Azerbaijan made its debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, after İctimai Televiziya (İTV) became an active member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). İTV had broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest in previous years, purchasing broadcasting rights from the EBU. Azerbaijan is the last country in the Caucasus to participate: Armenia was the first one, in 2006, followed by Georgia in 2007. Azerbaijan, along with Romania, Greece, Russia and Ukraine have never missed a final since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004 and alongside with Italy has placed in Top-10 each year.
Azerbaijan's first try at Eurovision proved to be successful as the country qualified for the final from the first semi-final and came 8th with 132 points in the final evening.
Previously, another broadcaster, AzTV, wanted to participate in 2007, but EBU rules did not allow this as AzTV was not an active member of the EBU. AzTV was denied active EBU membership on 18 June 2007, as it was considered too connected to the Azerbaijani government. On 5 July, İTV became a full EBU member, and on October 15 it was given permission to take part by the EBU.
Azerbaijan's first Eurovision performance by Elnur and Samir made it in the top ten placed at number 8 with 132 points. In 2009 Azerbaijan achieved an improvement on their 2008 debut, coming third and receiving 207 points with the song "Always", performed by duo AySel & Arash.
Since debuting in 2008 the contest has been extremely popular in the country. After placing in the Top 10 at their debut in 2008 and also ending in the Top 5 every year since 2009 the contest has become a matter of "national pride" and of very high importance. The high importance of the contest within Azerbaijan became evident and world news in 2013 when the countries president himself Ilham Aliyev launched an inquiry into why his country did not award Russia any points in the Eurovision 2013 final. Azerbaijan expects their act to end up in the Top 5 and the country often hires very well established songwriters and producers to make their entry for the contest. Since 2009 the Eurovision Song Contest has consistently become the most watched television show on Azeri TV even though the contest is broadcast from after midnight local time because of time difference from the (CET). Azerbaijan issued a postage stamp dedicated to Azerbaijan’s victory with Ell & Nikki at Eurovision. The duo also became national stars after their Eurovision 2011 win and the country spent a told 1 billion on hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 also building a complete new arena. This was the largest amount of money any country had ever put on hosting the contest, further proving the contests massive popularity in the country.