White lights and mellow contrasts for Azerbaijan


The rehearsal of Running Scared started with the obligatory sound check. Curiously, members of the Azeri delegation were holding up the costumes to be used on the big night as Ell and Nikki were not wearing them on stage today. This is in order to see how they react with the light in the arena. 

To start off with, the four backing singers stood in front of Ell and Nikki in a line on the stage as the performance started, before walking off in sync to reveal the pair behind them. There are also a number of spotlights shining down on the stage.

The colours are initially very soft with some orange lights coming from behind the huge LED screen to the rear of the stage. As the pace of the song picks up the screen turns white and the spotlights become very active. 

Running Scared can be described as a mellow pop song, inspired by a mid-tempo rock sound. The stage-show reflected this extremely well. 

As the song reaches its conclusion the lighting returns to how it was at the beginning of the song bringing the performance to a soft and clean finish. There is also a large curtain of pyrotechnics here, helping to conclude the performance. 

The choreography remains quite simple but effective for the entire performance, going very well with the rhythm and tone of the song, Running Scared. There are no erratic moves so as to concentrate on the vocals, which are strong by both Ell and Nikki. 

On stage there are no props, only the two artists and their four backing singers. This is in contrast to 2010 when Safura had a lot of props and effects during her performance in Oslo. 

Some pictures from the rehearsal:

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Take a look at the video of the Azeri rehearsal:


Eurovision.tv followed the duo when they first entered the arena and saw the stage. Nikki, the female part of the duo, looked at it wide eyed and stopped in the middle of a sentence.

"Oh my god! It's huge! It's amazing, fantastic! I'm shocked, I've never been on such a big stage. Enormous!" she exclaimed.

But exactly what will happen on the stage during their entry is still work in progress.

"I don't know how it will be for sure. They still think about it and add ideas," Nikki says secretly.

To do the song as a duet is a very good experience to her, despite the differences between her and her colleague Eldar.

"It's great, I love it. He's such a nice guy. You could think that it would be hard, since he performs ballads and I usually do R'n'B, but it works beautifully," she says.

Some pictures from backstage:

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Press Conference

The conference started off by discussing Azerbaijan's great track record at the Eurovision Song Contest and if they are nervous. Eldar said, "If you aren't nervous before going on stage as an actor or singer then you have no feeling". 

They then discussed the stage to which Eldar said he was "speechless" when confronted by the colossal stage in Düsseldorf. 

Nigar said that performing on Europe's favourite TV show was "a dream come true. I used to be a housewife and have two children. Six months ago I could never have dreamt of this". 

Nigar was also asked about whether or not her husband minds singing a romantic song with another man to which she sarcastically replied "of course not".. There may be some jealously there! 

Eldar was also asked if he was in love to which he explained, "I am in love but she is not in love with me, unfortunately". 

The moderator asked if they have a favourite song to which Nigar replied, "I love Jade's song for the United Kingdom in 2009, It's My Time". She then sang the chorus and says she has a connection as she comes from England. Eldar said he loved the song Angel, by Chiara from 2005 before he also sang a little bit of it. 

The guys were asked about their feelings whilst sing their song. They both said that it is a love song and that they feel love and want others to feel that love too. 

A question was asked about how Azerbaijan seem to be devoted to victory and how this has affected them. Nigar replied "We have been working so hard that we someones haven't had time to sleep". Eldar added, "but that is why we are here. We love performing so it doesn't matter". 

The conference ended with the pair singing their song, Running Scared. 

Here are some pics from the press conference:

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Ell and Nikki - Who are they?

The dream to represent Azerbaijan in Eurovision has followed Nigar since 2000. That was when the Russian singer Alsou, highly popular in Azerbaijan, finished on the 2nd place in the Contest with her song Solo. Alsou’s success gave Nigar the hope that one day her dream of performing on the Eurovision stage may become reality. Last autumn, Nigar revived her dream of taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Eldar Gasimov was born in Baku in 1989. Just like Nigar, Eldar has dreamt of performing on the Eurovision stage since 2000. He has passionately followed the Contest, particularly after Azerbaijan’s 2008 debut. Last autumn, Eldar decided to try himself in the national Eurovision selection. He was one of 77 contenders to represent Azerbaijan in Eurovision 2011. After preliminary castings and 7 pre-selection shows, which were broadcast by the ITV channel, Eldar went to the national selection final and became one of the 2 winners.

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