Another day, another set of Eurovision rehearsals. Today 15 acts take the stage for their second rehearsals at Eurovision 2018. We’ll be reviewing these in groups of three, kicking off with Azerbaijan’s Aisel, Iceland’s Ari Olafsson and Albania’s Eugent Bushpepa. Let’s review this!

Reaction: Azerbaijan, Iceland and Albania

Azerbaijan: Aisel with “X My Heart”

During her first rehearsal Aisel’s open-front costume revealed the upper extremities of her thighs. She and her team clearly found that a bit too skin-tillating, as they’ve now sewn her translucent cape partly shut. The outfit moves from open-front to simply having a deep thigh split that offers a tantalising hint of what lies beneath.

The first rehearsal, while very sound, did seem to drag at times. Today quicker camera cuts — including more swooping cutaways — give this a sense of pace and energy that it lacked previously. The three minutes just speed by. Aisel, who remains so strong vocally, seemed more confident today. She put real vigour and thrust into her choreography. Luna moon her up!

During the final take, the performance started with Aisel laying amid a sea of fog. It provides an enticing intro that really draws you in. Even more remarkable? The use of on-screen, augmented reality graphics. Her starscape looked more expensive and realistic today, turning her into a mystical queen guiding the stars. This is moving in the right direction and surely further tweaks will take it even higher.

Aisel, “X My Heart”: Performance Preview

Iceland: Ari Ólafsson with “Our Choice”

This felt much classier today. A series of red and golden lights give the performance a much more elegant feel, and they play well on Ari’s red and white outfit. His backing vocalists all arrived in their formal wear, creating a lovely sense of a family gathering. We’re not talking family meal at McDonald’s. It’s more sophisticated Christmas gathering where everyone is warm and cozy.

Ari Ólafsson, “Our Choice”: Performance Preview

Albania: Eugent Bushpepa with “Mall”

Eugent begins his performance bathed in dark blue lighting, which transitions to bright red when he enters the first pre-chorus. At the same time he starts clapping to encourage the audience to do the same. It fits the rhythm of the drums and makes you want to tap and clap along.

Simple does not mean boring. Despite the lack of fireworks, fog, flames and augmented reality, Eugent still keeps your interest — mostly through his voice (flawless) and passion (watch that face, y’all). And there’s also a very effective shot where the lights go black and the camera zooms out quickly. It’s dramatic, spirited and effective, capturing the essence of this anthem in a single moment.

People are whispering that this could be Albania’s best entry ever. It’s easy to see why.

Eugent Bushpepa, “Mall”: Performance Preview

Check out all of our rehearsal news here

Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)

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Anita
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Anita

Have you seen this. He is such a warm person https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_xqw16nBOQ

Lilja
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Lilja

Why do people keep saying that Ari’s rehearsal was bad? Like you may not like the song but that doesn’t mean the rehearsal was bad? I mean he nailed the song, and that high note!

Erzzza
Guest
Erzzza

vote Cyprus for first semi final, we need the votesss, and the song is greattt,
vote Cyprus everyone

Alex
Guest
Alex

no

Yearnie
Guest
Yearnie

Albania is helped a lot by Eugent’s vocals and his looks. He is very cute, especially when he smiles as he is singing, or when he makes that type of singing seem effortless. I’ve noticed they’ve kept the blue-red-purple theme throughout the FIK video presentations and performance. I wonder what the camera or light work does when he sings the highest pitch part? I think that part requires a special emphasis so that it doesn’t look like it’s just a random note being sung. I love the part when everything goes black and zooms in on him, there should be… Read more »

Yearnie
Guest
Yearnie

Yeah after watching it a few more times I definitely think they should do the same blackout/zoom camera-lights thing when he sings the highest pitch part, it’s the only way to properly capture that moment. Just clear all lights at that point and zoom in on him slowly. Maybe just add a lightening effect as the note goes at its highest. It will make it memorable even after the other 16 entries are performed. But definitely more pressure on him to get it right. 🙂

Alex
Guest
Alex

DM him your suggestion haha

Clément
Guest
Clément

Albania ??? amazing performance ?

kela
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kela

Ari is such a nice guy, with such a powerful vocal. He needs more support. I loved his cover of Mall, if i can call it a cover.

Loonatique
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Loonatique

Our love for Eugent is like a natural phenomenon, getting bigger and bigger until it explodes on the finals. He is absolutely amazing, he gave us 5 perfect emotional energetic and hopeful live performances. I just cannot express how i feel about this song.

Eric
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Eric

It is an average song with a good singer. Might qualify but will end up in the bottom of the scoreboard if so

Jo.
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Jo.

Ok
Azerbaijan: Huge improvement, but still performing too early in a semifinal with many similar songs;
Iceland: No comments;
Albania: He gest it!
Dear Santa, I’ve been a good boy…Now gives me Albania in the final!
AMEN!

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

I like when the lights go slightly off during Albania’s performance, before the last part of the song. He’s great every time he rehearses. Honestly, he’s ready for the semi, he doesn’t need anything. Azerbaijan looked also great. Iceland was fine.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Yass, Eugent…Can’t wait to watch the video…

Caption
Guest
Caption

Azerbaijan seems a bit overcalculated, but very solid at the same time. Watching some unexpected failures (Belgium, Finland) this one may snatch a place in the final.

Iceland. I’m sorry this wonderful guy has the second worst song this year (after San Marino) Enjoy the semifinal my friend.

Albania. Eugent is such a staging filler. His voice does it all. He turns an average-to-good song into a gem. Albania is in the final and he’s seeking the best position ever for Albania.

poe-tay-toe-chips
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poe-tay-toe-chips

Azerbaijan: The song is on the generic side, but the staging and the fact that she has a good voice should be good enough to get her through to the final. Overall this song is a good opener for semi final 1 Iceland: We all knew a long time ago that this song has no chance of qualifying no matter what they do with it. He has one of the best male voices this year and he’s super cute, ….but not even that is going to help him much. Albania: Honestly, it will be a HUGE crime if this doesn’t… Read more »

ted
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ted

Azabajan – the song is not the best, but the staging lifts it. I didn’t think these were worthy to qualify before the previews, but now it wouldn’t surprise me if they do qualify.

Albania. Yes, this needs to qualify

Iceland – You have to feel for this lad. Yes he can sing, but his song belongs to 1999 and that so dated westlife era.

Anita
Guest
Anita

@wiwibloggs – I am a little bit disappointed because it feels like you are not much interested in Albanias performance – I could only see that little snipped, but aren’t there too many wide shots and aren’t these stripes in the background a little bit too distracting from Eugent himself – I think it needs one coloured background.
But I haven’t seen the full thing. I am really afraid about his not making it into the final.

Sasha
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Sasha

Well I’m not sure how wiwibloggs is supposed to fix their performance. But, the bookies say Albania will not be in the final. Historically, in terms of predicting who will go to the final, the bookies are only wrong about 1 entry per semi-final. I suppose it could be Albania that makes it instead of one of the others, but it could just as well be any one of the others not predicted to qualify. So… in the end, it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t make it. He’ll have a good performance and I’m sure you’ll… Read more »

Anita
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Anita

We are not happy regardless the outcome. We need Eugent in the final! There are plenty of reasons – And I expected from wiwibloggs a more differentiated review – I can’t really remeber what they said about it, and maybe they didn’t really watched it – or only with one eye

Anita
Guest
Anita

We are not happy with it regardless the outcome. We need Eugent in the final so that our heart is in the final too. And I expected from wiwibloggs a more differentiated review – I can’t really remember what they said about it, and maybe they didn’t really watch it – or only with one eye. When you wish an entry to succeed you think hard about what could be improved and will find something.

Thiago
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Thiago

Anyone know how those in the US can watch the semis this year? Will SVT make it available again?

Ana
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Ana

If Eugent stays in the semi, I’m gonna cry. Don’t let me, please 😀

Anitta
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Anitta

Me too 🙁

titto
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titto

We should all acknowledge the fact that this entry was the best today.

navseeegda
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navseeegda

I think Mall will not only qualify but also bring Albania their best result ever

Anita
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Anita

I am afraid that they might not qualify – their competitors have very strong support: Austria, Lithuania, Finnland, Belgium, Greece
Israel, Bulgaria, Estonia, Czech Republic, Cyprus – these 5 are sure qualifiers.

Jo.
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Jo.

I think he will. Belgium is more likely to stay in the semis, she reminds me Iceland 2016.

Darren
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Darren

I mean starting to realise that I’m totally wet for Eugent Bushpepa.

Radakiel
Guest
Radakiel

Ok Eugent got me this time
I want him in the gf so badly
Not as much as Mace… fyrom, but I still want him

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Azerbaijan: It seems very slick and professional, but also cold. This was supposed to be vibrant and upfliting.
Iceland: It must be hard to keep going when almost everybody rule you out so early in the game. I hope Ari and the Icelandic delegation can enjoy the experience at least.
Albania: It looks great and Eugent will really shine with his vocals and expressions. It feels organic and the contrast with the first acts can be very positive. But somehow, this entry keeps being overlooked.

Jack
Guest
Jack

Azerbaijan: Well she has the performance and the song is good too.
Iceland:Blank sorry.
Albania: Im truly in love with everything there. Eugent needs to pass for real. Fingers crossed!

Rasmus
Guest
Rasmus

The languague in here is like there is a lot of 13-18 years old that havent got a great education. My tip is if you dont like a song, just say why and not curse or say something rude. I know you have a brain in there 🙂 Im 22 and i can talk like a grown up 🙂

Kappes
Guest
Kappes

Iceland only receiving a brief mention in this article – oh the shade. 😀

Well well
Guest
Well well

No point in even reading these articles. The Ingrosso cover-up followed by the Waylon-bashing has really discredited this site. Just like Daily Mail, straight to comments!

Ally
Guest
Ally

Does anybody actually read articles, lol

Alex
Guest
Alex

Lol

Alex
Guest
Alex

Fav is Albania, it’s just so much better than most of these live songs.

alessio
Guest
alessio

albania the dark horse of this esc

Mattias Sollerman
Guest
Mattias Sollerman

This is becoming too real for comfort.

P!nk Forever
Guest
P!nk Forever

Eugent Bushpepa needs to qualify because:

A) He‘s the first man coming from Albania after so many divas. A change was necessary.
B) He has better vocal technique than most of his predecessors (Lindita, Eneda, Aurela,…). Because screaming is not singing.
C) He does a lot of play with his face. He‘s a handsome, sexy, charismatic man who knows how to work the camera.

Rasmus
Guest
Rasmus

I think Albania can do it :). Azerbaijan is a maybe i think but personally i dont think they should because there are 10 better songs. and Iceland a very big NO sadly.

Anita
Guest
Anita

This is all correct – the question you must ask yourself, can Albania kick out one of these: Belgium, Finnland, Greece, Austria, Lithuania
because Israel, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus are sure qualifiers.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Albania sends its usual SCREAM fest songs. It is ok and might qualify though.. There it will place in the bottom

Alex
Guest
Alex

He’s a ROCK SINGER, lol this guy has the right to scream. The other divas didn’t haha

Anitta
Guest
Anitta

You don’t know nothing about good music… He is not screaming .. but anyway i willnot open e discussion with you about truly music ..

Vrede
Guest
Vrede

Everytime I hear Eugent, I get goosebumps.

My god, this guy deserves to qualify. To win this semi. To win the entire thing.

#Tirana2019

Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy.
Guest
Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy.

This is wrong place.. but do you think that Finland will qualify? For example, Azerbajdzjan and Lithuania are not better. Remember todet vote for Finland if you like the song.

Poster.
Guest
Poster.

Lithuania is better than that basic trash. Cyrpus will completely cancel Finland, sorry!

Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy.
Guest
Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy.

Poster, your countrys song is trash.

Susan
Guest
Susan

I think, because it’s ESC, everything is possible. I mean we even get year after year surprise Q, even when no fans or journalists thought they get through. About Finland, I think she have a lot of fans, who vote for her no matter what and juries won’t put this song in the end, so I think Finland is qualifier.

Anitta
Guest
Anitta

i think SAARA will pass the semi ..i;m 50/50 about lithuania ..and Azerbajzan im pretty sure tha she wiil not make it for final

Denis
Guest
Denis

Azerbaijan: It is impressive but I don’t expect them to do better than they have recently.
Albania: He is a great vocalist and performer. Just don’t know if the song is good enough to pass
Iceland: Well someone has to end up last. Sadly Iceland will be the only Nordic country not making it

Qer
Guest
Qer

I don’t get why people say “Mall” could be Albania’s best entry. I think it’s one of their worst entries. Yes, Eugent has the voice and charisma, but i think it song is oldfashioned and it makes me bored. I’m sorry.

looveeurovision
Guest
looveeurovision

i share the same opinion!only an ( incredible btw) high note doesnt make a song great!ari from iceland is singing the same note right after that.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Lol maybe you should listen to *hear my plea* Albania 2008….. the worsr!

please
Guest
please

The best albanian entry would be suus. That song is just on another level. But i don’t share your opinion about this being one of the worst. I think is more in the middle ,but better than the last 2 years.

Jack
Guest
Jack

Fellas chill. Dont u have smth else to do rather than to spread hate and mean comments all over the place. Like,get a life dude.
PEACE!

Anitta
Guest
Anitta

It’s not an old fashioned song ..it’s a rock ballad..but i think you dont know about this kind of music ..He is a great artist with an amazing song