Azerbaijan

Keith's impression of the second half of Friday's rehearsals

The catering area for the press is well stocked with lots of tasty lunch options and isn’t overly expensive. There’s also free water and coffee so well done Denmark. It compensates for dragging us out to the middle of a post-industrial wilderness.

AZERBAIJAN was first up after the break and Dilara is in a beautiful deep red dress that becomes quite revealing with the lighting. The backdrop goes from gothic to Gotham and avoids the obvious fire cliché. Vocally this is better than I’ve heard it before and Dilara looks beautiful on the close-ups. The only issue I have with this is the trapeze, which I think is too distracting at the start of the song. I would have used her for the last minute only, after the initial crescendo, to add variety. Sailing into the final and a good bet for the Top 5.

UKRAINE is by far the worst vocal of the day so far and no amount of gimmicks using a man running in a hamster wheel or wind machines or mechanical backdrops can cover over the screechiness. The basic song was never up to much and it comes to hiding the basic frailty, Russia has done a much better job than Ukraine. If this was almost any other country I would say it was a non-qualifier, but almost all Ukraine’s neighbours are voting in this semi so it will undeservedly make the final.

BELGIUM Performance as in the national final but there’s less focus on the dancer. It’s not vocally perfect, but it’s good enough. The main issue I have here is the placement of Axel’s mic, which hides his mouth when viewed from the centre of the screen. The staging is also too dark for my liking. I think this presses buttons that the other ballads don’t and as long as he can deliver it, it should make the final.

MOLDOVA Christina was a little wayward on the first run through but really got her act together after that. She’s mixing a blue and gold in her half and half dress. The gladiators are a bit unnecessary at the start but when the song gets going they add some nice camera shots, especially from the overhead shots. The key change with added wind-machine really adds something. This is dividing opinion on whether it qualifies but I think it’s in the mix.

SAN MARINO isn’t helped by coming after Moldova as it’s a little pale in comparison. Valentina looks fantastic and is note perfect. She really has matured brilliantly in two short years. The white dress and background look nice and the overhead swirl of yellow look great on screen. The problem is not with the singer or the staging, but with the song, which sounds far too like a song that would have finished 7th in Sanremo in 1988. Not qualifying, I think.

PORTUGAL comes after a long lunch and after an ad break on the night. Suzy looks comfortable and the “suzyshake” is back. The green, red and yellow backdrop looks fantastic. On the night Suzy will be wearing be wearing a red dress with tassels. I love this, although there are elements of the presentation and lighting that I would change.. It’s got great energy and it’s fun, which is very welcome after the songs that come before it. I have a sneaky hunch that this will do better than many people think.

NETHERLANDS is another complete contrast to what goes before it. The overhead road traffic effects and long camera shot which introduces the singers at the start is great. Having them face one another is an inspired move as it makes the connection between the singers that wasn’t there in Amsterdam. Simple, effect staging, no gimmicks but is it instant enough? This is more likely to be a jury winner than a televote favourite but it’s back in the qualification mix for sure.

Oikotimes Birthday Party and Opening night of Euroclub

Oikotimes birthday party and opening night of Euroclub

From Oikotimes and opening euroclub party

Well we finally had nothing to do in the press centre last night at around 9pm, so what’s a Eurovision fan in Copenhagen gonna do except go to the first party of the season

Dimi, Daniel and I rushed home to the apartment, changed, grabbed a quick vodka and then headed off in a taxi to deepest darkest central Copenhagen to Club Vega for the party

So the club?? Well it’s not as big as in previous years, but has a huge stage and seems to have various rooms upstairs and another room to the side. We didn’t venture in there too much as there were only about 350 people there….I know it's early days yet!!

Drinks are a little on the pricey side, but hey we are in Scandinavia so expect that, expect to pay around 50DKK for beer and 65-85DKK for shots and cocktails….Daniel and I started on the “Back Stage Pass” cocktail…..yum, Rum and green stuff…

Well the Party. First a huge thanks to Fotis from Oikotimes who invited personally the whole of the ESCKAZ team. Sadly Andy could not make it, he had too much work to do, but the rest of the team were all there. And another thanks for the glass (well nearly a whole bottle in the end) of champagne….much appreciated!!!!

Performances from the following delegations took place, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Russia, Azerbaijan and Alex Panayi (Cyprus 1995) Drama Queen (Denmark 2007) and DJ Ohrmeister. The video clips are on our usual youtube channel. A selection are here;

https://youtube.com/user/EurovisionKZ/videos

We also managed to chat to several other delegations too, Montenegro, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, San Marino, and a great chat with one of the Swedish songwriters Sandra Bjurman who co-wrote Running Scared, the winning song from 2011 for Azerbaijan. Maybe this for me was one of the most interesting chats to have all night, talking about the great relationship between Swedish music and the rest of the world of pop!!!

From Oikotimes and opening euroclub party

So that was it, first party of the season. Was just a perfect opener to the coming week or two and yes we were in bed by 1 am…..I know there is something wrong with us!!!

Dilara 1st rehearsal press-release

Andy on Mon, 04/28/2014 - 15:05

Today Dilara Kazimova, Azerbaijan’s entry for Eurovision 2014, has revealed her stage performance of a soulful ballad Start a Fire.

On the stage Dilara is working with an aerial artist and three backing vocalists on the background. The female aerial artist is acting on 8-meter-high acrobatic trapeze.

Previously Eurovision entries haven't used to work with aerial acts. So it was a challenge for creative team to find the perfect solutions for cameras and rigging. Instead of usual rigging on two points, this trapeze is rigged to one point on stage roof, so it spins 360 degrees all the time.

“Start a Fire” performance is staged by Asa Engman, Swedish director and dancer, in cooperation with Polish-Japanese choreographer Piotr Torazawa Giro.

The aerial artist doesn’t have one same pattern of movements that are repeated with melody. So as with each new rehearsal and performances it will look slightly different.

"During the first rehearsal I would be more worried about the trapeze artists safety rather than for anything else. At some point she’s getting really high up the celling, which is impressive and kind of scary the same time", shares Dilara.

According to the stage director’s idea the aerial artist stands for an imaginary “point of view” from which you can find a new meaning in ordinary life scenes” or, in another way, can also represent “the spiritual concept of a soul.”

“The lyrics of Start a Fire remind a poem or a very personal prayer. The song is not usual and we wanted to create an unusual performance for it. Hopefully we succeed", says Dilara.

Omar and Suada 2nd rehearsal

Andy on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 08:54

I'm not really too keen on this red set. It doesn't look good on screens. Also Omar really is looking annoyed by the whole thing. If Azerbaijan is gonna win - it is thanks to a perfect amazing Suada, who is one of the most innocent kids to enter JESC stage. Interestingly, we can see for several times today the young talisman of the delegation Rufat, who is standing in the audience and uses his photocamera. I'm not sure this will be part of the final performance (whether he will occupy same spot during the show), but cameras are using this angle on every run and focuses on him making him extra participant of the Azerbaijani performance.

Omar and Suada 1st rehearsal

Andy on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 09:42

The stage act here is very nice. They have a girl as a DJ (as we informed - original idea was to have a young boy, Rufat, on this position, but he was rejected as he isn't 10 yet, so he is here just as a guest). The vocal performance is much better than at the opening party, seemingly due to the double track. The backing vocals still are partly live, which is a very surprising come JESC. The show is very nice, and if they fix vocal part, they should do really well.