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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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 2.5 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!