Song Title: “Skeletons”
First Semi-Final: Position 8
Last year’s entry: “Miracle” – Samra (17th Place)
After coming out of the gate strong with their first appearance in 2008, Azerbaijan’s been having some wilderness years. They haven’t ever missed the finals since debuting, but in the past 3 years, they haven’t cracked the top 10 after consistently placing in the top 5. Azerbaijan always feels closest to Sweden in the way they practically manufacture Eurovision entries for maximum points, so this has to sting. Does Dihaj’s “Skeletons” have what it takes to get them back near the top of the competition?
I didn’t have as much of an instant “love” of this song as Ryan did in his initial listen, but it’s certainly grown on me as the field has filled out and the competition has moved along. I definitely love the way this feels like S U R V I V E’s work for Stranger Things, and there’s a dark edge to this song that feels fresh in this semi-final of the competition. But if there was any year Azerbaijan needed a non-packed semi-final, this would be it.
Dihaj is performing in between Finland and Portugal, and it couldn’t be placed between two songs that are more tonally different from “Skeletons”. That’ll definitely help, but I do worry that if the stage performance isn’t more than the band performing the song, stronger visual performances will take it over. I still think Azerbaijan is different enough to make the finals, but without some flash, they’re sitting closer to the bubble than they’d probably like to be.