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🇦🇿 Xtra Insider 2020: We Review Azerbaijan!

Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country was statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into (what would have been) this year’s contest! Today, we analyze and review Azerbaijan!

Yes, this year’s contest has been cancelled…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love the songs! In this series, we’ll review each and every entry that would have taken part in this year’s Eurovision. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they would have been to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained throughout what would’ve been the Eurovision season! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!

Today, we’ll be giving analysis and reviews of the Azerbaijani entry, Cleopatra by Efendi, from Dominik, Isaac, Nathan P, Nick, Sean and Vincent. Let’s get started!

Azerbaijan’s history at Eurovision

From 2008, Azerbaijan has contended twelve consecutive contests and one of the strongest records in the Twenty-first Century. The south Caucasus nation has achieved three top three finishes, including an unexpected win in 2011 for Elnur and Nikki. Keen to promote the modern face of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani state has strongly supported its involvement in Eurovision including construction of a new arena to host the 2012 edition. Azerbaijan has only once (narrowly) failed to qualify, in 2018. 2019 was Chingiz return Azerbaijan to the final’s top ten. With a writing credit on his song, he was the first Azerbaijani to compose for his own country since Elnur & Samir delivered the 2008 debut.

This year’s entry

Efendi is a familiar face to Azerbaijani television viewers having taken part in national competitions and international festivals before. The entry, ‘Cleopatra’ was created by a Dutch songwriting team; an uptempo entry about female empowerment. It is themed on Cleopatra, the notorious queen of the Ptolemaic dynasty. It is sung in English, but with a repeated Buddhist chant in Japanese.

How well does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?

Many Eurovision songs have before successfully leant on historical and cultural themes to convey a universal message, and Cleopatra is an easy extension of this theme. Whilst we will never know how ‘Cleopatra’ would have fared in the contest, I think it is safe to say that it would meet more favour with televoters than jurors. ‘Cleopatra’ is almost without Eurovision precedent, lying as it does at the extreme end of uptempo, style-clash pop. The likes of ‘Igranka’ have struggled in the past but ‘Cleopatra’ has more contemporary pop appeal.

The Reviews

Dominik

I LOVE THIS! This is powerful and the song takes unexpected turns while staying catchy and entertaining for the crowd. This is a brilliant song and I’m sure we would’ve gotten a badass performance. It would’ve been a hit in the EuroClub and make the crowd in the arena go crazy. I think this could have been a Top 10 or possible Top 5 finish.

Isaac

This was quite a surprise from Azerbaijan, I guess they figured out being progressive on matters of sexuality in their song’s lyrics will get you accepted and loved by the Eurovision community, as it should. Beyond those lyrics, I love the drop on this, it isn’t overdone and adds the requisite Egyptian feeling to this song; there’s been a small movement in dance circles with songs with Ancient Egyptian influences delving into weird psytrance/dance, and for a pop song, this picks up on that trend enough to give justification to this song’s name while keeping it pop and exciting

Nathan P

This is unashamedly Azerbaijani! From the production to the sound to the video presentation. Baku has spent their money well this year. Azerbaijan just get Eurovision, they know what we want and they give it to us! A year with very few songs that are ethnic sounding? Well we will give them THE ethno banger of the year! The last minute is sheer exhilaration! CLEOPATRRRRRRA

Nick

It has surfaced! I repeat: It. Has. Surfaced! LA LA LA LA, like Cleopatra. I love it. One critical note… Let’s write a song about Egypt and include some spiritual mantra. Sounds good, right? Until you find out the used mantra is Japanese… Just a little weird.

Sean

I love crack.

Vincent

Ethnic, catchy, banger. When I discovered it, I was surprised, then pleasantly surprised, then exctacticly surprised! Mixing eastern sound, ancient Egyptian visuals, and yes Japanese mantra used to create a guttural, egyptian sound that works incredibly well. There’s fierceness, fire, and with a staging as spectacular it could have become legendary.

Scores

Costa10Nick10Tim8
Dominik10Riccardo7Tom O6
Isaac7Rigmo12Tom R4
Lisa12Rodrigo3Vincent10
Luke10Sami7Wiv4
Matt12Sean10
Nathan P12Simon6

Therefore, Azerbaijan scores 160 points in total!

Leaderboard

Azerbaijan cracks the top 5 of our leaderboard and reaches 4th place with a score of 160 points.

  1. Sweden – 164
  2. Bulgaria – 163
  3. Iceland – 162
  4. Azerbaijan – 160
  5. Russia – 156
  6. Malta – 154
  7. Switzerland – 151
  8. Israel – 148
  9. Germany – 142
  10. Serbia – 139
  11. Denmark – 136
  12. Ireland – 136
  13. Ukraine – 135
  14. Norway – 134
  15. Greece – 132
  16. Italy – 129
  17. Romania – 121
  18. Latvia – 120
  19. Armenia – 120
  20. United Kingdom – 120
  21. Australia – 117
  22. Netherlands – 113
  23. Austria – 111
  24. Belgium – 109
  25. North Macedonia – 107
  26. Czech Republic – 104
  27. Spain – 100
  28. Cyprus – 97
  29. San Marino – 97
  30. Albania – 97
  31. Finland – 95
  32. Estonia – 93
  33. Portugal – 82
  34. Moldova – 82
  35. Belarus – 81
  36. Poland – 76
  37. Georgia – 72
  38. France – 70
  39. Slovenia – 53

Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Lithuania to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to the Azerbaijani entry below!

Do you agree with our reviews of Azerbaijan? What are your thoughts on Cleopatra?

Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA

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