February 21, 2020

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The official website of the Eurovision Song Contest has just revealed the running order of the final of the prestigious event following an executive meeting between members of the Host Broadcaster and the European Broadcasting Union. Following a number of disappointing years in which the same genres were placed alongside each other, the organising body thought best to decide the running order. It wasn't a completely free reign though as each country had to draw their own half of the draw in an allocation ceremony which for the 'Big Five' was held during the first press conference following their technical rehearsal. 

It is important to note that Sweden had drawn their position beforehand in order not to create any bias. This therefore gave the organisers some limitation over the second half of the draw especially after drawing number #16 in the final. Malta, who qualified from the second semi-final last night thanks to a marvelous performance by Gianluca and the rest of his team, including; Louise Ann, Samaria, Kenny D'Ugo, Christopher Tate and Gabriel Cassar, has been drawn in position number #9 following an allocation to the first half of the draw. The allocation took place during the press conference held after the semi-final stage of the competition which saw to the qualification of Iceland, Finland, Norway, Armenia, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Greece, Georgia and Romania.

  1. France
  2. Lithuania
  3. Moldova
  4. Finland
  5. Spain
  6. Belgium
  7. Estonia
  8. Belarus
  9. Malta
  10. Russia
  11. Germany
  12. Armenia
  13. The Netherlands
  14. Romania
  15. United Kingdom
  16. Sweden
  17. Hungary
  18. Denmark
  19. Iceland
  20. Azerbaijan
  21. Greece
  22. Ukraine
  23. Italy
  24. Norway
  25. Georgia
  26. Ireland

In the press conference following the semi-final, Gianluca who was accompanied by Anton Attard, Head of Delegation for Malta insisted that the position in the running order was secondary to him and the rest of the team noting that the performance is always more important. During the second semi-final, Malta had to perform in slot number #6 following an advert break and despite many saying that this could be detrimental, it did not prove to be the case. The editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to extend congratulations to Gianluca and the rest of the delegation from Malta, a nation which has managed to qualify for two years in succession thanks to ample hard work and dedication from everyone involved.

Source: Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJEzRok_5UU

The first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest might have proven to be a slightly subdued affair in terms of song qualify but nevertheless, the host broadcaster being SVT should be commended on the production of the show. There were a total of sixteen performances in this evenings' showcase and when it comes to analysing the qualifiers into greater detail, it seems that the typical blocks which have become popular at the Euroviison Song Contest might be breaking down with the respective divisions in the running order as created by the producers. escflashmalta.com covered the show through a live commentary with Emil Calleja Bayliss, Claudia Faniello and Simon Casey.

On their fifth participation, Montenegro have not managed to get through to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest but what is surprising is that their neighbours, Serbia who have always been in the final apart from one occasion, have also failed. Moje 3, one of the most popular groups in the country were being coached by Marija Serifovic and thus this is quite a disappointing result. In the meantime, the other two countries from the Former Yugoslavia also failed to get through, these being Croatia and Slovenia. The other two countries which did not get through were Cyprus and Austria, the latter of which has not managed for two consecutive years and the former following a pretty successful year in 2012. 

  • Estonia - First Half
  • Denmark - Second Half
  • Russia - First Half
  • Ukraine - Second Half
  • The Netherlands - First Half
  • Belgium - First Half
  • Belarus - First Half
  • Moldova - First Half
  • Ireland - Second Half
  • Lithuania - First Half

Belgium and Lithuania were definitely the surprises of the evening with many not predicting them to qualify but nevertheless, their generic entries were met with great reception and might have been aided by the late draw. There were a number of expected qualifiers, including none other than Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Moldova and Ireland with the ones in the toss-up definitely including Belarus and Estonia respectively. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for coverage of the second semi-final dress rehearsals later on in the afternoon as Gianluca rehearses Tomorrow with his team on behalf of Malta. It is important to denote that the second semi-final will be covered on our portal by Antoine Farrugia, Davinia Pace and Christabelle.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnkooJ1TZo0

Good Evening! Welcome to the live coverage of the first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Malmö, Sweden. Members of the European Broadcasting Union had to confirm their participation in the international showcase by December and as a matter of fact, during this period some nations had selected both their artist and entry for the event. Sixteen (16) countries will be performing this evening with six (6) of them being eliminated at the first hurdle noting that the other ten (10) will be going through to the final stage on Saturday night where they will compete with another ten (10) qualifiers from the second semi-final and the countries which have already qualified due to their respective financial status.

In recent years, social media has become an important tool to get a message across and escflashmalta.com has been proud to keep you updated through both Facebook and Twitter whilst bringing you exclusive content through Flickr and YouTube respectively. This evening, the special coverage that is annually planned is set to be conducted by our Head of Press, Emil Calleja Bayliss as well as guests; Claudia Faniello, a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and Simon Casey, a former first runner-up in the Irish selection as well as a successful recording artist with Universal Music Ireland. All of the three are extremely professional in their line of work and their interests in music have been duly recorded over time.

The Show (Part 1)

Good Evening! Welcome to Sweden and to the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, the arena is relatively small in comparison to other years but nevertheless, looks jampacked noting that it was sold out in less than half an hour. An extremely large choir is currently on stage as they perform Euphoria, the winning entry of last year before being joined by Loreen herself. This is a first to see the winner of the year before performing in the first semi-final but nevertheless, she will also be performing a brand new song in the final. Petra Mede, the only hostess for this evening takes to the stage in what seems to be a silver like colour although the material is very much like tin foil. 

Austria

Emil: She looks so scared. Her eyes look it and her voice is a tad shaky but she slowly picks up. The backing have a cool yet strange choereography. The staging is interesting and the small arena looks great on screen. The viduals are impressive. The song is a modern R&B number which should go down well but perhaps it is a bit too early for the viewers to remember. A good one.

Claudia: I think that this is a little bit average especially to kick off this evening yet the performance was good enough.

Simon: Our first semi-final is under way. Didn't really enjoy this performance and it didn't go anywhere, which is a shame as she a really good voice. Natália's Irish roots may not be enough for her to qualify tonight.

Estonia

Emil: A black and white start and surely an interesting trick for the viewers to remember. Kudos on the Estonias but the Maltese had done it first in the Junior Eurovision. The sweet simple ballad is performer strongly. She starts from the catwalk and walks back to the main stage. A flowing dress to hide her pregnancy  It is a typical Scandinavian ballad. The climax is a strong one, but I can't see the viewers voting for this one - the jurors would have to save this one. Interesting number.

Claudia: For the second time in a row, we have another average song and this does not really look to be the best of starts for this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Nice ballad singer and she looks great but I'm looking for something special from a ballad these days and I just didn’t enjoy the song. I was waiting for big finish but a in fact it was a little boring for me. 

Slovenia

Emil: An electro dance number which would help making it a summer hit. Would it be a eurovision hit? I doubt it. She might get a number of votes for her looks or her dancers though. The song is average and nothing that we haven't heard before. The vocals could be much better and sounded shrieky in a number of parts. I'd guess it is game over for Slovenia already. She needs a miracle to get through.

Claudia: This clearly remind me of an extremely famous club song and whilst it is a good track in itself, the vocals are clearly weak this evening. Unfortunately these type of songs are dominating the charts despite not being my cup of tea. 

SimonA good dance track. Hannah put in a great performance and a really catchy chorus. I enjoyed this performance and it has an outside chance of qualification. She sounds like Madonna.

Croatia

EmilThis sounds like music to my ears after Slovenia. Pure class with six great voices. This is what Eurovision should be about - countries presenting something traditional and strong. The only criticism I might have is that it is a bit static or sound a tad repetitive but the voices are impeccable with great harmonies. If viewers forget this, I can't see the jurors doing the same. Let's hope they manage to save it if that is the case.

Claudia: I must say that this is definitely not my cup of tea and the only thing that I can point out from this performance are their awesome boots. I am sorry Croatia!

Simon:  This is a little different, the Croats answer to Il Divo. Nice performance and good harmonies. I like it but I don't know how it'll translate European wide considering that it might be respected by minorities.

Denmark

EmilThe ULITIMATE Eurovision favourite - the odds are shortening like mad. A military tattoo feel and this song has WINNER written all over it. Can't see any other song beating this. The performance is interesting and the she sells it well even though she might not be giving her strongest vocal performance. The cheers she's getting in the audience suggest that this is hers to loose - although she's quite close to home so that helps loads. Winner of 2013!? I think so.

Claudia: First things first, it seems that this definitely a crowd favourite this evening and apart from that fact, they have also borrowed my outfits without asking, haha. This is a feel good with great lyrics. This is the second year in a row that they have a great song!

Simon: Good performance by Emmelie, I really like this song. Catchy as hell. I think it's a little reminiscent of last year’s winning song and the strongest performance so far tonight. Think this song has a real chance in the finals.

Russia

Emil: Her clear vocals are beautiful and she carries the song with such grace yet the excitement get the best of her in the beginning. The harmonies with the backing sound great though and the way the whole arena lights up during the key refrain is impressive. Another great stomper. Can't see it beating Denmark but Russia will possible fight to be in the top three this year. 

Claudia: This is definitely a Eurovision Song Contest entry because the key-change is extremely typical. It is also very much like an X Factor winners' single. Nevertheless, Dina is an extremely strong performer.

Simon: Vocally a great performance from Dina and one of my favourites. Certain to qualify. Really strong message here as well. There is a slight feel factor of Katrina and the Waves 'Love Shine a Light' (which is good). No need to bring back the grannies this year!!

Ukraine

Emil: Ruining a good song with a giant!? Well Jack and the beanstalk has been a great inspiration. Another great number which picks up as soon as she starts singing although her vocals sounded a bit low at first. She oozes charisma and she connest well with the camera. Will this gospel number appeal to the viewers at home? Considering it is Ukraine, and the song is a strong one it should do well. Ukraine can expect another top ten result. Three strong numbers after each other. Will someone suffer?

Claudia: Whoa! The giant is clearly an impressive touch and he is somewhat part of the choreography. The visuals are just stunning and the vocals on stage are coming across really well on the sound system. This is well performed! Not a winner though!

SimonThere's a real Disney feel to this song, certainly one of the strongest performances tonight and really should qualify for Saturday night.

The Netherlands

EmilThe famous Anouk is next. She looks beautiful on screen but she avoids eye contact with the camera and stays with her eyes closed during most of the performance. Clearly not the way to connect with your audience. It is the slowest song in the competition and although it has a classic feel to it and Anouk gives a strong interpretation it will be up to the jurors to save this one tonight I feel. It is a bit boring I fear.

Claudia: Anouk, a vocal genius and once more, another strong performance for this evenings' competition. The song in itself is nothing too extraordinary but nevertheless, the versatility is the key behind it's success.

Simon: Don’t like being too critical but I just didn't get this song, it certainly was very different and she has a very decent voice but can't see her qualify for the final. (She's for the birds)

Montenegro

EmilSpacemen make their way to the Eurovision stage too and they are joined by an alien. Not my cup of tea and can't see whether this song will have any appeal whatsoever. It is different to the one that came before it and that is the only reason I see her picking up some votes. I guess it is a bit too modern and the Eurovision stage is not the place to showcase this kind of music. Noise pollution? Quite close.

Claudia: Whilst I respect several genres of music, this is too electronic for my taste. The costumes for the performance definitely remind me of the ones used during one of Fab's latest videos.

Simon:  A very forgettable performance apart from its raunchiness, this song is going nowhere.

Lithuania

Emil: Lithaunia present a good modern pop song with an electronic feel to it. I feels a bit too generic but it is a good entry performed by a very likable guy which will pick up a few votes for his charm. The song might be a little mid table but with some neighbourly help, some luck and a good performance it might actually make it.

Claudia: A Pet Shop Boys attempt. Actually enjoyed this tune but I think the vocal was quiet poor tonight.

Simon: The crowd is really warm this evening and that is very positive for the performers. The track itself seems to have taken us back through time, back to the 80's in a genre similar to the one made popular by AHA, including the blurred visuals. 

Belarus

Emil: Belarus go with a cheesy cha cha number which would have been fit in the Eurovision Song Contest back in the 1990's. It is a bit too late. The performance is strong but the same cannot be the said for her vocals. They sound strained and weak in places. The outfits are cool though and her PR strategy was amongst the strongest. Will that help her pass? I doubt it.

Claudia: Typical entry from the Eurovision Song Contest, the outfit along with the staging has been done a million times before. Hmm, there is something about Alyona which reminds me of Charlotte Perelli although her figure is definitely more intriguing.

Simon: She reminds me of Shakira, and he tune is a little similar to the Turkish 2003 winner. Certainly has potential to qualify tonight, really think its a song that will grow on people. 

Moldova

EmilThe music is strong for this one and so is her voice but the fact that we can't understand what she's singing about is a distraction. The dress is spectacular though and the overall visuals are amongst the best in the competition. I wouldn't count this one out especially after that performance.

Claudia: The piano and the strings definitely catching my attention and the dress in itself is very similar to the one used by Olivia Lewis during the 2005 Malta Song for Europe. This song in itself does not really go anywhere and that is relatively disappointing. Good performance though! I would never see myself in such a dress!

Simon: A great vocal from Aliona, really good singer. Nice power ballad and the best we've heard from Moldova ever. I think she’ll qualify.

Ireland

Emil: Ireland haven't done well recently and they think that the best thing to do is go with an uptempo number with half naked men on stage. Will it work? I guess it will take them to the finals tonight. The song came to life on this stage and the drum beats sound and look great. Not your typical Irish sound but it's kind of good. Ryan gives a strong performance and surely merits the final.

Claudia: Well, I am not too sure of the graphics being used in this performance or the clothing for that matter but nevertheless, this is done well in it's respective genre.

Simon: Well done Ryan, this song has been growing in me the last few weeks and tonight he's given a great performance. A very different entry to what we're used to. I'm really hoping Europe vote or us tonight. Congrats Team Ireland.

Cyprus

Emil: This song is so beautiful, she performs it with such grace and her look reminds me of Celine Dion. Her vocals are strong and the traditional ballad leaves everyone haunted. One of my personal favourites for tonight and I think it should sail with ease to the finals. Touching. Well done Cyprus. Pity the Greeks aren't here to help you out tonight as you truly deserve all the help you can get.

Claudia: Whoa! What a choice of outfit! This looks amazing on screen. She does look a little bit like Celine Dion from far away. You need to have a really good song to succeed in a foreign language. I am not too sure.

Simon: Unfortunately this has been my least favourite performance tonight, just lacking pretty much everything. The weakest by far.

Belgium

Emil: He looks like a scared little boy on that stage. The backing are truly amazing but his voice is just weak. Pity as the beat of the song is quite good and if it was performed stronger it could easily make it but he literally kills it. One big car crash vocally. Sorry Belgium, next time think about sending a singer who can actually sing. Do not blame the lack of neighbours this year.

ClaudiaBelgium, I have to denote this as to having an extremely modern sound but the choreography is not too my liking unfortunately. It also has the feel of a radio song rather than a track that succeeds within the Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Good pop song and well performed. Roberto has a strong voice. Nice vibe to it and I'm thinking the Irish entry is a little similar (obviously we're tops)

Serbia

Emil: Barbies gone wrong. I guess they let a weird niece dress them up who has spent her life under lock and key by her insane parents. Whoever decided on the outfits should be SHOT! The song ain't bad but it ain't good either. They look stupid and the whole act looks ridiculous. Pity as the song would have had some potential if they had a decent performance. Thank God the vocals are in place cause it would have been miserable.

Claudia: I am quite disappointed with the songs in this years' first semi-final. This was yet another forgettable song but nevertheless, the vocals are well performed throughout the whole entry.

Simon: Good uptempo song to bring the the first semi final to a close. Has to be said its one of the stronger songs tonight. Three strong vocalists and there'll be plenty of young lads voting for them tonight. Serbia should qualify.

The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede, the hostess for the evening hast just opened the tele-voting and a recap of the songs has just been shown on screen. A series of interval acts will be taking to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest and first up is Petra Mede who takes us through memory lane and enters a number of performances. Well, the voting has just come to an end and now we have the proper interval act which is a choreographed set of movements to a magnificient backdrop known as Aurora or rather, the Northern Lights.

Emil:  Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Claudia: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Simon: Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia,  Slovenia, Ukraine

We just had Lynda Woodruff and she was epic in her sketch. A recap of the six direct finalists is currently being shown on screen. One has to note that they have an amazing set of songs especially compared to the quality of the songs performed this evening. Bonnie Tyler, Robin Stjernberg and Marco Mengoni are in the arena representing the countries directly in the final which are voting in this semi-final! The time for the qualifiers is here!

Moldova

Lithuania

Ireland

Estonia

Belarus

Denmark

Russia

Belgium

Ukraine

The Netherlands

Tonight! The time has arrived for the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest to take place and following two dress rehearsals last night and another one this afternoon, the excitement is definitely there and people are somewhat intrigued to be so close to the first evening. The first semi-final will consist of sixteen songs, with the countries ranging from all over the contintent. The main favourites for this evening have somewhat been drawn alongside each other and that may prove to be difficult. A non-scientific analysis is seen below to hopefully predict the qualifers of the evening pertaining to two different factions. Remember that escflashmalta.com will be having a live report conducted by Emil Calleja Bayliss and guest writers; Claudia Faniello and Simon Casey.

In recent weeks, escflashmalta.com has collaborated with a number of professional personnel from all across the world with vast knowledge about the music industry. The sixteen entries which will be competing in the first semi-final this evening were thoroughly analysed and graded both on an individual basis and also within the context of a competition. The latter scoring system was taken and added to the result of the public poll to create ten qualifers based on the system used at the Eurovision Song Contest which gives 50% weighing to the public and another 50% weighing to a professional jury. We are glad to reveal the results of the qualifiers according to this result in alphabetical order. The system was explained in order to answer any queries with regards to why countries may be missing from the poll on the right hand side of the screen which has now been closed.

There was a general consensus between the public and the professional panel of experts on eight tracks in total whilst noting that both factions predicted a song each which the other did not, leaving a song out in the process which had received the same type of result. In the meantime, out of the six (6) non-qualifiers predicted, both sides agreed on a total of four (4) entries and awarded them no points. escflashmalta.com would like to denote that this is not the opinion of the website with each of the professional panel as well as the public casting their personal votes. In the first semi-final the panel consisted of Magnus Kaxe, Lina Eriksson and Matt Mercieca (Muxu). Stay tuned to our portal in the coming hours for more of the latest news. Remember that Malta will be competing in the second semi-final. All shows will be shown on TVM with commentary by Rodney Gauci and Gordon Bonello.

Source: escflashmalta.com, eurovision.tv (image) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6JLyVGlW4g

Good Evening! SVT, the host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest hosted all of the delegations present to an official welcome party last night where artists had the opportunity to meet their fans whilst wearing formal attire and strutting on the red carpet. 50% of the result will be decided thanks to a panel of international judges found in each respective country competing in this years' competition. This evenings' rehearsal is listed to commence at 21:00 CET and set to run for two hours until around 23:00 CET. For the first semi-final, there will also be three of the direct qualifiers casting their votes including Sweden, Italy and the United Kingdom respectively. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Coverage of the first semi-final tomorrow eveing will be led by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Communications for escflashmalta.com, Claudia Faniello who is a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest as well as Simon Casey, former runner-up in the You're a Star competition in Ireland who has sold hundreds and thousands of records during his time with Universal Music Ireland. The clips present in this article are the ones from the second technical rehearsals last week.

Opening

The show has just started. Euphoria, winning entry of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is currently being performed by a huge choir of kids who are definitely giving the track an edge. Loreen, one of most popular artists to win the competition in recent years is now on stage and she is helping out the kids with her vocals. This is coming across beautifully on screen and it seems that the audience is singing along with the children and the lady herself. The first test of this performance took place during the final of the Melodifestivalen and they just decided to amplify it for the Eurovision Song Contest. Petra Mede, the hostess for this years' competition is wearing a stunning purple gown as seen in the photograph above. It is important to note that the designer is none other than the notable Jean Paul Gautier.

Austria

The opening entry of the first semi-final is an extremely catchy track noting that the title, being Shine is repeated several times throughout the performance. Natalia is still wearing a white top and sparkly silvery trousers and is joined on stage by both female and male backing vocalists who come together in the form of a circle mid-way through and stay at it until the end. Natalia is definitely enjoying herself on stage and this sounds really strong. There are no pyrothechnics for this performance which is disappointed but this is not getting through to the final unfortunately because it is coming on way too early. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUQ55xhVx-Q

Estonia

Birgit got the opportunity to represent Estonia with the wrong song in my opinion noting that she had an amazing track a couple of years back. Nevertheless, the performance kicks off in black and white for the people watching on television. When the colour does indeed come on, it is shown that Birgit is actually wearing a long white dress in order to accomodate her growing belly due to the pregnancy. This is vocally strong once more, something that has never been an issue. This was a stunning rehearsal and the press are really enjoying this. I will go ahead and say that this will indeed qualify to the final based on a dark horse status. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKgkJMxNIGE

Slovenia

Hannah Mancini just canont sing and dance at the very same time, this has been a proven point throughout all of the rehearsals all week. As a matter of fact, when she did sing well back in Slovenia, she definitely was not dancing. The song itself is really strong but nevertheless, the vocals are just horrid this evening and this is definitely killing all of it's chances with the juries this evening. The public might go for it but it is definitely out of the running. Slovenia will not be qualifying to the final, and this is somewhat definite. It is quite disappointing as they did deserve qualification last year. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOd8ELe0vVU

Croatia

This is not the typical balkan entry but is kept extremely traditional. The group is clad in traditional costumes used by Knights in Croatia and this might be looking a tad too static although the focus is definitely on the vocals which have been superb in every rehearsal. This is definitely trumping Slovenia's chances even more but nevertheless, this is going to be one of the most critical parts of the draw and despite this coming across beautifully, I am not sure the public will be going for it and therefore, am going to call this a non-qualifier but I would extremely love it if it managed to get through. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekj3DiaSF0E

Denmark

Lise Cable, one of the most notable songwriters in Denmark is behind this entry, the favourite of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. This is coming relatively early in the running order but nevertheless, it is coming across well especially after the calm performance of Croatia. Emmelie is wearing a white dress, similar to the one used in the Melodi Grand Prix and which could be seen on the album cover. There are drummers and backing vocalists and it seems that this song in itself is a mixture of Fairytale and Euphoria. This is really strong vocally and thus sailing into the final but still not sure about this winning!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1d6fdP8qAE

Russia

This is the typical ballad given to the artist who ends up winning a talent show such as the X Factor. Dina Garipova, winner of The Voice in Russia is currently on stage in a pink/salmon dress and there seems to be a lot of support in the hall. On the stage, there are a number of balls, or somewhat huge lightbulbs. Four backing singers on stage, two of them male and two of them female and suddenly, the males have ballas which they throw into the audience. I am guessing that this is done for some sort of interaction. The idea of the balls is silly but this is definitely the typical Eurovision ballad by number and thus, will be qualifying with relative ease. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsvCchbBcuM

Ukraine

Zlata Ognevich is currently being carried by an extremely large man who has been termed as the giant and what the artists tries to create is a fairytale. There is a lot of dry ice on stage and as soon as we get the first key change in the beginning, the lighting is transformed. She is joined on stage by four backing vocalists as well. Zlata is wearing the tight white dress that she has used for the earlier technical rehearsals. The vocals are beyond amazing and I daresay, that she is far stronger than Dina this evening. Zlata is impeccable but the idea of the giant is clearly putting people off. I think that this will be picking votes like Russia, and this will definitely head through to the final. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1OqIGpy7lw

The Netherlands

Anouk is represent a country which has not qualified to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in eight years and is definitely sounding really strong throughout the whole performance. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists, two of which are females and another one being male. The whole set up is relatively dark but the idea was definitely well received. They wanted to create an intimate concept. In the backdrop there are also Birds flying upwards and this looks really great. Whoa! Anouk has brought her A-Game this evening and the curse of four qualifers in a row but well be broken tomorrow evening. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyTifbkd9OA

Montenegro

Ouch! The vocals in the beginning of the song were absolutely awful and that will cost them a couple of points. The hip/hop artists known as Who See are clad in astronauts and they come out of dry ice which seems to have garnered colouring. Nina Zizic definitely has improved her performance from the original notes and seems to be in good form at the moment. Montenegro have never qualified to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest and I thought that this could very much make it following the earlier rehearsal. I am less sure because not sure the juries will be going for this. This is not a qualifer in my books. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYdY0QEWrFc

Lithuania

This is not a typical single from an album of any musical artist noting that it somewhat falls in the category known as an album filler. Lithuania have somewhat never been expected to qualify in recent years despite the stunning performances on both counts but nevertheless, this is not really coming across well especially due to the fact that it is competing in the difficult semi-final. Andrius Pojavis just made two mistakes during the performance, both related to shots and that is definitely going to cost them some points. The vocals of both the lead and the backing are good but this song is just too average. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgU6DUhiS0c

Belarus

Alyona Lanskaya is still coming out of a glittery disco ball and she seems to wearing whatever was inside the ball considering she is clad in yet a glittery outfit. The choreography is definitely interesting and this type of performance will surely get the attention of the public. SVT, the broadcaster is seemingly having slight difficulties with the camera shots this evening considering that the shots this time round are also being a bit off course. The pyrotechnics though look stunning on screen and that will most likely help this uptempo number across the finish line. The vocals are good but they were much better during the afternoon rehearsal. This will be qualifying and taking Belarus through to the final for the third time. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxukN3qHffo

Moldova

The hairstyle for Aliona Moon is still weird but nevertheless, it is really attributed to the whole idea of the song being based on something out of this world. Aliona is clad in a huge white dress which changes colour according to the background. The vocals are good but I just cannot help feel that they could still be better. I am waiting to hear the high note and indeed, it comes and she does nail it this evening. The performance itself is based on the dress but nevertheless, there is a choreography going on as well and it is quite interesting. Moldova, you will be in the final and you will most likely be challenging the top five positions on the night of the final. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwX7vt7T9vA

Ireland

Ryan Dolan has definitely improved in the past couple of days noting that he has gone on from a marginal qualifier in my books to a definitely qualifier. This entry is an uptempo songs which follows a ballad as already been noted in the song before. Ryan Dolan is a newcomer to the Irish music scene and is seen on stage wearing a black outfit whilst keeping it casual. His dancers have been receiving a lot of publicity as they are good looking in the eyes of many whilst the female vocalists are a weak factor in the song as they cannot seem to get it together. Nevertheless, this is looking and sounding good for Ireland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4j9lph9xL0

Cyprus

Despina Olympiou is clad in a nude dress embroidered in black lace and the camera work for this one is just impeccable. Her interaction with the camera is coming across brilliantly and she is all alone on stage. The vocals are really strong and there is no fault in this performance. This badly needs to pick up votes from the jury this evening and I have picked it as a qualifier because it is far too beautiful. Wind machine towards the end of the song. The higher register is just brilliant and I have goosebumps. I must say that the vocal gymnastics towards the end could have been slightly better. It should qualify!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3P4iacfL1w

Belgium

Tedious! Roberto Bellarosa just cannot get a grip on this performance as his vocals are dropping notes all over the place at the moment. The backdrop with the title of the lyric is looking really good on the monitors. The juries will not be giving this song high points this evening because it is just going wrong and mid-way through the song, it seems that Roberto realises as he is picking up slightly. Ohh! he just removed his earpiece and that is definitely not a good sign. It seems that he has been encountering technical problems. Belgium looked better earlier but this is awful tonight and will not be getting thorugh to the final, definitely!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDXdNWG1WSI

Serbia

Prior to the performance, it seems that the general consensus is that this is a definite qualifier. Moje 3 are clad in outfits that resemble delicious desserts. The song is relatively original and something that has not been at the Eurovision Song Contest, at least in recent years. Serbia have been playing about with their representation. The vocals are really good this evening and somewhat better than they were in the afternoon but I am still not sure with the silly choreography. There are three backing vocalists, all female and they help support the girls. Nothing to add to this one except that it is indeed qualifying. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62IAI_KLJ8U

The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede is back on stage and she is introducing the tele-voting porition of the competition before announcing to the public that out of the sixteen (16) entries performed, a total of ten (10) will be getting through to the final.  A recap of the songs is currently on screen as the public makes the decision. I believe that the definite non-qualifers will be Slovenia, Croatia and Lithuania whilst those being close but not making it will be Austria, Montenegro and Belgium. I think that the definite qualifers are Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova and Denmark with those getting through after them are Ireland, The Netherlands, Cyprus, Belarus and Estonia

Seems like Belgium have requested a second performance due to technical issues and the European Broadcasting Union have accepted the request. This could make or break with the juries and could steal a spot from someone else, most likely Cyprus from my list! The interval act is first before the performance as music composed by Kleerup is being performed. Clips of the songs competing in the final are currently being shown following a script by Lynda Woodruf, a comical person played by Sarah Dawn Finer.

Good Afternoon! SVT, the host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest hosted all of the delegations present to an official welcome party last night where artists had the opportunity to meet their fans whilst wearing formal attire and strutting on the red carpet. This is an extremely important day considering that there will be two dress rehearsals taking place, the first one one commencing at 17:00 CET and set to run until at least 19:00 CET, bearing in mind that everything goes as supposedly. This will be important for the artists and their respective delegations in preparation for the evening dress rehearsal commencing at 21:00 CET which will be voted upon by the juries in the sixteen participating nations as well as Sweden, the United Kingdom and Italy. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Coverage of the first semi-final tomorrow eveing will be led by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Communications for escflashmalta.com, Claudia Faniello who is a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest as well as Simon Casey, former runner-up in the You're a Star competition in Ireland who has sold hundreds and thousands of records during his time with Universal Music Ireland. The clips present in this article are the ones from the second technical rehearsals last week.

Opening

Euphoria, winning entry of last years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is seemingly being transported across the continent in the opening sketch which is being shown by the broadcaster. Suddenly, we're in the inside of the arena, and there are a number of children on stage who are set to perform the song with Loreen set to follow in a couple of minutes. This is a brilliant verson of the song and was seen during the Melodifestivalen Final. It was well received and indeed, the people across Europe will enjoy it. Petra Mede is on stage following the performance and indeed, it seems that she has decided to go without any make-up on apart from the fact that she wearing what seems to be an extremely weird costume.

Austria

Natalia Kelly is clad in a white top and silvery trousers. She is clearly a stunning vocalist and the fact that she has been put on first is actually quite important because it seems that the public is warming up to it. There is a mixed reaction for this one from both the fans and the media because she has been performing it well. She is joined on stage by a number of backing vocalists who are also having a strong performance. At the moment, I just cannot see Austria getting through to the final unfortunately being unsuccessful for the second year running. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqfMf8smnCw

Estonia

Stunning! It starts off in a very monochrome sort of effect with the idea that this is back into the sixties especially due to the fact that it is in black and white. She is clad in a white outfit is attributed to her pregnancy extremely well. The vocals are just amazing this afternoon and I just cannot help think that this will surprise many by virtue of qualifying. The male backing vocalists are enjoying themselves and are performing brilliantly. The song is a bit bland but she definitely pushes it up the rankings system. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5OCKxCkRgs

Slovenia

Hannah Mancini was selected internally for this years' competition and it seems that the choice is somewhat received in a mixed manner. This is an extremely difficult song and she definitely cannot sing and dance at the same time. I have no clue how the juries will be ranking this tonight but nevertheless, this has to be one of the better performances from Hannah. Straight Into Love has an amazing choreography and this is coming across brilliantly on screens. Visually appealing but vocally disappointing especially towards the end of the performance and the bridge where she completely goes off key and shouts her way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib0oixkrPNI

Croatia

Klapa s Mora are the next act on stage and they are wearing traditional costumes which they have already stated to be outfits worn by Knights in Croatia. Another internal choice from the Balkan nation and this is definitely standing out after Slovenia. The vocals are strong and they cannot be overlooked by the juries this evening but I am not sure that the public will enjoy this as much especially after listening to Slovenia's last part of the song which was completely off key. Croatia are the dark horse and remain a marginal qualifier, especially if they managed to collect points from all across the balkan region if predicted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXA6hFXe82I

Denmark

Emmelie de Forest is still the outright favourite to triumph in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and as a matter of fact, she is clearly enjoying the status. Clad in a white flowing dress, she has decided to thump down the wind machine effect in order to have hair going everywhere during the performance. The vocals are really strong this afternoon and this is definitely making it through to the Saturday final and could very much finish in the top three but I am still not convinced that this will be the winner for some reason. It could be that I never really got into the full element of liking the song all that much.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbwijempmcs

Russia

Dina Garipova, winner of The Voice of Russia was clearly a smart choice especially considering the amount of votes that she received in the talent show. She has astonishing vocal capabilities which somewhat resemble the ones that Chiara, three time Eurovision Song Contest representative for Malta has. Dina is still wearing the pink/salmon lace embroidered outfit. Male and female backing vocalists all round to create a choir effect. This is really looking good on screens although, one has to denote that the meaning behind the use of the balls on stage is pretty much mis-understood. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8QthPkcJaI

Ukraine

A major prop from this performance is definitely the giant who is walking onto the stage with Zlata Ognevich in his arms. The female artist is joined on stage by two female and two male backing vocalists and this is actually looking pretty slick on cameras. This was definitely a wise decision in terms of attire, as she is wearing the white tight dress seen during the first technical rehearsal. I must say tthat this is sounding the best that it has been thus far. The higher vocal register sounds incredible and Ukraine is really giving me shivers this afternoon. Well Done! This could be the winner tomorrow night unless the giant completely ruins the performance in the eyes of the public.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNkwa5cYnkI

The Netherlands

Anouk, a true star from the music industry is taking to the stage for The Netherlands. She is wearing extremely casual clothing with a dark top and jeans which adds to the idea of an intimate performance. Anouk is a strong vocalist although this is not the best of performances in my opinion but it is definitely getting better. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists, two of which are female and another one which is male. The bridge is absolutely wonderful and the majesticism of the music is wonderful. This is sailing through to the finals based on the votes of the juries and a decent tele-voting tomorrow night. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNczfF3YI7k

Montenegro

This has to be the first up-tempo song in an extremely long time. The running order has been adapted well to help Montenegro stand out and most likely see them through to the final for the very first time. The whole performance is definitely bordering on crazy but nevertheless, it does look visually amazing on screen. The fact of the matter remains that should there have been more up-tempo numbers in the competition. Nina Zizic is the best thing about the song in my opinion as she has attributed strong vocals to the songs. The rappers are wearing astronaut outfits and have a tendency to emerge out of the smoke. This is sounding really good!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXfebu7RqY

Lithuania

Andrius Pojavis is in relatively casual clothing for this performance. This is one of the songs which will definitely not qualify for the final and is just making up for the numbers in the competition. Despite saying that, my foot is thumping along with it because it is slightly catchy but the draw is not helping and the fact that it is competing in the strong semi-final, isn't either. There are four backing vocalists who are somewhat choreographed. The vocals are really shaky this afternoon and it seems that he completely lost it. This is definitely bordering on the possibility of reaching last place unfortunately. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTra9YtkyTQ

Belarus

Alyona Lanskaya is nowhere to be seen but nevertheless, as soon as a disco ball is pushed onto the stage, she comes out of it and is set to give the audience the show of a lifetime especially following Lithuania which has not been receiving outstanding comments. The delegation has really put in a lot of effort for the performance and as a matter of fact, the choreography is coming across brilliantly from a visual perspective. Alyona is enjoying the performance and it seems that she will most likely be taking Belarus through to the final for the third year. At the end of the performance, there are pyros. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsYUy3JTIlg

Moldova

Aliona Moon was the favourite to represent Moldova during the national final especially having been a backing vocalist for Pasha Parfeny at last years' Eurovision Song Contest. The female artist is wearing a huge dress which changes colour according to the backdrop. This is actually one of the most intriguing performances on stage because she is coming across as extremely professional and living up to the artistry of the song itself. The vocals are relatively strong although one could easily note that she is holding back for the performance this evening which we remind you will be in front on the juries. Moldova will also be getting through though. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64uDp0oVLUE

Ireland

The stage is relatively dark in this performance noting that the backdrop being used is made up of symbols which correspond to Gaelic traditions. Ryan also keeps to the element of the song, one which is casual and fun at the very same time. The female vocalists are somewhat finding it difficult to stay in line with the track and it seems that this is an annual problem for Ireland. The vocal performance from Ryan is actually good considering that it has been having mixed reaction in recent days. I still believe that the uptempo track will get through to the final and continue the recent success of Ireland. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwfceYiFzZE

Cyprus

Despina Olympiou is kicking off this performance in acapella form and sounds on form during the first dress rehearsal. She is wearing a long nude dress with black lace embodied around it. This is coming across as absolutely beautiful both in terms of vocals and presentation but one can also note that Despina is keeping back a tad slightly for tonight. Many people have discounted Cyprus across the past couple of months but nevertheless, I am almost sure that this will be picking up enough jury votes to get through to the final. The tele-voting could be detrimental but it should be mid-table on that count. Beautiful!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQt4KrlCESY

Belgium

Roberto Bellarosa was winner of The Voice of Belgium and I just cannot understand how that actually took place considering that the vocals are extremely disappointing especially when it comes to performing in English. Love Kills is a pop-infused entry which is getting applause today and that is because this has to be the best rehearsal thus far. I think this is very much a marginal qualifier and could make it through pertaining to how excited Roberto is on the night of the semi-final, tomorrow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvWB4qkDnFc

Serbia

Moje 3 will be the final act on stage tomorrow night and one cannot help but sing along to this track for the simple reason that it is extremely fun and catchy. The three ladies, all equally beautiful are enjoying this performance and the vocals have definitely continue to improve this afternoon. Serbia have an almost perfect record and this is definitely making it through to the final where they will most likely be managing a mid-table performance. This is definitely a strong end to the semi-final though and the audience in the hall is definitely loving it. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8LTA8_fWv8

The Show (Part 2)

The performances have officially come to an end, and Petra Mede is on stage to introduce the tele-voting portion of the competition which will amounting to 50% of the final result. The recap is kept in a standard format and it seems that the graphics are quite intriguing. Petra Mede is back on stage and she is hosting in English and French apart from throwing in a couple of Swedish phrases. It seems that the tele-voting time is going to close early for this afternoon and that means that the mock qualifers will be revealed releatively quickly. Before that though, there seem to be a couple of features supporting the Eurovision Song Contest. In the interval act, there is a sketch with Petra Mede included in all historic features as well as music which is performed through the medium of dance.

Good Morning! It seems that the host broadcaster is somewhat adapating the schedule to the artists considering that rehearsals will not be commencing prior to noon. All of the delegations are expected to arrive between today and tomorrow as the countries competing in the big five will be taking to the stage for their first rehearsal on Sunday. In the meantime, the press centre has also officially opened today and therefore, accredited individuals will definitely feel more at ease with familiar surroundings. The first two days of rehearsals saw everything move in a swift manner but there where a couple of technical issues during the second two days of rehearsals and as full run throughs start taking place, it is expected that odds and ends will be corrected even by the respective delegations. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.

escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest and some of those uploaded include Gianluca from Malta and Farid Mammadova who will be representing Azerbaijan. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Today, as already noted above will see to the beginning of a run-through for each semi-final. It is expected that rehearsals will be ending at around 21:00 CET with a number of interludes in between for lunch and dinner amongst others. The first semi-final is up today and that is the show taking place this Tuesday which will be covered on escflashmalta.com by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Commications as well as Claudia Faniello, runner-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and 2012 and Simon Casey, runner-up of the Irish final back in 2003 and successful recording artist in Ireland.

Press Conference

SVT, the host broadcaster in conjuction with the European Broadcasting Union held a press conference earlier this morning to welcome all of the media to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. There were a number of questions addressed to the organisers of this years' event including with regards to the use of the press centre as from today and the possibility of any returning countries as from next year. In the meantime, Jan Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the European Broadcasting Union revealed that next years' edition of the international spectacle is set to take place on the 13th, 15th and 17th May pertaining to decisions taken up by the winning country.

Slovenia

Hannnah is clad in leather attire, and joined on stage by three male dancers and two female backing vocalists with a darkened backdrop resembling the one used in the preview video. The graphics as a matter of fact are kept extremely simple in order to keep the focus on the choreography and the singing, which frankly speaking should be distracted from. Mid-way through the performance, Hannah takes to the catwalk from where she performs the bridge of the song to a series of spotlights which light up the arena. Visually, this looks absolutely stunning but vocally, it is definitely in complete contrast. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib0oixkrPNI

Estonia

Whilst Slovenia is visually stunning, this entry is vocally stunning and one cannot help but enjoy listening to Birgit perform because there is something in her capabilities, an element that makes you want to listen to her even more. She is joined on stage by four male backing voclaists and the backdrop is mainly black with green diagrams, having additional gold ones for the chorus. The spotlights in the bridge do wonders and this is surely coming across really on the screens. This was a competent second rehearsal from Estonia but nevertheless, still remains a marginal qualifier due to coming on so early. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5OCKxCkRgs

Austria

Natalia Kelly is wearing a white top, silver like jeans and beautiful shoes to match the outfit accordingly. She is joined on stage by five backing vocalists who carry out a simple yet effective choreography. For most of the performance, the main stage is used but nevertheless, Natalia decides to strut a bit and with a wind machine in action, this does indeed look fantastic. The vocals whilst not flawless sound much better today and like Estonia which in the running order will actually come after it, this is still very marginal. The reason being that once more, this is an opening song and therefore, might be forgotten by the end unless it makes a real impact on the public. I have a sneaky feeling that the jury will love it though. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqfMf8smnCw

Croatia

One of the more traditional entries to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is Croatia who have decided to send the genre known as Klapa. The most effective element in this song is surely the vocals which are perfect. The setting is extremely beautiful noting that int he background, there are stars and what seem to be resembling the Northern Lights. The clothing used is also traditional with the group saying that it is normally worn by Croatian knights. Technically speaking, the music is quite catchy, as in the beat and therefore, I believe that this one is throwing off three entries before hand. I am thinking that this one has just turned into a qualifer in favour of the others that preceded it. Well Done, Croatia!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXA6hFXe82I

Denmark

Ohh! Someone has been to the hairdresser it seems because the hair looks absolutely lovely this morning. Emmelie is clad in a white dress, the one used for her album cover and which has been specifically designed for the Eurovision Song Contest. There is a wind maching effect relatively early and this is proving problematic for her dress because it's going up a tad too much and causing the singer to worry. The staging for this one is not simple but kept the same as it was in the national final. Three backing vocals, two females and a male and two frummers, both male. The vocals are strong for most of the song but are sounding pretty strained towards the end. Still making the top three nevertheless!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbwijempmcs

Russia

Pristine Vocals! That's the first thing in mind when one watches Dina Garipova perform. The Russian singer is wearing what seems to be a pink/salmon type of gown which has a beautiful design but slightly off colour. The staging is kept well lit noting that in the backdrop there is a mixture of pink, and blue with white being somewhat predominant in the chorus. Mid-way through the song, Dina is joined on stage by four backing vocalists who have a simple choreography which is somewhat similar to the one used by Belarus back in 2010. It has also been reported that audience members will all be given a bracelet on arrival to the arean of Tuesday which will light up during the key change towards the end. This is looking beautiful and I would not discount Russia on winning this year!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8QthPkcJaI

Ukraine

Bizarre! These one word expressions tend to describe a whole performance especially when at the beginning of the song, there's a giant clad in Roger Pontare's clothing scheme from the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest who is manhandling Zlata onto the stage. The stage is lit in completely dark blue and there is dry ice across the whole stage. Zlata is wearing what seems to be a dress made up of three colours, blue, purple and red, a candidate for the Barbara Dex Award. In the beginning, backing vocalists are airlifted onto the stage with a dumb-waiter like system. The vocals are solid as they have always been and whilst this one will sail into the finals, the whole performance is just ridiculous. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNkwa5cYnkI

The Netherlands

Anouk commences her performances on what has been donned the satellite stage and there is a certain aura surrounding he performer noting that her facial expression is somewhat flirtacious at the beginning. The backdrop is just stunning featuring a dark sky which lights up quickly when the chorus kicks in. On the main stage, there are three backing vocalists whose harmonies are strictly on cue and definitely on key in every run. This atmopsheric ballad is definitely coming across well on screen and The Netherlands should be proud of having this as their entry whatever the result. Anouk keeps to her position throughout the song which might be seen static but goes on well with the song. She is clearly enjoying the rehearsals and why not when the simplicity of this is completely trouncing the mess coming from Ukraine. Beautiful!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNczfF3YI7k

Montenegro

Smoke! Who See come out of the smoke dressed in astronaut outfits and this is clearly going to look relatively mad following the performance of The Netherlands. Funnily enough, this is not even looking half as mad as Ukraine. Nina is somewhat in the background but her vocals are solid and definitely add to the hip/hop vibe of this entry. The backdrop is a mixture of green and yellow, somewhat modern and very appealing visually. Montenegro are always in a bit of a tussle but nevertheless, they somewhat surprise people each time and might succeed in qualification this year which would definitely alter their perception of the competition, slightly!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXfebu7RqY

Lithuania

The first technical rehearsal for Lithuania was remarkably disappointing because it came across as too static especially considering that this is a competition which judges on several aspects. The stage is bathed in purple lights and Andrius is wearing a black leather jacket, black pants and a white shirt. The vocals are good but nothing extraordinary. I believe he has even altered the key in a couple of verses to make sure that all of the notes are reached. His eyes and hand movements are very innapropriate and he seems very uncomfortable. On stage, he has a number of backing vocalists, all of which are singing well but do not have a major role. Lithuania will be missing the final for the first time in three years following yet another disappointing rehearsal. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTra9YtkyTQ

Belarus

The noughties were known for these type of songs in the Eurovision Song Contest but it is remotely intriguing that they have never went out of fashion and tend to do relatively well. Alyona Lanskaya is definitely throwing everything including the kitchen sink into this performance considering that she comes out of a disco ball in the beginning and is then showered by an extraordinarily exhausting dance routine.She is as a matter of fact joined on stage by dancers and backing vocalists. The lighting is red, and yellow with some blue thrown in for contrast. The vocals are strong nevertheless, and this is definitely seemingly like a qualifier at the moment. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsYUy3JTIlg

Moldova

A star studded night is definitely the idea of the backdrop with stars and white bright lights being predominant in the performance. She is joined on stage by three dancers and a pianist although it is important to note that Pasha Parfeny is not making an appearance today. The dancers whilst not required for this entry are not distracting because the focus is definitely on the dress, one similar to Sabina Babayeva at last years' Eurovision Song Contest. It changes colour according to the feeling of the track. The vocals from Aliona was not good, or excellent but they are perfect! Many people have discussed the idea to turn to Romanian rather than stick in English and this does indeed add to the authenticity of the competition. Ohh Ohh, mid-way through the song she rises up and seems several feet high. Stunning!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cG-D8X2_xg

Ireland

Ryan Dolan is on stage for Ireland this is definitely his best day thus far since he has been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest noting that the vocals are on point and the whole act is coming together quite nicely. The backdrop is featuring a number of symbols, all related to Irish tradition and could also be seen as tattoos on the dancers and drummers respective. The whole stage act looks really polished today and the backing vocals are well tuned to the rest of the song. Truth be told, I never thought that Ireland would qualify for this years' final but my perception has just changed drastically following this rehearsal. Well Done to all of the team for a sterling performance. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwfceYiFzZE

Cyprus

A couple of years back, Malta had a couple of songs in the national selection which started acapella and they both were laid back and pretty much endearing. Cyprus is even more authentic for the simple reason that it is performed in Greek. Despina Olympiou is clad in a nude dress which is embroidered beautifully with lace. It suits her figure well and the look is just stunning. The backdrop is kept very simple with light blue throughout. It seems that she is harmonising slightly this evening and that is definitely positive because she adds more charm to the song. The vocals are just stunning today and the higher register is reached withou any issues. Perfect! With a late draw and the jury going for it, Cyprus are heading into the final!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQt4KrlCESY

Belgium

It is quite difficult to understand certain phrases when Roberto is definitely not a native speaker. Back to the stage though, it seems that the artist is overcoming his nerves. Clad in a dark suit, he is joined on stage by two female dancers and three backing vocals. All of them are somewhat enjoying this performance with the choreography being just enjoyable to watch. Like Malta, Belgium is making use of their song lyrics in the background and this is definitely a positive as they are blared out to the people. The bridge is coming across better and it seems that Roberto is feeling more confident. This is a very competent rehearsal from Belgium. I am still unsure whether this will be screaming out to reach the public and the jury but he is definitely doing his best. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvWB4qkDnFc

Serbia

Pop! The definition of this lies in the typical trash songs that come from girl-groups and Serbia have definitely gone for this type of number. The ladies are almost flirting with each other on stage in their weird colourful outfits. The staging is a mixture of pink and purple but definitely works with the whole setup. There atr three female backing vocalists on stage which are kept to the right hand side, when facing the audience. The choroegraphy of the girls is quite silly but nevertheless, this is is the closing number and people will enjoy finishing off with a thump. The vocals are much better today than they were during the first rehearsal. They are enjoying themselves on stage and therefore, that is the most important. Serbia are qualifying into the final with relative ease, possibly a top five finish in the semi-final. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8LTA8_fWv8

Good Morning! The editorial team of escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Radio International and escXtra.com will be bringing you all of the latest news directly as it happens from Malmö, Sweden. With an audio stream being presented by our latter partners, we are able to bring you also the reports from the rehearsals, something which everyone has become accustomed to in recent years. The European Broadcasting Union has decided to close off the rehearsals to the media in the first week with only viewing purposes set-up in what seems to be a cinema. The first day did not have a lot of drama noting that whilst Ukraine fell short of expectations, Estonia clearly surprised many present and that could already be the beginning of more things to come.

Today, another eight (8) countries will be rehearsing and we would like to apologise for some delays that you might encounter in our updates later on within the day. All videos will be made available by the official website during the course of the day and we would like to thank the media team for all of their sterling work. All of the entries being rehearsed today are from the first semi-final as it is officially brought to a close prior to the commencement of rehearsals for the second semi-final where Gianluca will be performing Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat on behalf of Malta. The second part of the first semi-final are most quiet when it comes to analysing on who could possibly qualify but nevertheless, one will be sure of a couple of surprises, maybe in the form of Cyprus and Moldova who are somewhat changing the opinion of people. Once more, we ask you to be patient whilst staying tuned to escflashmalta.com during the whole forthnight.

Montenegro

Well, kicking off things today is Montenegro, a country which is yet to succeed in terms of qualification. Nevertheless, things are very positive for this entry noting that 'Who See' along with Nina Zizic have no tuning issues and are making the best possible use of the stage. There had been doubts over whether this type of song would have been performed well when it came to the live performance but after a couple of runs, this seems to be the case. As expected, this is visually stunning in the same manner that Slovenia as an up-tempo stood out. It is slightly darker in the beginning with green smoke and all and lightens up towards a refrain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtfyynKXoLg

Belgium

Roberto Bellarosa was the winner of the first edition of The Voice of Belgium but it makes you wonder at how bad the other contestants actually were because it seems that the vocals are not getting better considering that there are multiple runs. The staging of this song is done in a clever manner noting that there are two female dancers and three backing vocalists. Everyone is also donning black attire for some reason. The backdrop is relatively simple but laid down in blue with the lyrics of the chorus making an appearance. The song itself is modern and catchy and could be in with a chance should Roberto improve his vocals. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRSvBAG4lYE

Belarus

This is one of the entries which prior to the start of rehearsals was touted to qualify with relative ease and achieve the second best result for Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest. Alyona looks absolutely stunning and everything on stage seems to be shining in glitter. She is joined on stage by a number of people including three backing vocalists and teo male dancers. Everyone is clothed at this point in time and one could easily notice that they are rehearsing in full costumes. The vocals are on key but the choreography apparently needs a bit of work according to our colleagues watching the rehearsal as it is falling a bit flat. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8VnNvQ0qOA

Moldova

Aliona Moon, last years' backing vocalist for Moldova takes to the stage in a dress which is made out of LED's, similar to the one she had in the national final and to the one used by Sabina Babayeva when she represented Azerbaijan last year. She kicks off the rehearsal singing in English before she switches to Romanian. The vocals themselves were slightly erratic in the first run but were perfected along the way as more run throughs took place. At the end of the song, she is lifted up slightly into the air creating a very intriguing effect, Melodifestivalen style. The press enjoyed the performance and this should sail onto the final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D737k8MR7Us

Ireland

One of the most successful countries to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest is Ireland and they have entered the final for the past three years. This year was looking like a far simpler task but I am not entirely getting the element behind Only Love Survives. I was not a fan of the song during the national selection having supported Aimee and Crashing Down. In Scandinavia there has been a lot of positive acclaim but even though the backing vocals are pulling this one through, Ryan is still pretty much ineffective. The idea of having male shirtless dancers might get it a better tele-vote than required. It might be an issue to get jury votes but nonetheless, this is a technical rehearsal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75lDzqIuza4

Cyprus

One of the few female ballads in the second part of the draw within this first semi-final. On the night, this will be followed by Roberto Bellarosa and therefore, Despina need not do much in order to stand out. Cyprus have internally selected a simple ballad and as a matter of fact things are extremely simple in terms of presentation which is also well thought of at this stage. Despina is wearing a gorgeous nude dress with black lace surrounding it profusely. The vocals are stunning, better than I expected especially towards the end but nevertheless, this is working well following Ireland and preceding Belgium. I think that this could very much manage to qualify, taking the place of what could have been an earlier definite qualifier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR6Y2pxKFPs

Lithuania

Andrius Pojavis who will actually be performing in the same slot that Roberto Bellarosa performed earlier this afternoon is now on stage and he is wearing black leather, which seems to be a precedent when it comes to male soloists. In a number of performances and video interviews, the performer has not come across well but rather scary and that is still the case despite having a good set of vocals. He is also joined on stage by four backing vocals, three of them being male with the other one being female. According to our colleagues within the theatre where rehearsals are being viewed, there was no applause at all for this one and that could only mean that Lithuania might be staying in the semi-final for the first time in three years. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1T-RVZ26Z4

Serbia

Once more, the background of vocals becomes noted for the simple reason that the trio known as Moje 3 were the top three of The Voice in Serbia. They have decided to completely alter their outfits from the national final which is not a bad idea, unless you believe that the outfits they have come up with are more intriguing. Before they used to tell a story through the outfits but this element has now been lost. There is a rather hectic choreography by the three girls which does affect their voices but not to the extent of falling flat. This does sound pretty nice and considering the track that precedes it, somewhat sounds like a masterpiece. Serbia will once more move into the final where they won't cause any harm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m47J4ago1Q0

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 03:30

Belgium: Reviewing the track 'Love Kills'

Since the re-introduction of the juries within the Eurovision Song Contest, music professionals have become an integral part of the final result and this has been noted in the commercial success of the winning entries in recent years. escflashmalta.com has engaged a panel of professionals to analyse this years' entries. All of the information is obtained from the official website of the international spectacle and indeed, pertaining to the running order as decided by the producers, Belgium will be performing in slot number fifteen (15) from the sixteen (16) entries which will be competing during the first semi-final. RTBF, the broadcaster resposible for the participation of Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest will be represented by the song Love Kills co-written between Iain James and Jukka Immonen with vocals provided by Roberto Bellarosa.

Roberto Bellarosa is originally from Wanze, Walloon part of Belgium and his childhood was ruled by the number of football goals scored by the men in his family. At age 9, realising that Roberto would never become a sporting hero, his parents enrolled him at the Music Academy of Huy to study the rudiments of music theory. During singing lessons, his teacher was impressed with his voice and encouraged him to pursue his training at a higher level. Roberto followed this advice and took on singing lessons. After acquiring more technique, he enrolled himself in a few singing talent contests, and decided to participate at The Voice Belgique. Backstage, he used to claim that his singing is mainly aimed to convey emotions to the audience. His young age, his soft and fragile tone of voice, seduced an increasing audience who largely voted for him during the rounds. As the first winner of the Belgian edition of The Voice, Roberto benefited from a large exposure in the media. He then pursued his musical adventure and artistic career by touring with the Tour des Restos du Coeur Belge (including Patrick Fiori, Amel Bent, etc.) and by participating to The Voice tour. 

This was followed by the release of his first single Je Crois and his first album in September 2012, Ma Voie was written by Quentin Mosimann, an international artist and his former coach in The Voice. Initially announced as an album of classic French popular music, Ma Voie evolves along its tracks. It unfolds a subtle balance between pop and modern, reflecting this young 18 year old thoughts and questions about the mystery of mankind, love, and the world surrounding him. And dreams can really come true as it happened for Roberto when he was selected to represent Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest. After submitting three songs during a radio contest, Love Kills was selected as the Belgian entry for that annual international prestigious event.  Roberto's musical inspiration came from new influences he met during his recent encounters and experiences, like for example his participation in the TV programme We Love Celine dedicated to Celine Dion, one of the most beautiful voices in Eurovision's history and for whom he performed the song Ce n’était qu’un Rêve. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JNg9FjCSwM

We are now in presence of a young man who has gained in confidence and who knows what he wants and firmly believes in his dream of becoming a recognised artist through his work and for his talent. The Eurovision Song Contest is offering him the opportunity to explore new horizons and opening him to a wide range of new experiences. It is in that context that he boarded on a plane for the very first time to travel to Helsinki for the final recording of Love Kills, and will be again traveling to Sweden to go to Malmo in May. Roberto also felt the greatest pleasure and pride when performing I Dreamed a Dream during the opening night of the movie Les Misérables in Brussels. He was able to convey to the press and the public present at this special occasion, his emotions and excitement of being able to realise his own dream and wishing everybody to pursue their own. This internal selection was quite important for Belgium who have been known to succeed in this manner. They will be hoping to reverse last years' disappointing result and return back to the final. The draw seems to be of great help but the live performance will definitely be make or break.

1986 is the year which Belgium will always remember having managed to finish at the top of the leaderboard with the song J'Aime La Vie performed by Sandra Kim. It is important to denote that the young performer had actually been thirteen (13) at the time and supposedly ineligible to perform but this came out several years later. Despite attempts by the first runner-up to change the result, it proved futile because at the end of the day, it was quite a clear choice. The fifty-fifth (55th) entry from Belgium will of course be Love Kills by Roberto Bellarosa and he will be trying to emulate the result achieved in 2010 when Tom Dice took to the stage with the track Me and My Guitar, winning the semi-final and finishing in sixth place. Since the introduction of the semi-final, that is the only time that the country got through to the final, being extremely close the following year in 2011 with the song With Love Baby performed by Witloof Bay finishing in eleventh place. The real surprise for Belgium was definitely when Kate Ryan failed to qualify with the song Je T'Adore despite being tipped for huge success across the continent.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 67%

Magnus Kaxe: Modern Coldplay-ish song with electro-vibes. Simple with beautiful melody and lyrics. My only concern is Roberto's voice that sounds autotuned. I hope he can perform the song well on stage.

Lina Eriksson: I like this. Feels more modern than some of the other songs. To me, this is a good radio-song. The question is if it's enough hearing it one time for the voters to take it to their hearts? Either way I think we'll hear it on the radio this summer.

Matt Mercieca (Muxu): I like this one. The diction needs work, but I love the way the song builds up, and it has that current sound, the kind of stuff you hear on the radios, not very fond of the lyrics.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9uExokZcIM

Published in Editorials

SVT, host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union and the Reference Group have revealed their verdict with regards to the running order as decided by the producers of the showcase. This will be the very first time that the draw has not been done in a random manner but nevertheless, the countries were drawn into their respective semi-finals and also the first and second part of the running order based on the results of the allocation draw which took place earlier this year. The only draw that had to be done in a random order was that for the host country of Sweden so that the producers could not inflict it in any wrongdoing, and as a matter of fact, was drawn in sixteenth (16th) position within the final.

Tomorrow, co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat with vocals provided by Gianluca on behalf of Malta was drawn to perform in slot number #6 noting that the country had been drawn in the first half of the second semi-final for the second  consecutive year with This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja having to start at slot number #4 last year. Yesterday, in an interview with our colleagues from Eurovision Ireland, it was revealed that Gianluca will be flying to Malmö, Sweden alongside the team that accompanied him on stage in Malta as well as his sister, Dorothy Bezzina who will be accompanying as a vocal coach. Marry Me by Krista Siegfrids will be performing prior to Malta on behalf of Finland whilst following us will be Samo Shampioni performed by Elitsa & Stoyan for Bulgaria. The full running order can also be seen below.

First Semi-Final (14th May)

  1. Austria
  2. Estonia
  3. Slovenia
  4. Croatia
  5. Denmark
  6. Russia
  7. Ukraine
  8. The Netherlands
  9. Montenegro
  10. Lithuania
  11. Belarus
  12. Moldova
  13. Ireland
  14. Cyprus
  15. Belgium
  16. Serbia

Second Semi-Final (16th May)

  1. Latvia
  2. San Marino
  3. F.Y.R. Macedonia
  4. Azerbaijan
  5. Finland
  6. Malta
  7. Bulgaria
  8. Iceland
  9. Greece
  10. Israel
  11. Armenia
  12. Hungary
  13. Norway
  14. Albania
  15. Georgia
  16. Switzerland
  17. Romania
A brief look at the running orders for both the semi-finals, it seems that the European Broadcasting Union has indeed tried to seperate the genres of the competing entries as much as possible but nevertheless, it was quite difficult to do so within the first half of the first semi-final noting that there are several ballads. On the other hand, the second semi-final looks much more balanced. The slot which Kurt Calleja occupied last year in the second semi-final has been allocated to none other than Azerbaijan, hosts of last years' competition. It is also worth pointing out that Austria and Serbia will open and close the first semi-final with Latvia and Romania doing the same within the second semi-final. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available. 
 
Source: Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAzmvBcUPuc
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