Fade To Black
Shipwrecks resting in the sea. Oil floating on the water. Plants and soil overlaid with a crust of pain. No, these aren’t lyrics- they’re FACTS, FACT fans. Welcome to renowned Eurovision cheat nation Azerbaijan – the most polluted country in the world.
They love Eurovision in Azerbaijan. For a start they’re so into the Eurovision that they play a compilation of past entries on the escalators and platforms of the Baku Metro. I suspect if we played Daz Sampson on the Tube we’d have nine suicides an hour, an RMT strike and George Galloway as Mayor.
In fact they love it so much that not only have they been involved in countless vote rigging scandals (what is that Kissinger quote about student politics) they also blew a whopping £600 million hosting in 2012, despite the fact that it failed to pull off the intended legitimisation of the country – largely because everyone knows that the place is still a rotten dictatorship, chock full of human rights abuses and a gap between rich and poor wider than the Caspian Sea.
The good news is that they’re not really trying this year, which means we can pretty much rule out navigating the health and safety nightmare of the Crystal Hall in 2023 while the local police shoot dogs on the street.
The quarter-arsed press release says that it’s been “quite a year” for the artist Nadir Rustamli, as his Eurovision participation was confirmed just 3 weeks after winning The Voice of Azerbaijan, where he stormed to victory with more than 40% of the audience’s votes in the grand final.
The song that got him there was a cover of Azerbaijan’s 2011 winning song Running Scared with Eldar Gazimov, one half of Ell & Nikki who also won by a suspiciously large landslide off the back of a pretty piss poor performance.
Perhaps more importantly, Nadir in 2019 came second in something I’ve never heard of until today – a contest called “Youthvision” which seems to be some sort of low rent rip off of Eurovision but based in Baku where apparently you can get points for murdering Alicia Keys.
It says here that the contest – whose slogan was “Always Be Young!” – aims is to create the “necessary conditions for the realisation of cultural potential of creative and talented students” but it sounds more like a Freshers’ week Karaoke night to me, only without the VKs to make it all more palatable.
Anyway this is all standard issue stuff – Nadir took piano lessons for 7 years, studied in music school and, while at university, joined a band in which he performed lead vocals and served as the group’s artistic director, “getting to indulge his creative side even further”.
The song itself is roughly as interesting as the bio – it’s a VERY DRAMATIC bit of trailer music with some badly pronounced words on top about a break up and a bit of balaban to make it sound Azerbi, when it has in reality been written by the same Swede that wrote Fuego.