LIVE: First dress rehearsal of the Grand Final

The rain has stopped here and the sun is trying to come out. I am very excited that you decided to join me for the first dress rehearsal of the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014!

The postcards we have seen already so I will not be commenting on those, except of course for those of the Big Six.

Let the show begin! “Flag ceremony” is written on the autocue screen, a friend just messaged me to say. That sounds gorgeous. He is in the arena and I am in the press centre. It is so loud over there we can hear it from here! How exciting! 14:00 CET is when the show is due to start.


Thank you to Will O’Regan who sent me this picture via WhatsApp.

Seven minutes late we hear music and some shots of the arena but then nothing happens. It is a rehearsal for a reason! Plus this gives me more time to fetch another coffee.

Well there are no flagpoles or walking like last year! More dancing whilst wearing the flags!

“Are you ready to #JoinUs?” Then the dancing with the flags.

Now the artists come on stage one by one and announced by country name in English, French and national language. This is so simple yet classy. There is a pause before Austria is announced. I think we might start again. I would like if we did as Te Deum was not played and I have not seen an introduction video.

They are restarting the introduction of countries. For this procession at least almost everyone is in plain clothing. And immediately after United Kingdom the hosts are introduced.

“Good evening Europe!”

A little bit of Chinese is spoken in the introduction (and this is the first time ever.) Denmark is known as the happiest continent in the world is also mentioned in the introduction and now we cut to a short video of celebrating. Back to the Hosts “A country that has never been happier.”

Now the voting is explained in English and French. And an explanation of the postcards, more Chinese and “Let the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 begin!”

01. Ukraine. L’Ukraine. Україна.
I am so excited that Ukraine is opening the contest. Europe needs to put this wonderful nation first. Marija is in her dress, as she was for the procession. The performance is identical to what we have already seen. She sounds great. I did not see it with my own two eyes but people here say the dancer fell out of the wheel at the end of the performance.

02. Belarus. La Biélorussie. Белару́сь.
Again all performers are in costume. Maybe holding back ever so slightly on vocals. How will Teo tackle the curse of second place? It is great to see Belarus in the final again. I am not sure if it will beat the placing of Work Your Magic but it should do better than Butterflies!

03. Azerbaijan. L’Azerbaïdjan. Azərbaycan.
I think this will be Azerbaijan’s worst placing to date. I am not saying it will come last, but it will not be a repeat of last or other years. I love it to listen to but I do not understand the staging and the Approach they have taken this year.

04. Iceland. L’Islande. Ísland
Pollapönk are also in costume. I will just post from now on if a Delegation is not. These guys are so cool and it is a nice draw for them in terms of tempo. I arrived here this morning at 10:00 as I was working at the OGAE fan desk and they were already going through security. Everything they do and say has meaning and sincerity. I really hope for a good result for them. To the opening ceremony they wore dresses for equal rights for women. They knew everyon on the red carpet would ask them why they did it and it would give them a chance to voice their concerns.

05. Norway. La Norvège. Norge.
I was chatting to Swedish radio last night in Euroclub and the Nordics are so pleased that they are all in the final. A friend from Iceland told me it is not the same for them when all countries do not make it. I thought Carl was holding back on his vocals but he still managed to give me goosebumps. I am usually useless in a live show, too nervous to relax wanting to know the qualifiers or winners but tomorrow night I cannot wait to sit back and relax and enjoy this. The running order really mixes the songs up nicely too.

06. Romania. La Roumanie. Romania.
Last night Paula and Ovi were asked if next year they would defend their title or if they would come back next year as presenters. I do not think this is a concern. I do not think they will repeat their result of 2010. The rehearsal goes well.

07. Armenia. L’Arménie. Հայաստան.
Aram is in casual clothing. He seems to be putting more into this Performance than he did on Tuesday night! Many think it is game over for him because of the place he received in the draw but I do not think it is that simple! I would prefer however if he had a little more charisma on stage.

08. Montenegro. Le Monténégro. Црна Гора.
I was told last night that the boys were Sergej’s children, which is nice as the postcards were to contain what meant most to you in the world. I have nothing new to say about Montenegro, performance as strong as usual (vocally at least, I do not like how it looks on stage though I have been told that up close the skater’s dress is one hundred times more beautiful.) Sergej is in casual clothing.

09. Poland. La Pologne. Polska.
I only realised last night that the woman washing the clothes gets her water from the stage! Not everyone was in costume today. Last night shortly after going off air the Head of Delegation for Austria fell into the water. It is not so deep, knee deep.

10. Greece. La Grèce. Ελληνική Δημοκρατία.
I still do not like that Riskykidd cannot sing on the trampoline. There should be hidden backing singers like other countries have! The stage, between performances, prints a map with country name and what props stand where. It is pretty cool!


Last night a group of fans in the standing area (wearing #TeamMolly T-Shirts) had a dance to this! It was very nice to see and each member had a small Greek flag. The true spirit of Eurovision!

11. Austria. L’Autriche. Österreich.
The arena literally shook last night. Not just before and after Conchita’s performance but also during her green room appearance. The Austrian delegation is not doing any more interviews. However Conchita did not rest today and the performance was sublime.

12. Germany. L’Allemagne. Deutschland.
German postcard: The group makes taffy candy in the German colours in a large kitchen, then cuts a tiny piece to photograph.
Oh wow, I was trying to think of something to say about this song and basically “It’s wrong”, it is lost on stage. I was then going to say the streams seem like a movement of desparation to fill the stage because the girls just can’t. Then, the streamers come and cover the girls. I really hope and presume it was a technical fault. I live in Berlin, I love Germany, but I spoke to German fans this morning and they feel the same as me. “Is it right?” is the question people ask here and they quickly follow ther own question with “No!”

Time for a break. It’s the records again. The highest note. B flat 5. Croatia 1996.
“More than 11,000 People are celebrating with her here tonight so Europe make some noise… it is so nice to see lots of different people celebrating together.” The presenters talk about how the arena was a shipyard… sweaty half naked men… gay references again…

13. Sweden. La Suède. Sverige.
Sanna is not in costume. The general opinion at the was that the vocals were not strong, and not that she was holding back. We cannot see this win.

14. France. La France.
French postcard:The guys have what look like fireworks but they just emit smoke. They attach them to their bicycles and ride side by side to make the smoke form the French flag.
There are some technical issues between postcard and song start.

15. Russia. La Russie. Россия.
The girls are not in costume. Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of shaking the Hand of their backing singer, the one and only Rui Andrade, who came third in the Portuguese national selection this year. I really hope there is no booing tomorrow night!

16. Italy. L’Italie. Italia.
Italian postcard:Emma goes shopping for tomato, mozzarella and basil and puts them together to make her flag. Tycal but why not?
She is not in costume and I feel she is holding back on vocals a little.

17. Slovenia. La Slovénie. Slovenija.
It is a surprise for me that Slovenia qualified but these backing singers are my favourite in the contest for their passion!

18. Finland. La Finlande. Suomi.
This is like a music video every time, so sleek and professional. I love it.

19. Spain. L’Espagne. España.
Spanish postcard: Around the pillars of a building Ruth and a gentleman friend wind wool to make the flag (without crest.) Very simple.
Ruth’s hair looks wet! It suits the performance. Vocals super, no shouting this time.

20. Switzerland. La Suisse. Schweiz.
I expect for national language for Switzerland in the procession that all of the languages would be spoken but it seems to be just Swiss German. I really have nothing to say about the performance, polished as ever and a pleasure to watch.

21. Hungary. La Hongrie. Magyarország.
For his postcard Kállay is at Szechenyi Bridge. Another polished Performance for which there is little to say but thumbs up!

22. Malta. Malte. Malta.
Firelight look and sound wonderful. I was unsure of this filling the stage but it is a great performance and what a nice draw for Malta! Did your photo make it to the backdrop? Let me know!

23. Denmark. Le Dänemark. Danmark.
Danish postcard: It looks like Basim and friends are in the shipyard. They move furniture in to create a living room scene. They paint it and the floor in the Danish colours. The furniture blends in in the photo of the flag. It makes a nice poster, which I have seen hanging around.
The girl wears her hair out. That is the only thing that has changed during rehearals. Besides that I think the performance is pretty much the same as at national final, except for of course the flag, which is getting mixed reactions here. Two in a row for Denmark would not be a surprise.

24. The Netherlands. Les Pays-Bas. Nederlanden.
More continuation errors. We see a Video “Biggest hits in Eurovision history” that has been made especially for if there are technical issues!
This is so damn pretty. I came here liking the song but fell in love with it during rehearsals. The Netherlands and Austria as favourites. Are we really in 2014?

25. San Marino. Saint-Marin. San Marino.
Valentina Monetta has a new dress! It now goes way above the dress and ties around the neck, still full length and white.

26. United Kingdom. Le Royaume-Uni.
United Kingdom postcard: Molly rolls a very large white card out and directs red busses to form the crosses. She goes high above the scene and gives the go ahead to men in blue raincoats to run in and form the background. A very cute postcard to create simply one of the most beautiful flags in the contest.

United Kingdom was not repeated in the national language during the procession, it was just spoken in English and French. Molly was one of the only ones in costume during the procession.
That was a very strong performance from Molly!

Lise is in a ballgown and speaks about the app and website.

The gentlemen presenters pay tribute to the presenters and visits Graham Norton from United Kingdom.

Now some chatting while they are waiting for technic to catch up, the men are flirting and mention that there were marriages this week.

Back to Lise who is restarting her script after United Kingdom.

The voting is opened after an explanation of the rules. We see a recap.

A trip to the future. Eurovision Song Contest 2075. A mixture of video and live performance. It is an idea of a fan from the #myeurovisionidea contest.

Now Junior Eurovision, followed by another recap of the songs.

There is a video about a (fictional) Eurovision museum. Lise speaks to United Kingdom and France.

Emmelie de Forest sings a (shorter Version of) Only Raindrops and the official #JoinUs song, Rainmaker.

Lise speaks to Jon Ola Sand and he says we have a result!

After a lot of pausing and technical difficulties there is a song that celebrates the number 12… performed in Video and live by the presenters.

A quick wave from all the spokespersons and the voting begins. Albania is introduced.

There is a lot more chatting. I am not sure how much more we will be allowed to see. Now the countries are being called in alphabetical order but we know that this will not be so simple tomorrow night, the same system as last year will be used.

After a few juries are called the Screens are switched off. The map travelling from one country to another is gorgeous!

Here are the spokespersons for 2014. A very interesting list that will make tomorrow night’s show even more entertaining.