Vision Music Awards 2017: Azerbaijan’s Dihaj wins most memorable staging

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When it comes to Eurovision, the quality of the voice and the song are essential. But we don’t just judge performances by our ears — we also use our eyes. From over-the-top fireworks displays that have us dialing 999 to LEDs that give us a sense of wonder and depth, Eurovision staging takes audio-visual to another level.

This year’s staging was no different. Moldova’s SunStroke Project turned the stage into an outré wedding with their funky tuxes and wedding dresses. Sweden’s Robin Bengtsson worked a finely-tailored suit while slaying the treadmill. And the United Kingdom’s Lucie Jones shined in a giant glass shard amid a stunning galaxy of gold, claiming her crown as queen of the Eurovision Universe.

But in the end one act left the biggest impression with its innovative use of Kyiv’s International Exhibition Centre. After counting 5,942 votes, we can now reveal that Azerbaijan’s DiHaj has won the Vision Music Award 2017 for Most Memorable Staging.

Serving the edgy and avant-garde, Dihaj did Eurovision her way, melding one of the most current songs in the competition with performance art. The opening saw the singer in a small room of chalkboards, which featured the lyrics of her song and which were meant to represent a destructive relationship. She served face and writhed against the walls as she sang about her “skeletons” and her willingness to hand them over to Mr. Wrong, represented by a man wearing a horse head. Giddy up, y’all. Thankfully DiHaj don’t play! The room eventually collapsed and she was able to move forward by running riot with chalk and a raincoat. It was bonkers and brilliant.

The theatrical performance drew life partly from DiHaj’s renowned sense of fashion. Speaking to wiwibloggs about her VMA win, the Azeri singer said true style is protecting who you are.

“I have been asked a lot about my style. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the fashion industry. I don’t have any direct influences. I don’t know any names…apart from the classics. My main goal is to have and to hold on to my sense of inner style. It’s not about wearing clothes from very latest collection that makes you stylish or modern. Clothes are the instruments that make you feel more confident and more beautiful. But do not forget, they are just instruments, mere instruments.”

Dihaj joins an esteemed list of previous VMA winners for best staging. It includes Sergey Lazarev from 2016, Loïc Nottet from 2015, Donatan & Cleo from 2014 and Cezar Ouatu from 2013.

Most Memorable Staging: 2017

  1. Dihaj: 1,263 votes (21.26%)
  2. Lucie Jones: 1,216 votes (20.46%)
  3. Robin Bengtsson: 887 votes (14.93%)
  4. SunStroke Project: 768 votes (12.92%)
  5. Salvador Sobral: 738 votes (12.42%)
  6. Artsvik: 717 votes (12.07%)
  7. Jacques Houdek: 353 votes (5.94%)

Total votes: 5,942 votes

Vision Music Awards 2017: the nominees

This award is just one of a dozen awards we have launched as part of the Vision Music Awards 2017 (VMAs).

Our 13 categories — from best dressed to most wronged at ESC — identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not.

You can watch the nominations video and read more about the awards here.

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Photo: Andres Putting (Eurovision.tv / EBU)