Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016

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Eurovision Song Contest 2016
Country Azerbaijan
National selection
Selection processInternal selection
Selection date(s)Artist: 10 March 2016
Song: 13 March 2016
Selected entrantSamra
Selected song"Miracle"
Selected songwriter(s)
Finals performance
Semi-final resultQualified (6th, 185 points)
Final result17th, 117 points
Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest
◄2015 2016 2017►

Azerbaijan participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song "Miracle" written by Amir Aly, Jakke "T.I Jakke" Erixson and Henrik Wikström. The song was performed by Samra, who was internally selected by the Azerbaijani broadcaster İctimai Television (İTV) to represent the nation at the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden. Samra's selection as the Azerbaijani Eurovision entrant was announced on 10 March 2016, while the song "Miracle" was presented to the public on 13 March.

Azerbaijan was drawn to compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 10 May 2016. Performing during the show in position 14, "Miracle" was announced among the top 10 entries of the first semi-final and therefore qualified to compete in the final on 14 May. It was later revealed that Azerbaijan placed sixth out of the 18 participating countries in the semi-final with 185 points. In the final, Azerbaijan performed in position 4 and placed seventeenth out of the 26 participating countries, scoring 117 points.

Background[edit]

Prior to the 2016 Contest, Azerbaijan had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest eight times since its first entry in 2008.[1] Azerbaijan had won the contest on one occasion in 2011 with the song "Running Scared" performed by Ell/Nikki. Since their debut in 2008, Azerbaijan has had a string of successful results, qualifying to the final and placing in the top ten each year until 2014, including a third-place result in 2009 with the song "Always" performed by AySel and Arash and a second-place result in 2013 with the song "Hold Me" performed by Farid Mammadov. However, in 2014, Azerbaijan achieved their lowest placing in the contest to this point, placing 22nd in the final with the song "Start a Fire" performed by Dilara Kazimova. In 2015, Azerbaijan placed twelfth with the song "Hour of the Wolf" performed by Elnur Hüseynov, who was also the first artist to represent the nation twice at the contest; Hüseynov previously represented Azerbaijan in its debut appearance at the 2008 contest where he performed the song "Day After Day" together with Samir Javadzadeh.

The Azerbaijani national broadcaster, İctimai Television (İTV), broadcasts the event within Azerbaijan and organises the selection process for the nation's entry. İTV confirmed their intentions to participate at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest on 13 September 2015.[2] Azerbaijan had used various methods to select the Azerbaijani entry in the past, including internal selections of both the artist and song, as well as national finals to select their artist followed by an internal selection to determine the song. Between 2009 and 2013, Azerbaijan organized a national final titled Milli Seçim Turu, which would result in the selection of a winning performer that would subsequently be given an internally selected song to perform at Eurovision. In 2014, the broadcaster utilised an existing talent show format titled Böyük Səhnə to conduct a similar process where the winning artist was supplied with an internally selected song. In 2015, the broadcaster internally selected both the artist and song that represented Azerbaijan, a procedure which continued for the selection of their 2016 entry.[3]

Before Eurovision[edit]

Internal selection[edit]

On 29 January 2016, İTV announced that both the artist and song that would represent Azerbaijan at the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 would be selected internally.[4][5] Their announcement called for interested artists and songwriters to submit their entries to the broadcaster by 10 February 2016. Eligible artists were those that were citizens of Azerbaijan or part of the Azerbaijani diaspora, while songwriters could be of any nationality. Although the selected song and artist was due to be announced on 14 March 2016, on 10 March 2016, İTV announced that Samra Rahimli would represent Azerbaijan, performing the song "Miracle".[6] The selection of Samra as the Azerbaijani Eurovision contestant was based on the decision of İTV and participants of an opinion survey that featured music and television industry experts and Eurovision fans from over 35 European countries.[6] "Miracle" was selected from over 400 submissions from local and international songwriters in a similar broadcaster decision and opinion survey method.[7]

"Miracle" was written by Amir Aly, Jakke "T.I Jakke" Erixson and Henrik Wikström.[7] The song was presented on 13 March 2016 via the release of the official music video.[7] In regards to the song, Samra stated: "Though this song is a story of a painful break-up, it's not a ballad as one may think. For me it's the anthem of a strong and brave girl. I hope it can inspire those who lost their love to take the right decision and move on. May this becomes a real Miracle for me!"[7]

Promotion[edit]

Samra made several appearances across Europe to specifically promote "Miracle" as the Azerbaijani Eurovision entry. On 3 April, Samra performed during the Eurovision Pre-Party, which was held at the Izvestia Hall in Moscow, Russia and hosted by Dmitry Guberniev.[8] Between 11 and 13 April, Samra took part in promotional activities in Tel Aviv, Israel and performed during the Israel Calling event held at the Ha'teatron venue.[9] Between 21 and 22 April, Samra competed promotional activities in Malta by appearing during the TVM talk show programmes Skjetti and Xarabank.[10][11] On 23 April, Samra performed "Miracle" during the E Channel programme Bravo Roula in Greece.[12] On 25 April, Samra completed promotional activities in Serbia.[13]

At Eurovision[edit]

Samra during a press meet and greet

According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the "Big 5" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into six different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot.[14] On 25 January 2016, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Azerbaijan was placed into the first semi-final, to be held on 10 May 2016, and was scheduled to perform in the second half of the show.[15]

Once all the competing songs for the 2016 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows' producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Azerbaijan was set to perform in position 14, following the entry from Estonia and before the entry from Montenegro.[16]

The two semi-finals and final were broadcast in Azerbaijan on İTV with commentary by Azer Suleymanli.[17][18] The Azerbaijani spokesperson, who announced the top 12-point score awarded by the Azerbaijani jury during the final, was Tural Asadov.[19]

Semi-final[edit]

Samra during a rehearsal before the first semi-final

Samra took part in technical rehearsals on 3 and 6 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 9 and 10 May.[20] This included the jury show on 9 May where the professional juries of each country watched and voted on the competing entries.[21]

The Azerbaijani performance featured Samra dressed in a gold catsuit performing a choreographed routine with four backing vocalists/dancers.[22][23][24] The LED stage floor and screens displayed beige and yellow geometric lines and the performance also incorporated pyrotechnics, which included flames and a waterfall effect. The performance was directed by Roine Söderlundh, who based the idea of the act around a modern and futuristic approach on the Alice in Wonderland novel. The four backing vocalists/dancers that joined Samra on stage were Jessica Marberger, Dea Norberg, Zain Odelstål and Patrik Riber. An additional off-stage backing vocalist, Anna Engh, was also part of the performance.[25][26]

At the end of the show, Azerbaijan was announced as having finished in the top 10 and subsequently qualifying for the grand final.[27] It was later revealed that Azerbaijan placed sixth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 185 points: 93 points from the televoting and 92 points from the juries.[28]

Final[edit]

Shortly after the first semi-final, a winners' press conference was held for the ten qualifying countries. As part of this press conference, the qualifying artists took part in a draw to determine which half of the grand final they would subsequently participate in. This draw was done in the order the countries appeared in the semi-final running order. Azerbaijan was drawn to compete in the first half.[29] Following this draw, the shows' producers decided upon the running order of the final, as they had done for the semi-finals. Azerbaijan was subsequently placed to perform in position 4, following the entry from the Netherlands and before the entry from Hungary.[30]

Samra once again took part in dress rehearsals on 13 and 14 May before the final, including the jury final where the professional juries cast their final votes before the live show.[31] Samra performed a repeat of her semi-final performance during the final on 14 May. Azerbaijan placed seventeenth in the final, scoring 117 points: 73 points from the televoting and 44 points from the juries.[32]

Voting[edit]

Voting during the three shows was conducted under a new system that involved each country now awarding two sets of points from 1-8, 10 and 12: one from their professional jury and the other from televoting. Each nation's jury consisted of five music industry professionals who are citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury judged each entry based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song's composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act.[33] In addition, no member of a national jury was permitted to be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member as well as the nation's televoting results were released shortly after the grand final.[34]

Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Azerbaijan and awarded by Azerbaijan in the first semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:[28][35][36][37]

Points awarded to Azerbaijan[edit]

Points awarded to Azerbaijan (Semi-final 1)
Televote
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Jury
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Points awarded to Azerbaijan (Final)
Televote
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Jury
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point

Points awarded by Azerbaijan[edit]

Split voting results[edit]

The following five members comprised the Azerbaijani jury:[33]

  • Gulchohra Shafiyeva – Chairperson – director
  • Farid Aliyev – opera singer, tenor
  • Brilliant Dadashova – pop singer
  • Ayyub Guliyev – conductor
  • Tarane Muradova – ballet-mistress

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Azerbaijan Country Profile". EBU. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  2. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (13 September 2015). "Azerbaijan: Ictimai confirms participation in Eurovision 2016". esctoday.com. ESCToday.com. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  3. ^ Gürdoğan, Büşra (27 February 2015). "İTV Goes Internal This Year". escbubble.com. ESCBubble. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Eurovision 2016: İTV öz təmsilçisini daxili seçim yolu ilə təyin edəcək". itv.az (in Azerbaijani). İctimai Television. 29 January 2016. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  5. ^ Weaver, Jessica (29 January 2016). "Azerbaijan: İTV opts for internal selection; announcement on 14 March". esctoday.com. ESCToday.com. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b Omelyanchuk, Olena (10 March 2016). "Samra will represent Azerbaijan in Stockholm!". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Omelyanchuk, Olena (13 March 2016). "Azerbaijan: Samra's song "Miracle" presented". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  8. ^ Granger, Anthony (3 April 2016). "Tonight: Russian Eurovision Pre-Party". eurovoix.com. Eurovoix. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  9. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (14 April 2016). "First ever preview party held in Israel". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  10. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (20 April 2016). "Malta to host a Eurovision preview party this weekend". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
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  12. ^ "Samra Rahimli - Join my performance on the biggest Saturday Greek..." facebook.com. Samra Rahimli. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  13. ^ ""Just done a radio interview for S1 Radios in Serbia. Long promo day ahead". instagram.com. Samra Rahimli. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
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  15. ^ Jordan, Paul (25 January 2016). "Allocation Draw: The results!". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
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  20. ^ "Media Activities" (PDF). eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  21. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (9 May 2016). "Now: It is decision time for the Juries". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  22. ^ Omelyanchuk, Olena (3 May 2016). "Second day of rehearsals at the Globe Arena". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  23. ^ Salmon, Josh (3 May 2016). "Azerbaijan: Samra drops urban choreography during first rehearsal". wiwibloggs.com. Wiwibloggs. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  24. ^ Escudero, Victor M. (6 May 2016). "Day 5 at the Globe Arena". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 6 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
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  26. ^ "Anna Engh körar för Samra i melodifestivalen". storfors.se (in Swedish). Storfors Municipality. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
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  32. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (14 May 2016). "Ukraine wins 2016 Eurovision Song Contest". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
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  34. ^ Jordan, Paul (18 February 2016). "Biggest change to Eurovision Song Contest voting since 1975". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
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