Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 3 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Azerbaijan who have won the contest once, finished 2nd once and 3rd once as well. They have finished in the top 10 on three other occasions which is remarkable considering they have only competed on eight occasions. Their worst is finish is 22nd in the Final. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE, Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE, Georgia HERE, Germany HERE, Cyprus HERE, Finland HERE, Belgium HERE, Hungary HERE, Switzerland HERE, Ukraine HERE,Moldova HERE, Estonia HERE, Norway HERE, Italy HERE, Slovenia HERE,The Netherlands HERE and Armenia HERE.
So this year Azerbaijan are represented by Samra with the song ‘Miracle’. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Azerbaijan but the overall reaction is fairly positive so far. You can catch up on our recent article giving our thoughts on her song HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now Azerbaijan have only eight entries to choose from making the task a lot easier. Like I said before Azerbaijan have six entries that were top 10 finishes and only two others finishing lower in the Final so I will mention the two left out of the six as well.
We do not have to go very far back in time to find our first song that is one of the best for Azerbaijan. The year was 2013 and we were in Malmo to see Farid Mammadov singing the song ‘Hold Me’.
Now Azerbaijan had in this entry one of the most visually but simply inspiring staging for a while. A dancer in a plastic box interacting with the singer and a female dancer. The performance was done by the same Greek choreographer that worked with Sakis Rouvas and Ani Lorak in the past. The song won its Semi Final then went on to finish 2nd in the Final with 234 points.
I truly believe that Azerbaijan have not had a bad entry so moving along we look at one of the less good entries for Azerbaijan. We were in Oslo in 2010 to see Safura perform the song ‘Drip Drop’.
Now Safura won through a national Final in Azerbaijan to go and represent her country. She is also an accomplished actress and saxophonist. The song was written and produced by a Swedish collaboration team. It went on to finish 2nd in the Semi Final then 5th in the Final with 145 points.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for Azerbaijan. We were in Moscow in 2009 and the performer was Aysel and Arash with the song ‘Always’.
Now the song was another Swedish produced entry and was co written by Arash who also has some roots in Sweden. It went on to some moderate success in the European music charts after the contest. Aysel and Arash came together especially for Eurovision and went on to finish 2nd in the Semi Final then 3rd in the Final with 207 points.
Our next song that has to be considered one of the less good ones was in the year 2012 and we were in Baku to witness Sabina Babayeva singing ‘When The Music Dies’.
There is no doubt that this was a well performed song. The host country excelled themselves with a wonderful staging of what was a simple haunting ballad with eastern influences. The projection of ever changing lights and images on Sabina’s dress was at times brilliant. Sabina had tried to get to Eurovision every year since their debut in 2008 and finally made it when internally selected. Another song from the Swedish team it is a blend of European music trends and Azerbaijani traditional music, featuring the balaban, a traditional Azerbaijani musical instrument, as well as elements of the Azerbaijani folk mugham genre. It went on to finish 4th in the Final with 140 points.
So onto our last song that was one of Azerbaijan’s best. It was in 2011 and Dusseldorf was witness to seeing Ell and Nikki perform with the song ‘Running Scared’.
Now starting with the song it was yet another entry written by the Swedes with additional input from a UK writer. Ell and Nikki also know as Eldar and Nigar were backed on stage by 4 Swedish singers , 2 of which had been part of the group Shirley’s Angels that had earlier appeared in MelodiFestivalen. It finished 2nd in the Semi Final then went on to win the Final with 221 points to give Azerbaijan their first win and the first time since 1963 a mixed sex duo had won.
We now arrive at the last song for Azerbaijan and it’s another of the lesser good ones. In 2014 we saw Dilara Kazimova represent her country in Copenhagen with the song ‘Start a Fire’.
It was a song that was once again written by the resident Azeri Swedish team and included some traditional elements with the use of the balaban again. Dilara is also an actress and previously had tried for Eurovision as part of two different groups. But she won through in 2014 and went on to qualify for the Final where she came 22nd with 33 points which is to date Azerbaijan’s worst showing at the contest.
The other two entries not mentioned above but were both good entries for me were
2008 Elnur and Samir with the song ‘Day After Day’.
2015 Elnur Hüseynov sang again for his country with the song ‘Hour of the Wolf’.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Azeri Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland