Eurovision semifinal Thursday night
The glistening of snow, ice crystal, and Argentine-style rhythmic accordion music. Glittering Nordic walking poles, and creatures that tickle the imagination were all a part of the performance at Wednesday's dress rehearsal for the semifinals of the Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place at the Helsinki Arena Thursday night.
Later, the audience is treated to a choreography inspired by the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, with modern flavours. The dancers are from the Tsuumi group, with the vocal accompaniment of the Adiemus Singers.
These, and the "video postcards" that illuminate Finnish life in a humorous manner are in store in the first big test of the ability of the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE to put on a huge Eurovision show. The live telecast of the semifinals are to be broadcast on Thursday evening.
Before the moment of truth, there will have been three dress rehearsals in front of live audiences. In the first dress rehearsal at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, there were about 7,000 spectators.
The programme took a couple of minutes longer than planned, and some of the viewers left the arena before the performance by Tsuumi.
The atmosphere was promising, and judging from the reactions of the audience, the favourites of the Eurovision fans were Serbia, Slovenia, Denmark, and Turkey.
Viewed live, the opening number choreographed by Tiina Puumalainen was impressive. The humour of some of the "postcards" shown during the half-minute periods while stage sets were changed, struck a chord with the audience - for instance, the one where a bicycle courier rushes fresh milk straight from the farm to an ice cream bar. In the best of the vignettes, Finland is depicted as both an agrarian and modern society.
The light effects designed by Mikki Kunttu have received praise, and not without reason.
The evening will tell which of the ten acts of the semifinals will join the countries that have already made it to the finals, and if Ukraine's Verka will be joined by another drag queen act from Denmark.
More on this subject:
Where are all the gays?
Previously in HS International Edition:
Eurovision Song Contest postcards are small stories (9.5.2007)
Eurovision surge hits city today (8.6.2007)
Eurovision Song Contest events to close streets around Helsinki (7.5.2007)
Eurovision Song Contest: a technical learning experience for Finnish professionals (4.5.2007)