Earlier this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—headed to Azerbaijan to admire the nation’s oil reserves and to review Farid Mammadov’s Eurovision 2013 song “Hold Me”. After hearing him perform did we wrap our arms around him? Or were we ready to push him away? Read on to find out…

HK Dick: For me, this is the one to beat. Azerbaijan has found another cracker in the bushy eyebrowed Farid. Following a simple piano intro, Farid displays a lot of emotion in delivering the fairly simple lyrics which are easy to remember and to sing along with. Azerbaijan are bound to have terrific staging (which helped propel Ell & Nikki to success) which will appeal to large swathes of Europe. I don’t really want to go to Baku again so soon (unless they have cheaper hotels now) but I see Eurovision heading way out east again in 2014.

Score: 9/10

Wiwi: From the moment I heard this song I knew that Farid Mammadov had a chance of winning Eurovision 2013. The song manages to appeal to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. It’s got an R&B soul yet feels somehow genre-less. You could hear it at a high school prom in America or re-mixed as a dance anthem at a club in London. You could hear it at a bling wedding in Istanbul or at the climax of some romantic comedy starring Jennifer Anniston. And you can most definitely hear it being sung at the 2013 Eurovision Winner’s Press Conference. Among the other front-runners there are plenty of naysayers: Folks say that Emmelie de Forest’s “Only Teardrops” is generic; that Anouk’s “Birds” is suicidal and boring; and that Cascada’s “Glorious” is a rip-off of “Euphoria”. Farid’s song offends no one, which may be enough to help it climb to the top in Malmö.

Score: 8.5/10

Farid is ready for his close-up
Farid is ready for his close-up

Alexander: Azerbaijan has once again delivered a ballad that is both beautiful and catchy. Farid Mammadov has excellent stage presence, although his live vocals are somewhat questionable. I do have to mark Azerbaijan down for always outsourcing the writing and production of their Eurovision entries. Usually they outsource to Sweden, but this time it was to the famous Greek composer Dimitris Kontopoulous. When are you guys going to send a song from your own country? The only time you did this was in your 2008 debut! Despite that, “Hold Me” is still a very nice song to listen to, albeit highly formulated.

Score: 7/10

Mr Häggkvist: Azerbaijan has found a way to do well at Eurovision—and they keep doing the same thing. Stage a 100-week-long national selection, pick an artist and then choose a foreign composer (who usually writes a ballad) and that will lead to a top 5 finish. “Hold Me” is the brother of “Drip Drop”, “Running Scared” and “When the Music Dies”. What can I say? Farid is a good singer, “Hold Me” is a good song, and it might surprise all of you in Sweden. But I don’t see this as real competition this year.

Score:  6.5/10

Bogdan: I’ve loved this song from the very first listen. It has a nostalgic quality to it. For some reason I think of (don’t laugh) Jacques Brel whenever I listen to it. Farid Mammadov also has good looks on his side, which is definitely a plus. However I am worried about his vocal abilities since I heard the actual live version of “Hold Me”. It is the only problem I have with this song. Hopefully Farid will prove me wrong come May, because the song is brilliant.

Score: 7/10

Farid Mammadov, Azerbaijan Eurovision 2013_online_mainDeban: Note to Farid Mammadov: Learn lessons from Donny Montell 2012. Just because ‘Love Is Blind’ doesn’t mean you need to wear a blindfold on stage and attempt to somersault. Why is Eastern Europe so literal? If this song is to be taken seriously, please get rid of the writhing ballerina in blue. She’s an unnecessary accessory! Moving on, this is a good pop number. I love the subtle elevated key change, akin to ‘love being a mountain, and climbing up to the highest of the world’ . Unfortunately, the song has serious elocution issues, which, had I not consulted the lyrics sheet prior to reviewing this, I would have come up with totally new meanings. This needs to be totally ironed out before May. If that’s achieved, we have a serious crown contender in this track. Although Mammadov is lacking in the obvious star quality of Sabina Babayeva, one thing he does showcase is genuine angst. “Hold Me” really touches the soul, and the pain he communicates whist singing it, lingers in vision and in audio.

Score: 7/10

Vebooboo: “We’ve hit our load, about to explode”—I can’t think of more appropriate lyrics to describe what all of gay Europe will be thinking when they catch a glimpse of this muscle-bound hunk on the stage in Malmo. With muscles like that he can hold me all night long! Looks aside, this is actually a good song, and Farid can sing. At times it gets a bit repetitive and it isn’t the exactly the catchiest, but things get switched up nicely around 1:30. I have no desire to return to Baku in the next couple of years—it’s so expensive!—but I do hope this song gets a top 20 place as it deserves. 

Score: 6/10

Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.29/10

Wiwi Jury Final Ranking: #6 out of 39 contestants

You can see the latest reviews and standings on the Wiwi Jury pageYou can also listen to all 39 entries on our contestants page.

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Aida
Aida
7 years ago

Hold me farid Mammadov is not released single in Norway, Denmark Finland and Sweden. No radio play and it’ s not of any chatta Cause no release om cd or single. Why??

Ioan Bogner
Ioan Bogner
7 years ago

Farid was the best in this year he should winn all the best for the future

Vasili
7 years ago

MJ: A pretty boy singing a sad song, trying his best to look sad: the furrowed brow, the clenched fists, a voice that is trying so hard to contain the pain, with a metallophone giving off the sound of sadness behind him. Sad, sad, sad. And all you can do is to try not to cry with boredom. MD: “If love was a mountain I’d climb up to the highest of them all, I’d swim across the ocean if you’d call, I’m lost in your smile. Freefalling for miles”. Farid Mammadov gives 110% in an attempt to break the record… Read more »

Ayse Sevgi
7 years ago

WE LOVE YOU FARID!!!YOU WILL WIN IN EUROVISION 2013 MALMO!!!YOU MUST BELIEVE YOU!!!?? ???? ?????!!!

Ayse Sevgi
7 years ago

Now time for show.When i listen this song in first i dont like her,but when i listen in second time i like this song very much!!!Now i listen this song 100000000 times in one day.Azerbaijan with you!!!Azerbaijan this song for you,song 2 you…Farid good luck.

Ayse Sevgi
7 years ago

We love you Farid!!!I think this amazing song,good luck Farid..!

Nigz
Nigz
7 years ago

12 points to azerbaijan from dubai!

Nigz
Nigz
7 years ago

Farid!
Good luck!
I’m sure you can win this ESC!
Greetings from dubai!
Can’t wait to see you tomorrow !

Leon
Leon
7 years ago

It has it all. Passion, interest, a singer with good looks and stage presence and memorable lyrics.

fira
7 years ago

i love this song very much good luck Farid ?

Trevor
Trevor
7 years ago

Not grabbed by this on first listen, it grew on me, so that now I hear it again I can imagine hearing it blaring from loudspeakers in wine bars, clubs and openair cafes all over the globe after May, a la Vicky Leandros, 1972. I seriously think this could have ‘it’.

Shura Vorobey
Shura Vorobey
7 years ago

No wonder the reviews are so good. Farid’s awesome.

Olga S
Olga S
7 years ago

Azerbaijan should win this year’s contest! Good luck!

LisaE
LisaE
7 years ago

belive in u,Farid! Be the first! =)

Varya
Varya
7 years ago

He really is good, the main for him is to keep calm during the performance

MOON-FLOWER
7 years ago

<3 <3 <3 AZERBAIJAN <3 <3 <3

Natalie
Natalie
7 years ago

Nice and touchful ballad!!! I listen to it 100000000 times!!!! I like it!!! 12 points to AZ!!!

MOON-FLOWER
7 years ago

FARID FARID FARID VERY NICE SONG-HOLD ME…
<3 AZERBAIJAN WINNER <3

AZERBAIJAN
7 years ago

A
Z
E
R
B
A
I
J
A
N

Momo
Momo
7 years ago

“Hold me just unfold me”???
Sounds like the literal translation of the theme song from a bad foreign soap opera.
Nevertheless, I won’t be surprised if it does well.

Dreamer1968
Dreamer1968
7 years ago

By the way i will take the risk to give this results even not like all of them. 1. Romania 85% 2. Norway 100% 3. Malta 80 % 4. San Marino 100% 5. Greece 95% 6. Finland 90% 7. Switzerland 85% 8. Latvia 70 % 9. Israel 60 % 10. Azerbaijan? 100% 11.Bulgaria 80% 12. Georgia 60% 13.Iceland 65%.

Leta
Leta
7 years ago

The middle score is good. How could it be wrong at all? Farid is amazing, and nobody can argue with this fact.

Harriet Krohn
Harriet Krohn
7 years ago

Oh dear, I just listened to the “actual live version” – that ain’t so pretty. But then he’s not the only one to have had vocal troubles now and again, and there’s nothing to suggest he can’t work on that until he has to go on stage in Malmö. That said, I don’t get the fuss either. It’s a nice song, but also rather uninspired. I think a lot of people are letting their weird adoration for Farid’s abs interfere with their judgement of the song. It’s Azerbaidjan and it will do well (12 points from Malta, anyone?), especially as… Read more »

Bahar
Bahar
7 years ago

I think everyone has got their own opinion, because every person is individual 🙂 otherwise we all would be the same 🙂 But don’t like rough comments. Be more lenient 🙂 Farid has always been singing traditional songs since 8 years old …..so maybe he needs more practice with POP songs 🙂
Nice song and lovely Farid. Good luck to all contestant 🙂

nikki
7 years ago

hey guys don’t be jealous
at first Farid has very fine and strong vocal and he is very handsome.
his song is very beautiful and romantic ok
if anybody don’t like him and song then don’t listen ok!
and don’t write your opinion.
my land of fire is always first
your opinion don’t need us
AZERBAIJANNNNNNNNNNNN-TURKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKS
bir sozle cehennem olun

Bogdan Honciuc
7 years ago

What I meant with “actual live version”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7mD-Aid6pU

Jaz
Jaz
7 years ago

I do not understand what people see in this. It is a very average, heard-it-all-before ballad in my book. That’s not to say it won’t do amazingly well, or even pull a Running Scared, though I truly hope not. I’m sure Farid is a nice guy and his voice is decent, but I just don’t get the fuss.

Z24
Z24
7 years ago

It sounds like a very thick cocktail of past Azeri songs (Mostly When the Music Dies). Generic, formulaic, middle of the road and uninteresting. But there are countries who have those same faults at double the magnitude (Russia, then Georgia) so it becomes easier to digest.

Alexander
Alexander
7 years ago

This is really an outstanding song and not because it is overproduced but because it’s so gentle and the arrangement sounds wonderful. Also, his voice is very warm and he can sing very well! 12 points to Azerbaijan!

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

The most likely reason that “Farid’s song offends no one” is that the people who aren’t fans just don’t remember the song. I personally find myself let down by the very generic chorus, which is a shame because the song starts off so well. It’s probably another top 10 by Azerbaijan, though.

Zarko Radjenovic
7 years ago

Very nice preformance! It seeming that this guy hard working! Great voice! 12 points from Serbia!

henrique
henrique
7 years ago

Gee, so much enthusiasm for this rather ordinary, industrial piece of cheap tasteless cheese :/

Wouter
Wouter
7 years ago

I agree with the Wiwi-jury… Imo this is the best song Azerbaijan ever sent. Good singer, catchy song. Good song. Absolutely top 10 rating =)

Lizzet Geels
Lizzet Geels
7 years ago

I really love this song!!!So beautiful!!!

Jacob
Jacob
7 years ago

eurgh… I hate it, it’s so over rated 🙁 it’s my least favourite… it’s boring and he can’t sing

Bjorn Johansson
Bjorn Johansson
7 years ago

I think that Farid’s “Hold me” is one of the strongest entry of this year’s contest. Farid can totally win! Good luck from Sweden!! 🙂

salahzadeh
salahzadeh
7 years ago

good luck Fariddd !! good luck Azerbaijannn <3 1000000/10 <3

Denmark Fan
Denmark Fan
7 years ago

I have to admit it. It’s a strong contender. Ultimately this will come down to whether people like the tribal-quirky-organic-earthy feeling of Denmark vs. this very poppy urban ballad. I prefer the former, obvs 🙂

Marco
Marco
7 years ago

Middle-of-the-road….which is why it’ll do well. Anouk’s song is the best, but too sophisticated for trashy Eurovision viewers! FACT.

Sarah K
Sarah K
7 years ago

The other contestants better watch out. Farid is dangerous! Good song.