The first dress rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest started off with the presenters of the show Stefan Raab, Anke Engelke and Judith Rakers greeting the audience. After that, the exciting part of the show started: the songs!
From Bosnia & Herzegovina to Slovakia
The first country to rehearse its song in today's dress rehearsal was Bosnia & Herzegovina. Balkan superstar Dino Merlin is performing the catchy, mid-tempo number with ethnic influences and he does it well! Love In Rewind grabs the listener from the first second, and the performance leaves hardly anything to be desired.
Next on was Austria's Nadine Beiler with her gospel-ballad The Secret Is Love. The young girl from Innsbruck hit all the notes perfectly, even the most challenging ones! She is still clad in a short black dress while her backing singers are also in black.
The Dutch entry this year was initially meant to be in the Dutch language, but the group 3JS finally decided to perform it in English with the title Never Alone. The three guys from the group are in the centre of the cameras almost all of the time with just few shots of the backing group. The Dutch haven't qualified for a Eurovision Song Contest final since 2004, will it change this year?
We're just crossing the border to Belgium and had something really interesting from there: no music this time, just the acapella band Witloof Bay performing With Love, Baby. Moving around on stage all the time, the members of the group create a special atmosphere during their song and the stress is just on one thing: the vocals!
TWiiNS from Slovakia are identical twins, and their vocals are almost the same as well! I'm Still Alive is a modern ballad written by Swedish star composers, and the glamorous twins who are currently based in the USA perform it tenderly. It's not the first time their faces could be seen in the Eurovision Song Contest: they were already backing the Czech team in 2008.
The Ukrainian artist Mika Newton has brought a sand-artist on stage this year who creates pictures formed out of sand which are then projected on the LED-backdrop. A unique idea which might help the Ukrainians to stay in people's minds for the televote. Mika's song Angel is a ballad sung faultlessly by the young artist today.
Louder sounds came from Ukraine's neighbours from Moldova. However, Zdob și Zdub's rock number So Lucky will certainly find its fans as well. The Moldovan stars already participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and came 6th there. Will they reach a similar placing this year?
The Swedish nation sets its high hopes in Eric Saade's song Popular this year. Heartthrob Eric has a spectacular show this year with a glass cage exploding at the climax of the song - something we will see only tonight in the second rehearsal! Aimed probably at a teenage audience, the Swedish star has already found lots of fans here in Düsseldorf as well.
Christos Mylordos from Cyprus was chosen to be the country's representative in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. His entry San Aggelos S’Agapisa is an ethnic song with an interesting choreography on stage which works really well with the cameras. The main focus in the background projections during this song are yellow lamps which also are an essential part of the performance.
Poli Genova from Bulgaria had already tried to represent her native country in the 2009 contest, but only came second in the national heats. Now she's back with a vengeance singing the rock tune Na Inat. Using the catwalk to its full extent, the young singer passionalely performed her song today.
From F.Y.R. Macedonia to Estonia
F.Y.R. Macedonia's entry this year is being performed by Vlatko Ilievski - one of the rising stars in this country. Rusinka, his song this year, is an ethnic-influenced Balkan song which might go down well in big parts of Southern and Eastern Europe. Today, Vlatko showed no weakness performing the song.
Dana International is of course no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest as she won the event in 1998 with Diva. This year, she sings Ding Dong, a self-penned song which she performs in a thrilling dress which was specially created for her in France. Ding Dong came across well on screen today.....will Dana win the contest for a second time?
Maja Keuc won the Slovene national heats this year. However, her song was still performed in Slovene then, but her team thought that it might be a better idea to perform her song in the more internationally sounding English as No One. "Good choice", according to the present media and fans. No problems with Maja's vocals today either, so no reason for the attractive singer to be nervous as of yet.
The group from Romania this year, Hotel FM, has chosen an internationally-sounding number called Change to be the country's entry in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. They performed it faultlessly throughout the first rehearsal week and today was no exception: a strong rendering of Change!
Estonia's song this year, Rockefeller Street by Getter Jaani, has been named as one of the huge favourites to win the contest. The young singer did her magical trick again today at the beginning of the song - that's really something to look for in tomorrow's broadcast!
The Belarusian entry this year by Anastasiya Vinnikova is called I Love Belarus - a catchy number of which lots of people think that it has good chances of qualifying. Anastasiya performed it very energetically in today's first dress rehearsal. Belarus has qualified twice to the final of the contest since it started participating in 2004. Will Miss Vinnikova add to those statistics?
Musiqq is a duo from Latvia who will perform Angel In Disguise in this year's competition: modern sounding rhythms from the Baltic country which will certainly find its fans among the younger portion of the televote audience. No major problems could be detected in today's performance, so no shocks in store for the Latvian team!
Denmark's song New Tomorrow by the group A Friend in London is one of the surefire qualifiers according to the betting odds. The band has comfortably won the Danish national final this year and there is no reason to believe why they should score badly in the real thing either: a secure and convincing take today will probably make their odds even shorter now!
Jedward, the second pair of identical twins in the Second Semi-Final have undoubtedly been one of the most discussed acts this year. The twosome could be detected everywhere this week without ever showing any signs of tiredness. They looked fit on today's stage as well and performed their song Lipstick with full of power!
That concluded the performances of today's first dress rehearsal for the Second Semi-Final....stay tuned with us here at Eurovision.tv for more news!