ESC United is live at the Eurovision 2014 Press Centre, where we will give you updates throughout the day’s rehearsals. Come back regularly and refresh for updates. We’ll be documenting today’s events right as they happen, as well as our personal impression.

As a reminder, we are not allowed to tape the actual rehearsals during the first round.

Matt, Madeleine, Olivia, Gerry, Ahmet and Chris will bring you the latest news & updates. You can tweet us your questions about the rehearsals @ESCunited, or post them HERE  and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.


The third day of rehearsals  is kicking off with Conchita Wurtz from Austria.

The performance opens with dark lighting and gentle smoke showing only the slim silhouette of Conchita. Near the end of the first verse she appears out of the spotlight.

She is wearing a dark glittery fitted blazer and full length black pencil skirt.

Red fire-like lights appear during chorus and more smoke begins to fill the stage.

The backdrop becomes engulfed in roaring flames which transform into ‘phoenix’-like wings. The performances crescendos and ends with Conchita throwing up her hands.

Olivia: The moment Conchita is on stage she just nails it. Her vocals were faultless you really see the fire and emotion in her eyes. This is Austria’s strongest entry for years, and I would be truly shocked, judging by these rehearsals, if she fails to qualify.

Madeleine: With the fire wings projected behind Conchita the song comes off really powerful, it’s a nice effect that really is perfect for the song. Her voice is impeccable (like usual) and she really gets the emotion through the camera to the audience. I think the wind machine is a bit too much and it’s really not needed to have that much wind blowing her hair.

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Rehearsals are running far more efficiently today, so we are already straight into Lithuania’s performance ‘Attention’.

Lead singer, Vilija Matačiūnaitė begins singing with her arms interlocked with a male dancer. They look at each other and then dramatically break away from each-other onto opposite sides of the stage.

Vilija is wearing a black ballerina tutu and black and white patterned top.  He is wearing an all black shit and trousers.

Throughout the performers interact with one another through abstract dance.

The stage is lit in electric whites and blues. Near the end of the performance a dozen plumes of smoke bellow out from beneath the stage.

Madeleine: I don’t really see the point of this performance, it’s just messy to me and I don’t know where to look. I’m just really not sure, I don’t see this performance working but I can’t put my finger on what exactly is wrong. I do like the smoke explosion that comes out in the front of the stage.

Olivia: Oh dear. Vilija does the best out of what is a somewhat of a musical travesty. Visually it is quite interesting, but frankly the dancing, the tutu – everything just feels forced. But certainly a confident execution.

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Softengine launched straight into the performance. The lead singer, Topi Latukka, wearing a shiny silver blazer and holding a white guitar begins with his eyes shut. The other musicians are dotted around the stage at various intersecting angles. The drummer is wearing a black balaclava over his face.

Upon the chorus they all start playing their instruments with passion and aggression. The stage is lit up initally with red geometric boxes and then turns into electric white and blues. The performance continues like this until the end.

Olivia: Their performance was fresh, young and full of energy. The start is always a little shaky, but overall they delivered a good round of rehearsals. They look brilliant and sound very polished, but they need to be careful not to exhaust their voices, as already by the second run through they sounded a bit weak. I feel they still need another visual element to make the performance more memorable, otherwise it risks falling into the category of ‘just-another-rock-gig,’ rather than Eurovision!  This would be a shame as it is definitely a strong song!

Madeleine: The lighting on the stage is really amazing and fits the song perfectly; his singing is also really good. The problem is that none of the guys really connects with the camera and the audience. Most of the time the singer has closed eyes and the rest of the band seem to not even see where the camera is. The second rehearsal the singer connect better with the camera, but now the voice is kind of out of tune. The last rehearsal is definitely the best one and they do seem to be working with the connection between them and the audience.

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Ireland’s rehearsal started with a technical hiccup, no music for several minutes. Eventually they’ll get the party started. The lead singer is dressed in a beautiful golden dress taking the Center Stage. Two backup singers are to her left and a violin player to the right. There are also two dancers who are wearing something that looks to me  a bit like gladiator outfits but since they’re doing the Irish riverdance (ish) dance I am assuming they’re traditional outfits.

Overall the entire Stage is very bright and golden giving it a classy look.

Either the music appears to be really loud or her microphone too low, either way the first run through seemed to have several technical glitches.

Matt: She looks gorgeous however I do not see the connection between the staging and the song. It really feels like she’s relying on her beauty to impress. For some reason it is falling flat for me. But knowing this music is quite popular I expect her to qualify, vocally it was solid.

Ahmet: The Stage is too golden, it looks boring. There needs to be some contrast, otherwise the singer is getting lost on Stage. The camera work wasn’t that great and too far out, they also need to work on the angels. I could barely hear her, that needs to get fixed.

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TEO is joined by four backup singers who are also his backup dancers. There is an additional singer further in the back however he doesn’t move around. The stage has a casino/disco feel to it. There is a giant flower looking thing displayed as the backdrop. TEO and his backup singers came up with a choreography that takes advantage of the Big Stage and closer to the end his entourage is using both catwalks while TEO stays put in the Center of the Stage.

Basically we’re getting a lot of dance moves, those we saw in the National Final and the Offical videoclip. We don’t know if any pyrotechnics will be added at a later point to add more spice visually (that will only be done for the second round of rehearsals).

Matt: The problem I am having with the Staging is that it feels like they are trying to do a “serious” performance when the song & lyrics are quite silly and it just feels odd to me. He sounded fine and seems confident onstage but the look of the Stage gets a big Thumbs down from me.

Ahmet: I wish the Stage Design was more coloful as this is a happy/funny song. I was expecting some kind of visual cheesecake at some point. Vocally it was average.

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FYR Macedonia

Tijana is staying in the front center Stage and a dancer is right behind her doing some dancing behind her and eventually takes over the entire Stage. As a matter of fact a lot of focus is on the one dancer they’re having as the singer frequently interacts with him while performing her song. She has three backup singers further to her left who for the most part remain unseen.

The Stage is mostly blue and using a lot of lights and random effects. Vocally it appears that Tijana is holding back, looks like she’s giving maybe 60% but we expect that to change. They did not dress up for the performance.

Matt: Personally I don’t care for performances where too much emphasis is put on a dancer, it always seems to me as they’re trying to distract us from the song. Tijana was probably getting comfortable with the Stage but it was just too lifeless for my taste. I love the fact that she’s wearing a “That’s Bullshirt” Shirt.

Ahmet: I think the Stage Design is suitable, the choreography isn’t working though.  Some of the effects such as the blue square one were really nice. Overall it wasn’t too good, average at best.

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The performance starts with a bang. The band stand confidently across the stage, holding their guitars, banjos and drums. They are wearing white shirts and black sleeveless jackets.

As the performance progresses lead singer Sebastiano goes over to the runway and begins playing a white drum.

The stage is lit in warm yellows and oranges but during the lyrics ‘it’s raining outside’ the stage turns blue.

Olivia: Really like the use of the drums on stage – it adds a bit of drama to the performance, which the song needed. Sebastiano’s energy came across very well on camera. He appeared to be giving  101 % and was animated throughout.  The key thing now to work on now is getting those vocals really tight as they sometimes risk going slightly off track. His diction also needs improving. Overall, this was definitely a consistent series of run throughs.

Madeleine: The song is so catchy, makes me want to whistle with him. I think they are nicely spread out on the stage without looking too individual. His voice is nice, lighting and drums are perfectly fitted for the song. Question is if people will forget the performance?

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It opens with a labyrint of light then Risky Kidd kicks in with his rap until Nikolas takes over on vocal duties while Theofilos is busy with djing in the background. It is an explosion of music and lights. Riksy Kidd is busy rapping down the aisles and then a guy is rising up ( and down) on a trampolene until being joined by the band and here you get an insight of how to sing while being on the trampolene. It ends with them finishing the song laying down on the trampolene.

Christian: Timing is everything. It started so well but they still have a lot of timing to do to make it lot good on screen. They KNOW how to act in front at the camera and they are good at it and it works very well. The song IS uplifting and even though I did not think much of it it has risen up in my opinion. Here there is no traditional greeek instruments but they have a good energy on stage and this could easily be a great summer soundtrack song even if it does not win. There is just something about them. Please do not let this track be your toilet break as you will be sorry for missing out this great performance.

Madeleine: Wow, I’m super impressed by this performance. They follow the cameras so well and really get the high energy feeling out to the audience. The trampoline they are using works really well but they could maybe decorate it somehow, cause at the moment it just looks like a typical kids trampoline. Really love this performance.

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One woman in her blue dress armed with a flute and a windmachine ready to take over Europe’s favourite tv show.

Another artist that use the lights and visuals to the maximum. Somehow it seems like the flute does distract her when she is not perorming on it. The blue dress interacts with the blue watery images that turns into a water vertigo. this is not for the fainthearted because it does go round and round and we get to meet and greet the three backgound singers as well. Suddenly the water images turns  golden.

Christian: This rehearsal was not for the fainthearted. Well if you enjoy twisted, tortured, abused, and ultimately resigned vocals.

She seemed uncomfortable on stage and vocally. Somehow she drowns with that dress and the images. MAYBE it was due to the technician that she sounded out of tune. Well they have a lot to work on both ways to make it look good to ears and to make it sound good to our ears. I am convinced that she could do better. Maybe she was just nervous but on the second attempt it got even worse.

Third attempt it sounded slightly better. At least she got the vocals right this time so it was probably a technical problem then:)

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Here we have Europe’s favourite duo performing in a massive festival of lights and visiuals. It seemed that they had to find each other vocally and in person. But they will surely have gotten rid of all minor hickups later on. There is still a lot to be done but they are professionals and will get it all set straight for when the show is on. The big surprise of the song is when Ovi is playing on an open air round air piano.

Christian: These two beautiful individuals are what they preach when they are sparkling together. Then they are a miracle.

How can you not like them ? Together they are simply great and stunning both visually and elsewise. They can’t do anything wrong in my book. They really do set our hearts on fire and they should continue working together because their voices suit each other very well. They seem to enjoy performing together and they do it well. It would be a miracle if they win and who knows?

Please support this song not only with your heart but with your mobile phone too.

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