Azerbaijan Decided: Sabina Babayeva Wins the Milli Seçim Turu

In the long selection process in Azerbaijan, we reached the end of Milli Seçim Turu’s 2012 edition. Five names, Orhan Kerimli, Elton İbrahimov, Feqan Seferov, Sabina Babayeva and Arzu İsmayilova participated once again to represent the host country where Sabina Babayeva got the honour. The song will be announced at a later date.

The show started at 18.00 CET (21.00 local time) and took place in Haydar Aliyev Palace in Baku, with the presentaters Leyla Aliyeva, Hüsniye Maharramova and Kamran Guliyev. The show was broadcast by İçtimai TV via internet and satellite. In meantime, viewers were also able to see the show on several media sources such as Turkish broadcaster TRT via its music channel TRTMüzik, Maltese broadcaster PBS and eurovision.tv via official channel of the contest ESCTV.

The stream started with the entrance of the five participants and we were able to see how they came to the hall tonight in snowy Azerbaijan. In the interval act, some ethnic dancers made a great show with drums where we also were able to see some views from Land of Fire’s nature. They reminded us a bit of Turkish representative Gülseren’s show at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005.
Then the show continued with the dance shows three couples who were using the rhythm of the national song. Oh what a surprise? The females of those couples were tonight’s hosts Hüsniye, Leyla and the male dancer was Kamran. The music then turned to Britney Spears’ Womanizer, and then Michael Jackson’s Black or White was the next. In the show we frequently saw the official logo of Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

The trio introduced us how we came to this stage so far. The presentation was in Azeri and English language. Then the procedure of tonight’s show announced: The participants will sing three songs and the winner will be picked by the special jury.  After all this introductions, the five participants have called to the stage.

The Songs

1st Tour:

Orhan Kerimli – Azerbaycan: Orhan was introduced to us as a student who is taking vocal courses in the United Kingdom. His song is a well-known national song which was called Azerbaycan. It was in Russian and Azeri. The song began in ballad style and then it went up in tempo. National instruments and drums were used in the song. Two dancing couples also showed us some traditional dances of this country. Pyros never stopped till the end of the song.

Sabina Babayeva – Seni Gamlı Görende: was the second act of the night. Sabina was introduced to us as a singer of some groups. She was dressed in blue and for sure dozens of Azeris were already in love with her beauty. Her act was a kind of ballad and sang in Azeri. During the song, the rhythm also went up.

Elton İbrahimov – Yagızam Yalgız: Elton was considered as one of the potential winners, together with Orhan Kerimli. Some technical problems occurred and we were able to hear some of interesting songs’ entry and Eric Saade’s Popular was one of them. Then the broadcaster went for a tourist advertisement. When we were back, we were finally able to hear the song but this time Elton was out of tune. The problem messed up everything in Elton’s performance. Hopefully the technical problems won’t be ruining the entire contest in May!

Feqan Seferov – Songtitle unkown: Feqan was dressed in a suit like the other male participants. His act was another ballad in Azeri language and a guy in front of the instrument called ‘korg’ were playing the song. We didn’t have further information about the title of the song but it was a bit of a boring ballad.

Arzu İsmayilova – Senden Nigaranam: Arzu was the last of the five in the first performances. At least she made a good entry to cheer us up with this up tempo song. It was fully sung in Azeri. Differently from the past four participants, Arzu was all alone on the stage but she could be considered as one the best with this performance tonight. She was looking really great in her blue dress.

After the first performances, Leyla and Hüsniye came to the stage and greeted us once again. They said ‘Hello’ in different languages and they pointed word ‘Merhaba’ in Turkish and ‘Merhba’ in Maltese means the same, Hello! After telling this coincidence, we were able to meet with the expert jury: Rauf Babayev, Menzer Nuraliyeva, Faik Suceddinov, Zümrüt Dadarzadeh, Zülfiye Hanbabayeva, Tünzale Algayeva and İsmail Ömerov would decide the representative tonight.

Aynur İskenderli and Anar Şaşalı were the first guests of the night. The duo sang another national song called Ey Güzel Bakü. Aynur would be remembered as one of the participants from the first ever Milli Seçim Turu in 2008. Anar Şaşalı is known as a state artist.
Kamran was conducting some interviews in the greenroom. Arzu told ‘ I am so excited!’ and the rest used their mimics showing their excitement. Ok, we are ready for the second entries:

2nd Tour:

Orhan Kerimli – Milim (Hareel Skaat): was the first of the second tour. He sang the English version of Hareel Skaat’s Milim from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010. This time, Orhan was in more casual dress and he sounded better than the first song. As the broadcaster used the playback version of the song from the official album, we were able to hear some Hebrew in the chorus.

Sabina Babayeva – Hero: Sabina’s second act was another ballad, Hero. This time she wore a beautiful white dress and she successfully gave her performance.

Elton İbrahimov – Let it Swing (There Goes My Baby): This time Elton didn’t meet with any negative situations and he gave a charming performance. He reminded us of the beautiful 70’s. However, the whole show didn’t remind us of 70’s national finals anyway?

Feqan Seferov – Lijepa Tena (Igor Cukrov): Feqan went on with another ballad with Igor Cukrov’s song from 2009’s Eurovision song Contest. Surprisingly, Feqan went all against of the expectations and gave this performance totally in Croatian. As İTV used the karaoke versions from official album, we were also able to hear Andrea Šušnjara’s voice coming from behind. Two female dancers in red created a great visual show.

Arzu İsmayilova – Only Girl (Rihanna): As Feqan went on with another ballad, Arzu showed us another up-tempo act with two male and two female dancers behind. This young girl was becoming more assertive in each performance. Would she be the one?

Arzu’s performance finished the 2nd tour and then we went for a commercial break. We were able to see another tourist advertisement on the return and then Hüsniye Maharramova and Leyla Aliyeva welcomed us once again. Hüsniye admitted her honour to the parliamentarians and international artists in arena, many viewers around the world were watching the contest via İçtima TV and eurovision.tv. Then Leyla invited Temur Bayramov and Arzu Aliyeva to the stage as the second guests in the show tonight. The duo with the drums gave us another traditional example.

After this traditional performance, Kamran in the greenroom asked everyone who they would pick (except yourselves) if they were in a jury seat. It was time to see 2010 representative Safura and her medley of the songs including Drip Drop and some others from the latest album. Tonight, Safura dressed gothic and gave us an interesting performance.

3rd Tour:

Orhan Kerimli – Aşk Kaç Beden Giyer/Superman (Hadise medley): Orhan was back with a Hadise song. His vocals were not much different than Hadise’s backing singers in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. At last, Orhan, with his backing vocals, gave us yet another good performance. Then the music turned for another song from Hadise, called Superman.

Sabina Babayeva – Soul Sister (Christina Aguilera): Sabina was back with a popular soul, jazz performance. It was easy for her to perform a jazz song as she likes singing in this style. Sabina in her gothic dress and four dancers behind gave us a good visual show.

Elton İbrahimov – Popular (Eric Saade): Earlier tonight, we were unable to hear Eric Saade’s popular due to technical problems. We finally were able to hear the popular performance of Elton. We can definitely call this performance "popular" as there was nothing different from Eric’s mimics at the stage.

Feqan Seferov – Grenade (Bruno Mars): Feqan was finally back with an up-tempo song from last summer. Feqan dressed like Bruno Mars and the dancers created a great visual performance.

Arzu İsmayilova -Someone Like You (Adele): The youngest performer of the night finally appeared with a ballad, unlike the previous two performances. Arzu in white dress and there was dry ice on the floor: it was a good visual scene but we couldn’t say the same for the performance as she was out of tune in some parts.

We came to the end of the performances tonight. Now it was jury’s time to decide. Therefore, the juries went out of the hall to have a quick meeting and soon we would be learning the winner. At the same time, our host Leyla was flirting with the Can behind the scene.
It was time to hear Turkish representative Can Bonomo. He firstly sang the song Bana Bir Saz Verin. After this performance, Hüsniye told Can that his name is quite common in Azerbaijan. It was asked if this was the song he would be singing on his return to Baku, but he declared it was not. After this traditional song, Can continued with his hit, Meczup.

Hüsniye’s then sang Kurt Calleja’s song for Malta, This Is the Night. Then Kurt appeared but with a different song from the past named Over and Over. In the quick interview, Kurt also talked about his Azeri knowledge. Then he continued with This is the Night.
After Kurt, firstly Eldar (Ell) and then Nigar (Nikki) sang their newest songs. Then the guests of the night, Kurt Calleja, Can Bonomo and Ell & Nikki came on stage with the five other participants to announce the results.

The Voting

Tonight’s final show was in gala concert concept where the participants sang several songs from different genres. Though winner would be known at the end of the show, the participating song will be chosen internally by the broadcaster.

In the previous shows this year, we were able to hear the results after a combination of jury and televoting 50/50. Differently from previous shows, the winner was chosen by an expert jury. Sabina Babayeva got the honour to represent the host country in home. The song will be announced after an internal picking in coming weeks. 

Source: EuroVisionary

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