It’s day two of rehearsals here in Vienna, with initial run-throughs for Serbia, Hungary, Belarus, Russia, Denmark, Albania, Romania and Georgia, who combined with the artists from yesterday’s rehearsal make up the first Semi Final. Here’s my overview of today’s winner’s and losers…

WINNER | Serbia: Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies

Bojana Stamenov - Beauty Never Lies | Eurovision 2015 Serbia

In a contest in which old-school Eurodiva performances are somewhat thin on the ground, Bojana delivered absolutely everything a fan of the genre could hope for. Dressed like Darienne Lake from RuPaul’s Drag Race lip-syncing for her life to the best Gloria Gaynor song never written, this is a vocal powerhouse and a visual spectacle, infused with the very spirit of Eurovision. An absolute dead-cert for the finals, although she may suffer from Hera Björk syndrome in the finals.

LOSER | Belarus: Uzari & Maimuna – Time

Uzari & Maimuna - Time | Eurovision 2015 Belarus

You can generally rely on Belarus to put together a memorable stage show – if not always for the right reasons. ‘Time’ is one of the strongest songs they’ve entered in a while, but the stage show is disappointingly tame and gimmick-free. The most interesting thing about this performance is Maimuna really obviously miming her violin playing. Very much on the borderline at this point.

WINNER | Hungary: Boggie – Wars For Nothing

Boggie - Wars For Nothing | Eurovision 2015 Hungary

Wars For Nothing is a very serious song, and it runs the risk of making the audience feel lectured too. Fortunately, Boggie’s plaintive performance strikes the right emotional chords, and some very effective visuals in the final minute should keep this song in the viewer’s minds. This is a song with few direct rivals in this semi, and it should do well.

LOSER | Albania: Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive

Elhaida Dani - I'm Alive | Eurovision 2015 Albania

A modern, passionate pop song with a great singer at the helm, I had a sneaking suspicion that with the right staging I’m Alive could be a dark horse to win this semi final. However, the performance today felt a little half-baked. There was no obvious concept behind the visuals, and a lot of awkward, jumpy camera work pulled focus from Elhaida. There’s plenty of room for improvement and this will likely look a lot better on the night, but it now feels like qualifying is the extent of Albania’s ambition this year.

WINNER | Russia: Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices

Polina Gagarina - A Million Voices | Eurovision 2015 Russia

After the weighty Soviet imagery (and bizarre conjoined hair effect) that accompanied Russia’s last Eurovision entry, many in the press centre were anticipating a similarly gimmicky presentation of ‘A Million Voices’. As it turns out, Polina and her team have opted to play things relatively straight this year. The stage for this is simple but looks beautiful, putting the focus squarely on the singer and her remarkable voice. This is a real showstopper, and it could steal a lot of votes from the well-presented but inferior Greek ballad that precedes it.

LOSER | Denmark: Anti-Social Media – The Way You Are

Anti-Social Media - The Way You Are | Eurovision 2015 Denmark

If you saw Anti-Social Media’s winning performance at the Danish national finals, you’ve essentially seen their performance here too. This is a simple, jaunty, hand-clapping band performance very much reminiscent of their 2011 effort ‘No Tomorrow’. That song did really well, and perhaps this will too, but for me there’s just nothing exciting or distinctive here. A by-the-numbers performance of a by-the-numbers song.

WINNER | Georgia: Nina Sublatti – Warrior

Nina Sublatti - Warrior | Eurovision 2015 Georgia

Visually, this is possibly the strongest of all the songs in this semi final. Nina stands alone onstage in full Xena-style ‘warrior’ garb, delivering an intense, commanding performance through a cloud of dramatic smoke. The LED visuals are also absolutely stunning from start to finish – with a variety of striking images that manage to place the singer front-and-centre, rather than distracting from her. As an object lesson in how to tell a compelling story over the course of three minutes, this is the entry that many of the others should be taking notes from…

LOSER | Romania: Voltaj – De la capăt (All Over Again)

Voltaj - De la capăt (All over Again) | Eurovision 2015 Romania

Romania also incorporate a lot of striking imagery in their performance, screening sections from their official music video and packing the stage with suitcases to ensure that the message of the song (about the effects of mass Romanian emigration on children left behind by their parents) is communicated in no uncertain terms. However, the full effect is a little overstuffed, and the band feels a little crowded out of their own performance. The song also feels a little reedy at this point – having the full band miming playing their instruments onstage (as is the standard in Eurovision) might have taken up places that would have been better served with a couple of additional backing singers to enrich the lead vocal. The 3D suitcase effect looks great though…

And with that, every song from the first semi final has now rehearsed. Even the most well received performances are likely to be subject to at least moderate tweaking, and we’ll be seeing what some of those changes might be when the artists rehearse again on Friday, after we’ve seen the initial run-throughs from the artists in semi final two. Until then, please direct any thoughts, questions and death threats to the box below (no death threats please).