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— Photo: Thomas Hanses
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Benny Royston
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Lights out on the first day of Eurovision 2019 rehearsals!

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The 2019 Eurovision Song Contest stage has been graced by the presence of 9 artists from the first Semi-Final today, they rehearsed their entries for the very first time. And after rehearsing, the delegates from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Montenegro, Hungary, Belarus and Serbia met with fans and press.

Today kicked off with the first of 2 scheduled rehearsals at the Expo Tel Aviv for the first 9 contestants. Rehearsals are a vital part of the process in developing the staging and smooth running of the Eurovision Song Contest. They allow delegations to perfect the vocal and visual display of their entry and communicate with the production team to get the very best out of their entry. It is a competition after all!

READ MORE: Find out more about the rehearsal process here.

Czech Republic first rehearsal backstage (© Thomas Hanses)

The day displayed the stage in all of its glory as the first glimpses of what we can expect to see in the live television shows became known. Here's what the first 9 acts showed on stage.

1. Cyprus - Tamta with Replay.

Tamta has the honour of opening the first Semi-Final at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest which means she was the first of the 41 participating acts to stand on the Eurovision stage this year. Her rehearsal included an advance look at her energetic outfit and staging. Fans did not have to wait long for the first on-stage costume reveal of the year. The costume reveal has become something of an iconic Eurovision moment over the years and Tamta will be added to the notorious list.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Cyprus' first rehearsal here.

2. Czech Republic - Lake Malawi with Friend of a Friend.

Lake Malawi will perform sixth in the first Semi-Final but the group swapped places with Montenegro in today's rehearsal schedule. Dressed in an eye-catching yellow sweater and jeans, lead singer Albert Černý quickly made friends with the stage and looked right at home in front of the cameras.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Czech Republic's rehearsal here.

3. Finland - Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman with Look Away.

Finland's global dance superstar Darude and singer Sebastian Rejman were next on stage. They were joined by a very prominent backing dancer for their first performance at Expo Tel Aviv. Look Away shines a spotlight on global warming and they made full use of the giant LED screen to draw attention to the situation.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Finland's first rehearsal here.

4. Poland - Tulia with Fire of Love (Pali się).

In the last rehearsal before lunch, the four Polish stars, better known as Tulia, took to the stage in full traditional Polish dress to perform Fire of Love (Pali się). Despite releasing a black and white music video for the song, Tulia showed up in full colour with their clothing and staging effects.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Poland's first rehearsal here.

5. Slovenia - Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl with Sebi.

Slovenia's young hopefuls Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl were first on stage after the lunch break with the intimate rendition of their Eurovision entry, Sebi. Dressed in white, with a galaxy of stars swirling around them, they made full use of their rehearsal time and staging possibilities.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Slovenia's first rehearsal here.

6. Montenegro - D mol with Falling.

Rehearsing sixth today was the Montenegro, although D mol will sing second in the first Semi-Final on Tuesday 14 May. The six youthful singers (aged between 16 and 21) showcased their individual vocal talents as well as their harmonies as they performed their entry Falling.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Montenegro's first rehearsal here.

7. Hungary - Joci Pápai with Az Én Apám

Next on stage was the first of this year's returning Eurovision stars. Joci Pápai took 8th place just two years ago and once again looked at home on the Song Contest stage. This time, Joci is performing solo on stage with visual photo displays of fathers from around Europe. With the imagery, the singer hopes to help express his song Az Én Apám which translates as My Father.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Hungary's first rehearsal here.

8. Belarus - ZENA with Like It

After a break in rehearsals, it was ZENA's turn to step onto the Eurovision Song Contest stage. Her up-tempo entry Like It was performed with four backing dancers, two male and two female. The performance features bright colours, big images on the LED screens and strong choreography as the performers dance on and around rolling trunks.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Belarus' first rehearsal here.

9. Serbia - Nevena Božović with Kruna

Serbia's entry for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest is Nevena Božović and she was the last participant of the day to rehearse. Her powerful Balcan ballad was performed with her alone on stage in a black dress with a leg slip. Nevena took the opportunity to demonstrate her vocal prowess to great effect.

READ MORE: Check out the full review of Serbia's first rehearsal here.

Tomorrow, the eight remaining countries that will compete in the first Semi-Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will take the stage. Belgium, Georgia, Australia, Iceland, Estonia, Portugal, Greece and San Marino will all have their first rehearsals at Expo Tel Aviv.

Who were your favourites from today's rehearsals? Let us know in the comments below!

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