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Ell & Nikki
Singer: Ell & Nikki
Year: 2011
Country: Azerbaijan
Song: Running Scared
Rank: 1
Point: 221

Nigar Jamal was born in Baku on 7th September 1980. Niki, as her family calls her, began to sing at the age of 5 in a children’s group. Then there was the music school, where Nigar studied piano. In 1996, she was recognized in the popular Azerbaijani vocal competition Pöhrə. Despite her relative success, the young artist did not venture to make music her profession. Instead, Nigar began her economics and management studies at the Baku Khazar University. She graduated in 2001.

The dream to represent Azerbaijan in Eurovision has followed Nigar since 2000. That was when the Russian singer Alsu, highly popular in Azerbaijan, finished on the 2nd place in the Contest with her song Solo. Alsu’s success gave Nigar the hope that one day her dream of performing on the Eurovision stage may become reality. However, it was still a long shot – Azerbaijan debuted in Eurovision only 8 years later; in addition, Nigar’s life underwent some radical changes too. She met her sweetheart and future husband Luke who was living in London at that time. Upon serious contemplation, Nigar decided to move to the UK, where in 2005 she married her beloved. And then a true miracle happened in Nigar’s life – she had a daughter Jasmin. One year later, in 2007, she had her second daughter Saida. For a while, Nigar had to put aside her dream of the big stage. Instead she dedicated herself to her family and to raising her daughters.

Last autumn, Nigar revived her dream of taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest. She decided to change her life and returned to Baku. After a series of pre-selection shows, Nigar ended up in the final of the national selection for the Contest. On 11th February, in the final of the Milli Seçim Turu show, Nigar was announced one of the representatives of Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011.

Eldar Gasimov was born in Baku in 1989. Since he was a kid, Eldar was fond of performing arts and repeatedly took part in national and international vocal competitions. Perhaps his grandparents were a particular influence, his granddad a musician, and his granny a people’s artist of Azerbaijan, whose shows Eldar frequented since early age.

In 2001, Eldar began his studies the piano class at a Baku music school, from which he graduated with distinction. Twice – in 2004 and 2008 – Eldar won a scholarship to study in Germany as an exchange student. While in Germany, besides German and his regular curriculum, Eldar studied vocals and acting. In 2010, Eldar graduated from the Baku Slavic University with a degree in international relations. He currently continues his studies in the master’s program.

Just like Nigar, Eldar has dreamt of performing on the Eurovision stage since 2000. He has passionately followed the Contest, particularly after Azerbaijan’s 2008 debut. Last autumn, Eldar decided to try himself in the national Eurovision selection. He was one of 77 contenders to represent Azerbaijan in Eurovision 2011. After preliminary castings and 7 pre-selection shows, which were broadcast by the ITV channel, Eldar went to the national selection final and became one of the 2 winners.