Azerbaijani President's Son-in-Law to Perform at Eurovision
Few people may think that Eurovision, an unbridled celebration of European pop music, is all about family values. But when the glitzy annual music contest due arrives in Baku this May, the Caucasus tradition of looking out for one's relatives quite literally will take center stage. Emin Agalarov, the 32-year-old son-in-law of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, has been recruited to entertain the Eurovision audience before or between the contestants' acts.
Not to belittle the talent of a First Son-in-Law (married to Aliyev's older daughter, Leyla), but, to many, this looks almost like a classic move for a country renowned for liking to keep things in the family; the Aliyev family, that is.
The Eurovision organizing committee is headed by Agalarov's mother-in-law, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
Agalarov, who sings in English and was raised partly in New Jersey, said he is humbled by the honor bestowed on him and hopes that Eurovision will be “an incredible showcase” for Azerbaijan that will prompt outsiders to Google the country's name and drop by for a visit.
But these days, Google search results for Azerbaijan and Eurovision may not be exactly what he had in mind. Rock musicians who allegedly insulted President Aliyev's late mother at a protest rally, and a rally organizer were arrested recently; one of the musicians, Camal Ali, claimed that police had beaten the soles of his feet with truncheons, RFE/RL reported. Also chief among the results are news stories focusing on a blackmail campaign against Khadija Ismayilova, a reporter for RFE/RL and EurasiaNet.org, who was targeted while investigating alleged ties between senior officials and the reconstruction of a Baku square near а Eurovision venue. If this alarms Eurovision, so far, they're keeping it within the Eurovision family. "[W]e have to leave politics out of the contest . . . " a spokesperson for the European Broadcasting Union, the show's governing body, told the BBC.