Very competent vocally but nothing to add apart from that. Cesár’s first rehearsal was marked by a big platform that elevated the singer throughout the majority of the performance. Special effects or any sort of choreography were left behind.
Austria is competing in the first semi-final as start number 13. They are represented by Cesár Sampson and the song Nobody But You, which is written by Boris Milanov, Sebastian Arman, Joacim Persson and Johan Alkenäs.
1 First rehearsal
2 How Cesár Sampson was selected
3 Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest
On a huge platform, that’s where Cesár Sampson stays for almost his entire performance. Before the song’s bridge, the Austrian singer dressed in a rather casual way featuring a latex t-shirt, gets off that big lift and runs through the stage’s bow to just finish his performance back where he started.
Besides the platform that elevates the singer through Nobody But You, Cesár’s performance features no special effects but a lot of smoke and an image of himself on the back.
Overall, it was a very simplistic performance with no choreography despite him using a face microphone. With this being said, it’s not shocking that his vocals were impeccable as the performance featured very little moves.
How Cesár Sampson was selected
For the second year in a row, Austrian broadcaster ORF internally selected their Eurovision Song Contest participant. Cesár Sampson was presented back in December 2017 together with Boris Milanov and Sebastian Arman as the songwriters.
In March 2018, the song Nobody But You was released.
See alsoAustrian entry released – Cesár Sampson presents Nobody But You
Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956, and in it’s second year, Austria joined the fun. Over the years their results have been quite mixed.
Two victories, in 1966 and again in 2014, but also eight times finishing last, that’s the overall stats for Austria’s Eurovision journey. As the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, the country failed to reach the final four times. The last time that happened dates back to 2013 where Natália Kelly didn’t Shine as much as the song title indicated. Her poor result was however quickly forfotten as she was followed by Conchita Wurst who secured the country their second win.
in 2015, The Makemakes represented Austria on home-field, and unfortunately scored the worst ever for a host country. Together with neighbouring Germany, they failed to get one single point.
With an even stronger performance and a staircase to remember, Saara Aalto’s Monsters now stands out clearer than it did in the National Final. It’s been fine tuned and now looking like a monster of a contender.
Finland is competing in the first semi-final with start number 15. The country is represented by Saara Aalto and the song Monsters, which is written by Saara herself in collaboration with Joy Deb, Linnea Deb and Ki Fitzgerald.
1 First Rehearsal
2 How Saara Aalto was selected
3 Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest
Poor Saara Aalto, at the moment has every Eurovision fan’s eye on every move she makes. So it is with high expectations that she took to the stage to begin rehearsals. Standing on a blue laser mountain, Saara gets a trick she used with Domino out of the way first, by getting spun upside down. That’s how to re-use a gimmick. Two sets of lighted stairs are on either side of the mountain, for Saara to descend.
With all the singing she’s been doing lately her voice is still in fine enough form. Maybe she just missed a few notes but nothing to be concerned about. She has two dancing men and two dancing ladies, in blue or grey, who we can assume are her Monsters.
The stage is again the light blue and lavender that a few of the acts are using this year. Saara performed with a confidence and an attitude that she is out to win this year for Finland. Not to mention a pair of knee length sparkly boots, in which she struts around the stage, with her dancers following behind her. At the end she jumps from her mountain in a stage dive moment and is caught by her stage monsters.
On the final rehearsal, perhaps with a nod to Finland’s only winner by Lordi, fireworks explode on stage, to much cheering from the audience. Saara doesn’t waste a moment of her time on stage.
How Saara Aalto was selected
Back in November 2017, Finnish broadcaster YLE presented a new format of their national selection UMK (Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu). One artists would sing three songs, and a combination of public voting and an international jury representing eight countries, would select which song will represent the country at Eurovision.
Saara Aalto who twice finished second at their national selection, and also ended up as runner up in X-Factor UK 2016, was the artist chosen by the broadcaster. Three songs were, ahead of the national final, released one by one: Monsters, Domino and Queens.
The national final took place on the 3rd of March, and with a score of 183 (159 for Domino in second place), Monsters was chosen as the Finnish entry for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
See alsoFinland decides – Saara will sing 'Monsters' at Eurovision 2018
Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest
It is quite mixed results, we have seen Finland get over the years. The country came last not less than 10 times, in three cases even scoring the dreaded nil points. Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, the country failed to reach the final seven times – in average every second year. In recent years though, the country weren’t in the final in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Did Saara Aalto feel this pressure on her when she accepted the challenge of representing the country in 2018?
But all is not bad for Finland. In 2006, the rock band Lordi secured the country their very first win – and what a win. The iconic performance of Hard Rock Hallelujah will forever stand out in the Eurovision history books. Through the years, Finland have earned several 6th and 7th places as well, but their victory is the only time the country reached top 5.
Temptations and reviving from the ashes were the thoughts behind the new video for Melovin’s Under The Ladder. The arty video sees Melovin burn in the fire, to be revived as a new person. Does the new video give us a glimpse into what Melovin’s performance might look like in the semi final?
Melovin has released the new video for Under The Ladder, the song which he hopes, will bring victory once again to Ukraine. Fire is the re-occurring theme with this track. Melovin used fire in his national final performance and it has been used again with this video, keeping inline with his lyrics “Fire lasts forever”. This video replaces the live performance at vidbir as the official video.
The new video took 20 hours to shoot and intense for the entire crew. The fire used in the video was stronger than anticipated and there was a lot of dust which made recording it difficult. The video shows Melovin battling with the elements, trying to survive. He is being lured by the temptress who is played by Julia Gershun (Top Model 2017 winner). The video ends with Melovin playing at a burning piano, Melovin himself catches fire and is eventually reborn.
The director Taras Holubkov is a well known director in his native Ukraine. He has worked with the likes of MONTIAK, Skryabin and Artem Pivovarov as well as producing TV commercials for large companies such as MasterCard.
Yianna Terzi came on to rehearse her song Onerio Mou and if there’s on thing that can be said, it is this entry couldn’t be anything else but Greece – with all the elements that usually go into the Greek entry
Greece is competing in the first semi-final as start number 14. The country is represented by Yianna Terzi and her song Oneiro Mou (My dream), which is written by Terzi herself along with Aris Kalimeris, Dimitris Stamatiou and Mihalis Papathanasiou.
1 First Rehearsal
2 How Yianna Terzi was chosen
3 Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest
Yianna is dressed in a long draping Greek style white dress, with a flowing scarf like feature around her arms. Vocally she is totally in tune producing very effortless powerful notes. She doesn’t move around much as the spotlight beams down from above her head. The pan pipe and drum introduction is very strong, as is the unseen backing vocalists. Yianna appears to prefer to be alone on stage. This is very reminiscent of Greece 1992.
The stage is awash with blue and spotlights shine of and on in the background. There is very little movement but after the instrumental break, Yianna raises her hand to show of the scarf like accessory and then drops to her knees without touching the ground, for a last chorus. She should be happy with these rehearsals. Oh and the wind machine was put to good use.
The last rehearsal saw the used of more yellow lights in the back ground before the screen changed to the press conference of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, so any other effects that she uses were not seen.
How Yianna Terzi was chosen
Greece had everything lined up for a national final. Five record companies had submitted each their entry, the songs were released and the broadcaster was putting the final touches on the final… but then followed a scandal where first two entries were removed from the line-up as they didn’t provide the ethnic Greek sound broadcaster ERT were looking for. Later, two more entries were officially disqualified for not being able to provide the financial guarantee that they were able to pay for the Eurovision participation. It didn’t help that the record companies behind those entries claimed that they were never informed about the money.
With Yianni Terzi as the only act left for the national final, she was chosen with no competition.
See alsoA Greek tragedy or comedy? Yianna Terzi to represent Greece in Lisbon
Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest
One victory, and ten times in top 10 after the country returned to the contest in 2001 following a three years absence. In newer years things have overall been good for Greece, which had a perfect strike in terms of qualifying for the final – up until 2016. Argo’s Utopian Land finished 16th in its semi-final and as thus, weren’t near making it.
The bad placement from Argo is however not the only thing which indicates that Greece are in need to improve. Their last top 10 result came in 2013 where they claimed Alcohol Is Free. Since that time, the best result earned is a 19th place in the final.
Fun, cheerful, and completely in a world of its own, is the overall impression the first rehearsal from Swiss brother and sister duo, Zibbz gave us.
Switzerland is competing in the first semi-final in position 17. They are represented by Zibbz and their song Stones, which is written by the two siblings, Corrine and Stefan Gfeller with Laurell Barker.
1 First Rehearsals
2 How Zibbz was selected
3 Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest
A large bridge extending across the stage is the first thing you notice about the Swiss performance. Wearing a red cowboy hat and looking kind of like Britney Spears, Corrine struts around making full use of the stage. An early shout out to the audience is not a good thing, as may fall flat if the audience don’t fully know the song.
Brother Stefan has a little less to do, other than bang his drums as the backing track plays behind the duo.
The live vocals are exactly like the recorded version so there were no problems there. The duo have to be commended for filling up the large stage, despite just being the two of them. As an extra bonus Corrine heads right down to the edge of the stage to get as close to the audience as she can. Phenomenal stage presence, will it be enough to take Switzerland back to the final.
How Zibbz was selected
On the 4th of February, Swiss TV kicked off for their Die Entscheidungsshow. Six songs, all in English competed to represent the country at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
With a combination of public vote and the use of an international jury representing seven countries, the duo Zibbz won a very clear victory with 153 points ahead of runner up Alejandro Reyes who scored 120 points.
See alsoZibbz to represent Switzerland at Eurovision 2018 with the song Stones
Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest
When the Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956, Switzerland was one of the founding countries – and with now late Lys Assia they won the very first edition. The country won again in 1988 with Canadian super star Celine Dion and the song Ne partez Pas Sans Moi.
As semi-finals were introduced in 2004, things started to get tough for Switzerland. They have missed the final ten times, and with the four songs that did make it, only once did the country score a top 10 result. That came when Vanilla Ninja represented them with the song Cool Vibes in 2005 and came eight.
In Copenhagen, Denmark in 2014, Sebalter’s Hunter Of Stars scored a 13th place. The following three years, Switzerland didn’t manage to reach the final.
Lights, a set of big rocks and a strong vocal. That’s what we can expect from Sevak Khanagyan’s performance during the show’s first semi final.
Armenia is competing in the first semi-final with start number 16. The country is represented by Sevak Khanagyan and the song Qami, which is written by Sevak himself in collaboration with Anna Danielyan and Viktorya Maloyan.
1 First rehearsal
2 How Sevak Khanagyan was selected
3 Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest
Similarly to a few countries in this Eurovision edition, Armenia made some investment in their stage with a few props. In Sevak’s case, the singer brought with him what seems to be a set of rectangular rocks that form a circle around him. Qami is performed in the center of that circle entirely and things only change when the last chorus kicks in.
Once that happens, an entertaining set of lights take place and give a boost to the performance that until that point is somewhat monotonous and only standsout due to the different angles of the cameras that, once in a while, cross the rocks and give a pretty view of the stage.
As for Sevak, the Armenian singer is wearing a light yet long gray jacket that goes along with the staging. He doesn’t really move, only during the song’s big notes towards the end. Just like the singer has gotten us used to, the vocals were certainly the highlight of the performance and could score some big supporters just for that.
How Sevak Khanagyan was selected
The Armenian national selection Depi Evratesil consisted of two semi-finals and a final. Late December 2017, the broadcaster AMPTV announced 20 acts ready to compete for the honour of representing the country at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The selection offered quite some drama this year.
On the 19th and 22nd of February, two semi-finals found the 10 finalists competing in the final on the 25th of February. Former Eurovision participant Tamar Kaprelian was an early fan favourite, but surprisingly she failed to be one of the five qualifying from the first semi-final. Afterwards she accused the producers of rigging the result to get her out. After the second semi-final, Tamar put her attention on one of the participants, Asmik Shiroyan, who she accused of copying her ideas.
In the final, Sevak Khanagyan won both the jury points as well as the televoting with Nemra as runner up.
See alsoSevak Khanagyan has been chosen to represent Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018
Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest
11 appearances, 10 finals and seven times a top 10 result. Armenia is one of the most successful countries that are yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest.
They debuted back in 2006 where André sang Without Your Love to an 8th place. In the following four years, the country continued their success always coming in among the ten best. In 2011, it became clear however that even Armenia could fail. Despite being quite catchy, Emmy’s Boom Boom didn’t qualify for the final. To date, that is however their only miss.
In 2014, Aram Mp3’s Not Alone came in 4th matching the best results achieved by Sirusho in 2008 with the song Qélé, Qélé.