It’s exactly a month to go until the first semi-final takes place in Vienna, and we’re right in the midst of compilation releases, preview parties and of course every fan letting everyone else know exactly what they think of all the songs. We at escXtra are no different, so let us continue with our review series as we reach Belarus and Azerbaijan.

BELARUS
Uzari & Maimuna – Time

Rinor: I don’t personally get this song, but in a year where ballads have invaded the contest, it will surely stand out. It’s not something we haven’t heard before, but it’s definitely not bad either. The new version is way better than the initial one.
Score: 6.5/10

Simon: I hadn’t thought much of this at first, but it is growing on me. Perhaps through lack of much else to enjoy!
Score: 4/10

Peter: After having completely dismissed this one when it was chosen in December, it has really snuck up on me. It’s a much needed pop uptempo in the mix, and even though it’s quite repetitive, it’s a very solid effort.
Score: 6/10

uzari_maimuna

Nick: At least it’s catchy? Besides, it has a violin, a massive plus when you ask me. Some old clocks on the LED screens, time ticking – make the staging work.
Score: 7.5/10

Dan: Possibly one of the few songs from Belarus that I actually like. It has a sort of mysterious feel
to it and an interesting melody. Not sure how it would transfer live though.
Score: 6/10

Nathan: There’s something to admire in this track, in that it provides a haven from the plethora of mid-tempo and slow entries we have this year. I like this entry and expect it to put Belarus in the final again this year.
Score: 7/10

AZERBAIJAN
Elnur Huseynov – Hour Of The Wolf

Rinor: And they’ve done it again! Although a lot of people seem to be fed up of ballads, I personally think this is one of the best. It’s very emotional, he’s a great singer, and with a good performance on stage, it can surely finish Top 5.
Score: 10/10

Simon: Like their best buddies next door Armenia, the Azeris have gone big and ended up with an overblown mess. It’s got good elements, but doesn’t fit together. Maybe they bought their Swedish flatpack song but didn’t read the instructions.
Score: 2/10

Peter: One of my favourite ballads this year, and after their flop last year, I don’t even resent it coming from Azerbaijan! This will be something special live as long as Elnur can rein in the vocal histrionics and just let the melody do the talking.
Score: 8.5/10

elnur

Nick: Can Azerbaijan please learn to find composers from Azerbaijan? These Swedes are good, but Elnur can do much more. Much better than his 2008 effort and quite a good song from Sweden. Ehm, Azerbaijan.
Score: 7/10

Dan: I’ve grown to really like this one over the past couple of weeks. Although the verses I’d consider to be quite weak, the chorus is really impressive. No doubt this one will do well.
Score: 7/10

Nathan: This is my cup of tea, a mid-tempo R&B inspired song. However, this is unfortunately restrained by the 3:00 time limit that Eurovision entries are permitted. Needs an extra 30 seconds to wow.
Score: 7/10

The story so far…

We’re almost at the halfway point in our reviews and Belgium is still in the lead, but as you can see, Azerbaijan are the first country that comes close to dethroning them, while Belarus also shows respectably with a current third place.

  1. Belgium – 8.50/10
  2. Azerbaijan – 6.92/10
  3. Belarus – 6.17/10
  4. Austria – 6.08/10
  5. Germany – 6.00/10
  6. Latvia – 5.83/10
  7. Ireland – 5.64/10
  8. Serbia – 5.43/10
  9. Czech Republic – 5.14/10
  10. Hungary – 5.08/10
  11. Malta – 4.83/10
  12. Lithuania – 4.79/10
  13. Israel – 4.64/10
  14. FYR Macedonia – 4.14/10
  15. Armenia – 3.71/10
  16. San Marino – 3.08/10
  17. Moldova – 2.79/10
  18. Finland – 2.17/10

Tomorrow we return to the countries in the final as the team give their thoughts on two of the year’s favourites from Italy and Australia.

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