Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s son-in-law, pop singer Emin Agalarov, has been confirmed as an act for Baku’s staging of Eurovision, the European Broadcasting Union’s annual pop blow-out, but a senior contest executive maintains that special interests did not play a role in the decision.
In a May 2 statement, the Eurovision.tv website announced that guest acts for the May 22-26 event “combine Azerbaijan’s music and culture and are a synthesis of national traditions and modern trends.” Along with the 32-year-old Agalarov, the Azerbaijan National Dance Ensemble, mugham singer Alim Gasimov and the band Natiq will also take part.
Agalarov’s inclusion, originally announced last month by the Moscow-based singer himself, had sparked criticism about favoritism. First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva heads the organizational committee for the event, which kicks off the day after the May 21 worldwide release of Agalarov’s latest album, “After the Thunder.”
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