Late last month the new season of the Voice Azerbaijan wrapped up, and Nadir Rüstəmli was selected as the winner, with former Eurovision winner Eldar Gasimov serving as his professional mentor. Little did he know that he was about to be asked to participate in a much larger TV musical competition – the Eurovision Song Contest.
Today Azerbaijan and ITV annouinced that Nadir Rüstəmli would serve as their artist for the 2022 edition of the contest. Rüstəmli was born in Salyan, Azerbaijan in 1999 and has been performing since childhood, and back in 2017 took 2nd place in the National Song Festival. He would return in 2019 and win the entire competition. He has also participated in “Youthvision” the international student song competition while he attended the Azerbaijan University of Tourism and Management, and came 2nd against 21 other countries. His song will be released in the second week of March.
While on the Voice he covered Duncan Laurence’s song “Arcade”, showing off his impressive vocal range and theatricality. Sam Smith’s “Writing on the Wall”, Bruno Mar’s “Just the Way You Are”, Elnur and Samir’s Bu da Son (Day After Day) – their 2008 Eurovision entry – were among the songs that he performed on the show, showing off his versatility as a performer. He would also perform a duet of “Running Scared” with mentor Eldar in the final.
Speaking of the song selection process, Head of Delegation Isa Malikov stated: “As always, we try to look for beautiful and professional songs regardless of genre. By being loyal to ourselves, in the choice of songs, we will first of all focus on how much it will be compatible with the voice and performance of its artist.” Based off these comments it appears that compatibility with Nadir’s voice and an authentic Azerbaijani sound will take precidence in the selection.
While a song release date has been set, the song he will sing has not yet been decided. Malikov stated that over 300 entries were submitted to the broadcaster for consideration, and they will shortlist a total of six songs to be considered by a jury. The jury will then select the song Nadir will perform in Turin and announce it publicly in March.
Azerbaijan has had a very successful run in the contest, qualifying for the grand final 12 out of 13 times – their lowest placement was 11th in the 2018 semi-finals. They have also won the contest in 2011, four years after their debut with Ell and Nikki’s song “Running Scared”.