Azerbaijan in Eurovision
Azerbaijan first debuted in Eurovision in 2007 and have finished in the Top 10 eight times so far.
Since their debut, the country has qualified for the grand final on 11 of 12 occasions. The county’s greatest success came in 2011, when Ell & Nikki took out the Eurovision Song Contest in Dusseldorf, with their song ‘Running Scared’.
2021 Entry: Efendi – ‘Mata Hari’
Semi-final: Efendi will compete in semi-final 1 in 14th position in the running order
My Eurovision Scoreboard fan ranking: 10th out of 39 entries
Odds to win ranking: 17th out of 39 entries
Odds to qualify ranking: 6th out of 16 entries
(rankings as of 27 April 2021)
About the artist
30-year-old Samira Azer gizi Efendiyeva is an Azeri pop/jazz singer who has been active since 2009. She has become well known in her home country for participating in various singing contests. She ended up finishing in third place in The Voice of Azerbaijan (2014), as well as in the international singing competition Silk Way Star (2017).
Efendi first tried to enter Eurovision in 2014, where she was eliminated in the third heat of the national final selection event Böyük Səhnə. She was also close in 2019, named as one of five shortlisted artists, before the honour of representing Azerbaijan eventually went to Chingiz.
Efendi’s persistence finally paid off in 2020. On her fifth try to enter the contest, she was internally selected to perform the song ‘Cleopatra’. After the cancellation of Eurovision 2020, Azeri broadcaster Ictimai TV received 150 song submissions for Efendi to potentially perform in 2021. Six were shortlisted, and ‘Mata Hari’ was eventually chosen.
She is one of 26 returning artists to take part in 2021.
About the Song
‘Mata Hari’ bears similarity to Efendi’s 2020 entry, ‘Cleopatra’. Both are focused on strong female subjects from history and are written as songs of empowerment. Efendi says “if suddenly you do not have enough inspiration now, let the stories of strong women in history become the source of that very charge of energy with which you can cope with everything and achieve even bigger success.”
The lyrics describe Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari, who was convicted of being a spy in World War I.
The production makes use of traditional instruments including a nagara (drum) and a zurna (woodwind)
‘Mata Hari’ also includes a chanted phrase in the Azeri language, a first in Eurovision history.
The song has four composers including Tony Cornelissen, who composed Germany’s 2013 entry ‘Glorious’. Azerbaijan’s 2021 staging will be directed by Mads Enggaard Jørgensen, who also directed Azerbaijan’s 2019 entry ‘Truth’.
Aussievision podcast Azerbaijan episode
Check out the Aussievision podcast review and rank episode including comments from the team. Listen via:
Podcast addict: https://podcastaddict.com/podcast/1958380