Second Semi-Final general rehearsal [UPD]22 May 2008 at 00:26 CEST
The Semi-Finals of this year's Eurovision Song Contest have two seperat themes. In the first Semi-Final, the theme was "City" and in the second the theme is "Water". This was clearly displayed on the big LED projections and on the stage as the spider camera zoomed from the back of big Belgrade Arena to the stage after the mandatory and significant Eurovision hymn. On the stage, a female opera singer in a large, green gown appears together with a man, who is half man and half horse. They are joined by four male dancers and four bass playing females in blue and white dresses. Thereafter the dancers coloured in the Serbian colours, who also took part in the opening act of the first Semi-Final, came on stage and did a traditional Serbian dance.
After the introduction, the two hosts Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović appeared on stage. Jovana Janković is the anchor of Serbian host broadcaster's (RTS) daily morning show, and she has extensive experience in hosting live television. Željko Joksimović is one of the most successful musicians in the Balkan region. In 2004, he represented Serbia & Montenegro at the Eurovision Song Contest with Lane Moje, and he is composer of the 2006 Bosnia & Herzegovina entry and this year's Serbian entry Oro. Jovana Janković was wearing a classy black and white dress, and Željko Joksimović was wearing a white suit. The two hosts introduced the second Semi-Final in English, Serbian and French.
The first country to enter the stage at the Belgrade Arena is Iceland's Euroband performing their uptempo dance song This Is My Life. Euroband consists of the two young singers Friðrik and Regína, and they did a solid performance of their song. They were both dressed in black and pink outfits. Moreover Regína has a bit of pink in her blonde hair. Next up is bookmaker favourite Charlotte Perrelli who is representing Sweden with the song Hero. In the beginning of the song, until the first chorus, only black and white colours are used on the screen. Charlotte Perrelli and her backing singers were professional again today, which also have been the case during the prior days of rehearsing. The colour theme of the stage is blue and elegant colours. The third to enter the stage were Turkey's Mor ve Ötesi performing their song Deli in the Turkish language. The well-known dolls from their preview video appeared on the huge LED screen in the background. Mor ve Ötesi delivered a professional job and their classical performance was given a big applause from the present audience. Fourth up is Ukraine's Ani Lorak who was wearing a sexy, silver dress. It is clear that the four backing dancers, who also are vocalists, are extremely well-prepared since they delivered a flawless performance. At the beginning of Shady Lady, the four male backing dancers are revealed one by one as the individual sections of the wall light up. The dancers then emerged on stage to join Ani. Towards the end of the song, Ani climbed to the top of the wall and is helped back down by the dancers. Thereafter it is time for the strong ballad from Lithuania's Jeronimas Milius. Jeronimas Milius is the only participant at this year's Eurovision Song Contest who appears alone on stage without any backing singers, and he delivered an almost flawless performance of Nomads In The Night. Jeronimas already nailed his prior rehearsals, and his laidback, serious appearance on stage was very convincing.
Number six in the line to enter the stage was Albania's just 16-year-old Olta Boka performing the astonishing song Zemrën E Lamë Peng in the Albanian language. It seems like that Olta Boka has gotten her nerves under control from the very first rehearsal where she was a bit tired and anxious. On the LED screen in the background reflects the zooming-in on a warm-coloured heart. Afterwards there was a small break where images from Belgrade was shown. Here tennis star Ana Ivanovic also appeared. Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović showed up on stage afterwards, saying a few words. First after the break is Paolo Meneguzzi who is represeting Switzerland with the Italian pop song Era Stupendo. At first the song sounds like a balad, but then it turns into an uptempo song. At this very moment, pyrotechnics were used on stage. The colour theme of the stage and the LED screen in the background was purple, blue and a bit of white. Paolo Meneguzzi was wearing a black suit. Paolo and his four back-ups did a solid performance in this first general rehearsal for the second Semi-Final. Czech Republic is number eight in the line: Tereza Kerndlová appeared on stage together with her beautiful backing dancers performing Have Some Fun. They were doing an uptempo choreography and they are scarcely dressed in silver outfits with glitter. Pyrotechnincs and fire from the stage were used for this energetic performance, and the outcome must be very satisfactory for Tereza Kerndlová and her Czech team. The next performance was by Belarus' Ruslan Alehno performing his pop song Hasta La Vista. Ruslan Alehno was backed by four dancers who wear shiny, silver dresses. The charasteristic baubles lights up on the stage. At the end of the performance, Ruslan Alehno jumped up on the top of the biggest bauble, and the four back-ups form an 'R' with a piece of fabric in the background. At 10th position is Latvia's Pirates Of The Sea performing their energetic pop song Wolves Of The Sea. On stage one of the performers stand by a rudder which adds to the feeling of being on a pirate ship. All of the Latvians are of course in pirate outfits, and they had a lot of fun on stage. If the party has not started before Latvia entered the stage, this would definitely change. After Latvia, there was a small break where the hosts appeared on stage.
Next up is Croatia's Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents who performed their song Romanca. The elderly gentleman '75 Cents' was wearing a white suit and a white hat, and the male singer, the male bass player and male guitar player all wore dark suits also with similarly coloured hats. The female dancer was wearing a traditional red dress, and she moved great around on stage. At the climax of the song, charming 75-year-old '75 Cents', also known as Ladislav Demeterffy Laci, was scratching a record on a grammophone like a young hip-hop DJ. On the big LED screen in the background, white dows appear. Next up is the energetic, disctoteque tune DJ, Take Me Away by Bulgaria's entrants Deep Zone & Balthazar. Deep Zone & Balthazar used two burning turntables and have also added a breakdancer and a guitar-player into their act. The lead singer Joanna was wearing a sexy, red dress which merges well with the colourful LED screens in the back of the stage. The song was professionally performed, and Bulgaria received a large applause by the audience at the end of their performance. Talented singer Simon Mathew representing Denmark was the next on stage. Simon Mathew and the band delivered a great and energetic performance of All Night Long. Denmark starts at number 13 in the second Semi-Final, and they have chosen their position themselves. At the end of the song, the LED screen in the background shows fireworks in blue, white and purple colours creating a feeling of being at a New Year party, which lasts all night long. After the Danish pop song, it was time for Georgia's singer Diana Gurtskaya to come on stage, singing her emotional song Peace Will Come. Diana Gurtskaya was wearing a black designer dress with tassels and long, white, high-healed boots. During the performance, smoke was blown up from the stage, and at the climax of the song a huge white, silky peace of fabric was lifted over Diana and the backing singers - and back again - by the dancers; thereafter all on stage including Diana suddenly were wearing white outfits, the colour of peace! A solid performance by Diana Gurtskaya and her team. 15th in line in this Semi-Final is Hungary's Csézy performing the beautiful balad Candlelight. Just as in the prior rehearsals, Csézy gave an absolutely flawless vocal performance. The whole arrangement of the song is very classy, and the big LED background resembles candles. Csézy was wearing a fluffy dress in black and white with some hints of pink. Some real candles were added on the stage.
Malta's Morena was the next one to enter the stage with her energetic power performance of the uptempo song Vodka. Morena was wearing her long, high-healed shiny boots with hundreds of small mirrors, and this theme also is apparent in her top, which is black and decorated with mirrors. The mirrors on Morena's outfit are supposed to increase the feeling of being in a place packed with spies in a Russian setting. Number 17 in line is Cyprus' Evdokia Kadi performing Femme Fatale. This entry included a somewhat heavy choreography were Evdokia at one point stands on the top of a black table in the middle of the stage. The four backing singers, dressed in black glitterly suits, create human stairs so Evdokia can get down again. This performance ended with the back-ups lifting the Cypriot singer up in the air while she sat on the table. Before going on to the next entry, there was a small break where the two co-hosts of the show say a few words from the Green Room. Next in line is FYR Macedonia who this year sends the young singers Tamara, Vrčak & Adrijan to represent the Macedonian red and yellow colours. Bright blue and orange colours are the theme of the stage and the LED projections in the background. Tamara wears a classy, black dress and the heavy choreography and the singing seems to come together perfectly. Tamara, Vrčak & Adrijan were greatly received by the present audience at the Belgrade Arena after they performed their R'n'B song Let Me Love You. Last but not least, number 19 in line: Portugal. Portugal has not been that lucky in the latest years regaring placement in the Eurovision Song Contest. But this year bookmakers are of another opinion. Vânia Fernandes perfectly performed her vocally outstanding performance of the song Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas). Vânia Fernandes wore a beautiful long, black dress, and the four backing singers were all dressed in white.
After the very last country, the hosts Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović come on stage again. They were talking a bit about the voting, and they are calling former Eurovision Song Contest entrant Lys Assia, who represented Switzerland at the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Lys Assia was in fact not present on stage today, but a male stand-in came on stage instead. Lys Assia is supposed to start the voting procedure. Thereafter a re-cap of all the 19 songs was shown. Moreover, pictures from Serbian landscape and cities appeared in all seasons of the year, followed by a re-cap once more. The interval act included dancers on stage, performing to traditional sounding Serbian music mainly consisting of the violin and jaw harpe. All of the dancers are male, but in the middle a girl dances in a cute, white dress. Following the interval act, clips of the 'Big 4' and Serbian entries are shown. After a short visit in the Green Room, the envelopes with the names of the 10 qualifiers come on stage, and the hosts reveal who will join the 15 already qualified countries.
The second general rehearsal of the second Semi-Final will take place from CET 21:00 to approximately 23:00 tonight.
This article is updated through out the general rehearsal by the Eurovision.tv editorial team.