The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — are re-assembling to celebrate the 2010s. In this decade, we’ve seen some of the most iconic performances of all time, not limited to competing songs either. Today we head to Malmö Arena to review Farid Mammadov from Azerbaijan, with his powerful ballad “Hold Me”.
It had only been a year since Azerbaijan hosted the contest in their capital city Baku, but they’d evidently got the taste for success at the contest and wanted it back ASAP. In 2013, Farid Mammadov was given some of the most extra staging of all time. It featured a duplicate Fahrid inside a glass box, miming his movements in reverse, even turning upside down as Farid stood atop the box.
Fahrid’s lover from the lyrics appears in a scarlet dress with a train longer than the height of the Flame Towers back home (may not exactly be accurate there…), who flirted with both metaphorical-box-Farid and then real Farid, to show love being freed. Hey, the staging was even good enough for Chinese TV to borrow for a bit (ahem). It was Azerbaijan’s last top ten result until Chingiz took their slot back this year. Are we still obsessed with the insanity of that acting, or did we escape that box and run?
Farid Mammadov – “Hold Me”
“Hold Me” reviews
Antranig: Azerbaijan is one of my favourite countries at Eurovision and almost all of their entries have been incredible. The one main exception is this one. I see no appeal in this song whatsoever. All I get from this entry is a whiny guy gyrating against a box while singing a generic piece. Chingiz did the Azeri hot guy act better. Samra did the Azeri Scandipop reject song better. And Ell & Nikki did winning better. Luna moon me up and let’s move on.
Pablo: This is one of the cases of an iconic performance of an average song. Many Eurovision fans can recall the one act with the one dancer in the one glass box, an amazing mix of kitsch and edge. While there is little technically wrong with any aspect of “Hold Me”, it all just feels hollow, as if it didn’t stand the test of time well. Voting controversy aside, this is Azerbaijan at its most plastic; impressive at first view, but dwindling in retrospect.
Sebastian: “Hold Me” is a clear example of a fairly average song on paper, being amplified and using its best assets to turn lemons into lemonade. That said — it has aged incredibly well, with a timeless performance that shows off charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Whether you loved — or hated — this song, you cannot deny that Azerbaijan made the best out of this package and deserved their top three finish.
Calvin: A painful throwback to love songs from the 2000s mixed with a cliché staging. I still don’t get why box-mirror-man had no microphone in his hand or did I miss the artistic reason behind that? It is entertaining, I have to admit that. It just feels like a bunch of former contest ballads were mixed together with new staging. An old recipe can’t create a contemporary song.
Katie: Does it get more Eurovision than Farid Mammadov and his glass box full of roses? I don’t think so. It makes me very happy that Hold Me is a song people haven’t forgotten and it’s still always referred to as one of the most memorable stagings of recent Eurovision years. Farid told a story during his three minutes on the Eurovision stage and performed with emotion and conviction. This is something that artists are still trying to master to this day. If Azerbaijan want to see Eurovision return to Baku any time soon, I think their 2013 entry is something they should look back on and take notes on. This is how to sell a song, this is how to sell a performance, this is how to get a podium finish.
Tom: My mum’s favourite Eurovision song ever. Not sure what that means exactly but this passionate power-plea from Farid Mammadov and his man in a glass box is iconic. I can’t imagine how long it took to rehearse this to make it look as slick and as effortless as it did on the night, but it was totally worth it. Of course it is very easy to ignore the song and just focus on the bloke in the box but Farid does such a good job to not be upstaged, usurping the prisoner with his powerful vocals, stage presence and perfect story telling to still make this performance about him. Emotional brilliance.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 8.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.77/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!