56º Eurovision Song Contest
Running Scared (Ell Nikki) - Azarbaiyan
The 56th Eurovision Song Comtest was held on the 14th of May 2011 at the Dusseldorf Arena Stadium, in Dusseldorf, Germany and was won by Ell&Nikki representing Azerbaijan. Forty-three participated, equalling the record number of participants set in Serbia 2008
Italy returned to the Eurovision Song Contest after a long 17 year absence, only interrupted in 1997 by mistake (they did not want to enter but someone sent their application and by the time they realised about it it was too late) I'm not joking, remember we are talking about Italy's bureaucracy. They tried to step back but faced a big fine if the quitted so they decided to participate anyway.
Why had Italy be absent for so long? Well, they probably thought "If we have the San Remo Song Contest, which gathers a wider audience in our country, why should we send our songs to Eurovision where nobody cares about us anyway?” And so, with this so straight forward argument, so cool them, the Italians showed Eurovision the finger in 1994. Retruned, only by accident in 1997, and dissapeared again until this edition. Honest, Italy absence was hard to deal with. They had been participating since the first edition of a song contest that they helped to create and they were also part of the so called “big five” (the five most contributing countries that have a direct ticket for the final every year) although the select group was always known to euro fans as the “big four” because when it was created Italy had already withdrawn from the contest. They never fully explained what made them change their minds but this year Italy finally returned to Eurovision and, to everyone’s amazement, they were about to win (they ended second) probably helped by the enthusiastic welcoming given by every country to their prodigal son but not least because of their deliciously jazzy song and the powerful performance of Italian singer and pianist Raphael Gualazzi. Interestingly, Italy entry was sang partly in English for the first time. The fact is that Italy was not among the favorites and its second position was a bit of a surprise. Not the only one of the evening though.
One of the most firms candidates to win, Estonia, ended last while the song everyone was talking about, Sognu, which was France’s entry and was sang in Corsican by Amaury Vassili ended 15th probably due to the tenor unfortunately being out of tone most of the song. All the other favorites finally did more or less as bad as France, and by the end of the voting Euro fans witnessed eyes wide open Azerbaijan winning the 56th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with a middle tempo ballad called “Running Scared” badly sang by Eldar and Nigar (Ell&Nikki), a male-female duet which proved as efficient as namby-pamby. By the way, this has been the first time a female-male duet wins Eurovision.
After two years of getting it right (they managed to foresee Norway’s victory in 2009 and Germany’s in 2010) all the euro fans with their Eurovision paraphernalia thought it was going to be possible, this year too, to eat the turkey before killing it. But this time bets, social networks, blogs and fans failed ostentatiously as Eurovision proved once more unpredictable, which is somehow good news in itself. If definitely not for the winner song this 56th edition will be long remembered as the best realized and produced ever. In this aspect Azerbaijan has been passed a poisoned torch. It is difficult to imagine another display of technology and spectacular effects like the one Germany gave us on the 14th of May 2011 at the Dusseldorf Arena Stadium. The show was sublime in its beauty to a point that helped all songs seem even better and more powerful. It was gigantic and somewhat overwhelming. Was all that necessary? After all, this is no more than a song contest. Or is it?