In response to singer Rauf Kingsley’s accusation that Azerbaijan’s Ictimai TV had essentially coronated Mamagama to represent the Caucasus nation at Eurovision 2023, Ictimai have released statements these past two days responding to the charges, and named the five acts still in contention.

Ictimai received over 200 submissions from both local and foreign artists, with Eldar Gasimov (one half of Azerbaijan’s Eurovision 2011 duet Ell & Nikki) in charge of recording and producing the five finalists to be presented to Ictimai’s selection panel.

The five acts, according to Ictimai’s Eurovision delegation press secretary Ilaha Dadashova, are “Leyla Izzatova, Humay Aslanova and Amrah Musayev, Mamagama, Turan and Tural Bagmanovlar, and Azer Nasibov.”

However, despite the artist and song selection being made internally by Ictimai, the process has not exactly been drama free.

Singer Rauf Kingsley alleged on Monday that Ictimai were clearly favoring Mamagama and only putting on a selection for the sake of appearances. Kingsley said he had submitted three entries to Ictimai.

Dadashova posted a brief statement in response, saying “”First of all, I would like to note that the main purpose of our response to these allegations is not to be indifferent to disrespect towards the singers selected for the final stage. The 5 selected participants reached this stage thanks to their music and performance.”

In today’s statement, after naming the five artists still in contention, Dadashova stated that “The performances of these 5 candidates were processed in the same recording studio and under the same conditions so that the difference in the quality of the songs does not affect the final decision and to ensure a healthy competition. After recording, videos of live performances were made. Performances are intended to be presented to the focus group in both formats (recorded audio and live video). Currently, work is being done on those videos.”

Do #YOU think there’s any truth to Kingsley’s accusations? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.

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