A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Tobson Ranking: #9 Azerbaijan

Sweet and sentimental in a tasteful setting but I never in a million years thought this would be the winner in the end.

Ell/Nikki - Running Scared (Azerbaijan 2011)

This is the kind of song that is tailormade for studio production. It contains some parts that are hard to sing but will sound excellent with several takes and quite a bit of overdubbing.

I was doubtful from the beginning how it would sound live, but I must admit that the couple manages to hit the notes far better than expected. Both of them, especially Ell, possess an undeniable charm that works well with the song.

The difficulty affects their vocal delivery anyhow, you can sense a hesitation in their voices and the singing is weaker than in the recorded version.

The stage performance, designed by a Swede, is elegant but also a bit anonymous, where the waterfall of fire leaves a more lasting impression than the singers themselves.

The song, also designed by Swedes, is also elegant but has precious little to do with what goes on in the world of Azeri music.

That is my big problem with this entry - anyone could theoretically hire Madonna to sing for them or have RedOne write their entry.

But when this contest is more about who has the biggest wallet rather than who can write the best song, then there isn't much point to a song contest anymore.

My grade: 3 / 5


  1. At least they had Shirley's Angels. Now THAT is class!!!

  2. Very true. But where is Shirley herself?

  3. Azerbaijan has been doing the same thing that Luxembourg and Monaco based their whole Eurovision career on, buy the song, production and in most cases the artist from abroad. Of course the main difference is that these two countries are slightly smaller in population than Azerbaijan.

    One easily forgets that the German winning entry last year was imported from abroad as well.

    These swedish export eurosongs (f. eg. Az 09-11, No 07) sound all to me technically perfect but artistically heartless and pale. The french export industry produced much better quality songs for Luxembourg and Monaco in the 60's, 70's and 80's.

  4. I still feel a difference in approach. Lena's winning song (and indeed her song from this year) were international products of a kind that is very present on, for instance, the German market.

    It may not be a German song per se, but it is still pretty representative for the German music industry.

    Luxembourg and Monaco were, above all, two hip radio stations taking part rather than two nations. For them it would be natural to showcase a song they would like to plug on their playlists.

    As far as I understand, the Azeri songs don't have much to do with the local market at all. The Azeri singers sing very different material on home ground and these songs are bought only in order to impress an international audience.

    I feel a difference in proceedings, there. In short, I just hope Azerbaijan would dare show us something of their own next year.

  5. Let's hope so. In addition to a local song I'd love to see something local in the contest itself rather than a imported tv production from Germany or Sweden where you cannot see the difference from, for example the 2005 contest, where local flavour was nowhere to be seen. Norway and Finland did manage to make the contest their own, but I don't think Ukraine or Turkey really did. But can the Azerbaijan tv produce the contest on its own? I hope they surprise us!