Azerbaijan’s Eurovision 2018 Entry

Cross our hearts and hope to not die in the Semifinals. Here comes Aisel for Azerbaijan.

Aisel is a singer from Baku. She’s been on the jazz circuit in Europe and performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2009 with the late Azerbaijani jazz pianist Emil Ibrahim.

Her foray into Eurovision, however, is pure pop from a couple of the Song Contest’s mainstays. “X My Heart” is by Dimitris Kontopoulos, who we profile on our Songwriters page, and Sandra Bjurman, who we really need to profile on our Songwriters page. The Swedish singer and songwriter has written the lyrics to five other Azeri Eurovision entries including “Running Scared” and “Drip Drop.” No matter what else happens at Eurovision, Sandra wins with the chorus, “I cross my heart/I tear down the firewalls/I cross my heart/I’m stronger than cannonballs.” That’s just glorious.

“X My Heart” is a solid, catchy, fun song. That’s what Dimitris always brings to the table, and we love him for it. And Aisel’s smoky alto adds a lot to the party. But we can’t shake the feeling that we’ve heard this all before. Even though it’s pretty good, it’s also pretty safe.

Of course, there is always the X factor, which is Azerbaijan’s knack for staging. We have two adages at Eurovision: “Never judge a song from Albania based on its Festivali i Këngës performance” and “Never judge a song from Azerbaijan until you see whether or not they put a dancer in a horse’s head in a big glass box on stage surrounded by dancing wolves.” So the jury is really still out.