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Rehearsals: From practice to perfect in over 100 hours

16 May 2010 at 23:07 CEST

Arriving to the contest venue, there are some artist's who have rehearsed their performances for as much as six months. That's before the official schedule starts. The countries delegations prepare stage shows together with the host organisers during the months preceding the event.

Then it's time for the artist to step onto the stage for the first time. This grand moment takes place starting today, when the first artist's conducted their first rehearsal in the arena. Many fans take their first look at the stage on location as a pinnacle moment of the stay in the hosting city, and the experience of the first rehearsal is thrilling for the artists as well.

"Makes it easy to do the job"

Latvia's Aisha was one of the performers trying out the stage during this first day of rehearsals. And there was no mistake that the experience was grand. She was delighted after completing her 40 minutes on stage.

"The stage is beautiful! The sound is perfect and the organisation is very good. Nothing to add. This makes it very easy for us to do our job," she told

"Although the artists come well-prepared, it is still their first time on the Eurovision Song Contest stage, which can be pretty impressive. Rehearsals increase their confidence as well. Compare it to football players, who want to get familiar with the field!" says Sietse Bakker.

Dress rehearsals follow open rehearsals

In total, there are over 100 hours of rehearsals on the Eurovision Song Contest stage every year. For Oslo, the first artists entered the stage today. These particular acts will not return for their second rehearsal until Thursday. In the meantime, new countries will showcase their stage shows all the time. Later on, on Saturday and Sunday, the 5 countries pre-qualified to the Final will conduct their rehearsals, to complete the double round of rehearsals performed for each country.

These open rehearsals are followed by the dress rehearsals. In these, the entire show, including hosts and interval acts, is rehearsed back to back in front of an audience. Each one of the three live broadcasts are practised in dress rehearsals three times. This leaves artists qualifying from the Semi-Finals with 7 show performances before the Final – the preceding open rehearsals not included.

"Aim at the highest level"

But this is not enough for the technical teams. Camera operators and other crew members start their rehearsals weeks before the first artists arrive. Sometimes the voting procedure is rehearsed, at other times there are stand-ins for the artists performing on stage, acting as reference points for the cameramen.

"The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the largest TV productions in the world. Every year, we aim at bringing Europe a show at the highest level. To get an enormous production like this to that desired level, you need to rehearse," Sietse Bakker concludes.