Light Your Fire! Theme & slogan unveiled.

The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest has an identity. The slogan is ‘Light Your Fire!’ and the logo is that of a stylized flame in a rich colour palate of reds, yellows and oranges. Representing Azerbaijan’s age-old moniker ‘Land of Fire’, I was expecting something along these lines. Created by London-based design agency Turquoise, the visual identity has been explained as thus: “Fire is an elemental force that, for centuries, people have gathered around to tell stories, sing songs, dance and celebrate. In much the same way that the Eurovision Song Contest has done since it began in 1956. We feel that the visual identity we have created reflects what’s best about the contest itself and the event as a whole: It’s engaging, dynamic, warm and, most of all, imbued with a sense of fun“.

Personally, I like it. Even if I find it slightly derivative from past themes. The flame logo is, stylistically, very similar to Moscow 2009 (The Fire Bird) and slogan smacks of Dusseldorf 2011 (‘Feel your heart beat! compared to ‘Light your fire!’). They’ve even used the exclamation mark again! Nevertheless, it is a sound identity that is very rich visually and lends itself to a potentially strong television presentation. You can check out the all the design work Turquoise have done here.

So come on Europe! Let’s all prepare to light our fires come May.

Tonight: the Host City Insignia Exchange Ceremony for Eurovision 2012.

We have a major Eurovision event taking place tonight: The Host City Insignia Exchange Ceremony, where the mayor of last year’s host city Düsseldorf will hand over the ‘Eurovision Keys’ to the mayor of the current host city, Baku. Also on the agenda will be the Semi-Final Allocation Draw, where lots will be drawn to determine which countries will be participating in the two Semi-Finals.

Thirdly, (and what I’m most looking forward to) the Host Broadcaster will unveil the visual theme, identity and slogan of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. To round it all off, we will have performances by former Eurovision-contestants and winners, namely Ruslana, Safura, Aysel, Lena, Alexander Rybak and of course, Ell/Nikki. Check out how the preparations are going.

Not too shabby, I must say. The show starts at 17:00CET and you can catch it live on Just make sure you have the Octoshape plug-in installed.

All images are courtesy of

Final design of Baku Crystal Hall revealed by architects.

Ever since Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest, all sorts of images of the proposed venue in Baku have surfaced, each more unlikely than the last. With the foundations ready, Baku Crystal Hall is reportedly on schedule to be completed in time for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Now, thanks to Austrian architecture firm OLN, we now get a clear cut idea on where next year’s Contest would most likely be held. Check it out below:

You can find more images, including those of the interior, right here. Personally, I find it a bit small especially after Oslo 2010 and Düsseldorf 2011. Even Helsinki 2007 seems to be bigger than this. In any case, let’s see what happens. Its certainly different from the venues of previous years.

Baku 2012: Should we be worried?

Despite elegant boulevards, Baku still needs a venue for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The EBU have met with İctimai and have been apprised of the host broadcaster’s plans for the staging and organization of the 57th Eurovision Song Contest. While lauding the ambitious plans for the construction of a completely new arena at Baku’s National Flag Square, the EBU is also insisting on a Plan B to fall back on in case construction cannot be completed in time. It makes sense, but just how logical is it to be working on two separate scenarios in parallel? Furthermore, precious weeks have already flown by, and the time in which construction should be taking place is not happening. At this point, we should be seeing concrete plans, renders and timelines, not vague hints from the government on how “everything will be ready”.

I have no doubt that with the right conditions (unlimited national coffers not withstanding), Azerbaijan could host a spectacular contest the likes of which we’ve never seen. But given the severe lack of infrastructure, I would have imagined the folks over at İctimai would have had a well thought-out plan on procuring these before being all gung-ho about winning. Surely they must have seen this coming? Plans should have been set in motion the moment Azerbaijan won. Now weeks have gone by and summer is nearly over and we still haven’t heard anything concrete.

Or course, rumours are abound that Italy and Sweden have been asked to be on stand-by to step in and take over hosting. Of course, these have been hotly denied by the EBU but I can see why they would. They would not want to appear as being doubtful in the capabilities of one of their (most enthusiastic) members. My guess is that they are still evaluating if they are up to hosting. Notice that at the Winner’s Press Conference, Jon Ola Sand merely extended an invitation to begin discussions on hosting, rather than stating outright “See you in Azerbaijan next year”, as they’ve done for the years past. Perhaps they’ve had their reservations then? Furthermore, the insistence on a Plan B underscores this. The EBU would be very foolish to not at-least hint to Italy and Sweden of such a possibility.

Of-course, these very same apprehensions were cast when Estonia, Ukraine and Serbia were all preparing to host, but then again, those were different circumstances. In this instance, the host country has no suitable venue, barely-there infrastructure and severe political problems with a neighboring participant country. I really do wish that Azerbaijan can get their act together because this could potentially be a very lavish, exotic and amazing show. But time is ticking. Ticking on an amazing opportunity for the country.

Ell/Nikki sing their praises… for 3G.

Who wouldn't fancy 'Running Scared' as their ring tone?

Ell/Nikki, the Azeri winners of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, are to be the face of a major advertising campaign for Vodafone. The well-known company is increasing their presence in the region and plan on featuring the reigning Eurovision champions in their campaign to strengthen their foothold in the market. Known locally as Azerfon, here are Vodafone and Ell/Nikki promoting the cheapest 3G rates in the country for the Nar Mobile service. Check out the commercial below:

Stephane Teyssedre, Chief Commercial Officer of Azerfon, noted that “We are continuously going forward and becoming dynamic progress symbol in telecom sector of Azerbaijan. Eldar and Nigar are the winning symbol of Azerbaijan in all over the Europe, so this is a logical co-operation”. Ilgar Ibrahimli, Azerfon’s Marketing Communications Director went on to stress that “Eldar and Nigar became symbol of youth, success and victory for all Azerbaijani people and we as Nar Mobile are the youngest mobile operator in Azerbaijan. So we are sure that this cooperation will bring to both parties more success and victories”.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind a personalised Ell/Nikki ringtone for myself.

Sources: News.Az

Summer is about to get that much hotter…

Over the years, the Eurovision stage has been graced by the heels of some of Europe’s most talented and beautiful female singers. And a trio of them have released new singles in time for summer, making me want to throw a massive party just for an excuse to play them at full blast. But then again, I never really needed much of an excuse anyway….

Kate Ryan (Belgium 2006) – LoveLife

LoveLife sees Kate Ryan doing what she does best: glamorous dance with a tinge of Europop. Even though the message of living one life with one love and that being all you need is a tried, tested and exhausted concept, the song still manages to be a generous slice of euphoric dance pop that will no doubt see a fair share of radio play. LoveLife is the lead single from Kate’s upcoming English-language release ‘Electroshock’, and comes with a glam music video in which we get to see Kate strut her stuff and like nobody’s business.

Kalomira (Greece 2008) – This Is The Time

The Muse that provided the inspiration for Greece’s third place finish at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest is back with a brand new single after a bit of a hiatus. This Is The Time is a sparkly piece of pop in which Kalomira abandons the bouzouki in favour of uplifting synths. Her voice, which is foil-thin a la Janet Jackson, somehow suits this style of music. And wow, how amazing does she look?

AySel (Azerbaijan 2009) – Tonight

AySel has also opted for a change of style. The Azeri beauty is prepping for the release of Tonight which is a combination of Romanian dance music and Jennifer Lopez’s On The Floor. It’s a cool song with the potential to do really well internationally.

New album art for ‘Running Scared’.

I’ve been scouring the net for weeks trying to find nice album art for Running Scared, this year’s Eurovision-winning song but with little success. Sure there are a few but they don’t look worthy of being Eurovision Song Contest winners so I gave up and went ahead and did my own, which I thought I’d share.

I kept it simple and designed a new logo for the duo and featured some subtle Azeri motifs to add a bit of national flavour without detracting from the intimate romanticism of the image.  Feel free to use it. Your Cover Flow will be all the more grateful for it 🙂