The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have gathered yet again to discuss and gab about Azerbaijan‘s 2011 romantic duet, “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki.

Azerbaijan had only participated three times before this, but the effort was at its peak, year after year with no sign of relenting. In 2010 Azerbaijan brought “Drip Drop” and hired actual Beyoncé’s choreographer… which didn’t work. In 2011, they stripped it right back and brought “Running Scared”, a simple but delicate ballad, and gave it to two singers not afraid to show a little affection during the number.

In arguably one of the most competitive editions in the decade, it would take a lot to win and overcome standout tracks from France, Sweden, and even Jedward from Ireland. Something about the minimal staging of Ell & Nikki’s performance gave them the trophy, taking the contest to the brand new Baku Crystal Hall the following year. Will the Wiwi Jury give 10s across the board or will they be running scared from having to listen again?

Ell & Nikki – “Running Scared”

“Running Scared” reviews

Robyn: 2011 was such a weird year. There were jury favourites and televote favourites but it was “Running Scared” that managed to bridge the gap between both. It’s the least beloved of all the winners of the 2010s and listening to it eight years later, the song sounds dated in a way that other older Eurovision songs don’t. But hey, this is what pop music sounded like in 2011 and it’s not inherently a bad thing for an entry to be an on-trend pop ballad. It’s not a bad song (Ell and Nikki worked it!), but it just doesn’t stack up against the other Eurovision high flyers of the 2010s.

Score: 6.5/10

Jonathan: Out of all 30 songs in this Wiwi Jury, “Running Scared” was the hardest to review. I fall in and out of love with this song on a regular basis. Part of me enjoys the simple melody that is easy to sing along with. However, part of me also gets bored halfway through and wants to skip to the next song. The performance itself is nice; yet that’s simultaneously its problem. Ell and Nikki’s delivery and chemistry make the performance pleasant enough to watch, but it doesn’t instantly fill the viewer with any other substantial emotion to make them want to hit the replay button.

Score: 7/10

Lukas: This has to be one of the most unexpected winners and to be honest, it’s not my favourite one. 2011 had a lot of great songs and the fact that “Running Scared” won was kind of interesting. I do not mind the song that much but the live performance wasn’t the best and staging was quite empty too. Both Ell and Nikki looked stunning on stage but that is not enough to win Eurovision. At least Azerbaijan gave an amazing show the following year so no complaining.

Score: 6/10

Barnabas: Oh dear, 2011 was that year at Eurovision, with all the odds tumbling down like a house of cards, and the winner is somewhat the definition of what many people think of when they hear the word “Eurovision”. “Running Scared” is a bland and forgettable ballad with some kitschy and also cliché lyrics about love. The live performance offered no outstanding vocal talent whatsoever from the artists, the only thing that saved it was their chemistry and the staging, but the Azerbaijani victory should’ve come with a much better song.

Score: 5/10

Luis: The best thing about “Running Scared” is that it gave Azerbaijan its first victory at Eurovision and in exchange, the next year, they gifted us with the absolutely gorgeous “When the Music Dies”. Ell and Nikki delivered the song well, but that would be about it. The song is nice, but quite forgettable as well. Today was the first time I heard it since 2012, while I listen to all the other winners of the decade regularly. The key word here is “meh”.

Score: 5.5/10

Charlotte: Watching Ell & Nikki’s performance feels like overdosing on candy. The duo dressed in all white, looking deeply in each other’s eyes while singing a love song. It’s so stereotypical, but I absolutely loved it. The only other thing they needed to make this performance work, were decent vocals. And that said, they made it work perfectly.

Score: 7.5/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

William: 8.5/10

Antranig: 3.5/10

Pablo: 3.5/10

Angus: 6/10

Lucy: 3/10

Sebastian: 5/10

Bernardo: 3.5/10

Deban: 7/10

Calvin: 2.5/10

Oliver: 2/10

Kristin: 3/10

Edd: 7/10

Florian: 5/10

Steinunn: 2/10

Natalie: 8/10

Julian: 3.5/10

Katie: 6.5/10

Tom: 8/10

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 2.5 and a high of 8.5.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.2/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all of our Wiwi Jury of the 2010s rankings here.

75
Leave a Reply

avatar
37 Comment threads
38 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
42 Comment authors
SaneyKESCPolegend GodgarinaKirbyFYROM Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Saney
Guest
Saney

WHAT? 5.2? Underrated af

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

still a more worthy winner in 2011 than the rest of the top four: italy (unlistenable, forgettable), sweden (laughable lyrics), or ukraine (meaningless song with cool performance). stop hatin it ain’t that bad

KESC
Guest
KESC

It’s hated because they are from Azerbaijan! Azerbaijan is always hated by some guys here no matter what..

Eureka
Guest
Eureka

Oh wow

FYROM
Guest
FYROM

People are forgetting that this was one of the biggest favorites in 2011.its not like it came out of nowhere and won, people had seen it coming. They didn’t cheat

Ron
Guest
Ron

It actually wasn’t. The night of the final, France was the big favorite to win followed by Sweden. Azerbaijan was 4th with the bookies and many people attributed the hype to their success in 2010 (5th) and 2009 (3rd).

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Let’s be real. Azerbaijan were absolutely desperate to win. It was part of a concerted effort to promote themselves internationally, which they started in the late 2000s. Before that, most people in Europe had never heard of them, could not pronounce their name, and certainly could not place them on a map. Money could usually get them what they want. They bought their way to a Formula One Grand Prix. European Athletics Championships. Boxing tournaments. They will host some games of the UEFA Euro 2020 soccer championship next year. They will take any and every opportunity to promote themselves on… Read more »

FYROM
Guest
FYROM

And being 4th with the bookies doesn’t mean you are one of the favorites?

Peters
Guest
Peters

2011 was a pretty weak year so I’m not surprised this won.

oli
Guest
oli

I don’t think it’s a bad song but it’s meh..blah…ok. I was quite shocked this won, actually

Ron
Guest
Ron

World economy was in recession, EBU was in crisis as far as finding a country willing to spend $15+ million on hosting and Azerbaijan happened to have $60 million allocated for Eurovision…Let’s just say, it all worked out.

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

2011 was a great final…so many great songs, and while this is nice it was certainly not the best. Let’s be honest the best pop songs were Hungary, Ireland, Sweden and UK

Bella
Guest
Bella

Worst winner ever, not surprising that they got the lowest average number of points per country in the history of Eurovision winners. This is not even worthy of qualifying from a semi final of the Moldovan national selection.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I hate the fact that Azerbaijan gave us 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2017 but this bland pop song was their winner. Worst winner this decade, sorry. 5/10

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Musically, it was quite novel to have the two singers singing at the same octave. It requires the man (Eldar) to sing some notes in falsetto, which he does very well. There is also the same requirement in theatrical expression for both singers, demonstrating a purely equal love for each other. If I were choreographing this one now, I might consider having two women sing the song, as it would make more musical sense and send a beautiful message that would be less taboo now than it was back then. Sadly though, this 2011 winner has since been overshadowed by… Read more »

Vincent
Guest
Vincent

What a weird result that year. I was very young that year, and this was all long before checking out polls, odds, video clips prior to the semi finals, interviews, etc. It was just plain and simple watching Eurovision at 9PM and having no clue what to expect. I remember watching the final and thinking wow so many nice enjoyable songs (especially compared to my first Eurovision, 2007); Da da Dam (Finland), Rockefeller Street, Katy Wulf, A friend in London, Italy, Blue etc. But Running Scared was never on my radar. It didnt dislike it, but this was all a… Read more »

Sam
Guest
Sam

Da Da Dam could well serve as an anthem for the FfF movement. What do you think its result would have been had Finland taken it in 2019?

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I’m not even going to waste my energy in giving my opinion on this song. The lowest point in Eurovision history.

esc26
Guest
esc26

In all honesty, this is not bad. It’s mediocre. The reason why everyone hates this so much is the fact that it won. It’s one of the worse winner, but I still think that if it finished like 15th, nobody would have any problem with it.

Bella
Guest
Bella

That’s the thing: it’s undeserving, and no one likes someone who gets a trophy without deserving it. If it had placed 15th, this song would have been where it should be. Also, Azerbaijan has done so many shady things to buy votes, it’s only natural they get hate in return. Good job, land of cheaters… Euh, land of fire (sorry, tongue slipped).

Ori Shaked
Guest
Ori Shaked

You should have removed Oliver’s 2 rather than 2.5

Darren
Guest
Darren

It’s a toss up between Azerbaijan 2011 and Ukraine 2016 for the title of least deserving winner of the 10s. I think Azerbaijan just clinched it. It’s truest shocking how this was the winner of such a great contest! (Düsseldorf 2011 is my favorite ESC of the decade, the songs, the host city, the arena etc). We had so many potential winners in 2012…Denmark, Italy, Sweden, a returning Lena for Germany..hell even Ireland had a chance in 2011, yet Azerbaijan with the most bland entry ever somehow managed to win over Europe. We all knew it was coming…Azerbaijan was the… Read more »

Kat
Guest
Kat

The best way I can describe my feelings for this song are… It’s a great song, but a TERRIBLE winner. Whenever I hear it, I remember why I loved it! But when I remember it won (and at the one contest I was actually there for)…. I am overwhelmed with disappointment. Its legacy would’ve been much better if it had gotten 3rd or something!

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

Horrid.

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Not as bad as some people paints it, but still not good enough compared with other winning songs of the decade. It benefited on the fact that 2011 was a really weak year quality wise. Had it been an Euphoria, a Fairytale or an Arcade around, they would’ve probably struggled for a Top 3 result.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

It’s the definiton of bland. There’s nothing particularly wrong about it, since the vocals, staging and song are all acceptable. But everything is extra safe and forgettable. I can’t even see the chemistry between the singers some people mentioned. it’s like attending to the wedding of two of the most boring people you ever met (in my case, guessing that the relationship won’t even last).

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

… and it didn’t.

Preuss
Guest
Preuss

Back to good old times when Azerbaijan was everyone’s favorite toy to diss on, and the big elephant in the community was “buying” your way to success by hiring foreigners, mostly Swedes, to write your song and do the staging. I love Azerbaijan, they have brought a lot of quality to this competition, although “Running Scared” is one of my least favorite entries from the “Land of Fire”. I don’t mind it winning in 2011, a pretty mediocre year in my opinion where I wouldn’t mind to see Germany take the crown again with “Taken By A Stranger”. That being… Read more »

Sam
Guest
Sam

Exactly, The Hour of the Wolf and Skeletons were also great songs but didn’t get as much attention because of what Azerbaijan had done in the previous years.

Dog
Guest
Dog

I heard that they sold SIM cards to students to vote for them :/
I also heard that Azerbaijan loves buying votes and cheating:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/come-in-baku-have-you-been-cheating-at-eurovision-song-contest-8816979.html

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

The fact that they weren’t kicked out after this tells me everything I need to know about the EBU. People should ask Sietse Bakker questions about this when they interview him next year. I still feel like they only pretend to take things seriously when they absolutely cannot be denied anymore.

Jai
Guest
Jai

I honestly fully believe that Azerbaijan cheated in 2011. They were caught cheating in 2013 and their results before then were always good while their results since 2013 have just been ok. I think their cheating is also why the odds were so off in 2011 and why many fan favorites didn’t do as well as expected. I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually loves this song

Jai
Guest
Jai

I’m also worried that they might be back to their old tricks because Chingiz being in the top 10 this year shocked me

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I think they still cheat, but on a smaller scale. Like trading 12s with Russia. I think Chingiz deserved a good result.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Er, see below.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

There’s no doubt in my mind that they cheated. Their victory is just too implausible in too many ways. I wish more people would realize this.

Sam
Guest
Sam

I ran scared of this song after its victory… Still can’t believe how it managed to win.

pepe
Guest
pepe

2011 was the year Loreen sang My Heart Is Refusing Me in Melfest, a song far superior to Euphoria imho and she didn’t even make the final. I wonder how that would have done in Duesseldorf.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Everything about the song and the staging were artificial, they didn’t have any chemistry either. I would even dare to say Ell is gay. “Running Scared” screams fake by every side. The soft melody isn’t bad, but this is too cheesy,

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Yes to everything, plus to make the act even worse, Nikki wasn’t the least bit interested to even fake affection for Ell. She was too busy trying to barely get through the two, three phrases she had to sing on her own. Thankfully, the backing vocals did the choruses.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Many reasons for the win The best songs that year were offered up by countries that traditionally do not get many points (Bosnia, UK, Slovenia etc.) or because they didn’t want them to win back-to-back (Germany) whereas the powerhouse countries had mediocre or bad entries (Sweden, Armenia, Estonia, Russia etc.) “Running Scared” was my #23 that year. Besides 2018, that is the only year of the 2010s where the winner was not in my top 20. That tells you everything you need to know about this song. It was closer to being a “bad” song (it’s not interesting enough to… Read more »

Magpie
Guest
Magpie

You have a low of 2 not 2.5.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

“Running Scared”, yes. Hm. It is existing. It’s neither good nor bad for me, it is just existing 😀 The refrain is quite catchy, though. 5/10

Joe
Guest
Joe

Meh. It’s not a bad song at all, to my ears. Neither the best song they ever sent (that’s Skeletons) or worst (Day After Day, by a mile). But lord knows it’s not winner caliber. Did they cheat? I don’t know. I don’t care! It’s a weird anomaly in the pantheon of Eurovision winners since it’s neither overwhelmingly undeserving nor underrated. It’s ok. 6/10.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Also, here are some excellent songs from 2011: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. So I don’t think it’s an awful year.

pepe
Guest
pepe

No Serbia? Nina was my favourite before the contest.

pepe
Guest
pepe

I remember when it heard it the first time, I thought it sounded like a winner. It reminded me of the, far superior, “Someone New” by Eskobar feat. Heather Nova, especially since the lyrics are also similar.

As for 2011, I was in the audience, and I remember how terrible unexciting the voting was, as if nobody really cared who won in the end.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

“Day after day” was a crime against humanity. Whatever they “sang”, it wasn’t English. Incredible how this thing made it into the top 10. However, I am surprised to read that you wouldn’t care if they had cheated. Very much, actually.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I mean, if they had, and it was proven that they had, I would care very deeply. With 2013, there was concrete evidence that they did, and that tainted the song for me. Feels like just speculation for 2011, so I don’t care unless I get concrete evidence that stuff went down.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

If you believe they cheated in 2013, what makes you think they weren’t cheating before that? I mentioned this somewhere else, but how do you explain Malta giving their 12 to Azerbaijan four years in a row – 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013…do you really believe that’s just by chance?

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Watch BBC’s Panorama from 2013 to get a real picture of just how they operate. It’s shameful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oea2XGsIbvI

Joe
Guest
Joe

THAT was the thing that made me raise my eyebrows. That happens with Malta sometimes (like the buddy squad with Croatia, Slovakia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the ’90s…but I ain’t getting into Eurovision conspiracies. I’m about that hard proof).

Conor K
Guest
Conor K

Personally my favorite winner of the 10s. Was so happy when they won 🙂

Fhal
Guest
Fhal

I like this song, the staging was fine, the chemistry was okay, but that’s it. It’s just fine. It’s not winning material. I’m still amazed how Azerbaijan won with this one. I think 2011 had amazing entries, but this was not one of the amazing ones.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

2011 in a nutshell, the triumph of mediocrity. I don’t particularly mind this and I’m not upset it won, because I’m really at a loss when it comes to naming a deserving winner in that year. I’m still amazed how it was possible that everyone sent a boring or a crap entry in the same year – with very few exceptions. Nothing from that year is on my computer, nothing is on my playlists – can’t we have a 2011 do-over? It feels like a missed opportunity.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

That’s the thing. Azerbaijan was definitely not a deserving winner in ANY respect, but personally, I wouldn’t even know who to pick instead out of the 2011 bunch. Yes, I think their victory is a joke, but to be honest, I thought the whole year was pretty much a joke. (“Love in Rewind” and “Vanilija” are on my playlist, though, I love those studio versions). But please, no do-over. A do-better.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Yeah … there’s nothing that stayed in the semis that I would have preferred to advance instead of anything else, not even a guilty pleasure, I can bob my head to – nothing. 2011 is like a big black void that has sucked everything remotely interesting and all the fun out of music. I’m, of course, exaggerating. But only a little bit.
I liked Anke.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

lol I actually don’t think you are exaggerating. Just visually, I liked the cute Greek but even that wasn’t enjoyable on account of the awful, totally useless rapper that inexplicably had to be there. It was really a ” grasping at straws” that year.

Africavision
Guest
Africavision

I am surprised whenever I see people say (quite often) that the 2011 contest was weak, in terms of song quality. For me, personally, I thought 2011 was insanely good (and actually one of my favorite editions), especially in comparison to the editions immediately before and after it. There are six songs from 2011 that are in my 62 favorite Eurovision songs of all time list (i.e., Denmark, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, and United Kingdom). In contrast, I only still love two songs from the 2010 contest (i.e., France and Greece) and 2012 contest (i.e., Malta and Spain). I have… Read more »

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

That’s fine, I’m not one of the people who feels offended if you don’t agree with me or don’t share my musical taste. 🙂 For me, the 2000s were not the best decade in Eurovision. I skipped several editions, and only started to take real interest in the contest again in 2007, which in my opinion was the best year of the 2000s. I agree that 2008 is almost as bad as 2011. And I also agree, that the 2011 hosts were good – like I said, I liked Anke, she could have done it without Stefan Raab. But he… Read more »

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

I love Slovenia 2011 😀 “No One” by Maja Keuc <3

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I was thinking about taking a lazy Sunday to finally watch 2011’s contest (I can’t remember why I haven’t watched back then, probably my Internet connection was horrible those days). But now you scared me Tibor!

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Don’t ruin your Sunday, honey. It really was a tough year to stay interested in the contest.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

Well, since we often like the same songs, I reckon you won’t like this edition, either, although usually you’re a bit more indulgent than I am. On the other hand, if you watch it now, you can skip forward if it gets too awful, an option I wasn’t given in 2011. And if you don’t watch it, you’ll miss not only out on Anke, but also on the first appearance of the Prozac twins, a totally awesome magic trick I still haven’t figured out from Getter Jaani, the worst choreography you will ever see of a Russian entry and of… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Now you got me curious, Tibor! 😀 (don’t worry, Bean, I’ll jump anything from boring before losing my interest) I’ll try to watch at least the final. It seems things were complicated that year, but not everything is bland like the Azeri entry, some things can at least be fun (or funny).

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

Check out the Croatian entry. If you’re able to withstand its cringe, the rest of the contest won’t be a problem really (and there’s a lot of hidden gems to be found there).

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Apparently so well hidden I was unable to find them. 😛

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Just watched it. Already forgot the song, but the weird DJ made me laugh. Cringey is better than bland, I would say. Curiously, a very similar outfit change trick has been used just one year before in Brazilian Carnival, but in a larger scale (a bunch of women at the same time, several times during the parade): https://youtu.be/ot8r0dSXlpg?t=414

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

It’s not the worst song ever, it’s not the worst song of 2011 and honestly I was fine with it advancing to the final. Yet, THIS song is the one that followed “Satellite” and preceded “Euphoria” as a winner. This generic, unoriginal, repetitive, weak vocally, insipid staging-wise and flat lyrically entry is the one that took the trophy home. This is the song, that showed us, that you don’t have to be creative, talented, standing-out, sincere or simply good, to win Eurovision. Just take the most basic ballad there is, so evidently written just to give your country the awaited… Read more »

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

I would argue that it was the overall quality of songs that made Baku 2012 a good year, not the hosts and organizers. Maybe partly their money that paid for the stage and the hall. But concerning the good quality of entries, they can only take credit for buying the very enjoyable “When the music dies” and getting an excellent singer to interpret it. “Running Scared” was definitely not an inspiration to anyone in 2012, thank god.

AndersP
Guest
AndersP

For me, by far the worst winner of the decade. Possibly even the last 20 years. I thought it was terrible then, it’s aged even more poorly.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

The notion of those two portraying lovers is laughable and probably the most insincere and inauthentic act in the history of the contest. In 2012, they had to use playback because she sounded so awful in the rehearsal. They also cut down “Running Scared” to roughly one minute. That says it all. Not even the Azerbaijani organizers thought it was worth showing the song that won them Eurovision for more than a minute, especially given that one half of their duo couldn’t manage to sing it live for even such a short amount of time.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Wow, I am really surprised with the hate for this track! I read people talking about cheating, but I know nothing of it, and wasn’t into the detail of voting back in 2011. So I am going to ignore all that and focus purely on the song. This is my second favorite winner of the 2010s. There is beauty and purity in this performance, and the song for me is a wonderful depiction of what it means to be in love. Not lust, which love is often confused for, but the overwhelming emotion of love. The line “I’m scared of… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

Azerbaijan (also Sweden) top televoting with only 223 and 221 points. Infamous score in my opinion for a win and it simply shows there was no real/consensus winner in 2011. And somebody just had to win by default.
It was a very weird year I guess.

GIOLO
Guest
GIOLO

Add the fact that Sweden was pronably the actual televoting winner, since San Marino only used a jury vote, so you have to subtract their scores, resulting in 113 points for Azerbaijan and 115 for Sweden