Today Azerbaijan confirmed its participation for Eurovision 2016. We are already dreaming of LEDs and images of the Flame Towers. With expensive performances, a perfect qualifying record, one victory and one very well-produced ESC in Baku, Azerbaijan has established itself as a perennial contender. Although the country’s selection process has varied significantly since its debut in Belgrade, its preferred songwriters have not: the national broadcaster likes to hire foreign talent to write and produce its entries. To celebrate Azerbaijan’s confirmed participation, here are five artists we think deserve a shot at representing the Land of Fire in Stockholm.
You probably saw this one coming! Eurovision 2012’s interval act is one of the biggest household names in his native Azerbaijan, as well as Russia, where he lives. A favourite of the Miss Universe organisation, he started his musical career nearly 10 years ago and has already released eight studio albums, including the critically acclaimed “Amor”, which dropped in July. He is currently touring the continent, performing at sold out concerts in Baku, Paris, Madrid, and London. This is how you do it.
Now let’s go with someone rather unknown. Courageous eurofans who watched the very long Azeri selection back in 2014 might remember Khana. She’s been trying to represent her country since 2011, but has always failed to make it past the first heats. In 2014 she was among the three finalists fighting for a ticket to Copenhagen, but ultimately lost out to Dilara Kazimova. Khana delivered strong performances week after week, proving that she can sing up-tempo songs as well as ballads. We really hope that this beautiful and talented singer will one day grace the Eurovision stage!
What about a returning artist? Since his victory at Eurovision 2011 Eldar Gasimov has been enjoying success in Azerbaijan and Turkish-speaking countries. Even though some still question Azerbaijan’s victory, they cannot deny that Eldar is a very talented young singer and that he could get his country back in the top 10!
Since 2010, Azerbaijan has only sent ballads to the contest — but never in Azerbaijani. Isn’t it time to hear that beautiful language on stage? This striking 33-year-old singer can deliver a high class ballad with a very distinct voice AND in Azerbaijani. Her ballads are in a totally different league to what we’re used to hearing at ESC.
Röya’s debut goes back to 1999 when she started with a girl band before going solo in 2003 and becoming one of Azerbaijan’s most famous vocalists. Much appreciated by locals and with several albums under her belt, Röya is ready to go global.
Last but not least, it’s Azerbaijan’s biggest diva Aygun Kazimova! If you recall, she was our pick for the Wednesday Wishlist some weeks ago and she proved to be a popular choice with our readers, so much so that the Azeri press shared our choice in the Land of Fire! Here’s what we said about Aygun:
“This sexy 44 year old singer is the ultimate queen of pop in Azerbaijan! She’s considered one of the founders of the modern Azeri pop scene and is amongst the country’s biggest stars. Her musical career has spanned four decades, she’s released at least seven albums containing many hit singles. She even sang the official anthem of the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup held in Azerbaijan. Besides that, Aygun is renowned for her energetic live performances and eccentric music videos… Don’t you think it’s time for her to do Eurovision? ”
This list only includes five artists. Who else do you think could slay the field? Let us know in the comments section below!