Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeva to represent the host country

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Sabina Babayeva will represent fly the flag for the host country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. She was the favourite of a professional jury who acted on upon the Azerbaijani public during their Eurovision national selection.

Eurovision host broadcaster Ictimai TV has aired the countries’ national selection for this year’s contest since November 28th, featuring over 70 participants who performed over eight heats. During each national selection heat, the contestants had to perform every day over one week – singing world hits, eurovision songs and songs in the Azeri language. This has come to a close in a large final show, held at the Heydar Aliyev Palace in Baku.

During the show, which was hosted by Hüsniye Maharramova, Leyla Aliyeva and Kamran Quliyev, the five finalists have performed various covers in both Azeri and English. The show was broadcast in Malta, Turkey and Georgia, as well as online at Guests to the show included Eurovision participants for Turkey and Malta; Can Bonomo and Kurt Calleja.

The jury which chose the Azerbaijani representative was made up of seven members;
• Ismail Omarov (General Director of Ictimai TV)
• Tunzala Agayeva (singer)
• Zumrud Dadashzadeh (music expert)
• Zulfiyya Khanbabayeva (singer)
• Manzar Nuraliyeva (representative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism)
• Faiq Sujaddinov (composer)
• Rauf Babayev (composer)

Sabina (born 1979) will now work with industry professionals in order to represent her country in Eurovision in the best way possible. Her Eurovision song will be premiered before mid-March. The singer has already taken part in the Azerbaijani selection for Eurovision last year, but returned this year and now has taken the first prize in the selection over other finalists Orkhan Kerimli, Elton Ibrahimov, Faqan Safarov and Arzu Ismayilova. Her candidacy was also strongly supported by Eurovision 2009 participant, Aysel.

Below, you can see a video of Sabina performing her song, “Roya kimi” (Like a dream)

Stay tuned for more about Azerbaijan’s participation in Eurovision 2012!