In Eurovision, in this day and age it isn’t enough just to have a good song. Fans expect so much from their Eurovision entrants and want to be entertained from start to finish. One major development in recent years is that of the accompanying music video and it is this feature that is the second criteria that we will look at in our judgement of the eight Azerbaijani entries.
First and foremost, it has to be said that some of the videos for these songs proved to be quite dull. In fact there are a number of them that are quite samey and act more like an advert for Visit Baku rather than serve the purpose of a music video. Take for example Ell and Nikki who’s 2011 winning song ‘Running Scared’ features the famous Baku cable cars, a number of scenes of lovely sandy beaches, rugged clifftops and picturesque national parks. Then there is Farid Mamadov’s lack lustre video which sees the ‘Hold Me’ star ramble through the city streets while he gives us sultry boyband face and an emphatic fist grab with his back against a white washed wall.
Meanwhile the 2014 entry from Dilara shows off the Azerbaijani capital at night with a lit up city scape while she plays piano and does a feeble attempt at close up face acting. Last year’s entry from Elnur, ‘Hour of the Wolf’, furthers this trend of boring videos as he (again rooftop in Baku) walks around his house giving us some weird body turns and attempts to readjust arty pictures hanging on his wall.
You’ll be thinking then that there is nothing impressive about our videos so far, and I would be inclined to agree with you. It isn’t until we take a look at the next two videos that we get a spark of action. The seasons act as a theme for both Aysel and Arash’s ‘Always’ and Sabina Babayeva’s ‘When the music dies’. Sabina opts for a wintry scene for her 2012 video with flakes of snow tumbling from the sky as she moodily sits on a window ledge. Aysel and Arash take another tact and have gone all out with some CGI fire effects which can be seen thrown from the hands of Arash and blown from the mouth of Aysel. The pair also treat us to some jumpy dance moves which is a nice change from the boring ambles of the artists in the first four songs. Nevertheless while these videos are a step in the right direction neither catch the attention of the viewer for too long and would and should be forgotten in an instance.
Now on to the two remaining videos, and it is true to say that we have left the best for last. First up is Safura. The diamond encrusted songstress treats us to a video which is very much 90’s at its core. It reminded me a lot of the O Town classic video ‘Liquid Dream’, with some Sugababes ‘In the Middle’ thrown in for good measure. The video matches the song’s title with water dripping everywhere and slow motion shots of the singer drenched not only in water but also bejeweled sparkly finery. Throw in the obligatory wind machine, a great dance routine under a golden dome and set of hard to navigate stairs and you are very much on to a winner here.
The winning video however has to be Azerbaijan’s first ever entry- Elnur and Samir’s ‘Day After Day’. From the opening shot of a creepy zombie hand rising up through the soil and grass, we are hooked. Sticking with the creepy Gothic theme we are introduced to the two male singers; one dressed all in white with feathered angel wings, sparkly silver hot pants and weird blue contact lenses and the other atop a red throne with black cape. The image is startling and not one that you’ll likely forget about any time soon; the true test of a good music video. The video is dramatic, interesting and leaves a lasting impression. Oh and it has a great dance routine. Gotta love a dance routine.
As such, it is ‘Day After Day’ that gets the 12 points from us for best video. In second place gaining 10 points is Safura and in third it was Ell and Nikki who secure 8 points to add to their total. All the rest of the scores for this round and overall totals are listed in the table below. As you can see Ell and Nikki are still in the lead with 20 points, three points behind them now is Elnur and Samir and rounding up the top three is Safura with 16 overall.
With five rounds to go, it is all still to play for. Don’t forget you can help your favourite out by voting for them in our poll. We’ll be back tomorrow to judge the next round which will focus on the live performance in the Eurovision finals.