COUNTDOWN TO (CANCELLED) EUROVISION: #8 – AZERBAIJAN

#8 – Azerbaijan
Cleopatra
Efendi
Songwriters: Luuk van Beers, Alan Roy Scott, Sarah Lake

eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica has begun its Countdown To the now-cancelled Eurovision Song Contest 2020! Over 41 days I’m bringing you all the info on each song this year ranked in order of my personal preference from bottom to top. I’ll give the reasons for my personal rankings, and some background info on the song, artist, songwriters, and such.  Again, these are MY opinions, and I realize that the ESC fan community is a rabid one, and rarely everyone agrees with everyone else, so as they say, your mileage may vary. As of the official announcement on March 20 2020, ALL of this year’s songs are now officially “lost”; Eurovision’s executive committee has stated that all songs in the ESC 2021 contest MUST be new, so there will never be an “Official” winner of ESC 2020 thanks to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak causing the contest’s first-ever cancellation. So this is my only chance to rank them. The songs will all be spotlighted on a special called Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, which will air LIVE on May 16, when the Grand Final should have been held, so that’s at least SOMETHING…

We have officially reached TOP TEN TERRITORY! YAY!

In at #8 this year is the official entry from Azerbaijan, “Cleopatra” by Efendi. It is performed in English, with two Japanese names included, and was scheduled to be performed 9th at the first semifinal on May 12. The song was chosen by selection panels at the country’s Eurovision affiliate broadcaster, iTV, who have also confirmed that Efendi has been asked to represent the country at ESC 2021.

Samira Azer gizi Efendiyeva has been singing professionally for years, and has participated in three talent contests in her native land, most recently finishing in third place on Azerbaijan’s “Voice” franchise in 2016. She has also already represented her nation at several music competitions in the last several years.

What I’m thinking about this song…Oh MAN….this song has been a huge fan favorite from day ONE, and it’s easy to see why – threading three different musical styles and three traditional Azerbajani instruments with a sassy euro-dance beat, this song has WINNER written on it all over the place. The stylish video is FANTASTIC, and is probably my second favorite music video of all the songs this year – Efendi is definitely easy on the eyes, has mad dance skills, and man she can RRRROOOOLLLLL those ‘R”s, can’t she? This has HUGE crossover potential as well – if some Euro label were to do a deal with a US company, I have a feeling this song could be all over US Radio in the not too distant future. I don’t think she has QUITE enough support to top out the list – although if there was going to be  nail-biter for a win, this song could have been the one that did it – but I have a feeling she would have finished top five for sure…

Azerbaijan has a pretty damn good track record for a country relatively new to EuroVision, having debuted in 2008, and have participated each year since, sending 13 songs to the contest including 2020. They won their first Grand Champion title just three years in, in 2011, with “Running Scared” by Eli and Nikki, who became the first mixed gender duo since 1963 to win the contest, as well as the lowest point total overall to achieve a win using the then-current scoring system; it’s been revised since. They have missed the Grand Final only once, in 2018, and have also managed to pick up a runner up and a third place victory in their years of participation. I have a feeling this could have been another real close one for them…

Here’s the official music video  – check it out…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica throughout the next 41 days as I bring you the 2020 entries, and also updates on the status of the songs and artists for this year.

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