Azerbaijan’s Aysel and Arash have delivered what may be the finest rehearsal of Eurovision thus far. Their performance of Always was spectacularly staged, with the LCD screen featuring erupting volcanoes, pulsating red lights and non-stop fire. Aysel looked stunning in a glittery white dress, and the duo didn’t miss a note or a stepâ€”not even when Aysel ran up a metal staircase in heels (Greece’s Sakis Rouvas wasn’t wearing heels and he still managed to stumble during today’s rehearsal). Their solid performance has made them one of Wiwi’s favorites ahead of the semi-finals.
Why Azerbaijan May Win:
(1) Arash is already a star throughout Europe. His self-titled album went gold in Germany, Russia, Slovenia and Greece, and his single Boro Boro went gold in Sweden. His videos have also appeared on MTV in more than 20 countries.
(2) Arash grew up in Sweden. He’ll likely grab votes there in addition to the countries listed in (1). Add those to the votes Azerbaijan will get from the former Soviet Republics and they are guaranteed a Top 10 finish.
(3) This duo speaks English as well as any entry in the field. The lyrics sound completely natural, so look for votes to come in from the UK and Ireland too.
(4) This is the only memorable duet in the entire field (Armenia’s sister act is just bizarre).
(5) The staging is fantastic. There is a lot of variation—from fiery reds to mellow blues—and Aysel and Arash do a great job of using the entire stage. Plus it builds slowly. You aren’t even aware that there are back-up dancers at the beginning.