"It's a large-scale production," says Yuriy Melnik, of the Ukrainian company Luxen Ltd., which is involved in the production. "We are using local resources, but also use the services of several European companies for the production of this show. Most of the stage construction has been made in Azerbaijan. The 12 cameras we are using come from Azerbaijan as well, our multi-camera director, Tarmo Krimm, comes from Estonia." Krimm gathered experenience in various positions at the Eurovision Song Contest since 2002. "Ola Melzig and Per Sundin from Sweden, who were responsible for lighting at the Eurovision Song Contest for several years, are also involved in the production. As you see, we gathered people who already have significant experience with the contest," Melnik explains.
Ukraine is an important 'hub' for the organizers of the first ever Azerbaijani national final. Besides production support from Luxen, the Ukrainian PR company Euromedia is taking care of promotion of the event. Besides the three finalists, who are competing for the Azerbaijani ticket to the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, former winners Sertab Erener (Turkey 2003), Ruslana (Ukraine 2004) and Marija Šerifović (Serbia 2007) will perform during the live show.
The event is considered to be an important boost for the country's music industry, which is mainly popular on a local basis at the moment. Melnik: "Participation in the Eurovision Song Contest is a great opportunity for the country to show Europe what they have to offer in terms of musical traditions." A Ukrainian magazine alreay described the Azerbaijani national final as a "Eurovision Song Contest on miniature scale."
Is broadcaster iTV showing its capability to host the Eurovision Song Contest, should they win the competition? "A soldier is only a good soldier if he wants to become a general," Melnik jokes, concluding that "Azerbaijan takes part in the competition to achieve the maximum result."
The Azerbaijani national final takes place on the 2nd of February at the Heydar Aliyev Sport Complex and will be broadcast live by iTV in Azerbaijan and esctv, the official online television channel of the Eurovision Song Contest. The show will also be aired by broadcasters in Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and Lithuania.