The Land of Fire has lit up the ESC world with flames and fireworks since their debut two years ago. The Angel vs Devil act from 2008 is so kitschy and so over the top that you just gotta love it. And when AySel and Arash exclaimed their love from a mountain high last year we were on fire! What is not so charming is Azerbaijan’s ongoing conflict with Armenia which has led to accusations of blurring out the phone number during the broadcasting of Armenia’s performance last year, to prevent Azerbaijani votes, and the alleged interrogations of the poor souls (43 of them!), who still managed to vote for the Armenian entry! Accusations of bribing students in Belarus to vote for Azerbaijan with both Belarusian and Lithuanian SIM-cards is yet another story. It makes you wonder what it would be like if the Azerbaijanis were to host the ESC final, and this might very well happen next year!
Safura has been chosen to represent the Land of Fire with the mid tempo ballad “Drip Drop”. This song lacks the distinctive features which made “Always On My Mind” so irresistible, but it’s modern and up to date, the sort of material Rihanna would kill for. How successful it will be, depends a lot on young Safura’s performance. Surely it will collect buckets of votes from all over Europe, but enough to take the victory home to Baku?
Our feelings towards Azerbaijan are very ambivalent. Yay to colourful, irresistible acts on stage, nay to cheating, which is not only stupid, but completely unnecessary when their country’s entries speaks so loudly for themselves.