The last of the Caucasus trio, Azerbaijan, with one of their closest friends in Eurovision that is a totally legitimate friendship and not just because the small island of Malta has so few voters it’s easy to manipulate. Azerbaijan’s desperation is humorous to witness but are they past it now?
Azerbaijan – DiHaj – Skeletons
Azerbaijan are almost as notorious as Russia in their attitude towards Eurovision and just as desperate to win, at least they were. Since their win they’ve branched out a little bit and have sent some fairly strong pop tracks that have shown a bit more of their identity. Similar to Armenia in some ways, although don’t tell anyone in either country I said that.
DiHaj’s Skeletons is one of their most interesting entries yet. While not completely beholden to ‘fire’ instrumental sounds like Start A Fire, nor quite as epic as Hour Of The Wolf (what I think has become my personal favourite Azerbaijan entry, even though once I worshipped at the feet of Drip Drop), it’s got really modern instrumental beautiful sounds and choral backing that elevates an average pop song into something really great. They got their writers on top form again. It hasn’t been essential for me but it’s been strong whenever I hear it. That sort of song. And DiHaj herself certainly looks more interesting than many Azerbaijan artists, I had gotten used to them sending the same sort of hot women that I’ve posted as images for Macedonia and Albania all of the time, DiHaj looks like a character in a TV show who’ll take no nonsense and be a tough fighter. I like that, I respect that.
I did go through a period where I was wondering whether this would be able to make it through the semi-final, Hour Of The Wolf only barely made it through and Azerbaijan’s shine has been wearing off lately, but I think this will be strong enough on the night to see it through and like with Armenia, it takes a weak song for them to be out in Eurovision, even with scandals and sellout music revealed, there’s enough of a contingent in Europe that likes the Eastern sound made modern that Skeletons should be just about fine. For the final, I bet a decent placing will be due, maybe not a top ten but not far off seems about right.
Malta – Claudia Faniello – Breathlessly
I’m sorry Malta, this will be very short because although it’s nice that Claudia has finally gotten to go to Eurovision (as I know she’s been trying for several years), this is among the list of the least essential and most skippable Eurovision entries ever. It’s a fairly dull ballad with very few memorable parts to it and so will go in that list of Maltese entries that I don’t like, that no one ends up really liking, and goes absolutely nowhere. Malta can certainly qualify, they’re better at this than most small countries, indeed, they can be a powerhouse when they send the right song that resonates with everyone, like the rather charming Tomorrow or the Mumfords-esque Coming Home, but this is absolutely not one of those. It’s a One Life, a Warrior, a My Dream, no one will give it a second look, they’ll forget it being performed in 4th very quickly, particularly as it’s followed directly by the yodelling Romania and their alleged cannons, and this is the song out of the forty two I am most sure will not be there for Saturday.