The singer Efendi has been chosen last year already, as she should represent Azerbaijan in 2020 with the extraordinary song “Cleopatra”. Unfortunately, the entire ESC has been cancelled due to the corona pandemic. But Efendi was directly nominated by the Azeri broadcaster iTV to go in 2021.
Samira Efendiyeva or just Efendi was born in Baku, in 1991 and learned to play the piano and studied at the Asəf Zeynallı conservatory. She took part in several contests such as Yeni Ulduz 09, Səs Azərbaycan (the Azeri Version of The Voice), Silk Way Star and Voice of Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan. Efendi even sang the national anthem at the closing ceremony at the Formula 1 race in Baku 2018. Efendi has tried to compete four times in the previous national selection for the ESC, but this time she has become the one.
Have a look at the three singles Efendi released in 2019:
This year’s song is called “Mata Hari” and it has been written by Amy van der Wel, Luuk van Beers, Josh Earl and Tony Cornelissen, an international team, Luuk and Tony have also been involved with “Cleopatra”. So it’s no wonder that the music style of “Mata Hari” is similar. It has a lot of cultural elements and a strong beat. The song is even getting faster at the end. This is another outstanding song, with a huge potential. Mostly the entries from Azerbaijan can enjoy lavish stage settings and for the spectators the show is always a highlight, so it will be this year.
The song is about the most well-known spy Mata Hari, mysterious and obscure, her biography is a thrill, working as double espionage, born in the Netherlands. The Swedish pop group Army of Lovers are also mentioned well as Cleopatra:
Mata Hati Undercover I am a dangerous lover Drinking my poisonous water and you’re under my spell Mesmerizing
This year’s song from Azerbaijan will receive a lot of attention, a good choreography with an excellent stage show will be guaranteed. The song is radio friendly, catchy with an oriental touch and perfect for a show event like the ESC.
Top 10: 7
Chances for Top 10: 54%
Chances for Final: 85%
Since Azerbaijan joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, a truly outstanding story of success has begun. The debut entry “Day After Day” by Elnur & Samir made a respectable 8th place in Belgrade, even if it was a very extraordinary song with a lot of drama and unbelievable high notes on stage. That’s a debut entry for a newcomer which will be remembered very well.
In the short history – 13 times - Azerbaijan has mostly made it into the Grand Final, and there were even seven Top10 places in that short period of time! Statistically there is a chance of 54% for Azerbaijan to have a place in the Top10. In the early years Azerbaijan made it almost every year into the Top10, but since 2014 this has not been the case anymore, that might be due to stricter voting controls. And the chances for reaching the Grand Final is at 85%, this is due to the fact that Azerbaijan mostly made it since the debut. And that’s really something special. Only one time Azerbaijan did not make it to the final was in 2018 Aisel Mammadova and “X My Heart”. Last time in 2019 Chingiz could continue the successful way and made a fabulous 8th place in the Grand Final of Tel Aviv with “Truth”.
The Eurovision Song Contest has become very important in Azerbaijan and enjoys a huge interest in the entire country. For the Azerbaijani music industry the ESC is also one of the best platforms to show their music talents internationally.
Of course there were a lot of votes by the ex-Soviet countries. But beside of that the songs from Azerbaijan have shown a lot of modernity and the stage performances were always very special on a very high artistic level. The songs are mostly sung in English, but often have kept their cultural Azeri footprint. This is also due to the fact that Azerbaijan often invites international composers e.g. Stephan Örn, Sandra Bjuman, etc., which made the songs very international. In 2011, Azerbaijan could even win with “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki. The ESC from Baku in 2012 was one of the most important events in Azerbaijan with the support of the highest government circles. This was the most south eastern ESC ever. The impressive Crystal Hall – which was extra built for this event – and the greatly illuminated city of Baku have surprised the visitors and watchers of the ESC, which will remain in good memories.
1x 1st place “Running Scared” |Ell & Nikki (Düsseldorf 2011)
1x 2nd place “Hold Me” |Farid Mammadov (Malmö 2013)
1x 3rd place “Always” |AySel & Arash (Moscow 2009)