trWiwibloggs continues our series where we pile on the love to all competing countries in Eurovision. Today we head to Baku to delve into the Caucasus gem that is Azerbaijan. From feathered falsetto angels to a suited and booted horse, they’ve brought all sorts of imaginative sights to the contest, as well as some unforgettable vocals.
The Land of Fire started off amazingly in the contest but have recently seen a slight drop in results. Despite this, no-one can deny that they have brought some of the highest quality to the contest every year (I’m looking at you, Dihaj). Here’s a list of some of the epic reasons we love Azerbaijan.
1. They’re great at bringing ethnic flair
When Azerbaijan want to bring something with a taste of home, they do it fantastically. Some of the best examples are when the balaban (an Azerbaijani wind instrument) is used in “When the Music Dies”, and when a Turkic banger was sent in the form of “Always”.
2. They know how to work a gimmick
Whilst the term ‘gimmick’ can be seen as a negative word, when it comes to Azerbaijan, it’s guaranteed to be fabulous. We love the way the delegation have brought trapezes, chalkboards and a man in a box (more on that later) to the show, bringing unforgettable creativity to their staging plans. A great example would be Dihaj performing “Skeletons”, bringing the chalkboard, with a dancer donning a horse head and suit on a ladder. Not your everyday performance.
3. Maximum effort provided from the start
We’ve had high-quality performances since Azerbaijan’s debut back in 2008. They even managed to walk away with top 10 finishes in their first six contests! The impressive run was something to be marvelled at, considering even after that they never stayed behind in the semi-final until this year, when their first non-qualification occurred. A genuinely great run, for an amazing team.
4. Everything about “Always”
In 2009, Aysel and Arash brought “Always” to Moscow, and the performance really showed the continent what Azerbaijan can do. They got their first top-three finish in the contest, and the video is still one of the Eurovision YouTube channel’s most watched. To this day, there are 31 million views there, with a 23 million on the record label’s version. The catchy song has serious party vibes and is a staple in the Euroclub and at Euro-themed nights around the continent every year.
5. Dedicated fans
Any fan of Eurovision that uses social media (or has seen our comments section, of course) is aware that the Azerbaijani Eurovision fandom has some of the most passionate fans anywhere in the world. They love their acts and really rally behind their country at every edition of Eurovision. Despite the long journey, many make it to stadiums and arenas around Europe every year.
6. Starting a certain trend
Moldova 2013, Russia 2015, and Estonia 2018; what do they all have in common? They all used projector dresses, and who started that trend? Ah yes, Sabina Babayeva from Azerbaijan, back on home soil in 2012. The projector dress really has become a staple at Eurovision which pops up regularly, but it was the team behind “When The Music Dies” that started the Eurovision trend.
7. Farid Mammadov’s man in the box
In 2013, Azerbaijan came second in Eurovision with ‘“Hold Me” by Farid Mammadov. The song was catchy, and he was looking sharp on stage, but the great result can be partially attributed to the magnificent staging, where a man in a glass box mirrored all of Farid‘s actions, whether that was on his side, upside down or the right way up. It was an incredible sight to behold, and it really paid off in the voting.
8. Azerbaijan get the best in
When it comes to putting together an epic stage show, Azerbaijan regularly put together a highly professional team who’ll really make audiences say ‘wow!’. In 2010, Safura‘s performance was choreographed by JaQuel Knight, who created the “Single Ladies” dance for Beyoncé, as well as Britney Spears’ Circus tour. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, they then used Lukas MacFarlane (winner of So You Think You Can Dance in the UK) as a dancer in Vienna to accompany Elnur Huseynov as he sang “Hour of the Wolf”, along with French dancer Julia Spiesser.
9. Songs with meaning
When Aisel came to Lisbon with the track “X My Heart“, we were all shocked when she didn’t qualify from the first semi-final — the first time this has ever happened to Azerbaijan. However, this didn’t take away from the fact her song had a beautiful story behind it. Aisel’s husband had passed away in recent years, so the lyrics “I hear you wake, I can see you when I dream” certainly took on new meaning. We can imagine this was very emotional for her to sing this, but she did so amazingly, looking angelic and gorgeous. We loved the performance, and we hope to see new projects from her soon.
10. They snatched victory in 2011 — a very tough year!
The Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf in 2011 was a 43-song packed edition, with epic tracks such as “Popular” by Eric Saade and “Lipstick” by Jedward, yet a simple ballad by Ell & Nikki is what took the microphone trophy home. “Running Scared” had gorgeous staging with white fashion and a breathtaking pyro-curtain. Whilst the win is considered controversial in the fandom sometimes, it took the contest to Baku the next year and we got to see the Land of Fire show us their beautiful country, with the inaugural event at the new Crystal Hall.
What are your favourite performances from Azerbaijan? What is their best staging? Let us know down below in the comments!
Comments on this post are now closed.