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Azerbaijan's Eurovision Hopes Ride High

Aysel Teymurzade, a 19-year-old Azerbaijani singer, is confident that she and her stage partner Arash are going to win the 2009 Eurovision song contest in Moscow and bring Eurovision to her native Azerbaijan next year.

Aysel and Iranian-born Swedish singer, Arash, have been chosen to represent Azerbaijan at the next Eurovision contest with a song called "Always." The lyrics are in the English language, but the music is purely Azeri.

Aysel's and Arash's preparation is costing a considerable amount of money, and is reportedly being funded by a number of wealthy Azerbaijani sponsors, who are increasingly interested in bringing the European song contest to their country.

They hope to boost Azerbaijan's image in Europe, develop the tourism industry, and attract foreign investors to their energy-rich country. For them, it's about more than just the music.

-- Iskandar Aliev

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