Sitting on a futuristic mountain Aisel starts semi final one. Her show is directed by the legendary stage director Fokas Evaggelinos. Take a look in our gallery or watch the video with Aisel explaining the message behind the performance.
Opinions expressed during our second rehearsal coverage are personal from the mentioned writers.
Pedro, Portugal (in the press center) Let’s not pretend Azerbaijan’s entry isn’t one of their weakest of all time because it is, isn’t it? Well, with this being said, it doesn’t surprise me their huge investment on staging. The accessories, clothing and, really, everything is on point but I still think Aisel does lack emotion when singing X My Heart. Nonetheless, it is indeed a very cute and inspiring entry and the special effects add so much magic to it. I don’t have many doubts it’ll qualify.
Jens-Erik, Denmark (in the arena) I think the Azerbaijani entry X My Heart is a great opener for the Eurovision 2018. It’s very classic Eurovision but in a good way. The show is well-produced and well-choreographed, and Aisel does a great job. There seems to be a strong connection between her and the viewers behind the TV and to the people in the arena as well. I can’t put a finger on anything. Whether or not it will qualify for the final depends on just one thing: have the viewers at home seen this kind of show to many times before? I “X my fingers” for a place in the finale for Azerbaijan – and I believe they will go though to the Grand final.
Complete the sentence
Eurovision 2018 has now officially begun as Azerbaijan came on stage as the very first country to rehearse. And what an opener. The stage is with blue and sparkling light and Aisel is laying alone on stage. She wakes up and starts to sing. In the beginning she sits later in the chorus she starts running around between five white stage props that is some sort of futuristic mountains. Smoke is added to make clouds. She is wearing a white dress with plenty of fabric to feed the wind machine. In the second verse four backing singers/dancers appear and they all stand on one of the futuristic mountains. At the end sparkling animation and flash lights set in and raise the performance to a higher level. Aisel herself seems to be a strong singer and has no problems hitting the right notes.
The performance is directed by the legendary stage director Fokas Evaggelinos, who has created some of the most iconic performances in the Eurovision past – among them Sergey Lazarev’s “You are the only one” in 2016, Farid Mammadov with the song “Hold me” in 2013 and Ani Lorak in 2008. And of course the two winners Helena Paparizou in 2005 and Dima Bilan in 2008. And this show is definitely in the same league.
The message behind the performance is according to a press release form the Azerbaijani delegation to communicate that if each of us believes in himself, you could be led to a higher top. The question is, will the viewers at home cath this. We believe they will.
How Aisel was selected
Back in November, Azeri broadcaster Ictimai broke the news, that they had internally selected 28 year old Aisel (Aysel Mammadova) to represent them at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
The song was released in the beginning of March with mixed feelings from the fans. Some were disappointed as they had expected more from Azerbaijan, while others praised it, and placed it in the top of their 2018 reviews.
Azerbaijan at the Eurovision Song Contest
10 years anniversary, and the country never missed a final yet. Azerbaijan is one of the most successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest. Elnur & Samir were first on stage to show Europe what Azerbaijan could offer, and with an 8th place, they set the tone.
Six out of the 10 entries from Azerbaijan ended in top 10, and the country so far won once, in 2011 with Ell & Nikki’s Running Scared. In recent years, the country has however seen a few disappointing results. In 2014, Dilara Kazimova came in as 22nd. Last year, Skeletons performed by Dihaj ended as 14th. To date, they are however still the only country that never failed to qualify for the final.