This afternoon, the first dress rehearsal for the second Semi-Final of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest will take place in the Belgrade Arena. It will be followed by two more, one tonight and one tomorrow afternoon before it gets serious in the gigantic arena tomorrow night! The second Semi-Final has been characterized by most fans and media as harder to predict than the first one even if some countries have been named as favourites more than others.
The biggest media-campaign in the second semi-final was organised by the Ukrainian team. Ani Lorak was the big star of the Ukrainian party some days ago and the delegation spared no costs so far! Last year's Ukrainian entry, Verka Serduchka, was flown in to perform here in Belgrade and to support Ani Lorak's song Shady Lady which is already topping the Ukrainian charts as this very moment.
Another highly popular entry is Charlotte Perrelli's Hero. Having won the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest, the Swedes are determined to win it again this year with their extremely catchy song which fills every dancefloor here in Belgrade at the moment. Charlotte Perrelli is at the height of her popularity at the moment in her native country with both her single and her recently released album having received a golden disc some weeks ago.
Swiss Latin lover Paolo Meneguzzi - who is a household name in Italy - is hoping to break through into other European markets with a good performance and placing in the second semi-final tomorrow night. His Era Stupendo has been named as favourite by several European fan-clubs who hope that a song in Italian will pass to the final.
The biggest outsider in the second semi-final tomorrow is probably the Portuguese song Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas) by the incredibly talented Vânia Fernandes will guarantee Portugal's first qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest final since 2003. The song was composed by veteran Andrej Babić who is the first composer ever in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest to have entered songs for four different countries: Croatia in 2003, Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2005, Slovenia in 2007 and now Portugal in 2008!
Of course, Eurovision.tv will keep you updated about the dress rehearsals today, so expect some exclusive coverage during the day and in the evening!