JOY Eurovision

30 Apr 2018

From the 2018 Press Bubble: Day 1

News, Society & Culture

From the 2018 Press Bubble: Day 1

It’s happening again for another year. JOY is at Eurovision!

It all kicked off today (after morning rain, a broken accreditation scanning system, little signage to the areas in the bubble and confusion about the interview rooms) with the first rehearsals for the songs in the first half of Semi 1.

What did you miss?


Aisel starts the show from Altice Arena with something you’ve hearing in Melbourne’s most uplifting music mix. We love the song. Yes, it makes no sense but it’s Eurovision – we can handle that. What we can’t handle though is seeing Aisel’s intimates.

Other than that, we didn’t quite mind it. As long as Aisel calms the shaky voice and her backup troupe keep looking good, she’ll be good to go. You’ll also be good to go if taking part in a drinking competition. There’s so much white that you’ll be racing down to the bottleshop before the end of this one.


Dear Ari, we love you. You’re pretty. In fact, your smile can melt the iciest of hearts (pun not intended). But even with that smile, your ode-to-Tron suit and well-fitting pants, the song’s just not hitting the mark.

We want you to do well, we do. But our choice of song would be something much different… and in this Semi, you really need to have made the best choices you can.


Our Hikaru loves the Bushpepa and from today’s rehearsal, we can see why. The first run was a little bit Jimmy-Barnes-screamy, but by the third go, Eugent had it under control. He may be a rock man, but there’s enough Euro-glamour in him to make a scene on the stage this year.

This one has the potential to do well in a Semi that is looking more like a bloodbath every minute. If you’re a lover of Aussie rock, you’d be well-placed to give this one a go.


After a couple of years of big achievements for Belgium, Sennek has the heavy hopes of a nation on her shoulders. We reckon this girl could do the soundtrack to the next Bond movie with this particular effort, but today’s rehearsal didn’t quite hit the mark.

Sennek’s get-up wasn’t all that popular. It honestly looks like she went to work one day, strolled down the lamp cover aisle and took the one that would fit best. No one actually understands what’s happening with the skirt. At all.

Plus her slit of light at the beginning of the song was aimed everywhere except for her eyes (where it should have been).

However, the Belgians are comparing her in rehearsals to Blanche last year. They just want you to leave her alone, ok?

We’ll see.

Czech Republic

From darkness in Belgium to colour and movement in Czechia. And boy, we were pleased. Mikolas Josef got leaping and flipping in a rainbow blur of fun and excitement.

The fans were happy.

His dancers had quite the funky clothes to boot, with one jacket in particular being the most colourful thing on stage so far in the rehearsals.

We just want to know what’s in the backpack.


Apparently this was so good that it was the Press Centre’s favourite of the day and it made half the place cry.

I’m still to be convinced.

Yes, there’s ‘augmented reality’ (in order to bypass the six-person rule) and she kisses her boyfriend. Yes, there are images of families. But sheesh, do you want 😢 or 🤢?

Right now, I’m leaning towards the latter.


The big favourite had the Press Centre wanting something big.

It wasn’t as big as they were hoping.

Let’s be clear – the first rehearsals for all the acts will definitely be full of mistakes. It’s the first time they’ve performed on stage. They should never be used as the solo judge of the final act. But we were still expecting this one to be pretty spot on.

Netta loves K-pop and decided to use lucky cats on stage. There are a lot of them. But they weren’t all set off at once.

Can this one redeem itself? Yes. Will it still be the favourite? Yes. Is it a shoe-in to win? No. This one may go the way of Italy in 2017.


Sometimes countries surprise you. Belarus has hit this one out of the park.

I was on the ESCXTRA live stream while we saw this play out in the Press Centre and it was a surreal experience.

Alekseev gave a rose as a sacrifice to a camera god, which then did a 360 and gave it to a dancer. She did her thing (very well too), lifted a bow (as in, with arrow) and shot the rose towards Alekseev.


And yes, it got him right through the hand, complete with blood.

Totally normal for a family show, right?

It’s all light-hearted though, according to Alekseev.


Thank you Estonian businesses for allowing Elina the chance to be projected on this year. This one looked amazing on screen, with some new projections that really take this song to a new level. The colour, textures, excitement certainly help the viewer to understand what’s going on in this operatic number.

It’s not popera. It’s not plain old opera. This song is now considered oppopera. And it’s as close to opera that you’ll get at Eurovision.

Elina’s hitting all the right notes and isn’t holding back in these technical rehearsals. It’s only bound to get better and we’re hoping that it gets to Saturday’s show.


Wrapping up today’s rehearsals is the forced fivesome from Bulgaria. We were worried that the five wouldn’t have chemistry on stage, but they don’t need it. This one seems a little slap-dashed together. There are angles, transitions, moody lights, changes on the stage, and all while standing on some boxes. Being coherent isn’t exactly a strong point here.

Vocally, they’re pretty spot on, though Johnny Manuel seems to be the strongest out of Equinox in this rehearsal.

People are lapping this one up, so we might just be missing something, but it needs something else to be able to get through.


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