Malta: Glen Vella – One Life
Glen is a big fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. When arriving to Düsseldorf Arena for the first time on Monday, it was a major experience to him.
"I've always dreamt of Eurovision, ever since I've started my career. When I saw the stage, I got tears in my eyes, honestly!" he told Eurovision.tv.
San Marino: Senit – Stand By
Senit's dress is designed by the famous Elizabeth Emanuel, who also, among many other creations, designed Lady Diana's wedding dress.
"I will wear it in my rehearsal on the 5th, but it's not finished yet. It's a beautiful dress – and very tight!" she commented backstage.
Shaun Fernandes is the name of her choreographer. He has a great track record, having worked with the United Kingdom in 1993, 1994 and 2002. This time, he will try to achieve a result of the same standard for San Marino.
Senit visited almost 40 countries in her promo tour. This allowed her to hear all the other songs.
"It was tough with all the travelling, but really nice. The quality is very high this year, I didn't expect so many nice songs!"
Croatia: Daria – Celebrate
Daria arrived on Saturday in the evening, which allowed her some extra time to prepare. Even though she is born and raised in Germany, she hasn't been to Düsseldorf before.
"I know Germany, but this is my first time in this city. We took some time to go around and visit a lot of places and have some good food on Sunday," she said.
Iceland: Sjonni's Friends – Coming Home
Iceland brings six lead singers to Düsseldorf. Pálmi Sigurhjartarson in the group is playing the piano and singing. He told of their wish to pay homage to the late songwriter Sigurjón Brink, originally meant to be the artist for his self-penned song.
"We are honouring his memory here, and showing that he's still with us. We brought his music and will let people hear it. We're just here because of him," Pálmi says.
Hungary: Kati Wolf – What About My Dreams?
Kati commented that her song is vocally demanding. To get the best possible out of it, she has made sure to perform with the English language Eurovision Song Contest version of the song in Hungary.
"It's not easy to sing, but we've had a lot of rehearsals. At concerts at home, I always sing the Eurovision version of the song, so now I've performed it to many people," Kati said.
The Hungarian performance uses LED lights on the costumes of the backing artists.
"I hope it will be special. The dancers and the vocalists wear them, and I have a beautiful flashing brooch," Kati said.
Portugal: Homens Da Luta – Luta É Alegria
The lyrics of the entry Luta É Alegria are performed in Portuguese. And they hold an important message for the people, said the lead singer Neto.
"The title translates 'The Struggle Is Joy'. We've translated this to almost every European language for our signs used on stage. Our victory was very polemic in Portugal, since we talk about Struggle. But it's not against any politician or ideology. The struggle is against fear, resentfulness, people feeling down and depressed. This is what happens in Portugal because of the economic crisis – people are very scared. We bring joy and say that you can make your struggle with joy, with pride, and with hope for a better future. That's our message."
Lithuania: Evelina Sašenko – C'est Ma Vie
Going to the rehearsal on Monday was a serious experience for Evelina Sašenko, who longed to get to the stage instead of waiting.
"I hope I will feel more quiet and stop being nervous, or at least that things will start so that this feeling of waiting will be over. I breathe deeply to try to get the better of the nerves," she said.
Azerbaijan: Ell/Nikki – Running Scared
Eurovision.tv joined the Azeri's when they first entered the arena and saw the stage. Nikki, the female part of the duo, looked at it wide eyed and stopped in the middle of a sentence.
"Oh my god! It's huge! It's amazing, fantastic! I'm shocked, I've never been on such a big stage. Enormous!" she exclaimed, stricken with awe.
But exactly what will happen on the stage during their entry is still work in progress.
"I don't know how it will be for sure. They still think about it and add ideas," Nikki said secretly.
Greece: Loucas Yiorkas feat. Stereo Mike – Watch My Dance
The Greek duo of Loucas Yiorkas and Stereo Mike put great value in their rehearsal.
"I think this is the most important thing at this point. All the vocals and dancing are done, the important thing now is to do it with the same equipment, stage and sound as on the big night. Or two big nights, hopefully! Of course, we care very much about the competition, but I think the best way to do well is to focus on the song," Stereo Mike said.
Above, the participants are presented in the running order of the rehearsals. They will perform in the same order in the second half of the First Semi-Final, on the 10th of May.
Backstage photos: Elke Roels (EBU)