The first general rehearsal of the Final [UPD]

Just like both Semi-Finals, the Final, of course, starts with the Eurovision hymn. Shortly afterwards, Marija Šerifović, the winner of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, enters the stage to perform together with a group of female dancers. After that the hosts, Jovana Janković and Željko Joksimović, go on stage.  While in the First Semi-Final, the theme was "City" and in the Second Semi-Final, the theme was "Water", the theme of the Final will be the combination of both - "City and Water". This is, of course, a symbol of the capital of Serbia, Belgrade, which sits at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers.

The first song in the Final is Pe-o Margine De Lume by Nico & Vlad from Romania. They perform their operatic song brilliantly and without any vocal problems. The colour theme on the stage and on the LED projections are dark and resembles a romantic night sky. Second on stage is Andy Abraham from the United Kingdom, who was directly qualified for the Final. His vocal and dance performance sounds and looks confident, and Andy manages well to give good vibes to the public. He performs in a dark blue suit, and the LED projections are very colourful. Third to perform is Olta Boka from Albania. Even though she is the youngest singer participating in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, she convinces everyone with her charms and her flawless vocal performance. The LED screen in the background reflects the zooming-in on a warm-coloured heart. The next song represents another one of the countries directly qualified for the Final - Germany. The four girls of the band No Angels are dressed in two colours, blue and purple. The chorus is emphasized by pyrotechnical effects, and the background scenery shows feathers gliding through the air. Their performance is vocally solid and without visible problems. Fifth on stage is Sirusho, singing Qélé, Qélé for Armenia. Sirusho looks fantastic on stage with her short white, grey and black dress, and the dance performance is professional, too. Pyrotechnical effects are used to boost the visual appearance, too. Vocally, there is still some room for improvements until the Final.

The next artist entering the stage is Laka from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The whole setup of this performing brings a smile to everyone's face as the two main figures, Laka and his sister Mirela, are running on stage in weird clothes and hairdresses. Four elderly looking women perform as backing vocals, wearing white dresses and knitting while singing. In the end of the performance, the word "LOVE" is displayed on drying laundry. The audience was very enthusiastic of this truly special and entertaining performance. Next up is Israel's Boaz Mauda who enters the stage, which, at that moment, is completely dark. But this changes as soon as he sings the first chorus. Later on, five backing vocals join and support him. Vocally, Boaz showed all his talents and he left a powerful impression with his quiet ballad. Eighth on stage are Teräsbetoni from Finland, who certainly wake up everyone who has switched on the TV set! They show Finnish rock music at its best, powered by pyrotechnical effects, smoke and loud shouting. The lights on stage are intensely blinking. The colour theme of the stage and the LED screen in the background is in white and red colours. The next country in the line-up is Croatia. After the youngest performer in this Final, who performed third, it's now time for the oldest, who calls himself '75 Cents' corresponding with his age. He performs together with Kraljevi Ulice - "The Kings Of The Street". They sing a nostalgic song in Croatian language, reminding of street art. Towards the end of the song, 75 Cents is scratching a record on a grammophone like a young hip-hop DJ. On the big LED screen in the background, white doves appear. Tenth to perform is Isis Gee from Poland. She improved her vocal performance amazingly since her first rehearsal! In a light blue dress, she performs her love song confidently, while she is accompanied by her husband playing the piano and four female violinists. The stage is in white and light blue colours.

The eleventh country, Iceland, is represented by Euroband, consisting of the two singers Friðrik and Regína. They showed an energetic performance of their song. Both were dressed in black and pink outfits. They looked really relaxed and confident on stage, and they were very warmly received by the public in the hall. Turkey is next, with a rock song in Turkish language, performed by Mor ve Ötesi. The stage shows dark colours, with papier mâché dolls shown on the background screen and pyrotechnical effects in the foreground. Both visually and vocally, the performance was confident and powerful. Afterwards, there is the first commercial break, and it's time for a report from the Green Room by Kristina and Bane again. Then, it's the turn of the country drawn 13th: Portugal. Vânia Fernandes wears a black dress, while her five backing vocals wear white clothes. The background scenery is entirely in blue and reminds of water, fitting the song title Senhora Do Mar. Towards the end, the wind machine emphasizes the increasing dramatic appearance of the song and the singers. Both visually and vocally, the Portuguese entry was brilliant! Next is another song which talks about the wide oceans: Pirates Of The Sea, representing Latvia. The singers and dancers are dressed up like pirates, reminding of carnival. Smoke effects are used, and all in all, the public gets to see an energetic and funny stage act. The 15th singer on stage is fan favourite Charlotte Perrelli, representing Sweden. She is shown on screen in black and white in the beginning, but after the first verse, everything is in colour again - so don't worry, your TV set is not broken, and you do not need to readjust the colour settings either. Charlotte and her five backing dancers showed a solid performance for their typical schlager song.

After a long night of celebrating, Simon Mathew enters the stage. He and his band represent Denmark. They deliver a great and energetic performance of All Night Long. 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. The 17th country in the Final is Georgia, which is being represented by the blind singer Diana Gurtskaya. She starts her performance in black leather clothes. Later on, a white blanket is pulled over her from the front to the back of the stage, and as soon as she reappears, the public gets to see her and her dancers in different dresses! The performance and stage act were all good and the public was very enthusiastic about her performance. Next up is another favourite of the fans and bookmakers: Ukraine. Ani Lorak sings Shady Lady in a stylish short shining dress, while she is supported by one backing singer and four male dancers. The main element on stage is a special box with mirrors on the outside, which turns transparent when the lights inside are turned on. Ani even climbs on top of the box during the performance! The singing was powerful and convincing, and the stage act was elaborate. At the 19th draw position, it's the turn of France, another country which is directly qualified for the Final. Sébastien Tellier shows his long hair and beard to the camera in a self-confident way. The background scenery showed warm colours, and it was reminiscent of a solar eclipse. Sébastien sung professionally and without problems. The next country is Azerbaijan, showing one of the most spectacular stage acts of the Final: Elnur performs as an angel, while Samir is dressed like the devil. The performance features not only traditional Azeri Mugham singing, but also pyrotechnical effects. Altogether, the act looked and sounded convincing. 

Greece was drawn 21st yesterday, so it's Kalomira's turn to perform now. Again, the public gets to see an elaborate performance, this time with a prop that turns into a shiny purple heart. Both visually and vocally, Kalomira convinced everyone with a powerful performance. Next is another directly qualified country: Spain. The Western European country is being represented by Rodolfo Chikilicuatre and his funny dance song Baila El Chiki Chiki. The performance includes moves out of four distinct dances, and the stage scenery includes bright colours, with the main one being red. On the background, the names of the four dances are shown. The host country, Serbia, is being represented by Jelena Tomašević, singing a nostalgic ballad with ethnic influences. She wears a grey dress, and the wind machine is used to make the performance look even more dramatic. She looked and sounded confident, and the whole act was professional and flawless. The postcard for Russia shows the recipe for a fish soup, but obviously this doesn't have anything to do with the song or performance. Dima Bilan, one of the bookmakers' favourites, performs together with the figure skater Evgenii Plushenko and the violinist Edvin Marton. Dima starts the stage act lying on the floor, and later on, all three performers move onto artificial ice together, with Evgenii performing skating figures and Edvin playing a 300 year old Stradivari violin. Everything looked professional, elaborate, and convincing for Russia. The last artist to perform on stage is Maria from Norway. She performs in a dark blue dress in front of a stage scenery in similar colours, with small lights on it, reminding of stars. Her pop song sounded great, and there was nothing to be criticized or improved in this performance.

After the performance of the Norwegian entry, it is time for the hosts to start the voting. They do this by calling a special guest on stage, which is one of the biggest basketball legends in Serbia. Thereafter there is a re-run of the 25 songs, which is followed up by video clips with the Eurovision atmosphere in Belgrade, such as the Sava Centar/Press Centre, the Belgrade Arena, arriving fans in the airport, the life in the Belgrade streets and the participants on sightseeing. The video clips are followed up by another re-run of the finalists. Then the voting period finishes, and the hosts introduce the interval act. The interval act is traditional Serbian music, and the female backing singers and male wear traditional Serbian outfits. After a brief visit in the Green Room, the test voting begins.

The second general rehearsal of the Final will take place at 21:00 CET tonight.

This article is updated throughout the general rehearsal by the editorial team. 


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