Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest

Member station İTV
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances 11 (10 finals)
First appearance 2008
Best result 1st: 2011
Worst result 11th (SF): 2018
External links
Eurovision Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan's page at
For the most recent participation see
Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018

Azerbaijan has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 11 times since making its debut in 2008, after İctimai Televiziya (İTV) became an active member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). İTV had broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest in previous years, purchasing broadcasting rights from the EBU. Azerbaijan was the last country in the Caucasus to debut in the contest.

Azerbaijan won the contest in 2011, with Ell & Nikki and the song "Running Scared" setting the record for the lowest average score for a winning song under the previous voting system (in place from 1975 to 2015), with 5.26 points per country. The country achieved five consecutive top five results in the contest, finishing third (2009) and fifth (2010) before their 2011 win, and fourth (2012) and second (2013) following their win. In 2018, Azerbaijan failed to advance from the semifinals for the first time.


Azerbaijan's first try at Eurovision proved to be successful as the country qualified for the final from the first semi-final and came 8th with 132 points in the final evening.

Previously, another broadcaster, AzTV, wanted to participate in 2007, but EBU rules did not allow this as AzTV was not an active member of the EBU. AzTV was denied active EBU membership on 18 June 2007, as it was considered too connected to the Azerbaijani government.[1] On 5 July, İTV became a full EBU member,[2] and on 15 October it was given permission to take part by the EBU.[3]

Azerbaijan's first Eurovision performance by Elnur and Samir placed 8th with 132 points. In 2009 Azerbaijan achieved an improvement on their 2008 debut, coming third and receiving 207 points with the song "Always", performed by duo AySel & Arash.

On 14 May 2011, Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with a song by Ell & Nikki.[4][5] With their entry only receiving 5.26 points per voting country, Azerbaijan holds the record of the lowest average score for a winning song under that voting system (in place from 1975 to 2015).

The country managed another two consecutive top 5 results with Sabina Babayeva finishing fourth with 150 points in 2012 and Farid Mammadov second with 234 in 2013 but in 2014 Azerbaijan failed to place in the top 10 for the first time since their debut, finishing 22nd, the country's lowest result in a Eurovision final to date. Azerbaijan has since failed to come in the top ten coming 12th in 2015, 17th in 2016 and 14th in 2017. 2018 saw Azerbaijan's first non-qualification, with "X My Heart" by Aisel failing to make it past the first semi-final.

Popularity of the Contest

Since debuting in 2008 the contest has been extremely popular in the country. After placing in the Top 10 at their debut in 2008 and also ending in the Top 5 from 2009-2013, the contest has become a matter of "national pride" and of very high importance. The high importance of the contest within Azerbaijan became evident and world news in 2013 when the country's president Ilham Aliyev himself launched an inquiry into why his country did not award Russia any points in the Eurovision 2013 final.[6] Since 2009 the Eurovision Song Contest has consistently become the most watched television show on Azeri TV even though the contest is broadcast from after midnight local time because of time difference from the Central European Time. Azerbaijan issued a postage stamp dedicated to Azerbaijan’s victory with Ell & Nikki at Eurovision.[7][8] The duo also became national stars after their Eurovision 2011 win.

The country spent €160 million (300 million Azerbaijani Manat) on hosting the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, including building a completely new arena for the event.[9] As of 2017, this is the largest amount of money any host has ever spent on hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.


Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
2008 Elnur & Samir English "Day After Day" 8 132 6 96
2009 Aysel & Arash English "Always" 3 207 2 180
2010 Safura English "Drip Drop" 5 145 2 113
2011 Ell & Nikki English "Running Scared" 1 221 2 122
2012 Sabina Babayeva English "When the Music Dies" 4 150 Host country
2013 Farid Mammadov English "Hold Me" 2 234 1 139
2014 Dilara Kazimova English "Start a Fire" 22 33 9 57
2015 Elnur Hüseynov English "Hour of the Wolf" 12 49 10 53
2016 Samra English "Miracle" 17 117 6 185
2017 Dihaj English "Skeletons" 14 120 8 150
2018 Aisel English "X My Heart" Failed to qualify 11 94

NOTE: If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.

Voting history

As of 2018, Azerbaijan's voting history is as follows:


Year Location Venue Presenters
2012 Baku Baku Crystal Hall Leyla Aliyeva, Eldar Gasimov and Nargiz Birk-Petersen

Awards received

Marcel Bezençon Awards

The Marcel Bezençon Awards were first handed out during the Eurovision Song Contest 2002 in Tallinn, Estonia, honouring the best competing songs in the final. Founded by Christer Björkman (Sweden's representative in the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest and the current Head of Delegation for Sweden) and Richard Herrey (a member of the Herreys and the Eurovision Song Contest 1984 winner from Sweden), the awards are named after the creator of the annual competition, Marcel Bezençon. The awards are divided into three categories: Press Award, Artistic Award, and Composer Award.[10]

Year Category Song Performer(s) Composer(s)
2012 Press award "When the Music Dies" Sabina Babayeva Anders Bagge, Sandra Bjurman, Stefan Örn, Johan Kronlund
2013 Artistic award "Hold Me" Farid Mammadov Dimitris Kontopoulos

Commentators and spokespersons

Year(s) Television commentator Dual Television commentator Spokesperson
2007Leyla AliyevaMurad ArifAzerbaijan did not participate
2008Husniyya MaharramovaIsa MelikovLeyla Aliyeva[11]
2009Leyla AliyevaHusniyya Maharramova[12]
2010Husniyya MaharramovaNo Dual CommentatorTamilla Shirinova
2011Leyla AliyevaSafura Alizadeh[13][14]
2012Konul ArifgiziSaleh Bagirov
2013No dual commentatorTamilla Shirinova
2014Sabina Babayeva
2015Kamran GuliyevTural Asadov
2016Azer Suleymanli

See also


  1. Kuipers, Michael (2007-06-18). "Azerbaijan not joining after all". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 20 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-18.
  2. News Eurovision Finland 2007 Новости Евровидения 2007 Финляндия
  3. Eurovision Song Contest | Belgrade (Serbia) 2008 - Articles
  4. "Azerbaijan's Eurovision rebirth". AFP. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  5. Sperling, Daniel. "Azerbaijan win Eurovision Song Contest 2011". Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  6. "Eurovision: Azerbaijan probes Russian 'nul points'". BBC News. 20 May 2013.
  7. "Ell & Nikki (2011) IN POST STAMPS". Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  8. "Stamps on Azerbaijan's Eurovision-2011 win issued". Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  9. "Eurovision 2014 was the second most expensive ever". Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  10. "Marcel Bezençon Award – an introduction". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  11. Floras, Stella (7 May 2008). "Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan: Elnur, Samir & Ruslana in Istanbul". ” Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  12. Montebello, Edward (8 February 2011). "Malta: Azerbaijani TV host is a jury member". ” Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  13. Schacht, Andreas (14 May 2011). "The 2011 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final!". ” Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  14. Roxburgh, Gordon (26 May 2011). "Running order for the voting tonight". ” Retrieved 22 June 2012.
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