Azerbaijan First Rehearsal – Eurovision 2021: Efendi – Mata Hari

Welcome back to ESCBubble’s coverage for Eurovision 2021! After the first seven countries took to the stage at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam for their first rehearsals, we are flying through to day 2! Today, the remaining nine countries performing in the second half of semi final one will be rehearsing so keep following our coverage for all the updates throughout the day.

As always, you can check out our ongoing coverage through both our Live Rehearsal Blog and also rolling  daily updates on our Twitter Account.

If you are avoiding potential rehearsal spoilers then don’t read any further! Semi Final One will take place at 21.00 CET on Tuesday 18th May 2021 with sixteen countries competing for ten qualifying spots for the final.

Next up this afternoon is… Azerbaijan! After Efendi has finished her rehearsal slot, we will be going on another short 30 minute break before getting on to the final two rehearsals of the day, Ukraine & Malta.

Image Credit: EBU / Thomas Hanses


First Rehearsal

Efendi is joined on stage by four backing dancers. The backdrop has a constant element of gold but there are also pinks and teals in there too, with a henna-like cubic pattern for the majority of the performance. Anybody afraid of snakes may be worried to learn that there are also two golden serpents that appear in the middle of the backdrop.

Efendi and all backing dancers are dressed in black lace outfits, however the routine itself is fairly static. Efendi herself doesn’t move a great deal until the final 30 seconds and only the very middle of the big stage is every really used. Surprisingly, there were no pyrotechnics at all for the first rehearsal session, however we would be shocked if they don’t bring some out later in the week. The speeding up of the production works really well, but they need to find something to pad out the stage as the choreography at the moment is too static to bring the energy and looks too closed in. One positive is that whilst the backing vocals carry the chorus heavily, the verses with Efendi singing sound pretty good which should settle some of the earlier worries from fans!

Before Eurovision

Last year, Azerbaijan internally selected Efendi as their representative for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. It was later revealed that she would be performing “Cleopatra”, an empowering pop song about the famous last queen of Egypt! Whilst the contest was cancelled, Azerbaijani broadcaster ITV were one of the first across Europe to confirm that Efendi had been invited back for the 2021 contest.

Whilst some of the returning performers this year have opted for something completely different to last years, Efendi has opted for something quite similar to “Cleopatra”. This year, she will be performing “Mata Hari” – again an uptempo pop song themed around a powerful historic woman. This time, Mata Hari is the famous Dutch spy and dancer, infamous for being accused of being a German spy in World War I. You can check out Efendi’s tribute to Mata Hari in the official music video here:

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