Another eight countries take the stage for their first rehearsal. Among them Bella Paige from Australia, who just heard that her country will be participating in Stockholm as well!
Team ESC Daily is present at the Arena Armeec to cover everything live for you.
The liveblog has closed, but feel free to read back on all of today’s action!
16:55 – Going home
Team ESC Daily, too, is now going to the party. We can look back at an eventful day here in Sofia, with news from Sweden, Austria, and most importantly: AUSTRALIA! We are back, baby! And Bella did an amazing job on the Junior stage.
Join us again tomorrow.
16:31 – End of the day
Ukraine caused some delays, but finally rehearsals are over. People are packing up quickly, because tonight there will be the big Opening Party.
16:15 – First runthrough Ukraine
The lily was opened during the entire first runthrough, with Anna standing in the middle of it. It seems like it is supposed to open up and close during the performance, but it did not work this time.
16:04 – A giant silver water lily?
Colleagues at the press center describe the Ukranian prop as a “giant silver water lily”, that can probably open up during the performances. Will Anna (or a backing vocalist) be hidden inside the flower? Still no full runthrough seen yet…
15:55 – Props, props, props!
Of course we can count on Ukraine to bring something big on stage. What it is – I am not sure yet, but it is big, it’s glittering… and it’s causing a delay in the rehearsal schedule.
15:47 – Ukraine closes the day
The last country of this rehearsal day is Ukraine. Anna Trincher will be on stage in just a few minutes.
15:30 – Frozen landscape
The backdrop is there, and it looks… snowy! Behind Lina we see a forrest, a castle, and all are covered in snow. Altogether, white seems to be the main theme here.
15:24 – Slovenia: another small and quiet performance
That seems to be the trend this year: good vocals and quiet staging, few props and gimmicks (outside of Montenegro and San Marino). Slovenia follows the trend. Lina is alone on stage, dressed in white with red hearts around her waist. She sings well – especially the higher notes – but visually there is not much going on. No backdrop chosen yet.
15:15 – Full interview with Dave Goodman
Dave Goodman spoke to us earlier today about Australia back in Eurovision, and what that means for the globalization of the contest.
The full interview can be seen HERE. Once again our apologies for the blurry images, but the content of this interview is definitely worth it!
14:57 – Video for Serbia
After her rehearsal, Lena is smiling. Of course the song is not suitable for a large smile during the performance, but we would like to see some genuine emotion.
14:48 – Lena alone on stage
A large red dress for Lena, who sings her song alone on stage in a colourful background. Vocals are okay, but the presentation seems a bit cold and made-up.
14:40 – Bella “humbled to have this opportunity”
“To be doing this at such a young age is mind-blowing!” said Bella Paige in an interview with the EBU. Commenting on the news that Australia will be joining Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm, she added: “I’d tell [the participant] to really take in everything and enjoy it all, since you’re going to take a lot out of it. Just have fun!”
14:22 – Wrong backing track
San Marino have sent in the wrong backing track to the EBU! The track used today, is from the old (English) version of the song. While Kamilla is singing in Italian, you can hear the backing vocals singing in English. Luke Fisher from JuniorEurovision.tv told us they will have to change this before Saturday, because the English version will not be allowed.
14:12 – Video for San Marino
Kamilla’s arm movements are more impressive than her Italian. The camera, however, is struggling to pick up on the movements. That needs to be cleaned up before Saturday.
14:05 – Meanwhile in Vienna…
The date for Austria’s national final has been set for February 12th. 10 finalists will compete for a ticket to Stockholm.
More information can be found in THIS article on ESC Daily.
13:59 – San Marino goes big
The mini-country is the first one to really go big with staging. Kamilla has been put on a higher platform covered by an enormous white dress, to make it look like she is a giant. During the song, four robot-clothed dancers accompany her on stage.
13:45 – Slight delay
The rehearsals have gone slightly behind schedule, but San Marino is set to appear on stage soon.
The hosts for next year’s Melodifestivalen are announced. Gina Dirawi is back for all the shows, and she will be accompanied by one other host for every show. Petra Mede, Sarah Dawn Finer and Charlotte Perelli (Eurovision winner in 1999) are among those names.
Full article with all the names can be read HERE on ESC Daily soon.
13:01 – Lunch break
After lunch, we will continue with San Marino.
12:54 – Updated video for Russia
We have uploaded the new video of the Russian rehearsal, in better quality.
12:46 – Technical issues for Team ESC Daily
There are some problems with our cameras, which is why some of the videos (including Russia’s rehearsal and the interview with Dave Goodman which we will publish later today) have lower quality. We apologize for the inconvenience, and work hard to fix the issue!
12:27 – Russia takes over the stage
It’s Mikhail Smirnov on stage now, one of the younger participants, with (funny enough) a rather traditional song. He is wearing dark blue clothing, with the colours at the back being purple. One female dancer is with him, dressed in white.
12:22 – One more time (with pictures)
12:03 – “Best vocals so far”
Journalists at the press center are impressed with Bella’s vocal performance, which allegedly was “the best so far”. William Lee Adams from Wiwiblogs, who was on Daily Coffee this morning, has not seen his doubts about the visual presentation diminished, though. “It looks really grown-up, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It will definitely do well for juries. Not sure if this is a winner.”
11:46 – Video of Australia’s first rehearsal
Bella is wearing a long golden-glitter skirt that reaches until the floor. The backdrop projects golden fireworks (as Ell & Nikki had in 2011). Of course, she has her two girls with her on the stage. Vocals good, as expected.
11:35 – Soundcheck for Bella!
Two of our editors are at the arena to cover all the action. Video will be up as soon as possible.
11:12 – Dave Goodman: “Australia in Eurovision – it just worked so well!”
ESC Daily spoke to Dave Goodman, spokesperson for the EBU, about Australia’s return to the competition. He stated the EBU changed their minds about the ‘one-off participation’ of Australia when they realized how well it worked! Video will be uploaded later today.
Laughter in the press center, because Montenegro is trying out their act with yellow “Sertab”-ribbons while Jana is not yet wearing her official dress. On a track suit, those ribbons look rather out of place!
10:38 – Soundcheck for Montenegro
One country left before Australia: Jana Mirkovic from Montenegro takes the stage for her soundcheck.
10:25 – “Hopefully Bella keeps her kid factor”
All eyes on Australia in Daily Coffee this morning. Both our chief editor Steef van Gorkum and William Lee Adams from Wiwiblogs looks forward to see Bella Paige on the stage, but they are worried that “she won’t keep the kid factor, because of her mature vocals and background”.
10:17 – Check out the Dutch rehearsal below
10:10 – Dancers on the Dutch backdrop
Shalisa has chosen to repeat the staging from the Dutch national final. She sits behind a piano with candles on it, while dancers portrait the story of the song. Those dancers are then projected on the large backdrop of the stage.
10:06 – Australia’s rehearsal postponed
Netherlands will take the stage first, and Australia is now the third country to rehearse today.
09:50 – The Irish backdrop
The talking point of yesterday’s rehearsal day: Ireland with Aimee Banks and her ship on the backdrop. You can watch a recap of all the rehearsals from day one HERE.
Curious to see what today will bring in terms of controversial choices!
09:32 – Australia back in Stockholm!
Despite earlier comments that Guy Sebastian’s entry would be a one-off, Australia have now been offered a spot in the Stockholm edition as well! They will have to go through semi finals this time though.
09:14 – Team ready for a great day
Here is your ESC Daily team setting up camp in the press center in Sofia: