Eldar & Nigar carry the Azeri flag

How did it all start?

The Azeri broadcaster, iTV, started the search for their participant for the 56th edition of Europe's favourite TV-show already last fall. Then a total of 77 contestants made it to the first round, competing for 7 weeks.

Following that, as a result of televoting and jury voting, 10 contestants managed to secure a place in the semi-final.

The lucky ten had to prove their talent before the jury from the 3rd of January till the 10th of January when the ten was cut down to the final five.

These five - Nigar Camal, Eldar Gasımov, Aynishan Guliyeva, Ilqara Ibrahimova and Ilhama Gasımova - competed in the final of the Azerbaijani national selection for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.

 The programme was also broadcast on Eurovision.tv's ESCTV Player - if you missed it, you can watch it again on-demand.

In the end it was Eldar and Nigar to win the contest who won the hearts of the professional jury and were selected as a surprise move to perform a duet in Düsseldorf.

But it was not until the weekend before the songs had to be handed in officially to the European Broadcasting Union, when the Azeri entry was revealed.

It was a song by Swedish authors and called Running Scared - a modern ballade set to bring Azerbaijan their first victory at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Just the past days, the official video has been produced for them, to be aired next Monday, the 11th of April. Check out the pictures of the shoot and of the duo below in our gallery!

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Who are they?

Niki, as her family calls her, began to sing at the age of 5 in a children's group. In 1996, she was recognised in the popular Azerbaijani vocal competition.

Despite her relative success, the young artist did not venture to make music her profession. Instead, Nigar began her economics and management studies at the Baku Khazar University.

The dream to represent Azerbaijan in Eurovision has followed Nigar since 2000. However, it was still a long shot – Azerbaijan debuted in Eurovision only 8 years later.

Last autumn, Nigar revived her dream of taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest. After a series of pre-selection shows, Nigar ended up in the final of the national selection for the Contest.

Eldar Gasimov was born in Baku in 1989. Since he was a kid, Eldar was fond of performing arts and repeatedly took part in national and international vocal competitions.

In 2010, Eldar graduated from the Baku Slavic University with a degree in international relations. He currently continues his studies in the master's program.

Just like Nigar, Eldar has dreamt of performing on the Eurovision stage since 2000. He has passionately followed the Contest, particularly after Azerbaijan's 2008 debut.

Last autumn, he was one of 77 contenders to represent Azerbaijan at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest. After preliminary castings and 7 pre-selection shows, which were broadcast by the ITV channel, Eldar went to the national selection final and became one of the 2 winners.

Read their full biography on Eldar & Nigar's artist profile!

They will perform 18th in the first Semi-Final on the 10th of May in Düsseldorf. 

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