Blackbirds, chalk boards and Salvador Sobral’s sister. Yes, it’s time for the next tranche of Eurovision 2017 second rehearsals inside the International Exhibition Centre. Next up are Finland’s Norma John, Azerbaijan’s Dihaj and Portugal’s Luisa Sobral.

Finland: Norma John with “Blackbird”

Sometimes you have to strip things back to move forward. And Norma John did just that this morning during their second rehearsal. In their earlier rehearsal a red light flashed from the bottom of the LED and spread up higher onto the wall early in the song. Now it simply pulsates along the bottom of the LED, connoting a heart beat or siren. Later, as Leena brings the song home, the entire wall floods with a rich red. Leena’s vocals sounded extra rich and resonant this morning, drawing applause in the press centre. She’s not remotely intimidated by all of this and it seems the blackbird really will soar.

Finland’s Second Rehearsal at Eurovision 2017

Norma John, “Blackbird”: Performance Preview

Azerbaijan — Dihaj, “Skeletons”

Drum, drum, drum bring out the guns! And while you’re at it work out the kinks from your first rehearsal. Azerbaijan’s Dihaj did just that today, taking her performance to another level. The opening sequences inside the classroom has a dreamier feel. Owing to the angle of the camera, the grey LED appears to be a massive roof, totally enclosing Dihaj as she vogues against the wall. Later, when the man with the horse mask appears, he looks less comical and more artistic owing to new choreography he deploys while on the ladder. New camera shots include an aerial drop down from above, as Dihaj walks on a bright white circle. It feels thoroughly contemporary and slick.

Azerbaijan’s Second Rehearsal at Eurovision 2017

Dihaj, “Skeletons”: Performance Preview

Portugal: Salvador Sobral, “Amar pelos dois”

Portugal’s Second Rehearsal at Eurovision 2017

Salvador Sobral’s enchanted forest was just as enchanting during the second rehearsal. This time around his sister — and mother-of-one Luísa — poshed up in a black pantsuit and blouse with pussy bow. The camera pans slowly around her and featured more close-ups this time around. The LED moves from hues of blue to more hue of green, and the circular stage at times features a lovely green lighting effect at its edges. There is nothing flashy and over-the-top here. It’s all delightfully restrained and tasteful.

Luisa Sobral, “Amar pelos dois”: Performance Preview

Check out all of our rehearsal news here

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AngieP
Guest
Finland: They slay every single time the rehearse! They are stunning! Leena is always vocally on point! I think today was better than the 1st time! I love everything about this song!! Really hope Finland has a great result! They deserve it! Azerbaijan: Speechless! When I heard the studio version of “Skeletons” back in March I liked it! I liked the music video, Dihaj has her own personality! I already expected sth different and exceptional! And they brought it! It’s dark, mysterious, avant – garde. Everything has its place on stage! I like the man on the ladder moves and… Read more »
Education Sentimentale
Guest
Education Sentimentale
Finland: No surprise, but nice. Nothing wrong with this. Is it a little boring? It doesn’t matter. After the local talent show auditions from Blanche and Slavko viewers will probably even appreciate a bit of pleasant boredom. This should easily qualify, the performance looks super professional after B&S. Azerbaijan: Trying too hard to be art. Sorry, I just can’t take the angry chemistry teacher serious. Way too overcharged. Good song, good voice, pity the overambitious staging is so distracting. Juries could love this. Portugal: If we lived in an ideal world, this would win the SF by a landslide. It’s… Read more »
Hada
Guest

OMG, Luis even dressed like Salvador!!! (in a way) This is the cutest thing

Hada
Guest

Luisa. I meant Luisa.

Julie
Guest

Ugh, Portugal’s song is just so beautiful <3

Jana
Guest

My fav is Finland, I mean…I LOVE IT! I’m sure It will qualify!
I also like Azerbaijan, the song is awesome, but that stage…that horse? Why? It’s soooo weird….
And there’s my country, Portugal. I won’t judge because Salvador is not there…Luísa did a great job so far. I really want to hear him singing this, because, I don’t really like her singing in this song…it’s very nasal
So, all 3 are awesome, hopefully the 3 qualify! Good luck to everyone!

Katrinelene
Guest

Finland: very beautiful ballad, I like her voice and dress, very classy
Azerbaijan: staging is little bit weird, why horsehead?
Portugal: Forrest is nice, I like to see Portugal singer himself, then seems how good he is on the stage.

Ay Jo
Guest

A horse means honesty. The bad boy is wearing an honesty mask that is going to slip off in the end. And, Diana gets out from this self-destructive relationship seeing his real face. The ladder is emotional border she cannot climb to reach him. Chalkboard is the inner world of Di.

Napaw
Guest

Finland is now experiencing a well deserved climb in the bookies predictions.

I’m bumped that people underappreciated this fantastic act for so long. But better late than never 😉

This is one of the entries that keeps you stunned and silent until the end so you won’t miss any of the dreamy vocals <3

Paul D.
Guest

All these 3 acts are quality and will qualify

ErvinSass
Guest

Azerbaijan might actually win the whole thing I think. Everything about that performance is just EPIC!
Finland also serves the quality this year, beautiful song, beautiful staging. Love it!
I don’t like Luisa’s singing “Amar pelos dois”, but I love the song itself, so I will wait for my prince Salvador singing it. <3

Arie
Guest

I loved Azerbaijan, Finland and Portugal!

Jodenstone
Guest

I love azerbaijans staging but to me it seems like Dihaj is missing a lot vocally… are her vocals a bit off or am I just too used to the studio version sound?

Arie
Guest

She actually sounds really good, her vocals are on point.

ErvinSass
Guest

Vocally it sounded a lot better than in first rehearsals. I loved it.

Jodenstone
Guest

It’s mostly the high notes that I felt she didn’t reach but it could very well just be me hearing it wrong then, that’s good news 🙂

HGT
Guest

I’ve watched a live stream when Dihaj was on and saw all her 3 runs.She held back a little in the first 2 but in the last one it sounded really good.So I have confidence it can be a top performance next week,they seem like they know what they are doing.

Pekka
Guest

Portugal and Finland. Both are exceptional, beautiful and will get votes from those who are fed up with “throw away euro pop”. This is the group of people who tell what they think only during the finals. The ones that are normal telly watchers and they don’t really care about eurovision fan’s opinions. They are at least 90% of voters and it’s really up to them who wins.

Iggema
Guest

Three of my favourites in a row! All three sure qualifiers.

Bart
Guest

I really enjoyed Finland. In my top 3 this year. Portugal is also great. I hope both these acts qualify and will be in the top 10.

Iamme
Guest

I like only Finland of these… …but I do a lot!

Briekimchi
Guest

Portugal’s staging is perfect. I like thinking about what Salvador is going to do with it. I don’t completely understand Azerbaijan but I like parts of the song. It is quite dark.
I like Finland because err….no, I still don’t.

M_K
Guest
Finland: This is just perfect. There is not a single thing I’d want to change about this. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Now I even think they have a chance of winning the first semi final. Azerbaijan: The 30 sec looks less spectacular than expected. I hope there won’t be to many long shots of the stage, they make the chalkboard box look quite small and lost. Dihajs movement could be a little more focused as well… at this point she barely gets away from making the whole entry a circus. Portugal: Portugal is my overall favourite this year. The staging looks good to… Read more »
Iggema
Guest

Hey there M_K: your taste is quite similar to mine! Especially where it concerns Finland and beautiful, intimate Portugal. Nice to read your comment.

Ay Jo
Guest

I hope Ictimai tv from now on understand it is better to work with mostly Azerbaijani professionals whether it’s composing or staging. But Diana disappointed me. I want those “a sorta fairytale with you” vocals when she did a cover of Tori Amos’song last summer. Maybe tv live show will sound different.
My personal winners are Portugal and Finland this year. Unfortunately, there are no two trophies. I hope Azerbaijan gives her highest points to these two countries, since there is no a Russia threat, lol.

Hi
Guest

Whos gonna sing for Porrugal? Thats a AWFUL song. I hope its not gonna be in the final. I now hes sick, but should int he come to Ukraine soon.
GO FINLAND

JCM
Guest

No he couldn’t. His desease it’s not a cold… it’s a heart desease that endangerous his life. I really hope people understand that, and have some humanity…

L'oiseau
Guest

On Finland, what a performance! This is one classy moment! Her presence and vocals are astonishing. The LEDs gives a nice cold and then warm feeling. But they don’t overshadow the performance. We can concentrate on the song and what she sings about. Kiitos Finland! It will be very very unfair if Finland would not qualify. To all you ESC hardcore fans, does that remind anyone of Finland 1998 group Edea, with the song ‘”Aava”?

Bandido
Guest

Oh please don’t campare Blackbird to “Aava”, since it’s bad omen! Edeas singer got flue in the final (now have to afraid of Leena getting cold also :)). Although the song sounded quite weird in final, Europe
kind of mock it even more, what it deserves. Was in null point over half of the voting, getting first points not until in the end.

adriana
Guest

So far Finland for me is the best.

Americanvision
Guest
After 9 performances so far… 1. Portugal (Luísa did an amazing job in her brother’s place) 2. Sweden (very slick) 3. Azerbaijan (at times I was wondering WTF but the most part, brilliant) 4. Finland (haunting) 5. Albania (I still feel this is better than Australia as an overall package but WTF is she wearing? Dex nominee?) 6. Australia (good but somewhat overshadowed by Albania. It’ll make the final anyway.) 7. Belgium (way better today than Sunday, but I still feel she’s scared on stage) 8. Georgia (love the dress and vocally performed well, but it’s forgettable) 9. Montenegro (now… Read more »
Bart
Guest

I totally agree. There is nothing wrong with expansive staging and gimmicks, as long they perform a function and are nice to watch. Not like Romania, which makes my nerves explode, so much cheesy stuff going on.

L'oiseau
Guest

A word on Azerbaijan! Now, here is when gimmick meets art and it’s so cool! Unlike many others. (Confetti and canons anyone?) Thank you for that moment. I think we will here A-ZER-BAI-JAN many times on the 13th.

Arc
Guest

I feel like Finland and Portugal are in a class of their own in this semi. I think Finland is still flying under the radar a little bit but if the effect of their live performance in UMK is anything to go by, Blacbird might get close to a top-5 finish. In some ways it reminds me a lot of Kuula (Estonia 2012). Understated but totally arresting.

Yoda
Guest

Dear Internet World, I feel you use the word ‘slay’ way too much these days. How did it start? How did it gain so much momentum? It is only meant to be used when describing someone defeating a dragon. In which case I feel Eurovision the contest has become a bit of a dragon in itself, of which the one and only DIHAJ IS GOING TO SLAAAAAAYYY!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

Mameo
Guest

Both Finland and Portugal sounds nice from the start to finish.

L'oiseau
Guest
Dear Luisa, if you read this… I have a love and hate relation with you. Your voice is peculiar and sometimes it needs digesting. I don’t like your song “Chico”, it played so many times in the morning radio program… It reminds me of waking up. Ugh… And I much prefer when you sing in English. But I loved your participation in BBC’s Jooles Holland’ show. And how the hell did you convince Jamie Cullum to sing a song with you? Those moments made me proud. I looooved when you sung “Amar por dois” with your brother after you guys… Read more »
ks
Guest

Totally agree with you. I enjoy her colorful and happy videos, she is great, but give us Salvador. He has health problems, but Ukraine has doctors too, and Salvador has his own doctor that will travel with him, and airplanes can take him fast from Ukraine to Portugal, why all this? I’m sorry for Salvador that he is not fully experiencing Eurovision.

L'oiseau
Guest

Yesss! I can’t wait to see him there. I also feel that the press is anxious to talk to him. I wonder if there are postponing the press conference to have it with him?… I think the delegation owes that to the press, which has been very supportive.

Luz
Guest

Salvador will have a lot of interaction with the press during the Red Carpet event, the rehearsals and after the semi finals. It’s great to see that the press is eager to meet him 🙂

Dew
Guest

Azerbaijan is so overrated. The real contender is Finland and I hated the song at first.

Marcus
Guest

Finland song is nice by a bit too depressing / emo to win Eurovision. The image of the coffin at the end of the music vid creeps me.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

The Trinity of Talent. Azerbaijan’s choreo is on fleek and Finland is serving true feelings. Portugal is endearing. 3 qualifiers.

redfox
Guest

how nice of Finland of course to take an adaptation of an estonian folk song to Eurovision for us. well, our version says nightingale and theirs is blackbird, so you might argue they are a little different.

Bandido
Guest

@redfox What makes you think Finland is taking adaption of estonian folk song?
I think, it’s still more following Finnish own tradition added a bit of Tarja Turunen’s vibes in Leena’s voice without being too (annoying) opera-style.

CLuke30
Guest

Dihaj is just a total wow! Definitely top 3
Love Portugal too. But still need to see Salvador’s live performance

Debailor
Guest

Azerbaijan is perfect. I can now confirm it’s my favourite. Just perfection. And Finland also beautiful..

Scarlett_eurofan
Guest

Azerbaijan is literally the dark horse this year. Loved the performance. It’s pure art.

Mattias Sollerman
Guest

I can already hear Graham Norton’s voice:
“Don’t worry, the man with a horse head is supposed to be there…”

Purple Mask
Guest

“And that chalk is real! It really goes well with the cheese.”
We could probably write Graham’s script! Haha.

Mattias Sollerman
Guest

lol ^^
Indeed, that’s easy. Half of the script is different variations of “you can’t vote for the UK”. :p

AberSam
Guest

That is the most perfect and true thing I think I’ve read. Now I can hear it too and I’m just loving every second.

Joe
Guest

Azerbaijan is totally Top 10 in the Final.
I think the juries will go much more for Finland than for Portugal. Finland might win this SF.

Marcus
Guest

All I can say is …
A. ZER. BAI. JAN!!!!!
Damn, Dihaj got game!
This is brilliant. Shut up.
Give her the trophy now.

Pavel
Guest

Azerbaijan is okay-ish, but the overreaction is reaching (ironically) the level of Iveta Mukuchyan last year.

Leo M
Guest

Finland is the biggest grower for me so far. I thought it was boring before hand but now I think it is stunning. Juries will love this and I reckon it is definetly going to the final.

Eld
Guest

In this semifinal 5 out of 18 (or more?) singers wear white dresses

Jr esc nl
Guest

Azerbaijan really has my favorite performance of the year. It’s in my top 3 now along with italy and belarus 🙂

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

Your top 3 is flawless woo

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest

Azerbaijan was absolutely amazing. That performance is art. My winner for sure.

Eve
Guest

They were all AMAZING !!!

Purple Mask
Guest

Luisa (Portugal) has cleverly reminded us all how much we miss Salvador. I know this wasn’t a deliberate plan on their part, but it’s really working! Portugal have the only “surprise” card left now.

Pedro
Guest

Portugal <3

Purple Mask
Guest

Finland was outstanding.
Azerbaijan was artistic and highly engaging.
It’s all going so well! 🙂