Avant-garde and totally original, Dihaj does Eurovision her way. And today during her first rehearsal she made that very clear with a performance melding performance art and pop. The opening sees the singer in a small room of chalkboards, which feature the lyrics of her song. She serves face and writhes against the walls as she sings about her “Skeletons”. Eventually the camera pans up and the audience sees a man in a suit wearing a horse head. The room soon collapses, Dihaj runs riot on the walls, and she expresses disdain for a series of male dancers by marking them with Xs. This is dark and artistic — and one of the visual highlights of the day.
The comparisons to Loreen are obvious. In 2012 Loreen created an intimate stage-within-a-stage, and here Dihaj creates her own world. And, much like Loreen at Melodifestivalen 2017, she’s created a polished and artistic performance that will divide as much as it inspires. As for me I’m rather confused — but that’s not a bad thing.
Dihaj — “Skeletons”: Reviews and Reactions
Azerbaijan: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2017
Dihaj, a trained choral conductor, isn’t shy about going in her own direction. In a statement send to wiwibloggs, her team said:
“With her theatrical performance of ‘Skeletons,’ Dihaj proves that she is comfortable enough to create an alternative world of her own and take the viewer with her — regardless of the demands of the format or genre…The room represents complex self-destructive relationships, inner barriers and hidden truths — the skeletons. A man wearing a mask serves as a ‘bad boy’ with a symbolic ladder showing the emotional distance between the two lovers. Our heroine, being a strong woman, eventually overcomes her self-destructive feelings. The walls come down, as well as the bad boy’s mask. He’s prepared to reconnect with her, but it’s far too late. She’s made him take off the mask he was wearing in their relationship, but she is leaving him alone in the room that she has bravely escaped. At the end of the performance, four backing vocalists join Dihaj on stage.”
“This staging is more of a theatrical approach,” she says. “I’m happy that our delegation was brave enough to bring it to the Eurovision stage. It’s not about technology or special effects anymore. For me the story is what really matters. It can raise different emotions, and I hope it won’t leave viewers indifferent.”
Azerbaijan: First press conference 2017
Photo: Eurovision.tv (EBU)