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The Vine reviews ‘Mata Hari’ for Azerbaijan

What a bop! I absolutely love this sexy, mysterious pop-banger- it’s infectiously catchy, instantly memorable, and the instrumental is simply divine. The bass strings in the verses are sultry, underpinning Efendi’s gorgeous vocals, really setting the mood for the song. I love the percussion too, and the ethnic riffs throughout, giving this song real authenticity and flair. The callback to Cleopatra gives me a sense of throwback nostalgia, but if I’d never heard either song before, it would probably feel a little random and out of place, especially as no other famous women are mentioned in ‘Mata Hari.’ Still, it’s a nice touch for us fans. Efendi’s vocals are absolutely perfect for this song, especially those sensual low notes- she plays the part so well in this, and doesn’t have to shout or belt any showstopping notes out, because the instrumental is the strongest bit of the song, so she fits the vocals around that, and it works an absolute treat. The dance break in the chorus is just amazing- so powerful, unique and sassy. I do worry that the actual lyrics feel a bit generic and lack meaning, which isn’t a huge dealbreaker in a pop song, but they could be stronger. Plus, the bridge doesn’t really bring anything too new to the song- it feels a bit too much like filler, when they could really venture out here and do something huge and daring. It plays it too safe, following the obvious formula, making the song a little predictable. Although I love the beat in the final chorus with that ever increasing pace, it feels a bit underwhelming and like they couldn’t think of anything else to do at that point. Don’t get me wrong, I think this song is stunning, but it could be so much more powerful if it took a risk. Still, it’s sassy, sexy, catchy and just an all-around bop, which I cannot stop dancing to, and which stays in my head all day after I listen to it. 

Prediction: This could be a shock non-qualifier- not because it’s bad, but because the competition is so brutal in semi-one. It might stand out because of the Eastern sound, but it could easily get swallowed up if the staging isn’t memorable. I honestly cannot predict how juries and televoters will approach this, but I’d love to see it in the final. If it qualifies, I’d predict 8-14.

Photo credit: Ictimai Television (ITV)

13. Netherlands- Birth of a New Age

14. Switzerland- Tout L’univers

15. Moldova- Sugar

16. Iceland- 10 Years

17. Spain- Voy a Quedarme

18. Israel- Set Me Free

19. Czech Republic- Omaga

20. Belgium- The Wrong Place

21. Croatia- Tick-Tock

22. Norway- Fallen Angel

23. Denmark- Øve Os På Hinanden

24. Latvia- The Moon is Rising

25. Sweden- Voices

26. United Kingdom- Embers

27. Romania- Amnesia

28. Ireland- Maps

29. Serbia- Loco Loco

30. Poland- The Ride

31. Greece- Last Dance

32. Australia- Technicolour

33. Germany- I Don’t Feel Hate

34. Albania- Karma

35. Austria- Amen

36. Slovenia- Amen

37. Georgia- You

38. Estonia- The Lucky One

39. Portugal- Love is on my Side

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