Contender or Pretender 2017: Episode Four – Azerbaijan and Sweden
Hello Dear Readers!
Today we examine two powers of the Contest: Azerbaijan and Sweden, both of whom have won the Contest within the past six years (and the only ones in this series to have won in the past twenty years). While Sweden has consistently been performing towards the top since missing the Final in 2010 (it has since finished in the Top Ten five out of six times, including two victories since then), Azerbaijan appeared to have lost its groove, failing to return to the Top Ten in each of the past three Contests. This year, both countries find themselves in serious contention for the Eurovision crown – will either past winner taste glory once again?
Why it is a contender: Haunting, catchy, and easily accessible; probably the most popular Azerbaijani entry since 2013. We know that, when it wants to, Azerbaijan puts on a staging unlike any other. This year, they’re ready to return to the Top Ten.
Why it is a pretender: DiHaj’s aesthetic can be a bit much – so there is the potential for the staging to go too far and turn people off. The bigger danger, though, is the performance. This is a good pop song, but does DiHaj have the live vocals to carry it above all the other high quality entries this year?
Final Verdict: Pretender Despite the potential for a stunning stage show, I just am not confident that this song will translate to a live performance on the ESC stage. While this song sounds radio ready, I don’t know if it’s unique enough to bump off the more memorial entries, like Italy or Belgium.
Why it is a contender: Well, it’s Sweden. For better or worse, Sweden is always included in the conversation regarding possible winners during the current era of the Contest. This song has a slick staging (staging is rarely, if ever, changed between Melodifestivalen and ESC) and is ridiculously catchy.
Why it is a pretender: While it is catchy, it is also rather simple, to the point of being borderline annoying. Not to mention the many families watching will probably not be too happy about his choice of words in the refrain. I know I, personally, have difficulty singing “freaking beautiful” instead of using some other language and I am not one to use curse words.
Final Verdict: Pretender For a song with this much hype and potential, I find it interesting that the producers stuck it first in the running order in its semi-final. I also think that, for the majority of viewers, this song will simply be too annoying to reward with points. I think, like Romania, this is another entry that has a high likelihood of flopping in the Grand Final.
Are you tired of Sweden’s recent domination? Are you excited that Azerbaijan is finally back in the conversation for victory? Are you just waiting for tomorrow’s examinations of Armenia and Ireland? Leave a comment below or on Twitter!