The blindfold (or ‘la venda’) has come off and we have seen the first rehearsals of the Big Five plus host country, Israel. All six artists got to make their first impressions on the press today and we saw some fantastic performances throughout the afternoon. But what did you think? Let’s have a look at each rehearsal.

Israel – Kobi Marimi “Home”

First up is Netta’s successor as the Israeli representative, Kobi Marimi.

The pressure is on for Kobi, representing his country on home turf, but he brought seriously incredible vocals today along with a pyro shower.

Kobi will be performing in the 14th slot in the grand final on May 18th. Will he pull a late 70’s Israel and win them back to back trophies?

France – Bilal Hassani “Roi”

Next up it was the turn of French media darling Bilal Hassani with his message of empowerment and hope, “Roi” (en Anglais, “King”). It was rumoured before today’s rehearsal that Bilal would rock an extra long wig and this proved to be true. The staging elevated Bilal’s message by featuring two incredible dancers promoting tolerance and acceptance. Bilal certainly created a frenzy in the press centre. With an impressive run of quality songs over the last few years, will Bilal finally snatch the Top 5 result France have worked towards?

Spain – Miki “La venda”

Following swiftly on from France were their neighbours, Spain, with the brassy party anthem “La venda” (“The Blindfold”) from Miki. The fan favourite track had some setbacks with its epic and colossal-sized staging featuring 6 ‘rooms’ built like a doll-house. Can the cracks be ironed out and will we be headed for a fiesta in España next year?

Italy – Mahmood “Soldi”

Make it raaaaain! Mahmood has recovered from a nasty fever earlier on this week to bring a fantastic performance of his track “Soldi” (“Money”). The modern hip-hop-tinged entry is hotly-tipped by the bookies as one of the favourites to win the whole contest and the first rehearsal had moments of grandeur. Will he be victorious when he performs in the grand final on May 18th?

United Kingdom – Michael Rice “Bigger Than Us”

BIGGER, BIGGER! Michael Rice gave us his first rehearsal of “Bigger Than Us” today, bringing an on-point vocal performance. The BBC have managed to bring something great in the last few years with staging to elevate their entries, and this year they have some good elements in their performance. With this year being the 10th anniversary since the last time the UK saw a Top 10 result, will Michael bring the goods?

Germany – S!sters “Sister”

Laurita and Carlotta in the house, y’all! Germany’s S!sters served us harmonies, inspiring feminism and all the feels. Their staging is based around the ladies being located on different sides of the stage and moving towards one another as the song progresses. Will the ladies outshine Germany’s epic Top 5 finish from last year’s representative Michael Schulte? 

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Zekira
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Zekira

Okay Bilal’s fans trolled the poll

bryan soullier
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bryan soullier

Il a juste bien géré arrête avoir le seum

Roger Rabbit
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Roger Rabbit

En español por favor

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

Voted for France, Israel and the UK 🙂

Roger Rabbit
Guest
Roger Rabbit

I see the full rehearsal from Spain .just amazing .I find from the best performs this year absolutely .18 May go to be a big surprise
Bravo Spain this time yes .Siiii.

WhiteSox
Guest
WhiteSox

I would soooo much like to be there to see your face on may 18th 🙂

Nikola
Guest
Nikola

Pure emotion and focus from North Macedonia’s Tamara

Étoile
Guest
Étoile

Israël: staging too dark, I need to see the camera angles. France: good staging, backdrop and clothes are white and it’s refreshing (same for Spain with lots of colours). So many countries are using black and wearing black this year, happy that some don’t. The lyrics and the dancers also make the song less about the singer and more about everyone who may be discriminated. They were able to make the story understandable unlike last year, they improved. Spain: I need the camera angles too to see if it’s not too messy and want they give more freedom to Miki.… Read more »

David F
Guest
David F

I’m sure the backing dancers are themselves great dancers but I agree with you that for a performance of ‘Soldi’ they are useless. I really hope Team Italy see sense and backtrack on them.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

This time after first rehearsals before the actual shows is perhaps my least favourite moment during Eurovision season. Everybody is stressed out, because the decisive moment is approaching, nobody really has seen the stagings, yet, and everybody is acting as if the song and the performer didn’t matter anymore, just the stage show. For me, nothing much has changed, I have seen some not so meaningful snippets of the stagings, I have heard performers rehearsing probably only at 75% of their abilities, and that’s about it. Out of the automatic qualifiers, I’m still rooting for Italy. And I can’t wait… Read more »

Colin
Guest
Colin

Well put, Tibor! We have concepts rather than executions. Many artists have “weaker” vocals in order to save their best for the show. I still root for the similar top favorites, although my mid-list has somewhat changed due to some neat / weak stage concepts and (lack of) conveying the message. Still, nothing will be certain until the show.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

And the mid-table is what staging is most important for, because a spectacular show can push a borderline qualifier into the final – or the opposite. If you have a great song, you don’t have to worry about qualification, this constant bickering about Duncan Laurence is really getting annoying. Of course he will qualify and finish top 5, that’s just a given and anyone should make their peace with it. No staging can ruin this song, it is not a divisive entry and he is a competent performer. Same goes for Mahmood. That doesn’t mean they’ll win, they could come… Read more »

Eurofan
Guest
Eurofan

Spain and Israel – yes they are very different songs but can see both in the top 10, Spain for the energy and Israel for the voice.

Kobe
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Kobe

France first in this poll..whahaha…

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Exactly what I was thinking…. 😀

Grftn
Guest
Grftn

And if you watch the reaction videos, France got the most acclaimed rehearsal, so it’s pretty logical 🙂

NickC
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NickC

Whether you like it or not, France is a contender to win now.

Morten
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Morten

So is dmol

Honeyboooobooooo
Guest
Honeyboooobooooo

I wouldn’t say the staging or song is ordinary – it has a very contemporary LGBT and ‘outsider’ message to it that I don’t feel we’ve seen presented in this way at Eurovision before, certainly not from such a young singer. The deaf dancer, the plus size ballet dancer, the empowerment of the song is very touching. Not only that, but the staging has a very contemporary aesthetic, with clean white and gold that I think will stand out. Also, it’s a bit petty to say you won’t watch just because France might win. I bet you’d say that but… Read more »

I want to see the robot
Guest
I want to see the robot

I must be blind. I see no robot, and I’ve seen the whole Spanish rehearsal. What robot? Where it is, at what minute and second?

laika5
Guest
laika5

By “robot”, they probably mean “wood mannequin”.

Lloyd
Guest
Lloyd

when is the allocation draw?

Puzzled
Guest
Puzzled

During the orange carpet thing

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

Lastima de coreografia patetica , tema mediocre sin el alma de txarango, que lo dejan en la irrelevancia…. puesta escenica aparte que no pasa de ser audaz para justificar lo que te cuesta de tus impuestos.

Una
Guest
Una

Y los cinco que acompañan a Miki … Corren por las escaleras como si fueran unos niños durante el recreo. No puedo creer que todo esto costo tanto dinero. Digo, Miki habló en una oportunidad sobre el director pasando mucho tiempo estudiandolo y practicando para que todo quedara perfecto. Esto es lo que he entendido ya que Miki metía demasiados “en plan”. A mí el tema me parece bien. Está bien. La presentación por otro lado … Seguro que España no quedaran de últimos o entre los últimos pero esto no significa que la presentación no pudiese ser mejor. Bueno,… Read more »

David F
Guest
David F

It looks and sounds like they all deserve their spot this year. A lot of hard work and passion on the stage!

David F
Guest
David F

Wow, France and Team Bilal have really improved the staging, vocals, and overall performance. It’s very impressive, and looks set to be impactful and powerful. Kobi and Michael both sound like they’ve given stellar vocal performances, which they consistently have done. Miki’s rehearsal looks like it’ll really bring La Venda to life on stage, I do want to Spain to do well this year, and they’re in my Top 10. I’m surprised to see backing dancers behind Mahmood, but he’s still my personal winner, right now, going into Eurovision Week. I really hope he’s fully recovered and that he sings… Read more »

YourMum
Guest
YourMum

Mahmood and Conan, my ship of eurovision 2019 😀

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Did you build this ship to wreck? Hope not.

YourMum
Guest
YourMum

No way. I love both songs and I would love see mahmood and conan together!!

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

Please no, shipping real people is disrespectful and kind of gross…

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

For me, it is a tie between France and Spain. France won on creativity, Spain won on slickness. 🙂
Now the ideal top 3 for the ESC final that would annoy a fair few of you would be:
1. France
2. Sweden
3. Montenegro 😛

Colin
Guest
Colin

Ha ha ha… not bad. Now, Top 3 which would make *me* happy, but at the same time, majority on this site furious:

1. Estonia
2. Norway
3. United Kingdom

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Awesome! 🙂

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

You guys are so sadistic that I’m picturing you both wearing Hatari’s outfits. 😛

My making-people-angry-while-making-me-happy top 3:

1) Australia
2) Austria
3) Serbia

David F
Guest
David F

Ah, if it’s specifically a “making-people-angry-while-making-me-happy top 3”, mine would be:

1. Iceland
2. France
3. Australia

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

How about:
1. Poland
2. Latvia
3. Romania
?

Una
Guest
Una

1. Romania.
2. Norway.
3. Poland.

Liam Lindsay
Guest
Liam Lindsay

UK deserves to be somewhere in the Top 10

David F
Guest
David F

1. Italy
2. Netherlands
3. Sweden

It’s so tough though, because there have been so many strong rehearsals. It’s coming down to whiskers.

EmmelieDarlineFrancesco Fan
Guest
EmmelieDarlineFrancesco Fan

1. Switzerland
2. Denmark
3. Norway

Alex
Guest
Alex

1. Austria
2. Cyprus
3. North Macedonia

I have a funny suspicion that the UK though will make top 5 in the juries while France could easily get top 3 with the televote. I see Germany like 15th with the juries and like 20th with the televote, and Israel likely getting last with maybe a few jury points. I could also see spain in televoting top ten, but the juries probably won’t like it as much. But who knows?

Hey
Guest
Hey

ONE WORD : ROI.

Xhd
Guest
Xhd

BILAL !!! IS SO INCREDIBLE !!!

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

just read the comments, I guess Italy is staying in the semis this year…lmao
I’m happy Mahmood is doing his thing and that what matters to me.
😉

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

would prefer without the dancers tho

Liam Lindsay
Guest
Liam Lindsay

I think the UK and France are the two best auto qualifier rehearsals for me.
France has always been a favourite for me, and with this staging I am loving it, if Bilal holds it together Top 5 finish is I think a very real prospect.
The United Kingdom, vastly improved since the You Decide final, they just need better camera angles and make the galaxy staging pop a little more but a Top 13 finish is realistic with this. It will be a Austria 2018/Australia 2017 situation loved by the juries but crucified by the televote.

Serhatari
Guest
Serhatari

Israel – Decent staging, but dated song
France – Amazing staging, but not too keen on the song
Spain – Bright and colourful, but get rid of that sodding robot thing wtf!
Italy – Masterpiece of a song, slightly bland staging
UK – Great performance but staging lacking something
Germany – Poor song, terrible staging (big contender for last place)

Ezal
Guest
Ezal

Noone impressed me tbh
Still hoping for Italy tho, very good song
Israel was decent

Ksenija
Guest
Ksenija

me.
germany has the worst staging which fits with the worst song. i think they will be last.

Io1
Guest
Io1

OK somebody please make it clear for me. One of my favorites this year was’ Bigger than us’ the song is so melodic and moving. But i don’t really get it how it comes last on surveys… the vocals are epic!

Otto
Guest
Otto

People have different tastes and yours is different then the majority in this case 😉
For me it’s just an overproduced cheesy “the Voice” song. Sorry.

Skiwalko
Guest

The main staging themes for Eurovision 2019:
– mirrors (NMC, RUS, ISR, EST)
– stars (SLO, UK, AUS, LAT, HUN, IRE)
– lyrics on the screen (ITA, FRA, SMR, CZE)
– fire (POL, ICE, ARM, GEO)
– wide shots (everyone)

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

You forgot norway and romania in the fire section

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Don’t forget the thigh high boots!

Raoul
Guest
Raoul

And large projected faces: Poland, Italy, maybev Israel as well? Did I forget someone?

Sonam
Guest
Sonam

Team Italy here, but also voted for Spain. Spanky Miki with spanky staging

Miguel
Guest
Miguel

France was a pleasant surprise for me.. Bilal with a new hairstyle. Their staging works very very well.
Italy is a dark horse. They have a much more contemporary stage than usual. Mahmood live vocals are not so great unfortunely.

Israel delivering. I don’t see them having a great result though.
The same goes for Spain. There is too much happening. Its distracting.

UK is boring and oldfashioned.
Germany has a nice staging. The problem is the song.

startaglia7254
Guest
startaglia7254

Mahmood has been sick for the past few days and had taken a lot of antibiotics to bring down his 39 C fever

bryan soullier
Guest
bryan soullier

La France a vraiment gérer au niveau de la mise en scène. En plus le beau message de la tolérance est bien mis en avant. La France est la surprise eurovision 2019.

Una
Guest
Una

🙂

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

Spain the best

Redgrave
Guest
Redgrave

Even a mediocre staging shouldn’t steal the victory away from Italy. The song and singer are just too good not to win! I also like Germany (have done so from the very start).

Roger Rabbit
Guest
Roger Rabbit

I agree Spain bring really beatiful and interesting staging

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

To answer the specific question, it has to be Bilal, I think he surprised a lot of people today. In terms of who will do best in the final, I am still backing Mahmood.