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First Semi-Final Dress Rehearsal: marvellous show!

24 May 2010 at 17:35 CEST

The opening sequence sees bubbles travelling around various places and people in all walks of life watching their journey. The bubbles then merge in to a Share The Moment slogan. An aerial view of the Telenor Arena is then shown, and camera angles of the auditorium as the three presenters make their way to the end of the podium on stage.

The presenters announce that the televoting lines will open right from the start of the show, and explain to viewers that voting will be 50% jury and 50% televoting to decide the 10 qualifying countries to Saturday's Final. Postcards are shown before each song.


From Moldova to Finland

Moldova are the first act on stage, Sunstroke Project featuring Olia Tira with their song Run Away. It is a high energy opener, with pyrotechnics from the start. The group comprises a saxophonist, violinist, two male dancers and Olia with a lead male vocal also. The stage is flashing violet and red lights. There is a lot of dancing and movement around stage. A very uptempo, confident and positive start to the First Semi Final.

Russia's Peter Nalitch & Friends are next with Lost And Forgotten. The stage is dark and smoke rises during this melancholy number. Peter wears a green cardigan and grey scarf. There are three guitarists, a drummer and keyboard player making up the group. A snow effect falls on the stage throughout the song. The performance is strong vocally and warm applause is received.

Malcolm Lincoln and Manpower 4 are the third to sing their entry Siren for Estonia. Lead singer Robin is very charismatic and wears a purple velvet jacket with a scarf. There is a pianist on stage and four backing vocalists who appear to have been arranged in height order. This is a quirky and unique performance. Robin sways and swaggers around the stage in his own inimitable style and ends on his knees. A confident Dress Rehearsal all in all for Estonia.

Slovakia next, Kristina with Horehronie. Green is the theme, not surprisingly as the song is about trees. Kristina and the team keep the same costumes from the national final performance. The choreography has been improved with four male dancers who interact with Kristina throughout, even lifting her above their shoulders at one point. There is another female backing singer in white. The dancers have staffs which they dance with and tangle Kristina up with long ribbons. The best audience reception yet.

Kuunkuiskaajat of Finland are all dressed in white. Työlki Ellää is a jolly and happy song. One lead singer plays the accordion, there is a female violinist and two male dancers. The Finns have a lot of stage presence and the leading ladies are smiling throughout and clearly enjoying themselves on stage. The setting is blue with hanging strips of light bulbs flashing blue, white and orange. There is a lot of hand clapping towards the finale and again a big reception.

Now there is a break and the host explains a bit of Eurovision Song Contest history, and also gives a reminder about the phone numbers for the televoting public. There is also a link to the green room.

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From Latvia to Poland

Aisha from Latvia is next.  is the Latvian entry. What For? (Only Mr God Knows Why). Aisha has four female backing gospel singers all dressed in black. Aisha wears a champagne coloured dress with long sleeves. Curtains are draped around the stage. Aisha looked more confident and comfortable on stage than at any other time, and vocally was stronger than her first two rehearsals. A good job done for Latvia.

Huge applause greeted Milan Stanković from Serbia. Ovo Je Balkan is becoming a favourite of the press and fans. There are five tube shaped podiums on stage. Milan is dressed in white trousers, a white T-shirt and blue jacket with a red wooden heart on it. Two male backing dancers are all in blue and two female backing vocalists rotate around on their podium like marionettes until they come to life at the last verse of the song. Suspended silver bubbles fall from the ceiling and pyrotechnics are used at the end of the song. Again a loud, approving reception in the hall.

Bosnia & Herzegovina's Vukašin Brajić performs Thunder And Lightning at position eight. He wears a red jacket and black trousers. Two male backing vocalists are dressed in grey suits and three female backing singers are in silver dresses. Smoke again rises from the stage and the stage is dark with flashing white lighting, fitting the song title perfectly. The song ends with the sound of thunder. A good performance that the delegation will be pleased with.

Legenda is Poland's 2010 entry. Singer Marcin Mroziński is in a smart grey suit and is joined by five ladies in traditional Polish costumes, three of them support vocally whilst the other two are dancers. Like with Latvia, Poland have a thin draped curtain backdrop which alternates from grey to red. The whole feel is very traditional and Poland have stuck well to ther roots in trying to present something original this year. Marcin was strong vocally.

Again there is now a break. The presenters are in the green room. Poland are greeted as they make their way in from the stage. Eight more countries remain and there are more reminders about the phone numbers for televoting. Belgium are introduced as the next country to perform, and a reminder is given to viewers that Belgium won their only Eurovision Song Contest to date in Norway in 1986 with Sandra Kim.

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From Belgium to Portugal

Me And My Guitar is Belgium's entry this year. Tom Dice is one of the few artists using the catwalk for the whole performance. Tom wears a blue waistcoat, blue shirt and blue trousers. His guitar also has a blue border around it. The staging is simplicity itself, and as the song title suggests, just Tom and his guitar. There are two backing singers who are right at the back of the stage. The simplicity perfectly suits the Belgian entry. Belgium has never yet successfully qualified from a Semi-Final in Europe's Favourite TV Show, it is difficult to find one person here in Oslo who thinks that Tom Dice is not going to put that right this year. The best reception yet.

Malta next, Thea Garrett sings My Dream. Thea is joined by three backing singers, all female. Everyone is in silver. The set is dark and resembles a starry night sky. As the second chorus begins, a man dressed as a seagull emerges from behind Thea and waves his long wingspan as he gracefully dances around the stage. Pyrotechincs are used twice towards the end of the song. As she has been all week, Thea was vocally strong and is considered by many as one of the favourites to progress to the Final.

After two ballads, Juliana Pasha speeds things up for Albania with It's All About You. She is dressed in a black and silver jacket and black trousers. She has three female backing singers and a male violinist. This is high energy stuff. Flashing violet and white lights intermittently throughout. Juliana works the camera well and is impeccable vocally. Albania may well benefit from following two ballads.

Huge roars greeted Giorgos Alkaios of Greece as he took to the stage. Opa is a rich ethnic sounding song, and like with Poland, Greece have tried to send an entry with true national identity, preferring also to sing fully in Greek. Giorgos and his male dancers are all dressed in white. The sixth member of the team is in black and plays the traditional Greek instrument. Before the last chorus pyrotechnics are used and four drums are brought on to stage. Greece went huge in the Telenor arena.

The contrast in entries continues with Portugal's Filipa Azevedo and her traditional Portuguese ballad Ha Dias Assim. Filipa has a champagne coloured dress, and has a pianist to her right. The piano has a large lit candle on it. There are two further female backing singers and also a male one. Violet and white light strips hang from the ceiling behind Filipa. The Portuguese fans in the hall seemed pleased with Filipa's efforts today.

Another break takes place now as funny film clips of the week in Oslo to date are shown. The presenters speak again with another reminder about the voting. FYR Macedonia are now welcomed to the stage.

The final three entries

Gjoko Taneski of FYR Macedonia sings Jas Ja Imam Silata and is joined by Billy The Beast, his rapper, a guitarist playing electric guitar and three very scantily clad backing dancers wearing raunchy and revealing outfits. The setting is dark with white and violet spotlights. The girls dance and interact with Gjoko. Billy The Beast is wearing a silver suit and dark glasses. Towards the final refrain, an impressive electric guitar solo takes place. Gjoko's vocal was again very good.

Belarus are the penultimate country to perform. 3+2 featuring Robert Wells sing the rousing ballad Butterflies. The three female members of the group are wearing sparkling glamorous dresses in gold, silver and bronze. The male singers wear black suits with white shirts.There are curtain effects again on stage. Robert Wells plays piano to the right of the singers. At the last refrain, the girls dresses are adjusted to reveal butterfly wings. A good, classy performance which was greeted with cheers.

One of the most popular artists with the press in Oslo has been Iceland's Hera Björk. She was last on stage singing Je Ne Sais Quoi. This is a disco stomper, Hera is dressed in a maroon dress and has five backing singers, three female and two male. Turquoise and white lights flash against the backdrop. Hera is considered one of the most impressive and strongest vocalists in the competition, and she did not let anyone down with a superb vocal display.

Interval entertainment

The presenters again take the stage. A final reminder of the voting numbers and procedure is explained again. There is then a short reprise of all 17 entries in the First Semi-Final to help the viewers to make up their minds. After the reprise, a film was shown where Norwegian broadcaster NRK had taken some Eurovision Song Contest fans on a tour of Oslo.

Another reprise of the 17 entries is now shown as a final reminder before the televoting lines closed. The presenters are now in the green room introducing some of the artists and their backgrounds. The voting window is counted down with all of the artists in the green room and the lines are closed. An unusual video about the human voice is then shown culminating in a huge number of people on stage called Crazy People all dancing and running around.

Some short interviews were then made with some of the audience members. A brief explanation of the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest is then made, before video clips of the five automatically qualified finalists Spain, Norway, United Kingdom, France and Germany. Some more interviews are then made with the participants in the green room.

At this point, Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest Svante Stockselius is introduced. The ten finalists are then announced in a random order with virtual envelopes.