Boasting probably the most enviable set of recent results in the contest, one cannot deny that Azerbaijan seems to get things right at Eurovision every year. However, they also prove to be one of the most divisive nations in the contest, some boasting that they are unstoppable, some believing that they bend the rules to achieve better results, and some just wanting them out completely. With fans that have more national pride than the staunchest American Republican, performances finely tuned into musical extravaganzas, and a whole lot of cold hard cash, finding a successful artist for Azerbaijan in Copenhagen next year shouldn’t be that much of a problem, and I think I found a few good ones that would keep their good results going.
Azerbaijan entered Eurovision rather recently, back in Belgrade at the 2008 show. Since then they have competed every year, qualified for the final every year, and have never placed outside of the top 10 in the Grand Final. Since 2008, their best placement was in 2011 with Ell & Nikki and “Running Scared”, which came 1st in the Final. Their “worst” result (it’s still good) was their debut in 2008 with Elnur & Samir and “Day After Day”, which came 8th in the final. Azerbaijan has never finished outside of the top 10, and since 2009, outside of the top 5.
In 2008 Azerbaijan used a national selection called “Land of Fire” to determine their participant. In 2009 they were going to use the same show, but due to a perceived lack of quality entries, they opted for an internal selection. They returned to the “Land of Fire” show in 2010. They have used a national final format each year since then, however it is now called “Milli Secim Turu” and has a 50/50 televote jury split result format, not unlike Eurovision.
Possible 2014 Entrant
For Azerbaijan, there were some really good names that haven’t had a go at Eurovision, however I feel really strongly about someone who has represented them in the past, the lovely pop pixie Safura. “Drip Drop” is my favorite Azerbaijani entry, and I believe it would have placed higher had it not gone first in the final. Her debut album “It’s My War”, released around the same time as the contest in 2010, is a very well produced pop album. Each song sounds like a hit, Safura can belt out any kind of tune she wants, and I’m still hooked on it today. Safura has been involved in Eurovision since her participation in lesser ways, revealing the Azerbaijani points in 2011 and 2012. I really want her to return with a more upbeat, quicker paced song, she really hits her stride when her song is a bit quicker. She hasn’t released new material for a bit, maybe she’s preparing for a Eurovision rejuvenation? Safura is apparently a skilled saxophone player as well, so it would be cool to see her utilizing that skill, maybe she could be “Epic Sax Girl”? Anyway, she deserves another go at it, she has the stuff to do so much in Denmark.
With a quicker paced song like this and a better spot in the final, I think Safura would be a SERIOUS contender to bring the show back to Baku. Also, if she showed off her saxophone skills, she’d bring so much extra interest to an already powerful Azerbaijan.
Aziza Mustafa Zadeh-Despite having found a very good rhythm at Eurovision with finely tuned pop songs, a lot of people, including myself, wish to see a new, more ethnically centered entry from Baku, and I think Aziza would be the perfect choice. She is called “Jazziza” due to her superior jazz musical style, which she fuses with traditional Azerbaijani music. She also sings a bit of opera, having a very high singing voice that sounds wonderful in the higher octaves. I think she would bring a new sense of respect for Azerbaijan, as some think they are starting to get a tad too “cookie cutter” with their entries. She also mainly focuses on live instrumental work, which would be very cool to see for Azerbaijan as they haven’t ever had an instrument as the main focus on stage.
Emin Agalarov-Whilst many of the Eurovision fans I know were underwhelmed by Emin’s performance at the 2012 Final in Baku, and were suspicious of his connections with the government, I’ve heard some of his other work, and I think with a bit of Azerbaijani Eurovision magic and prepping, he could be groomed right into top 5 territory. Emin goes between a pop focus and a jazz focus, often mixing the two. He has a much softer voice than the other Azerbaijani entries, and I think that would be a good change of pace, Azerbaijan really needs to show a bit of vocal variety next year. Azerbaijan also hasn’t sent many male soloists, Farid this year was the first one, and I think they’re going to opt for the men for a least another year.
What do you think? Who could bring the show back to Baku? Will Azerbaijan finally send a traditional piece of music? Will the extremely irritating Armenia/Azerbaijan feud ever end? Let us know your thoughts/artist ideas with a comment below!
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)
Zachary Thomas is Wisconsin-based correspondent for WiwiBloggs.com. Follow him on Twitter @CheerZach. Then follow the team from wiwibloggs.com on Twitter at @wiwibloggs to keep up with the latest Eurovision news and gossip!