Eurovision 2018 Semi Final 1: All performances

Netta Barzilai Israel Eurovision 2018

On Tuesday May 8th, the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest will take place. Read the article below for a sneak preview of how all the performances in that show are going to look!

ESCDaily is live in Lisbon. With a team of journalists we follow all the rehearsals to analyze how every country will stage their song. When even the slightest detail changes, we will update this article for you, so keep refreshing this throughout the upcoming weeks to get the latest information!

Azerbaijan – Aisel – X My Heart

Aisel starts her performance singing while lying on what turns out to be one of five ice floes on the stage. Her all-white linen outfit covers a white bathing suit. It’s a blue backdrop, with blue lights shining over the dried ice on the floor. After the first verse the singer sits up and we see some nice close-ups of her. In the pre-chorus, she starts walking from floe to floe. During the chorus, which has a fuller wind-instrument orchestration than the studio version, Aisel stands still on top of the ice floe in the middle doing some widespread arm choreography. The second verse Aisel kneels down singing her lines, in the background one male backing singer appears. In the buildup to the chorus all backings (four in total) climb the floes and there is synchronized choreography. Some stardust is edited in the camera pics swirling around Aisel.

Iceland – Ari Ólafsson – Our Choice

Ari wears a white suit with some red lines printed in a pattern on his back and shoulders. Looks like a modernized kitchen cloth. Underneath his white suit, he wears a nice dark red silk shirt. You can expect Ari’s vocals to be on pitch! Close-ups in the start. A camera circles around Ari all the time and his eyes follow the camera. Towards the end of the song Ari throws his microphone pole away as if he is angry. He steps forward and his five backings dressed in black and red long dresses join him on stage, giving a harmonized feeling.

Albania – Eugent Bushpepa – Mall

Red & yellow colours in the backdrop. Albania starts with camera shots of the guitarist. All band members dressed in glittering black/silver suits. Vocally, Eugent’s notes are on pitch. During the pre-chorus Eugent is clapping along to his own lyrics as he is filmed with a full-body-shot. Some purple light beams added to the colour scheme. Eugent is working the camera well enough with his tattooed drummer and two female backings in short glittering skirts. The Albanian song is decently staged and very well sung, but it still passes by you easily. More wideshots in the last two choruses.

Belgium – Sennek – A Matter Of Time

Sennek starts with a highly zoomed in camera shot of her hand before her eyes. After a few seconds, her hand slowly pulls away and the camera zooms out, showing more and more of her face on the full screen like the titles of a James Bond movie. It slightly reminds of Trijntje Oosterhuis back in 2015, with the same stage director. The whole setting is dark and stays grey during the performance. After a minute, the first chorus starts and from there on, we see much more wide camerashots. Some blue light beams like Blanche last year are added. Sennek walks to the outer circle of the stage following a camera so we imagine there might be some interaction with the crowd. SENNEK is dressed in black. She wears trousers with a see through skirt. No backings visual on stage. Overall vocals are okay however the first high note of the chorus sounds rough.

Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me

The act is almost a copy of the video clip. Two screens with dancers in front of them (and the shadow of a trumpeter projected in the beginning). Mikolas in the middle on a white stage wears his glasses, a bowtie, a white shirt, black trousers, sports socks and sneakers. He starts with the mic in his pockets. Mikolas is not yet wearing his backpack from the start, just halfway he gets it. The backpack is part of the dance routine as the two dancers join Mikolas on his white stage. They take the backpack off and put it on Mikolas again after a pirouette. Some synchronized dancing with the three of them wiggling the asses. The viewer gets to see several split-screens. The colour scheme is like the last time Czech Republic reached the final, light blue and pink/purple – but faster light changes now obviously. during the bridge, Mikolas calls “What’s up, Eurovision?” to the audience. Overall Czech Republic wants to create a high school boys theme. Boyband end pose with crossed arms looks nice.

Lithuania – Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old

Mermaid position for Ieva for a start, filmed from behind in her pastel knitted dress. The camera pans past her and then shows her face. Yellow gold lights in the background add to the scenery. During the first minute of the song, we only see Ieva sitting on the floor. Some faded black and white projections are projected on screen as after-effects during the second minute, almost as ghosts appearing (two baby’s kissing, a family, an old couple). A lot of echo-effects in the vocals for Ieva. Towards the end, the screen projections stop and Ieva walks up a bridge, where she meets her husband while she’s singing the last few sentences in Lithuanian. Many close-ups, good vocals both lift up the song.

Israel – Netta – Toy

Israel makes use of two actual cupboards of those eternal waving ‘fortune cat’. Netta stands behind her white looper table wearing an almost Korean looking purple, red, white & black outfit. The scenery is red and gold lit. Vocals are on spot. She’s accompanied on stage by three female dancers who stand on the right side bridge. Later she starts dancing as well. The dancers stand on the bridge at the right side of the stage. Near the end Netta walks towards the audience. The real energy comes from the pyrotechnical steam explosions which for some golden clouds in the arena. Bubble machines are being used for climax.

Belarus – ALEKSEEV – Forever

Alekseev dressed in a white blouse and black leather trousers sings his song to a rose. He hands the rose to the camera and that camera moves to a female dancer in red who takes the rose and makes an choreography out of it (modern dance). Later on she uses the rose as an arrow (in bow and arrow) to shoot at Alekseev. Alekseev catches the rose , woman keeps dancing fiercely. He keeps singing to the rose and his heart bursts (in camera effect) into an explosion of rose pettals, woman keeps dancing and dancing, while Alekseev rises on a platform. End of the song he turns around and he shows a seemingly ripped open shirt (backside) with a mega big tattoo printed on skincolour. The whole scenery is of course in heart red colours.

Estonia – Elina Nechayeva – La Forza

As expected a flawless vocal performance by Elina. ‘The dress’ has arrived in time, and there are multiple projections seen on it. Even more than in Eesti Laul, they now include rose petals at some point. The longer the song lasts the more busy the moving and swirling prints become. Starting in stylish blue and white lighting, via wild oceans waters, a volcano outburst, blushing flowers, ending in a psych. At the break between second verse and second chorus, we see a couple of fast flickering close-up shots of Elina. Other than that, this looks fairly similar to Eesti Laul.

Bulgaria – EQUINOX – Bones

Bulgaria delivers a very dark setting with all five singers in black clothing. Just some turqoise green lights and some flashlights and a windmachine, some dried ice on the floor. The singers step up and off some scaffolds in a unclear choreography, supposingly the one who has the alternating lead vocal has to step on one specific block. There is absolutely no chemistry between the five singers. That’s in strong contrast with the harmonies that are spotless. The zero chemistry is only emphasized by the split screens and aftereffects used. There’s definitely a story going on with the singers coming together and leaving each other again, but I doubt anyone is going to understand it.

F.Y.R Macedonia – Eye Cue – Lost And Found

The singer wears a pink jacket, but backwards so the other way around. It looks like a dress that is too short. Marija is on stage with a drummer and her Eye-Cue gitarist who’s dressed in white. She highlights the different parts of the song by moving to and from the backings. Halfway the song, she drops the dress and continues in different clothes. Before the last chorus, Marija and the drummer are back to back and the camera swirls around them. Final shot: Marija face to face with her duo-partner. Lightings are a blue-yellow mixture but ending in pink. Vocals are a bit shaky.

Croatia – Franka – Crazy

Croatia brings a Beyoncé feel to the stage and an effective wind machine. Franka, solo on stage, wearing a classy black decorated dress, partly see-through. The first shot is a close up of Franka’s hand, seducing the camera to her face. Backdrop here is still “Loic Nottet flashy white”. Later it turns dark. First verses and chorus are sung standing behind a microphone. Camera’s very close and Franka plays with the camera. Very convincing vocals. At the parlando part she takes the mic and starts walking. Franka is obviously enjoying herself on stage shaking her shoulders, smiling and kneeling still holding the camera stand. The lighting is subtle red and blue with golden lamps flashing like stars. The backings vocals blend well.

Austria – Cesár Sampson – Nobody But You

Austria brings Lionel Richie feel-good vibes. Cesar performs on a platform in the dark, camera shots from above with subtle yellow lights at the edges of the square. At the start of the song the obligate close-up of the face, this time half in shadow. Cesar is in grey latex top and casual grey trousers. Some subtle filming with shadows and lights works out fine. The platform Cesar is standing with stadium lights underneath so it kinda looks like a spaceship going up and down. During the chorus, we see his backing vocals stand & sing below his platform. After that, the platform lowers, he jumps off. There is a projection of his head and chest projected over a zoomed out shot of the stage during the second chorus.

Greece – Yianna Terzi – Oniro Mou

Dressed like a goddess in a long white gown Yianna is alone on stage. The lights are alternating between flashing blue/white and red/yellow. Dried ice on stage. During the musical intermezzo Yianna does some arm lifting showing her simple dress. There are smoke cannons coming from the bottom of the stage. The high note after the musical intermezzo was off key during rehearsals. During the song she raises her left hand which is painted blue. This stands for Greece (national colour). The song actually is a love song for her home country.

Finland – Saara Aalto – Monsters

On stage a man high diamond-like object on top of a pyramid with stairs on the axis. In a scenery of loads of purple and blue lights, Saara starts singing attached to a wheel. So she sings belted and upside down while the wheel turns just like she did in the national final with the song ‘Domino’. When released from the wheel, Saara starts walking and two backing singers/dancers join in. They are dressed in wannabe kinky grey suits, no shirts underneath. Saara herself is dressed in a short black latex dress wearing fishbone-like jewellery from neck to belly button. All dance routines she makes show she’s not really a natural dancer. The vocals also sound like it costs her a lot of energy to produce. In the end, a waterfall of fireworks is added and during the song some firework fountains and smoke.

Armenia – Sevak Khanagyan – Qami

Qami is performed amidst a stylish circle of erected grey beams of different heights (Stonehenge). Dried ice on stage. The cameras circling around. The setting is calm and very quiet (grey) to contrast Finland. Sevak wears a long grey coat. He sings the whole song with his eyes almost closed, maybe caused by the wind machine blowing in his eyes. Camera films always from the stage – either close ups of Sevak, or he camera moving in between the grey beams. Towards the end, some red colours join the white light beams. Flickering lights. No fireworks.

Switzerland – ZiBBZ – Stones

Brother and sister start on the small platform. He wildly drums and wears a red handkerchief as cowboys in westerns do. Coco wears a very small black leather top on black leather trousers and a pink cowboy head. Her outfit shows a lot of skin. Light beams are white and the main colour is red. Coco walks the bridge, the outer circle ‘catwalk’ showing everybody her naked belly. Coco tries some audience participation in order to get ‘everybody who has ever been hurt by anyone’ to put their hands up while waving herself with a lit firework stick. She’s the one who makes the most walking during the performance. This forces the camera to make more wideshots including the audience.  Coco barely makes eye contact with the camera. The final shot is dark, and not showing the faces of the siblings. Vocals solid.

Ireland – Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together

Standing in front of a mic with his guitar Ryan sings his falsetto song on a seemingly dark winter night. Camera is circling around as the first minute is in one take. Next to him a girl (backing vocal) playing a piano joining him the chorus. In the background, we get to see a lamppost and the bench from the video. An evening setting is suggested as the lights are dark blue with yellow accents ‘stars’. Over the bridge, the two dancers from the video come walking hand in hand and join on stage. Start their dance routine in the background while Ryan keeps singing his song as if nothing happens. He’s wearing black. The dancers wear winter coats as towards the end while they dance near the bridge the end of the song it starts snowing.

Cyprus – Eleni Foureira – Fuego

Imagine a nightclub setting. A silhouette of a woman walking in, light flashes and turns from black/white to into flaming red. Eleni dressed in a multicoloured glittering jumpsuit revealing her belly gives away a sleazy performance, twerking her way around, with hip movements and shaking her long, very long hairs. The act vibes Charlie’s Angels all over. Joined by four dancers dressed in silver/black she performs a slick choreography. In the camera there are flames and red smoke projected. Vocals are pretty weak.