In six weeks time 43 acts will take to the stage during the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. And while vocal and song are important, what happens on stage is vital. Getting your performance wrong can mean the difference between making the grand final and crashing out in the semis. 

And a country that knows that more than most is Azerbaijan. After a run of strong results at the start of the decade, in recent years things have tailed off for Baku.

This year they’re looking to turn things around. Aisel‘s entire act has been carefully managed by the Eurovision “Dream Team“. “Shady Lady” hitmaker Dimitris Kontopoulos has written her song. “Running Scared” songwriter Sandra Bjurman has written her lyrics.

And staging supremo Fokas Evaggelinos will handle the performance. Although full details are under strict embargo, Team Azerbaijan slipped out some teasers today.

The main news is that four Portuguese backing vocalists will join Aisel on stage to perform “X My Heart“. Among them is Rui Andrade, who placed third at Festival da Canção 2014 and was a backing vocalist for The Tolmachevy Twins at Eurovision 2014.

Salome Caldeira, Hugo Baptista and Sandra D’ Andreade will also appear on stage. These four backing vocalists will play a “significant role” in the performance and have been chosen to honour Portugal as the Eurovision host nation.

Azerbaijan will also have a sixth stage team member, Greek singer Stefania Rizou, but she won’t be on stage with the others. Instead she’ll be off stage and focus on adding additional vocal firepower to the mix.

Aside from the stage team, further details are thin on the ground. But with Fokas at the helm of the performance, Eurofans can expect a memorable show. Past stage shows include Ukraine and Russia 2008, Greece 2009 and more recently Russia 2016.

For some artists, working with the “Dream Team” would add pressure, but this Azeri star takes it all in her stride. Aisel says she feels “confident” in her performance and hopes voters will like it as much as she does. Her extensive promotional tour has allowed her to put in plenty of practice before Lisbon.

She’ll perform “X My Heart” in the first half of the first Semi-Final on May 8.

GET MORE AZERBAIJAN NEWS HERE

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Charles
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Charles

Behaviour against Susy and his behaviour towards not showing up in time for rehearsals in Copenhagen … what an amazing guy …. having fun God knows where and doing God knows what … and being late for work!

Charles
Guest
Charles

I always wondered why is Andrade so desperate to be in Eurovision every single time and it doesn’t even matter which country he is working for. Those two weeks must be entertaining for him that professionalism sometimes … gets out of the window (Denmark-memories-much?). He’s in his own home ground so he can rehearse and have a *cough* drink at the Trumps Gay Club in Lisbon (YES it’s called Trumps not kidding) and come back for more rehearsals. I hope so …

VlaD
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VlaD

If he had bad work ethics the team that he worked for in 2014 wouldn’t hire him again. So most probably you are Suzy her self and not Maria

Sumi
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Sumi

No, it’s not a cultural thing. Charles is a troll. Rui works in Portugal with a very tough musical director, if he was not punctual he wouldnt even be working there.

Sarah Boucher
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Sarah Boucher

Speaking of The Tolmachevy Twins, they are Alekseev’s Backing Vocalists this year.

Elen
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Elen

Source?I found no news about this at all.

Sarah Boucher
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Sarah Boucher

Hold it right there! they were with him in yekatenburg

YoungsterJoey
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YoungsterJoey

At least the travel for the Azeri team won’t be pricey since most of their backup singers are already in Portugal.

Charles
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Charles

Songwriters from Sweden (most of the time) and Portuguese backing vocalists … Azerbaijan not wanting to waste time with their own resources to represent themselves. They have the money to waste on what they want and if they are willing to get human resources for free they will. The easiest shortcut to try to get to the top spot just like they did in 2011. No sign of Azeri identity in their entries but they just don’t care a bit. They will however shuffle their cultural identity in your face if the contest ever goes back to Baku in a… Read more »

M. B.
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M. B.

The difference between Armenia and fake Azerbaijan with a fake Iranian name of its rebuplic, fake ethnonym of it’s people, fake barrowed from neighboring nations cultural elements – is actually fakensess of Azerbaijan and authenticity of Armenia. Georgia will do the same way.. In fact, all ancient nations will try to show their rich cultures if they had the chance. Greece does that and Greeks have no less pride than the Georgians and Armenians. What’s is wrong with it?

Roy
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Roy

Keep mum, inferior fibber !!!

Kaz
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Kaz

This is from a Turk btw. I don’t mind this song, but that’s the problem. It’s so middle of the road. It’s such a shame since I had a lot of hope for Aisel as she’s got such a nice voice. Belgium I think had the right idea with taking someone with a jazzier voice but not just doing a Salvador rip off and actually doing something creative and artistic. I mean I honestly think this could be Azerbaijan’s first non qualification. It won’t help that Armenia and to a lesser extent Greece and Cyprus voting. I have a feeling… Read more »

GaP
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GaP

I don’t get why,for some fans,good pop songs from any other country than Sweden are “generic”, “basic” , “in the middle of the road”.
This song is current and it’s catchy.

Kaz
Guest
Kaz

I thinks Swedens song is pretty generic pop song too. However that song has more presence and charisma, in my opinion you can feel however you like, than Azerbaijan. I’m not bias against them (if anything since Turkey doesn’t compete anymore I’m always rooting for them) but to me it doesn’t have the presence the Azeri songs usually have. Same with Ukraine this year. It doesn’t have that Ukrainian Feel. I have nothing against pure pop songs. I love Cyprus’s entry this year and you could argue it’s the most pop song of the year. The difference is that that… Read more »

GaP
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GaP

I totally disagree with you.
Azerbaijan song is much more current and contemporary than Swedish song and the melody is much better than the Cypriot songs which is a totally outdated , old fashion song with a chorus that goes nowhere

Kyna
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Kyna

@Kaz
I found out that the running order will be revealed April 3rd.

KK
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KK

Finland is nowrhere near to as good as this one is

Ron
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Ron

“These four backing vocalists will play a “significant role” in the performance and have been chosen to honour Portugal as the Eurovision host nation”….more like they have been selected because the participating country cannot find anyone in their country to serve in those roles.

KK
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KK

To be fair here they could find in Sweden as most countries do

Mel
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Mel

More likely they have been selected because Portugal is voting in this semi and Azerbaijan needs all the help it can get.

Kit Kat
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Kit Kat

100% agreed!!
1) they benefit from portuguese simpathy to their chorus and maybe some points
2) they do not have to pay for their travel etc.

I hope they go to Grand Final 🙂

Frisian esc
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Frisian esc

Baku must have enough people suited for the job. That place is like the most modern city of the caucasus region.

Fast Food Music Lover
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Fast Food Music Lover

Sure qualifier. The question is how it will place in the finals.

KK
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KK

Yes I agree. Top 10 for sure

KYLLITO
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KYLLITO

So can backup singers be voted on for the Next ESC Top Model? ?

Almaia douze points
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Almaia douze points

I love this song and she is so beautiful. I will vote for her. 🙂

Paul D.
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Paul D.

I love Libson

EmilyG
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EmilyG

I like the song.Its one of the few songs this year that I have on my Spotify.

Linnel
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Linnel

She’s the reason why I think Finland won’t qualify this year. They are obviously singing similar type of songs and I think that performance wise Azerbaijan will decrease other pop songs’ chances in the semifinal.

Coca_cola
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Coca_cola

I agree with you 100% her song is more catchy and I believe her staging is going to be much better.

Jo
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Jo

I Do hope Azerbaijan will not qualify this year!

VlaD
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VlaD

This is going to do so well.
Song : catchy , contemporary, current
Singer : good looking, strong voice , great color
Stage presentation: if it’s only 50% of what Lorak or Lazarev did it’s goung to be awesome

Jo
Guest
Jo

Don’t find this anywhere near “current”

VlaD
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VlaD

Well then you need to listen to some other songs than Eurovision entries.
All current hits are melodic pop “generic songs”. Rita Ora, Pink, Sia etc

Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Jerusalem 2019

I actually think that Azerbaijan will be in Top 10 this year. The song-wise this isn’t their best attempt for sure, but she’s a strong vocalist and obviously she has a strong team behind her. I can see high quality stage performance for this song in Lisbon.

VlaD
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VlaD

The song is for me one of the “smartest” songs they have ever send: it appeals to everyone

Pandaman
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Pandaman

Nah, it doesn’t appeal to everyone, if you read comments either here or on youtube. I think it sounds too similarly to Finland’s effort this year, and they may cancel each other out, but we’ll see what happens in May.

Mel
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Mel

Trying to appeal to everyone is rarely a smart move.

Sylvero
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Sylvero

Ikr. This could do Russia 2014. The song isn’t even bad, it’s catchy and easy listening. It will mostly depend on the stage show and I feel like they are into something very good with that.

KESC
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KESC

Good Luck to the land of fire. I really hope that they will qualify this year. If not, I would recommend them to send an entry in Azeri next year.
Hopefully, they’ll also work again with Azeri composers, since Isa Melikov did a great job last year with Skeletons.

VlaD
Guest
VlaD

Well Skeletons didn’t do well.

KESC
Guest
KESC

And? It still doesn’t change the fact that it was one of the best Azeri entries, and one of the best entries last year.

VlaD
Guest
VlaD

It was a bad song this is why no one even listened to it after Eurovision

KESC
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KESC

No one? The song has nearly 5 million views on YT. Both her semi final and her granf final performances have 1 million views. Now, come and tell me that no one listened to her after Eurovision.

Marcelo
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Marcelo

“Space” has tons of views that doesn’t mean it’s a good song.

Ron
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Ron

I wouldn’t argue with KESC. He/she gets very protective when it comes to Azerbaijan. But, whether Skeletons is a good song or a bad song is subjective. In my personal opinion, it’s a pretty good song!

KESC
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KESC

And you are very offensive when it comes to Azerbaijan.
But, you have a good music taste, I must say.

The Truth
Guest
The Truth

It is interesting that you are always too protective when it comes to Armenia,but you are too offensive when it comes to Azerbaijan

P.S:”Everybody has rights to point out their views” quote from you

Roland
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Roland

One of my favorites this year. Definitely looking forward to the live performance. Good luck Azerbaijan!

Schulte2
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Schulte2

Wow. This is gonna be amazing, can’t wait! 😀

KESC
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KESC

Lol, as if Aisel, herself, isn’t an eye candy. She is one of the most beautiful female contestants this year.

Fast Food Music Lover
Guest
Fast Food Music Lover

True dat.

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

Awwww they are trying. They probably won’t qualify with all those similar songs liuke Finland, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel etc.

JessND
Guest
JessND

I actually think that her performance in May will be much stronger than those of Finland, Cyprus or Croatia. So this is actually minus for these countries to have Aisel in that semi.

PP
Guest
PP

Portugal made big mistake why not send him in Eurovision 2011 or 2012. With his song , Portugal would be in final and in final in TOP 10, and with song from 2011 maybe in TOP 5.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

omg he’s a snack. we stan!

you all cannot get over the fact that the song is a bop, she is an amazing vocalist, classy and has such a stage presence. She will qualify and everyone likes an inoffensive pop song. Bye