The road to Malmö is truly underway, with Azerbaijan becoming the latest country to announce their shortlist of potential participants at Eurovision 2024. Taking to Instagram, the Azeri broadcaster Ictimai teased us with a reel, showcasing the new cohort of Eurovision hopefuls and the panel of Eurovision royalty who selected them.
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16 artists were initially selected to audition live in front of a jury of local music professionals and Ictimai TV officials. However one artist had to pull out on medical grounds. Among the remaining 15, there are some familiar faces, like Amrah who attempted to get the ticket to Eurovision at last year’s selection.
Guess who is in her redemption era? AISEL, who was infamously the first Azeri Eurovision entry not to qualify for the final back in 2018, is hoping to give Eurovision another shot. She’s bringing a revamped style to the live auditions.
Some of the participants are already household names in Azerbaijan, like Qorqud, Emy Lia, Fahree and Mila Miles. But the majority are up-and-coming, younger artists, hoping to use the Eurovision stage as a springboard to stardom.
For the second year running, Azerbaijan is going local and looking to showcase homegrown talent at Eurovision. The years of importing from Sweden are over, and it’s going strong. This year, the majority of the chosen 15 either wrote or co-wrote their songs, with 88 out of the total 214 songs received by the broadcaster being written by local songwriters.
Ictimai has chosen to keep stumm about how these songs actually sound. They’re yet to reveal any of the potential songs, keeping us on all tender hooks so that the artists have a chance to fully prep and prime, before their entries are unleashed onto the Eurovision audience.
Who was behind the judges’ desk at the live auditions? Only the hallmark of Azerbaijan at Eurovision. Nigar Jamal, who won the contest in 2011 with “Running Scared” alongside Eldar Gasimov, sat on the panel next to Aysel Teymurzadeh, who finished in third place in 2009 alongside Arash with “Always”.
The rest of the jury was made up of experienced and respected composers, production experts, as well as Ictimai management.
And it wouldn’t be Eurovision without Eldar, who is leading Azerbaijan’s selections as the delegation’s Music Producer.
Check out the full list of candidates competing to represent Azerbaijan at Eurovision 2024:
Pictured: AISEL, Fahree, Emy Lia, Mari, Tofig Hajiyev & Camal Gurbanov, Amrah, Edgar Ravin, Sabina Guluzadeh, Lexa, Rilaya, Rahib Mirzoyev & Tofig Yadigarov, Alesker, Ilkin Dovlatov & Etibar Asadli & Mila Miles, Sabina Beyli, Qorqud
Do you have an early favourite? Who are you hoping will take the ticket to Malmö for Azerbaijan? Let us know in the comments!