It was another long day of rehearsals inside the Eurovision 2018 arena. And bringing us home were Montenegro’s Vanja Radovanovic, Slovenia’s Lea Sirk and Ukraine’s Melovin. From Balkan balladry to down-and-dirty urban pop to alternative pop with edge, this grouping saw us genre hopping, making for a nice end to the show.

Montenegro: Vanja Radovanovic with “Inje”

In the battle of the Balkans, Montenegro definitely out-manoeuvres Serbia, which also fields a traditional sound. Vanja, who sings of the “Frost” found in relationships romantic and otherwise, delivered yet another striking performance. Wearing a reflective blue suit, which captures an icy mood, he warms things up with his warm and resonant vocals.

Unlike so many acts this year, Vanja manages to fill the stage. His four female backing vocalists — who help him melt the figurative ice in his song — are joined by a musician on a white piano. That’s all well and good, but it’s Vanja’s presence that fills the space. Try taking your eyes off of him! A classy performance that reminds us music really is feeling.

Vanja Radovanovic, “Inje”: Performance Preview

Slovenia: Lea Sirk with “Hvala, ne”

We don’t speak Slovenian. But we’re pretty sure the Slovenian for “attitude” is Lea Sirk. The pink-haired diva once again slipped into her black bustier with translucent cape, serving legs for days and facial expressions that say, “I’ll kick your ass if I have to.” She and her fly girls drop it like it’s hot, saying “no thank you” repeatedly as they pop, lock, drop and thrust with abandon. The urban choreography — paired with the aggressive euro-dance sound — bring something decidedly street and surprisingly likeable to the contest.

As in earlier rehearsals, all of the lights cut halfway through the song and Lea entreats the audience to help her out. Having watched that schtick at least six times now, it’s getting old to those of us in the press room. But surely it’ll amuse first-time viewers.

Lea Sirk, “Hvala, ne”: Performance Preview

Ukraine: Mélovin with “Under the Ladder”

His name is a mixture of Halloween and Alexander McQueen. So it makes sense that Melovin once again worked the haute Halloween look during his second rehearsal. He pushed the boundaries a bit further today, re-instating the dramatic left-eye contact lens that makes him look somehow other-worldly. When in doubt, freak ’em out! The Lord of the Underworld / Dracula with a Recording Contract vibe continued with his flowing black tunic, which he rips off before mounting his two-tiered piano toward the end of the song.

One of the biggest changes today was the illumination of the “coffin” he emerges from at the top of the piano stack. The edges of the cut outs, through which we see his face, are lit up, setting a dramatic tone from the very opening bars. His backing vocalists have also upped their sartorial swag. They wore all-black outfits with vertical white lines running up their tops, adding another vocal point as the camera pans past them.

Mélovin, “Under the Ladder”: Performance Preview

Check out all of our rehearsal news here

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22 Comments on "Second rehearsals at Eurovision 2018: Montenegro, Slovenia and Ukraine"

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Safiya
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Montenegro: This is actually not bad! It seemed really boring in their national final but now with the singers and on different stage, it looks much better. He has great voice and there are many fans of Balkan ballads, so who knows? He may qualify. Slovenia: This is a good perfromance, she slays vocally and she seems very charismatic and confident. But I’m not sure if the song is good enough. And another problem – the lights in this snippet are really annoying. Ukraine – I can see that he has many fans, he’s really charismatic and the song is… Read more »
AngieP
Guest

All three did a great job! But Ukraine is my favourite here! It will be an amazing show!

bercolata
Guest

Melovin is clearly the best among this three. However the song is not strong enough to fight with SF1 songs in the final. And what is the thing with his eye? A medical issue or just his style?

escFunfromUA
Guest

No it’s just a style thing. It’s a contact lens. His eyes are allright.

Ally
Guest

Mélovin is a star, no doubt about it, one of the best performers this year, top 10.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
Montenegro: I enjoy his voice. I always did. But the song itself…I always get sort of a depressed vibe while listening to it. Sometimes I like it sometimes I don’t. It honestly depends on my mood. The staging seems alright but…I don’t like his outfit at all… Slovenia: I have no idea why this is so low in the odds right now. It’s true that the song is borderline, but the performance certainly doesn’t seem to be. (I’m saying that it’s better) Ukraine: It’s good at deserving of a qualification and a decent ranking in the final, and the staging… Read more »
Talula
Guest

Ukraine or Hungary will win this semi ,
Sweden, Australia and Norway will qualify for sure, others good luck:)

Denis
Guest

Except for that Sweden is the obvious winner of semi. But yeah, all of those will qualify

Sabrina
Guest

Montenegro: Coming between Sweden and Slovenia can go both ways. Some will think it’s dated and cheap, some will appreciate how warm and traditional it sounds (that’s my case).
Slovenia: Great use of lighting and choreography. Maybe too raw and urban for a general audience, but I dig it. I hope the fake pause doesn’t ruin it for me.
Ukraine: What amazes me about this one is that if you describe it to someone, it will sound ridiculous. But Mélovin is so cool, that the result is quality entertainment. If he had a better song, he would be a contender.

Nick
Guest

Well Darcula was the best , his coffin piano trick is a major shock and then they burnt the whole freaking stage lmao!
Hungary is so good too, i love these crazy guys

Jo.
Guest

Below, my prediction for the 2nd semifinal after the 2nd rehearsals. Numbers for whom I think will qualify (in random order):

Sure thing: Australia (1), Sweden (2), Poland (3), Moldova (4), Hungary (5), Ukraine (6), Norway (7)
Almost there: Denmark (8)
Borderline: Netherlands (9), Malta (10*), Romania (10*)
Probably not: Slovenia, Montenegro
Bye: San Marino, Russia, Serbia, Georgia, Latvia

*Romania and Malta are very close, fighting for the last remaining spot in the final. One has the jury and the other, the televoting.

Marcelo
Guest

Latvia and Russia are definitely not doomed, specially Russia since of the political votes it received from the ex-Soviet countries like Georgia, Latvia and Ukraine. But they don’t have their bootlickers Azerbaijan and Belarus so it could happen. Fingers crossed. And at the end, Latvia could be the borderline qualifier, although I prefer Romania.

Jo.
Guest

Montenegro looks interesting. I don’t think they will qualify, but I wish to see Vanja in the final. Such a cool guy.
Slovenia: Great performance, but I also don’t think it will be enough.
Ukraine: This entry is all about the performance, and they delivered it.

Denis
Guest

Montenegro: Balkan ballads always sound the same with same staging. Nothing exciting. Plus performing after Sweden won’t help him either
Slovenia: She is cool but the performance not so much. I can’t connect to her.
Ukraine: he is oddly sexy! As always Ukraine has a memorable staging and a good song. Top 10!

Mr Gold
Guest

Only Poland and Ukraine look sharp, deep and natural in 2nd semi-final. All other entries are plastic, shallow and blurred walls. People will not vote for them. In 1st semi-final only Estonia, Switzerland and Cyprus are voteable.
Good entry must be giant and deep primarily. Do not joke with Lithuania…

escFunfromUA
Guest

You forgot Israel. She has big support as I suppose.

Mr Gold
Guest

Only Poland and Ukraine look sharp, deep and natural in 2nd semi-final. All other entries are plastic, shallow and blurred walls. People will not vote for them. In 1st semi-final only Estonia, Switzerland and Cyprus are voteable.
Good entry must be giant and deep primarily. Do not joke with Lithuania…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCsB69N2ok0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xYZAYD76yQ

Geeky Monky
Guest

Slayvenia.

“Don’t believe in everything
which is offered to you
Think out loud and hope
that the secret lies in
not selling yourself out”

milly_992
Guest

Lea’s performance is visually arresting – the quick camera cuts, the lightshow, the black/violet color scheme and the choreography are all amazing. It’s just a shame about the song itself and that lacklustre and repetetive chorus. Sadly, I think this will be the third year in a row Slovenia won’t see the grand final.

Bruno
Guest

Mélovin just slayed it today…..i’m still in shock how much fire they got on stage at the end of song, literally everything was burning… maybe the best staging this year and one of the best live performer for sure….

Conii
Guest

what the hell is Will Ferrel doing at ESC rehearsals?

Alison
Guest

I love Hvala Ne, one of my pre contest faves but this false cut-out gimmick sounds like it’s just going to be awkward and I really don’t think the juries will appreciate the “stunt”. It’s chances of qualifying were already slim and I don’t think they’ve done themselves any favours – but very happen to be proven wrong! Will still be listening to it post Eurovision though.