Azeri web site News.Az is reporting that 77 hopefuls will battle it out to represent Azerbaijan at Eurovision 2011.

The contestants will compete in groups of 11 in seven televised semi-finals that begin on November 15. “Famous young singers, participants of all contests, as well as unpopular singers will fight for the happy ticket to Eurovision in Germany,” the article says.

On Oct. 20, Natig Abdullayev—the head of music programs at Azerbaijan’s Public Television and Radio Company (ITV)—told the Azeri Press Association that there are “15 famous signers” among the applicants. “Azerbaijani singers living abroad [and] representatives of other nations have also applied,” he said, adding that the children of famous Azeris have applied, too. No word yet on whether 2009 Azeri Eurovision contestant Aysel Teymurzadeh has thrown her name in the hat.

The seven-week selection process marks a departure from last year’s internal selection which cast 17-year old Azeri Idol winner Safura Alizadeh into the limelight. She finished fifth at Eurovision (despite hiring Beyonce’s choreographer).