Live: The first dress rehearsal of the First Semi-Final11 May 2009 at 17:00 CEST
The opening act of the First Semi-Final is a fairytale, which is not only being told, but also illustrated by a legendary animal, called Firebird, landing on the stage from the ceiling. Two children dressed like angels (played by the Tolmachevy Twins, the winners of the 2006 Junior Eurovision Song Contest) step down from it once it has reached the floor. Then the presenters, Natalya Vodyanova and Andrey Malakhov, open the show. On stage, there is a stylized tree decorated with balloons depicting the flags of all participating countries.
Andrea Demirovic, representing Montenegro, was the first participant to take the stage. She presented her up-tempo popsong in front of LEDs showing elements in pink and purple colours. Together with one backing dancer, she gave a confident performance, supported by a wind machine! Andreas wore a skimpy dress in black and gold.
Second were Gipsy.cz from the Czech Republic. They cheered up the audience with their funny song and an exciting performance. The lead singer was dressed as Supergipsy, while the other band members wore suits and hats. The female violin player wore white gloves and white stockings with blue stripes.
The Belgian version of Elvis, Copycat, was next on stage. He was accompanied by two female backing vocals, both in shiny bright long dresses and with wigs. The audience seemed to like their performance a lot, clapping all along!
The wind machine was the most important element of the Belarusian stage act, letting a white sheet wave all over the stage. All musicians on stage were dressed in white suits. Petr Elfimov was vocally very convincing and, thus, got a loud applause from the public.
Drawn fifth, the Swedish representative Malena Ernman entered the stage. The LEDs created a rather cold atmosphere on stage, fitting this pop-opera song very well. Malena wore an elegant white dress, while her backing vocals wore black suits and played with silver masks.
Smoke effects, pyros and laser reflections were the main elements of the Armenian stage act. The sisters Inga and Anush and their four backing dancers, all dressed in traditional dark blue costumes, showed an elaborate and passionate performance, convincing both visually and vocally.
After the Armenian entry, the first commercial break is shown.
The fact that Andorra was drawn 7th is prominently featured in Susanna Georgi's performance, with LEDs showing "07" attached to the singers' clothes or instruments. The five girls on stage were all dressed in white, with Susanna's sleeves being longer than her actual dress. This happy song was very well received in the hall.
The Swiss Lovebugs were the next to take the stage, and all band members were dressed in black. The LEDs in the background showed a very impressive scenery, starting in a city full of skyscrapers and finishing in cosmos, thus taking us truly to The Highest Heights. This act was flawless and altogether very well performed.
The Turkish representative Hadise and her dancers wore a modern and sexy version of traditional belly dancing dresses. Fire was not only used in the pyros, it was also incorporated in the performance of Hadise and her supporters on stage, who looked more than just hot! Towards the end, Hadise started dancing together with a bare-chested male dancers.
Noa and Mira Awad from Israel started their duet from distant positions on stage, only reaching out for each other and holding hands later on. Everyone on stage was dressed in black, including the background musicians. The two vocalists delivered a good performance.
After a short report from the green room, it's time for Krassimir Avramov from Bulgaria and his Illusion! On stage, he was accompanied by three vocalists in colourful costumes and two dancers on stilts, wearing very skimpy costumes in green and blue, while he was surrounded by fire on the background LEDs. Krassimir has improved his vocal performance.
Yohanna, representing Iceland, touched the hearts of the spectators in the hall with her heartwarming performance of a melancholic ballad. The main colour of the dresses and the background LEDs was blue, and Yohanna herself wore a long blue dress. This entry got the loudest applause so far, and a lot of viewers even stood up in the end!
The long hair of the twin brothers making up the band Next Time was waving a lot during the energetic performance of the act representing FYR Macedonia. They wore stylish grey clothes, fitting this contemporary song in Macedonian language well! In the middle of the song, the lead singer lay down on the floor, filmed from above by the cameras.
Elena Gheorghe's performance of Balkan Girls started in a big cloud, created by artificial smoke effects. The dresses of Elena and her dancers were in turquoise, light green and yellow, forming a unit with the colours of the background LEDs, showing blossoming trees. The song and the choreography created a cheerful atmosphere in the hall.
Fire was the main element of the Finnish entry, presented by Waldo's People. A cool mood was created by this up-tempo song, even though so much burning items and pyros were used on stage. Due to the latter, many spectators in the arena took out their cameras! The female vocalists have improved their singing, and the act was skillfully performed.
Now it was time for another commercial break!
Next on stage were Flor-de-Lis from Portugal. The lead singer Daniela Varela had a red flower in her hair, adding to the cheerful mood of this traditional song in Portuguese language. A lot of viewers were clapping along with the rhythm, and in the end, they got a loud and long-lasting applause.
Chiara was alone on stage, representing Malta with a slow ballad. She performed in front of LEDs showing scenes from the universe, and even though she was not supported by backing vocals, her voice alone had enough volume to fill the hall with a melancholic and romantic atmosphere.
Regina, the band representing Bosnia and Herzegovina, performed in white suits in front of a red background scenery, emphasizing the fact that they were "soldiers of love". They delivered a very powerful performance, and everyone in the hall seemed to get goosebumps! The last song in the run got a very loud applause.
After that, a re-run of all entries in the First Semi-Final was shown.