Eurovision 2012: Armenia to forgo ‘democracy’ in picking its entry for Baku contest

Eurovision 2012: Armenia to forgo ‘democracy’ in picking its entry for Baku contest


Considering the extraordinary conditions that the venue of this year’s biggest European pop-music contest, Eurovision, will imply for Armenia, the national broadcaster has decided to dispense with a public selection of the entry – something that was the case, at least partially, during nearly all previous competitions.

In a statement disseminated on Saturday, the Public Television of Armenia said the participant and his or her song to represent Armenia at Eurovision-2012 – due to be held later this year in the Azeri capital of Baku, which remains a hostile environment for Armenians because of the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh – will be picked through an “internal selection”.

The internal selection process means that the decision will be made by a special commission of musicians, television specialists and music producers to be established by the Council of the Public Television and Radio Company. The decision is to be announced by March 18 – the deadline set by Eurovision organizers.

Public television officials in Armenia remained vague on the country’s participation in the May 22-26 contest in Baku until earlier this month when the official website of Eurovision (www.eurovision.tv) posted a list of competing nations that also included Armenia.

While according to the contest regulations the public broadcaster is eligible to select its participant and song single-handedly, during at least five of Armenia’s six previous participations representatives for the show, or at least their songs, were selected through a public (text messaging) vote. At least two of those public selections were marred by claims of vote rigging -- as in the case with the 2010 standoff between local pop diva Emmy and Russia-born eventual pick Eva Rivas. The choice of a song for Emmy to sing at the contest in 2011 also created a lot of controversy.