The Shortlist (4): Azerbaijan

Who is the big favorite for Stockholm? In the next couple of weeks we will highlight some interesting participants, based on the odds they have been given by the bookmakers. This week we will first give you a shortlist of the four countries that lead the board in the first semi final. Today’s report is about Azerbaijan.

Samra Rahimli is an up-and-coming Azerbaijani singer, who enrolled at Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts after participating in the Azerbaijani national selection in 2012. She was 16 years old at the time, and did not manage to represent her country. Now she is in her twenties, has gained some (life) experience and seems to be be up for the big task.

Samra returned to the spotlight in 2015, when she reached the quarterfinals in The Voice of Turkey. When The Voice came to Azerbaijan in 2015, her performance of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball during a blind audition amazed the audience. Samra reached the competition’s final and finished in fourth place.

The Azerbaijani entry is called ‘Miracle’ and descirbes the story of a couple after a dramatic break-up story. Samra is able to tell this story, because: “I’ve been through the similar experience once,” she explains. “It’s never easy to let someone go but you have to stay strong and keep moving.”

The song has been produced by Swedish songwriter Amir Aly, who has worked with some of the foremost artists in Sweden, including Jill Johnson, Helena Paparizou, Danny Saucedo and Sanna Nielsen. Other Swedes that worked on the lyrics and composition are Jakke Erixon and Henrik Wikström, who also composed Carola’s song ‘Invincible’ for Eurovision 2006.

Explaining the odds
Azerbaijan is one of six countries that always qualified for the Grand Final, but in recent years, qualification did not come easy on the Azeri. Bookmakers are therefore careful, and at Betfair the qualification odds for Azerbaijan are highly fluctuating between 1-1.07 at best but 1-2.64 at worst. General expectations are that the odds will stabilize around 1-1.2, giving you a possible €0,20 profit if you predict Azerbaijan in the final.

But are we going back to Baku? This, too, is a contested question. Some bookmakers price Azerbaijan short at 16 to 1, while others are going more towards 35 to 1. Opinions are divided, but you can never be too careful with a country that has an amazing track record like the Azeri’s have!