Eurovison Azerbaijan: 2011 Finals Preview
Don’t forget to vote! That is, if you’re in Azerbaijan next Friday and are hoping that we sweep the field and win the Eurovision Song Contest this spring. One week from today is the final for choosing Azerbaijan’s representative to the Contest in Düsseldorf, Germany, set for May 10-14. Last time we checked in, Azerbaijan was in semi-final mode, down to 10 (or 12?) finalists set to compete to see who would move on. February 11 will be this year’s Day of Truth, giving us Azerbaijan’s soon-to-be Eurovision champion.
Down to five finalists, we are now left to choose from İlhamə Qasımova, Aynişan Quliyeva, İlqarə İbrahimova, Eldar Qasımov, and Nigar Camal. I’ve perused a few of their videos on the official Eurovision Azerbaijan website, and here’s my take:
- İlhamə’s song, Out of Reach, seems like an underdeveloped remake of last year’s “Drip Drop” by Səfurə. Nothing wrong with that, but I would like some more creativity. It’s also a really sad-sounding song. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sad, either, but it doesn’t really play well in the ESC.
- Aynişan didn’t really impress me much, either. She could be good, but the most recent song on the Eurovision Azerbaijan site appears to be a Azerbaijanized version of I Will Survive. And her choreography is noticeably lacking. Give her some dancers to work with!
- İlqarə has what I think is the best song up right now, but she needs some performance training. The voice can work, but it’s like she’s reading off a cue card to get out Agnes’ Release Me. When she says, “I’m not in control”, I’m not convinced. And the dress she’s wearing is not helping her move on the stage. She needs something that says more about her needing to be released. The violins at the beginning are a nice touch, though.
- Eldar has an interesting act going on. It makes me think more along the lines of an early 1980s Las Vegas show. The song, One Night Only by Jennifer Holliday, was a good choice, but left me looking for more enthusiasm from the singer. It’s not what will win a Eurovision Contest, but an upbeat song and suggestive lyrics could go a long way with Eldar if he puts some more conviction into it.
- Last, Niqar appears to have the most accomplished backup dancers at her side. Her version of the Pussycat Dolls song, Bottle Top, does have a hip beat, but she doesn’t really display much talent, from what I can tell. Maybe she’ll turn it on for the final, but until then, she seems like just a cute frilly skirt.