TIME: Selling Azerbaijan

Ready for prime time? Azeri pop star Sabina Babayeva, right, will sing at Eurovision
Amanda Rivkin


Selling Azerbaijan
TIME

by William Lee Adams
May 14, 2012

Last May, Ell & Nikki, an obscure duo from Azerbaijan, won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. The country’s President, Ilham Aliyev, treated the musical win like a military triumph, describing it as “a victory for the people of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani state.” By winning the pan-European singing contest — which, kitschy as it is, unites the region like little else — Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, earned the right to host this year’s show, which will be broadcast to more than 100 million people at the end of May.

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