Armenian pop star Emma Bejanyan, better known as Emmy, will represent Armenia in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Dusseldorf, Germany, from May 10-14.
The president of the Council of Public Television and Radio Company of Armenia, Alexan Harutyunyan, announced the council’s decision on Dec. 11.
“Emmy is ready to participate in the song contest,” Harutyunyan told journalists. We should take sides with her and do our utmost for Armenia to make a perfect performance.”
Although the singer has been preselected, the song will still be voted on during a live televised Final National Selection in February.
All songs must be submitted for consideration by Jan. 15. During the Final National Selection, the 10 top songs will be presented to the television audience to be voted on by SMS and jury.
According to ESC Armenia, songs must be in Armenian and/or English; can be up to 3 minutes long; must convey positive emotions; must not be political or commercial; and cannot have been commercially released or performed in public prior to Sept. 1, 2010.
‘I have been hurt many times before, but I always left that behind me.’
In the 2010 National Final, Emmy and rapper Mihran lost to the Russian-Armenian Eva Rivas in what Emmy’s fans called unfair circumstances. Emmy, and her mother, went public with accusations of foul play.
Nadezhda Sargsyan, Emmy’s mother, threatened to take the matter to court. She claimed that soon after the 15-minute SMS voting started, some names were blocked, and consequently some of the contestants, like her daughter, lost. Rivas received 5,000 SMS votes, while the Emmy and Mihran duo received 1,400.
During a press conference, Nadezhda Sargsyan claimed that ARMTV’s chairman, Alexan Harutyunyan, had reassured her that Emmy and Mihran would “definitely” represent Armenia at Eurovision. Her lawyer, Vrej Giragosyan, questioned the legality of the results due to the blocked SMS votes.
Now, the singer says she has put the past behind her, and holds no grudge for her loss to Rivas in the 2010 National Final.
“I have been hurt many times before, but I always left that behind me. I am not taking back the words that I said. It’s a contest. There were people who were cleverer and managed to go to Eurovision,” Emmy was quoted as saying.
The move towards an internal selection of competitors is not a new concept. Back in 2008, Sirusho, after being internally selected, made it to fourth place in the ESC—the best result yet for Armenia.
Emmy has a solid fan base in Armenia and is considered a pop star. She was once a member of an all-girl band, “Hayer.” She has also collaborated with various artists on music videos. Having lived in the U.S., she is fluent in both English and Armenian.
Armenia debuted in the ESC in 2006 with Andre’s song “Without Your Love,” which came in 8th place. In 2007, Hayko represented Armenia with his song “Anytime You Need” and came in 8th. In 2008, Sirusho’s “Qele, Qele” came in 4th. In 2009, Inga and Anush Arshakyans performed “Jan Jan” and came in 10th. During the 2010 ESC, Eva Rivas’ song, “Apricot Stone,” made it to 7th place.