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.
A simple yet powerful performance where the vocals were spot on. That we saw from Ireland at first rehearsal today. Will that be enough to secure Ireland a good result this year?
Ireland is competing in the first semi-final as song number 18. They are represented by Ryan O’Shaughnessy and the song Together, which is written by Ryan himself in collaboration with Mark Caplice and Laura Elizabeth Hughes.
1 First Rehearsal
2 How Ryan O’Shaughnessy was selected
3 Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest
The song starts with Ryan all in black, at the front of the stage playing his white acoustic guitar. A solitary lamp post is shining behind him and we get through the first chorus. At the second verse, Ryan looks over and a female pianist is accompanying him. Two background female singers can also be seen. Then over a bridge from behind, Ryan’s dancers appear after yet another night out. Spotting the beam/bench centre stage ready for them, they dance in the quiet glow of the evening. Fortunately they are wearing warm coats as it starts to snow. Could be any month in Ireland, true, but we will assume it’s winter time.
The whole performance though ends looking like a nice Christmas postcard or a Holiday movie to warm the season. That then begs the question why Ryan’s dancers aren’t staying home to catch up on the Christmas movies on TV. Talking of warm, Ryan’s vocals were excellent, reaching all the high notes needed in the song. Comforting like a hot pot of Irish tea, can we dare dream that this will return the Emerald Isle to the final.
How Ryan O’Shaughnessy was selected
At the end of January, Irish broadcaster RTÉ announced Ryan O’Shaughnessy as their participant for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. He had been internally selected to represent the record holding country. Fans curious to hear what the singer, known from talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice of Ireland, however had to wait until March to hear the song.
Ryan will follow in the footsteps of his uncle Gary O’Shaughnessy, who represented Ireland back at the 2001 contest.
See alsoRyan O’Shaughnessy releases Eurovision entry Together
Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest
Flying hall, falling deep. That could be the title telling Ireland’s Eurovision story. The country holds the record as most winning country with seven victories, three of them in a row from 1992 to 1994.
Legendary Johnny Logan has won for Ireland three times. Twice performing himself; in 1980 with What’s Another Year? and again in 1987 with the stunning Hold Me Now. In 1992, he wrote Linda Martin’s victory entry Why Me?.
In recent years however, Ireland has struggled at the contest. Since the last Irish win in 1996, Sweden has won three times. They are now only one victory away from matching Ireland’s record.
Prior to the 2018 contest, the last time Ireland reached the final was back in 2013 when Ryan Dolan represented the country with the song Only Love Survives.
Two former Eurovision winners are among those, who decide the winner of Eurovision 2018. The list of the 215 jury members include many familiar names from the Eurovision past.
215 people from the music industry – five from each of the 43 participating countries – will cast their votes in the Semi-Finals and Grand Final of this year’s contest. They decide 50 % of the result. Among singers, dj’s, composers, journalists and other from the music business, we have several former Eurovision entrants.
In the Irish jury we find the Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh. She won on homeground with the song In your eyes back in 1993. This year she’ll pick the artist to follow in her footsteps 25 years later. She is joined by another Eurovision winner, Emmelie de Forest (2013), who’s got a seat in the Danish jury.
Among others we also find those in the 43 juries: Nathan Trent (Austria 2017), Bob Savenberg (Belgium 1991), Tom Dice (Belgium 2010), Laura Tesoro (Belgium 2016), Mary Roos (Germany 1972 and 1984), Aminata (Latvia 2015), Amber (Malta 2015), Cristina Scarlat (Moldova 2014), Guri Schanke (Norway 2007), Hanne Haugsand (Norway 2000), Michał Szpak (Poland 2016) and Bojana Stamenov (Serbia 2015).
Several participants from national finals across Europe have also been selected as jury members. In Portugal all five jury seats are taking by participants form this year’s national final, the Festival da Canção. It includes Anabela, who represented Portugal in 1993 with the song A cidade (até ser dia)
In Denmark one of the jurymembers is Lasse Melding, who participated in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2018. However, he has already been judging this year’s songs on the fansite Eurovoix as a part of the Danish jury in Eurojury 2018. That might turn out to be a problem for him, as it’s not allowed for jury members to speak public about how they will vote.
The individual votes from the 215 jury members will be reveled by EBU after the Grand Final is over.
After Mikolas Josef’s first rehearsal today, he faced some medical problems. The doctors in the arena have checked him immediately, but he was transported to the hospital, so everything is under their control.
This very early morning, Mikolas was picked up around 3 am and together with the Czech delegation, they made their way to Lisbon. After the landing, they went to Altice arena for the first rehearsals. Maybe it was a combination of this early flight and the backflip that Mikolas prepared for the end of his performance, but after he was done with rehearsing, he needed to be checked by the doctors in the arena.
See alsoCzech Republic comes bang up to date with Mikolas Josef and Lie To Me
In the beginning, it looked just like a pulled muscle or something wrong with his back, but just to be sure, Mikolas was taken to the hospital to do an X-ray. As Mikolas wasn’t at the Meet & Greet after the rehearsal, it was up to the Head of Delegation Jan Bors and Head of Press Kryštof Šámal to calm down the press and fans. It looked good and everybody hoped that Mikolas will soon be able to continue in rehearsing, maybe with a few days rest only. Unfortunately, a few hours ago, Mikolas himself published an announcement that things are getting worse and he is already in a second hospital because at that moment he wasn’t able to even move. He was going to have an MRI to find out where the problem is. It looked like there may be a prolapsed disc in the area of the neck and the spine.
Hopefully, there will be some better news soon about the condition of Mikolas. Thousands of his fans around Europe are now sending him a lot of love, energy and “Get Well Soon” wishes on his Instagram account as well as on his Facebook page. We are joining them and we hope to see Mikolas Josef on the stage on Tuesday 8th May when the first seminal of Eurovision 2018 takes place. Mikolas is set to perform his entry Lie To Me, fifth. You can watch a snippet of his rehearsal in the video below.
At their first rehearsal Equinox reveals a dark, futuristic and mysterious performance. It leaves us all wondering if Bulgaria might be on to another great result this year.
Bulgaria is competing in the first semi-final as start number 10. The country is represented by Equinox and their song Bones, which is written by Borislav Milanov, Trey Campbell, Joacim Persson and Dag Lundberg.
1 First rehearsal
2 How Equinox was selected
3 Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest
Bulgaria has been a favorite even before the song or artist were selected. When Equinox was chosen Bulgaria was still in the group of favorites this year and now we have seen their rehearsal they still are.
The first Bulgarian rehearsal reveals that Equinox has a very dark and futuristic performance with light flashing constantly in the beginning and group members disappearing in the dark and appearing again. At the same time, it sounds and looks like a message from the future about how you can and will lose the chains holding you down. At the end of the song the members of Equinox are all shown very short and quickly and there is some sort of light from above – like the light of God.
During the song the five members of Equinox are standing on a big glass podium. Later they are walking around and shifting places. They are very good vocally and sing in perfect harmony.
How Equinox was selected
In the past, Bulgaria has used both national finals as well as internal selections to find their Eurovision repesentative. This year, they used an internal selection, but a more open one of its kind. An open call for submissions resulted in 202 possibilities. They were cut down to 13 projects, which were announced by song titles.
On the 12th of March, broadcaster BNT presented Equinox and the song Bones as the Bulgarian participants for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
See alsoIs Bulgaria aiming for another top 5 result with Equinox' Bones?
Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest
12 Eurovision appearances, but only three times in the final. Statistic clearly tell that things hasn’t been easy for Bulgaria when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest. When they do qualify however, they are guaranteed a success. All three times, Bulgaria made it to the final, they ended in top 5.
First Bulgarian success came in 2007, in the country’s third participating year. Elitsa & Stoyan’s Water charmed Europe into awarding them a 5th place. They were followed by six years in a row where the country failed to reach the final.
Due to financial difficulties, Bulgaria did not take part in 2014 and 2015. They however came back stronger after that. Poli Genova finished fourth in 2016, and the year after Kristian Kostov secured a second place with his Beautiful Mess.