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Dude, where's my Azerbaijan?

14 March 2008 at 00:36 CET

But tell me, dear readers, how many of you could point to Azerbaijan on a map?  Granted, if you grew up in the 1980s like I did, Azerbaijan was kind of lumped in with the USSR, and by the time the Soviet Union broke up into 15 new countries, poor Azerbaijan fell out of my head.  Am I doomed to be like my fellow American tourists, unaware of what is happening in other countries?  Now that a song from Azerbaijan is being performed at 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, I felt it was my duty both to explore all things Azerbaijan and prepare you for the unique song that the country is sending to Belgrade this year.

You can look across the web and in 0.2 seconds will find all the typical facts and figures about Azerbaijan on your screen (8,6 million population, has borders with Iran and Armenia etc).  So I did some investigating of my own and here are some intriguing facts you should know about this new Eurovision Song Contest contestant:

  1. Between 20th and 26th of March, everyone will be off from work in Azerbaijan thank to the upcoming Novruz holiday, the holiday of spring
  2. The Fashion Time Fashion Festival will be held in Azerbaijan on 26-27th of April in Baku, so if you are there at that time, you now know where to go
  3. A one-eyed lamb has been born in Lenkoran, Azerbaijan.  Unfortunately, it may not survive long, according to experts.

Poor lamb, as the British say.  Anyway - for it's first official entry into the Eurovision Song Contest, Azerbaijan had a few choices for their debut - perhaps a heartbreaking ballad, complete with wind machine blowing everyone's hair; or a dance extravaganza involving some ballet, some break dancing and some bungee jumping?  Actually, Azerbaijan have done even better that that.  The song that the public has picked is  think unlike any song that's come before.  In three minutes, you have an operatic beginning in a death-defying falsetto, an angel wearing a bikini top and big feathered wings, the devil on a throne with a writhing female assistant dressed like the goth rockers I knew in high school, flames and sparks erupting from everywhere, and what sounds like some yodeling midway through the song.  All that's missing is tap dancing kids from a local school dressed as the one-eyed lamb mentioned above.  But aside from how singers Elnur Huseynov and Samir Javadzadeh are dressed, the song isn't one that will fall out of your head anytime soon.  It's catchy, that's for sure. 

I don't know if Azerbaijan's entry is something your mother would love, but it's certainly a unique debut for a country that wants to stand out among more seasoned entrants.  Now that I've done my research on the first of two new countries competing this year, in a few weeks I'll turn my attention to other new entrant, San Marino. 

Wait, isn't San Marino a town outside of Los Angelos?  I should have paid more attention to my geography lessons...