Category Archives: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: Third Time’s the Charm for Dilara Kazimova

dilara Much like Lithuania, Azerbaijan’s National Selection process, Böyük Səhnə, went for the long haul.  Ten weeks of casting shows and heats led to a three-person final, and even after a winner was declared, we still wait in a holding pattern for a song.  But the process was most definitely entertaining, with well-thought-out stagings and generally strong performances by the final three contenders: Khana Hasanova, Erkin Osmanli, and Dilara Kazimova.

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JESC 2013 Preview: Part 1

Well, we’re just about at the apogee of the Eurovision calendar, when we’ve got as much time behind our last ESC experience as we do before the next one.  For some, that means that broadcasters are just beginning to publicize their plans, and the first names are beginning to be announced for a few early-bird nations.  However, as the plans for the grown-ups lie somewhat dormant, their younger counterparts are gearing up for their turn in the spotlight.

This year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest will take place on November 30 in “Ukraine Palace of Arts”, located in the heart of Kiev.  The event will be hosted by 2013 ESC representative Zlata Ognevich and 2005 JESC host Timor Miroshnychenko (try saying that five times fast!), with musical appearances from Ruslana, Emmelie de Forest, and Zlata herself. Read the rest of this entry

Azerbaijan: “Hold Me”, says Farid Mammadov…

…and the fans say, “sure!”

Azerbaijan, the host of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, finally wrapped up its veritable marathon of a National Final process, the Milli Seçim Turu.  Starting all the way back in December, eight week-long heats of either eight or nine singers eventually gave way to a ten-singer Final round.  Taking the victory in Baku on Thursday night was 21-year-old Farid Mammadov (or, to be more precise, Fərid Məmmədov) and his powerful ballad “Hold Me“. Read the rest of this entry

Toe-to-Toe ESC Smackdown!

As I’ve said before, April is typically Eurovision No-Man’s-Land as we wait for rehearsals to start.  Why not fill the time with a bit of friendly competition?

So many of this year’s artists got to where they are today by standing on the shoulders of giants.  Or, at the very least, covering other people’s songs at National Finals or “Idol”/”X-Factor”/”The Voice”-type programs.  By sheer luck and coincidence, many of 2012’s Eurovision performers have either covered the same songs as one another, or simply performed past ESC classics.  So, in order to pass a bit of time, why don’t we figure out whose versions reign supreme?

As the Chairman would (almost) say..."Allez Musique!"

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Another day, another new crop of videos…

As expected, new promotional videos for this year’s Eurovision songs keep on rolling in.  Let’s take a look at what today has brought us:

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Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeva unveils “When the Music Dies”

After a long National Final process, stretching from November through February, Azerbaijani broadcaster İctimai announced that 32-year old Sabina (or, if you want to be all Azeri about it, Səbinə) Babayeva would be given the honor of representing the Land of Fire on home soil this May.  It was only just today, however, that we finally got to hear her song for Eurovision 2012, “When the Music Dies”:

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Azerbaijan has decided: it’s Sabina Babayeva!

After a marathon of a National Final that capped off a selection process that’s been in the works since way back in November, we finally know who will have the honor of defending her country’s title on home soil.  Five singers performed in the last round of Azerbaijan’s Milli Seçim Turu 2012, but only one singer could reign supreme:

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The Weekend Round-up, January 8

It’s been a busy week in the world of Eurovision, with preselections, song announcements, and other news from Cyprus, Slovenia, Latvia, and beyond.  Let’s take a quick look at the past weekend, shall we?

Cyprus: On Friday, CyBC officially unveiled Ivi Adamou’s three candidate songs for Baku.  “Call the Police”, “La La Love”, and “You Don’t Belong Here” have all been pretty well-received by fans, and we’ll find out which song Ivi will perform on January 25th.  More information (including the songs themselves) is available here.

Latvia: The first of two semifinals took place on Saturday, January 7th, and ten songs were whittled down to the five that will make up half of February 18th.  The qualifying performances are:

The second semifinal will be held next week, but considering that the only song performed in Latvian was eliminated this week, it’s a pretty safe bet that Latvia will be sending another song in English in 2012.  (The only time they’ve dipped into the Latvian language pool was with 2004’s “Dziesma par laimi“, which failed to qualify for the Final.  LTV has also sent songs in Italian and Russian, but the vast majority of their submissions have been in English.)

Slovenia: After months of heats aired by the program “Misija Evrovizija”, the final two acts have been confirmed.  Eva Boto and sister act Nika & Eva Prusnik will go up against each other on February 26th, when RTVSLO will hold “EMA 2012”.  Both Eva and the sisters will perform three songs each, and the winning song will be chosen out of those six performances.

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::Drumroll please?::

And the winner is…Azerbaijan?!?!?

It’s not a bad song by any stretch, but in my opinion, it benefited from a pretty good draw and the fact that Turkey wasn’t competing in the Final that night.  It’s too early to tell if I’m going to Baku next year or not; I might need a few days to decompress!  (Lucky for me, I fly to Israel tomorrow to board a cruise with my parents!  If you don’t hear much from me over the next few days, that’s why!)

On the happier side of the coin, I’m absolutely THRILLED that Italy’s Raphael Gualazzi came in an incredibly respectable runner-up position.  It wasn’t because of the fact that Eurovision fans missed Italy, and it wasn’t because of some hyped-up production…I like to think that it was because the music was real, heartfelt, and well-performed.  I’ve met with Raphael a few times over these past two weeks, and, bar none, nobody else that I had met with here in Germany feels the music running through his veins as much as he does.  If someone asks him to sing acapella, he closes his eyes and moves his fingers as if a piano were in front of him.  He’s fantastic, and he has an amazing career ahead of him.

Sweden came in 3rd, which is a pretty remarkable contrast from the train-wreck that his first few rehearsals displayed.  Early fan favorites Hungary and Estonia came in 22nd and 24th, respectively, and Jedward beat Blue in the scoreboard.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m exhausted, and I’ve got an early flight to catch.  My voice is gone, and my feet hurt from the three-inch stilettos I’m rocking tonight.  But I’ve never been happier.

I’ll catch you guys soon!

New Videos from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Latvia (plus, new versions for France and Croatia!)

Over the past week, a number of new videos have been released for this year’s Eurovision hopefuls.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

First up, Armenia has revealed the official clip for Emmy’s “Boom Boom”, featuring German-Armenian boxer Arthur Abraham:

Well, at least the Armenians are probably realizing just how kitschy their song is…having Emmy and her pals dance around in a ring, wearing bedazzled boxing gloves and randomly turning into comic book characters is a pretty decent sign that they’re taking “Boom Boom” with a grain of salt (and I, for one, could use a margarita after watching it.  Oy…)

Next up, we’ve got Armenia’s cross-Caucasus neighbors (and perpetual rivals) Azerbaijan, who released a second clip for Eldar and Nigar’s “Running Scared”:

Compared to previous years’ entries from Baku, “Running Scared” is elegant, subtle, and sweet.  The video is visually beautiful (not only because of the landscapes, but also for the copious shots of Eldar and Nigar!).  I’m not quite sure why Azerbaijan insisted on recording a second video for “Running Scared”, as their first version was definitely not unpleasant, but considering the country’s penchant for Eurovision excess, they probably just figured that any money spent was money well spent.
We’ve also seen the premiere of Latvia’s “Angel in Disguise”, by pop duo Musiqq:

Another simple, straightforward song with an equally straightforward video.  My only concern is that by putting the chorus’s lyrics right up on screen, the fact that Musiqq is singing in so-called “Eurovision English” is put front and center.  It’s not grammatically perfect, and it becomes more noticeable when lyrics like “stare me with candy eyes” are repeatedly displayed.  Marats and Emīls are definitely easy on the eyes, though, and “Angel in Disguise” is the only ESC entry this year where I actually like the random rap-break.

Croatia’s Daria Kinzer has just released translations of “Celebrate” in Russian, French, and German, bringing the number of versions released to this point up to six (including the original Croatian and the first English rendition, “Break a Leg”).  I’m personally still waiting on Esperanto, Swahili and Hawaiian, but maybe that’s just me…

Finally, French tenor Amaury Vassili has recently re-released his second album “Canterò” with “Sognu” added to the track listing, as well as a new, English-language version of this year’s Eurovision entry, entitled “I Would Dream About Her“.  I personally prefer the original Corsican version, but as Amaury will not be using this new translation on stage in Düsseldorf, it’s a bit of a moot point.