Azerbaijan: winner of the Eurovision song contest

But is it even in Europe?

Yes, just.  Evidently, Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia, at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.  The country's Turkic and Shia population don't make the place particularly European, but then Israel can send contestants to Eurovision and Israel is very certainly nowhere near Europe!

Azerbaijan must be thrilled it's won the contest for the first time in its 56-year history, as Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal of Ell/Nikki with the song Running Scared ran away with the crown in the contentious, often ridiculous, TV extravanza which suffers from obviously partisan voting and regional bias.

The nine million Azerbaijanis won't be as delighted as the Irish, though.  Ireland will have been terrified that if their entrants Jedward won, they'd have had to host the event yet again. The Irish have won seven times before.  And winners are hosts of the subsequent Eurovision.  Cost is unlikely to be something the Irish would want to bear right now, given their huge debt burdon.

Perhaps the unpopularity of the Irish bailout induced other Europeans to opt for the Azerbaijanis this time round.  No chance of Azerbaijan costing the EU anything - not with all that Caspian oil, and they're not European Union members anyway.

Someone called Teresa N posted a note on a BBC article about Azerbaijan's win.  She said "What people fail to realise is that a country doesn't have to be part of Europe to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest - it just has to be within the European Broadcasting Area, which actually includes countries like Libya, Egypt and even Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Seems a bit crazy, but there we are."  

Azerbaijan is welcome to the accolade, whether it's in Europe or not.

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