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Newsletter: Winners and Losers of the First Semi Final Rehearsals Written by on May 1, 2018

In the latest edition of the ESC Insight newsletterJohn Paul Lucas reports live from Lisbon on the fallout from the first batch of Semi One Eurovision rehearsals…

With the ESC Insight team now fully embedded in sunny Lisbon, you can look forward to two weeks of extensive Eurovision coverage on the site, on the podcast and in our regular newsletter. In the latest edition of the latter, we bring you the latest reactions from the first round of Semi One rehearsals, plus a look at the just-released list of this year’s national jurors and a round-up of what some of our friends in the Press Centre have been up to…

As a taster, here’s a quick-fire roundup of the Semi One rehearsals that impressed and disappointed us the most during the first two days…

The ESC Insight team has also been carefully following the Semi One rehearsals. Here are some personal highlights from the team…

Ewan Spence
Gaining Confidence: Albania
There’s a certain amount of confidence required to be a fully formed rock star. There needs to be even more confidence to be able to portray that without being cocky. Albania’s Eugent Bushpeppa is a rock star, he has the confidence, and he knows how to be approachable through the camera.

Losing Confidence: Estonia
Speaking of confidence, Estonia should be showing plenty of it. Elina has the dress she wanted, the song she wanted, and the staging she wanted. But the vital spark is missing. All the right notes, all in the right order, but it’s not quite enough…

John Egan
Going Up: Cyprus
I’m feeling validated on predicting a top 10 for Cyprus – if she can deliver the vocal. She can certainly deliver the performance, and she’s super comfortable onstage.

Cause for Concern: Ireland
This is the best Irish entry in several years, but they need to leverage the viewing room to streamline it and let the focus fall where it should – on Ryan. Which can totally be done.

Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Doing Well: Austria
I’m struggling to pick my best rehearsal as a lot of my favourites are in this first semi final and all of them have delivered. I’m going to go with Austria because that really came out of the blue for me and I do love a surprise. Cesár is using the full elevation capabilities of the stage platforms and completing a full circuit of the catwalk – all whilst being vocally flawless, looking like a rock star and delivering another awesome song from Symphonix. Well done Austria!

Disappointing: Macedonia
I think worst rehearsal for me was Macedonia and I hate saying that because the song is fresh and different and I have friends in the Macedonian delegation. However staging concepts and Macedonia tend to not be the best of friends these days – and let’s not even talk about the styling and outfits. Every year I just want them to get it right, and every year they don’t.

I chose this mainly because I am disappointed, because the songs is fresh and different and I every year I just want them to get it right and every year they don’t.

John Lucas
Sitting Pretty: Finland

A messy national final performance did major damage to Saara Aalto’s perceived momentum, but she and her team have done a great job at creating a tighter, more focused package without sacrificing the OTT element that’s essential to who she is as an artist. The Finns are back in the race.

In The Danger Zone: Greece
As a sucker for this kind of dramatic Balkan balladry, I’m really willing Greece to do well this year. However, the staging for Oniro mou isn’t so much underwhelming as it is nonexistent. It’s all quite plain and forgettable – and with so many other countries upping their game in this semi, that’s just not good enough.

Ellie Chalkley
Astonishing: Cyprus
Alarming: Cyprus

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About The Author: John Lucas

A writer and content marketing professional with a passion for getting lost in strange cities and a strange fascination with micro states, John has been with ESC Insight since 2015 and has also had his writing featured in publications including The Guardian, Popjustice and So So Gay. Tweetable @JLucas86.

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