Hosts and Venues and Clubs, Oh My!

Well, the calm before the storm still reigns in the world of Eurovision, as there is little news from delegations between the Allocation Draw and the first rounds of rehearsals.  There is, however, plenty of news coming in from our Azerbaijani hosts.  Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in Baku:

The Venue: It seems almost unbelievable, but scarcely ten months after ground was broken on the plot of land jutting out into the Caspian Sea near National Flag Square, we have our venue.  The architects and developers of the brand-spanking-new, 23,000-spectator-capacity Baku Crystal Arena handed over the house keys to the team from Brainpool (the German production company also at the helm during last year’s contest in Düsseldorf), who will outfit the arena with its stage. has put up a gallery of the new edifice, and a general idea of the venue’s layout was put up by Ticketmaster:

Areas in Teal are likely reserved for OGAE Members.

There’s more to Eurovision than just the Contest, though. has also provided a peek into the newly-built Press Center (where I’ll be practically living while in Baku) as well as the Euroclub, to be hosted at the Baku Palace of Sport.  The Euroclub will play host to the Welcome Reception, as well as the after-parties for all three shows (even though the shows and their corresponding Press Conferences will likely wrap up around 3:30 in the morning…let’s hope the Club will serve breakfast).  Furthermore, a EuroVillage holding public events will be set up on the northern end of the Baku Bulvar, near the National Puppet Theater.  As the Buranovskiye Babushki so eloquently say, Party for Everybody!

The Hosts: Following the precedent set by the shows in Oslo and Düsseldorf, a trio of hosts will take the helm in Baku.  Journalists Leyla Aliyeva (not to be confused with the President’s similarly-named daughter) and Nargiz Berk-Petersen, alongside Eldar “Ell” Gasimov, will welcome us to Azerbaijan.  We all know Eldar as one half of last year’s winning entry, and devoted ESC followers might recognize Leyla and Nargiz as the hosts of this year’s Running Order Draw.  They may have some big shoes to fill after Stefan, Anke, and Judith, but this young trio has plenty of on-camera experience.

From "Running Scared" to Running the Show: Leyla, Eldar, and Nargiz

With only weeks to to before the show kicks off, what do you hope to see from the Land of Fire?  Leave a comment!

Posted on April 16, '12, in 2012, Personal, Special Comment. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Is it just me who thinks the stage setup looks a bit… odd this year??

    • Oh – and I’m also a bit disappointed that they’ve given the presenting job to Eldar – from what I’ve heard of him speaking (ie. the winners press conference and announcing Italy’s result at San Remo) his voice just grinds on me. :/

      Leyla was the one who read out the Azerbaijani votes in 2008 I think – she doesn’t seem so bad.

      But I definitely preferred it when they had just the two presenters who did the whole thing. There’s always one of them who just feels so unnecessary (cough – Judith/Haddy – cough) 😛 I loved the presenting teams from 2007/2008.

    • Samantha Ross

      Supposedly, the “greenroom” might be located in the middle of the hall, as opposed to behind the backdrop. As for the setup of the stage itself, you’re right, it does seem a bit strange. I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself (and, of course, I’ll be reporting back here, as well as for ESC Insight, with the updates).

      • Yeah I’d heard that too… That will be – erm- interesting… I mean, it’s one thing opening the green room up for the voting, but having the artist on show for the entire night!? Hmm…
        Looking forward to hearing your views on it in May 🙂

  2. Wow It really is amazing how they built that stadium in under a year. I can’t wait to see the finished product. ^_^

    • Yes, it is amazing.
      By the looks of that stage, I will hazard a guess: they gave the job to the Klingons, that’s why it’s been done on time. 😛 😀

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