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(Almost) the last round-up, Part 2….

Posted by Caroline on March 29, 2012

Mopping up the last few songs of the year, it looks like we’re set for an almighty battle of the ballad birds in Baku. Or at least between Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina that is. The host nation are fielding this effort, When The Music Dies, by Sabina Babayeva, which is OK in a sort of ‘we REALLY don’t want to win this again’ kind of way. We confidently predict a triumphant seventh place finish. Or something:

And here’s Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Maya Sar, weighing in on the big and dramatic front with Korake Ti Znam. It’s epic, it’s beautiful and….we wish we liked it more. If it’s any consolation, we do actually feel bad about not liking it more. And she will undoubtedly qualify for the final where Eurovision Blog estimates Slovenia will wipe the floor with all the other Balkan ballads:

Speaking of ballads, look here comes another one! It’s Belgium’s Iris, performing her entry Would You in a hall of mirrors which looks like a set nicked from Munich 1983:

But enough of all this balladeering, along come Greece now to pick up the tempo, with Eleftheria Eleftheriou (a name which we just know is going to give us no end of spelling problems in the run-up to the contest) and her song Aphrodisiac. Which sounds pretty much like every bit of Greek ethno-pop which has dominated their Eurovision track record since the dawn of time. We hereby predict Eleftheria will wear a short, sparkly skirt, probably be joined on stage by carefully co-ordinated dancers and sail through to the final for a slightly underwhelming mid-table finish. Yawn. Word to the Greeks: we realise you’re on a budget at the moment but seriously, originality costs NOTHING:

Posted in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Greece | Leave a Comment »

Due to circumstances beyond our control….

Posted by Caroline on March 8, 2012

……we are unable to bring you this year’s Armenian entry, because there ain’t gonna be one. Yup, after months of will-they-won’t-they speculation, Armenia have decided that they won’t be going to Baku after all. And for once folks this isn’t a flounce over results. Nope, it appears the long-standing political tension between the Armenians and the Azerbaijans isn’t something that a song contest can overcome – and while it’s one thing for the pair of them to appear side by side on neutral territory, it’s another when one of them is actually the host nation. Or as the Contest Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand put it, “Despite the efforts of the EBU and the Host Broadcaster to ensure a smooth participation for the Armenian delegation in this year’s Contest, circumstances beyond our control lead to this unfortunate decision.”

While  there was always a chance this might happen, we will still admit that Armenia’s presence this year will be sorely lacking, given the impact they have made on the contest in the few years they’ve been taking part (OK maybe not last year but you get our drift). Still, they shall no doubt be welcomed back to the fold with open arms next year. Unless of course Azerbaijan wins again. Er…..

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan | 3 Comments »

(Almost) the last round-up….

Posted by Caroline on March 15, 2011

With the exception of whatever happens to be replacing Belarus’ Born in Belorussia, which is being ditched after revelations that it had been previously performed (and we can’t decide if this is horrendous news or actually saving us from a fate worse than, er, having to watch it on the night), all the songs for Dusseldorf 2011 are now present and correct. And so let us kick off the final batch with this effort – entitled Get You – from Russia’s Alex Sparrow:

Now we’re still scratching our heads over the authentic, er, Russianness of the name Alex Sparrow, because quite frankly with a moniker like that he sounds more like he comes from Middlesborough than Moscow.  (his real name is actually Alexey Vorobyov, it seems). The song is the usual slickly produced affair we’ve come to expect from Russia yet just seems yawningly ordinary to us. Sigh. It’ll make the final anyway because they are Russia and, like Turkey, could make the final with an orchestra of goats playing the national anthem on upturned saucepans. But enough, onwards we trot to Azerbaijan – and as much as Alex doesn’t sound very Russian, their song, Running Scared by Ell and Nikki, doesn’t sound very, er, Azerbaijani. In fact it reminds us a bit of Keane. Which is pleasant enough but suddenly the mighty heights of Always seem a very long way away….

Meanwhile, it’s time to welcome another returning nation, San Marino, to the contest, after they made an auspicious debut in 2008 with Complice, failed to register more than a tiny blip on the semi-final scoreboard and then promptly ducked out again for two years. But nonetheless we love ’em because they actually gave the UK some points in 2008. You remember 2008, that was the year Russia sent its answer to Justin Timberlake, we sent that bin man off of The X Factor and everybody wondered why we came last? Don’t get us started. And no this isn’t relevant. We just can’t think of anything else to say about this San Marinese entry. Except it is by Senit and it’s called Stand By:

And last – but by no means least – is the Swedish entry. Now here’s a song which is going to enthrall and infuriate people in equal measures. Enthrall because it’s insanely catchy, ridiculous, over the top and possibly the campest Eurovision effort we have heard for some time. Infuriate because – well, see above really. Still, whatever you may think of Eric Saade’s Popular, however much you try to ignore the fact it’s essentially a nursery rhyme with twiddly 80s-esque electronic bits in the background – we defy you to find any other song this year which will stick in your head like this one after just one listen. The only problem being that it then STAYS THERE. And won’t leave. Help us. We will admit, however, that we’re finding this song irresistible – and suspect it will get rather a lot of points on the big night. Let’s just hope Eric has found his other glove by then…..

And that, as they say, is that. Looks like we got ourselves a competition…….

Posted in Azerbaijan, Eurovision 2011, Russia, San Marino, Sweden | Leave a Comment »

We Asked, They Answered: Azerbaijan

Posted by Caroline on May 27, 2010

The lovely Safura from Azerbaijan drip drops (sorry, that is officially the worst pun of the entire season) her interview answers into the Eurovision Blog inbox…..

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Azerbaijan’s Eurovision representative this year!
My name is Safura and I’m 17 years old. I started to sign when I was three and never stopped. I started following Eurovision since 2008 when Azerbaijan competed there for the first time. When I saw a huge success of Aysel & Arash last year I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to give it a try. So here I am right now ready for the big show.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?

There will be passion with a touch of fire, because that’s what my country is all about. My song “Drip Drop” is addressed to a young men and there will be one really talented dancer from Ukraine.

Which of the other entries this year do you rate?
I really like Sopho from Georgia. Her song is very soulful and passionate. It is very emotional. I also like Manga’s song and performance.

Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?
I think there is always time for a song. Just look around and see how many people are interested in Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds? I think the juries will add some professional point of view to the voting process. But I believe no matter what kind of system they use there will be a winner who truly deserves it.

Have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Azerbaijan  could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)
Yes I’ve heard the song. Josh is a good looking guy and his song is quite good as well. I am sure he will get the votes he deserves from the audience. Best wishes from me!

Posted in Azerbaijan, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Interviews | 4 Comments »

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait…..

Posted by Caroline on March 25, 2010

There’s been a lot of talk this year about how Eurovision 2010 is set to be the worst contest in years, that the songs are dated and boring, there are too many ballads, it’s just not good enough etc etc. To which we say – well is it that 2010 is a particularly bad year or just that 2009 was an exceptionally good one and this isn’t so good by comparison? And besides, there are just enough good tunes this year (Iceland, Georgia, Romania, Denmark, Albania, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, etc etc.) to ensure we’ll still have a decent contest on the night, provided you lot do the decent thing and vote them through the semis. And then there’s this, a late contender for possibly the best song of the year, from Azerbaijan. They took their time getting there but it was worth it, for Drip Drop by Safura is a cracking tune – slow and moody (without actually being a ballad), feisty, has a very strong chorus and most of all, actually sounds as though it belongs in 2010. We could have a winner on our hands here. Although note the dancers in this performance from the Ukrainian national final, who appear to be gyrating to an entirely different, faster, song. Safura, love, I’d leave them at home next time:

Posted in Azerbaijan, Eurovision 2010 | 4 Comments »

The Great Big Eurovision Experiment 2009 – Azerbaijan

Posted by Caroline on May 5, 2009

ayselarashThey are always on our mind – wave hello to Aysel and Arash, this year’s representatives of Eurovision’s newest participants Azerbaijan….

How does it feel to be representing your country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest?
AySel: It’s an amazing chance and huge responsibility for me to present the whole country Azerbaijan at Eurovision it’s like a fairytale! Moreover in a duo with such experienced musician as Arash. It’s a huge responsibility. But we’ll try to do our best for Azerbaijan and show to all Europe unexpected Always show in May.
Arash: I’m very grateful that I’ve got such a chance to be a part of such an incredible competition as Eurovision Song Contest. I’m always opened for new opportunities and new creations. My great-grandfather was an Azeri so I always feel me Azerbaijani roots. So it was easy to make a decision to participate in the Eurovision as Azerbaijani representative.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part?
AySel: I’m a big fan of Eurovision. Since I was a child I was dreaming about participating in the contest. And I was so glad that our country started with a big success last year. In September my friends told me about national selection to this competition. I decided to participate and to examine myself and succeed!
Arash: It’s a challenge for me as well and I want to do my best to make greatest show ever on the best European stage!

What can we expect from your performance? Are you planning a lavish stage show?

AySel: I like experiments on stage. We’ve realized a lot of interesting ideas about this year performance. But you can be fully confident that it will be impressive and interesting show. You have never seen something like that before that we can promise.
Arash: The final version of our show you can see only in Moscow. Be prepared, it’ll surprise you in so many ways that I can’t even describe.

Have you ever been to Moscow and are you looking forward to it?
Arash: We had been in Moscow during our promotour and will be very glad to come back to our performance on the 14th of May, I liked it there very much!
AySel: Me too, looking forward to get back to Moscow and take a stage again!

Which is your favourite Eurovision song of all time, and which is your favourite from your home country (er, this should be quite obvious- Ed)?
AySel: Azerbaijan is participating in Eurovision for the second time only but I’m a huge fan of our last year song “Day After Day”. Among my other favorite songs are Abba – Waterloo (Sweden), Maria Sherifovich – Molitva (Serbia), Maria – Hold on be strong (Norway), Ruslana – Wild Dance (Ukraine), Ani Lorak – Shady Lady (Ukraine) and so much more. It’s very hard to pick one from such huge amount of amazing songs!
Arash: Same goes for me, watch every year, always trying to vote. A lot of really amazing performances.

What do you think about the debate over so-called ‘political’ voting?
AySel: We never thought of Eurovision as a political contest.
Arash: For us it’s an opportunity to represent great song and to make European viewers get known with Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire.

How do you think the return of jury voting might influence the final result?
AySel: We are ready for every change. I think you don’t need to bother even to go and take part in some competition if you don’t want to win it. We’ll do everything possible to take Azerbaijan up high!
Arash: Yep, we will do everything possible to win.

Why do you think Eurovision is still so popular, even after all these years?
AySel: It is a lifechanging opportunity for every participant and great show for every viewer.
Arash: The best European TV show ever and I’ve got nothing to add!

Have you heard the UK’s song this year and what do you think? Any chance your country could give us some points this year (please…….? 🙂 )
AySel: As for me UK’s song is one of the best this year. So impressive. But it’s all depending on viewers’ and jury opinion.
Arash: I think It’s My Time is very good this year and you can hope for great results!

Posted in Azerbaijan, Interviews | 1 Comment »

Not so scary this year….

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2009

……it’s the sophomore effort from Azerbaijan, courtesy of Aysel and Arush. We liiiiike……

Posted in Azerbaijan | Leave a Comment »