20 March 2014

Eurovision 2014: Start A Fire: Azerbaijan

Dilara Kazimova: Courtesy YouTube
In early March, Azerbaijan chose its entry for Eurovision following a long process of auditions and heats to determine the national winner.

In the end, the song Start A Fire sung by the rather beautiful Dilara Kazimova emerged as the victor.

It's not the first time that Dilara has tried her hand at the Eurovision Song Contest. She participated in both the 2008 and 2010 national heats, but as a member of two different bands.

Placing second on both of those occasions, she has now gone one better and sings this somewhat sleepy, if not melancholy, ballad.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Azerbaijan is relying on the tried and trusted Swedish songwriter to bring the competition back to Baku: Stefan Örn. He was involved with country's entries between 2010 and 2012, co-writing their 2011 winner Running Scared.

Unfortunately, in a year when ballads prevail, this one is not particularly conspicuous. It does not carry a discernible hook, but the inclusion of the Azerbaijani musical instrument, the balaban, does give it a haunting quality. Whether this is enough to grab voters' attention remains to be seen.

With just six songs failing to make the cut in the first semi-final, I have a suspicion that Azerbaijan won't be in that group. In fact, the nation's Eurovision history shows that it has secured a Top 10 placing every year since it first entered the competition in 2008 and I can't see that changing. This is just not the winner.

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