Azerbaijan names Eurovision singer

Sabina Babayeva will represent Azerbaijan at the Eurovision song contest to be held in Baku in May, according to the results of a final selection announced on Sunday.

Babayeva, 33, was born in Lachin, a town in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh region currently occupied by Armenia. She has won awards at the Dalga (Wave) contest held in 1999 among music institutions in the best foreign song nomination, Golden Hit-99 international contest of young vocalists and Golden Key 2001 nationwide contest. She has also won grand-prix awards at the Amberstar 2009 international musical TV festival in Latvia and Slavic Star 2009 contest.

Babayeva took part in the Eurovision 2011 national selection but failed to proceed to the semifinals.

Azerbaijani duo Eldar Gasimov and Nigar Jamal (Ell / Nikki) with their pop-ballad "Running Scared" won the Eurovision contest last year in Duesseldorf, Germany.

The final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to take place on May 26, following two semifinals on May 22 and 24.

The 57th Eurovision Song Contest, to be held under the "Light your fire" motto, will be held in Baku Crystal Hall, which is under construction near the National Flag Square. The facility has 23,000 seats, and another 16,000 viewers will be able to watch the semifinals and the final on large monitors.

Eurovision has a rich tradition and heritage, dating back to 1956. It is one of the few truly pan-European television programs transmitted live via the Eurovision satellite network, in prime time on free-to-air television, as well as online. The three shows attract a total of over 100 million viewers throughout Europe and beyond.