
One thing that is different this year is that perfomers have the option to pre-record their backing vocals rather than have live backing singers on stage. This new rule was introduced to help reduce the number of people in each delegation and keep the Eurovision bubble as small as possible, but it also means we will hear different kinds of backing vocals from previous years. This year you can have a gospel choir like North Macedonia, or record a thousand voices from around the world, like Iceland.
Greetings from Rotterdam, and welcome to our very first Eurovision 2021 Live Blog! Here’s where you’ll find all the latest news, insights and behind-the-scenes gossip from this year’s Eurovision host city.
Rob and Heidi will be keeping you company today, and we’re most excited about our EXCLUSIVE sneak peek of first rehearsals from inside Rotterdam Ahoy. Today is reserved for all the acts performing in the first half of the first Semi-Final, and we’ll be watching from the Green Room in front of the stage. So we’ll be able to tell you a bit about each country’s staging and costumes, AND share an exclusive 30 second clip of each rehearsal within minutes of it taking place.
🇲🇰 North Macedonia
Kick off is at 10:00 CEST, so don’t go away!