GPB, the Georgian national broadcaster, has announced that Group Iriao will represent Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Group Iriao performs music that is a blend of jazz and Georgian traditional music. David Malazonia, the founder and musical director of the group, is considered to be one of the first Georgian composers who combined these two genres. For 30 years he created music in Germany and Georgia for theatre and television productions, individual musicians and groups. The group made their debut in 2013 and received high praise for their work.
It has yet to be revealed whether the group’s song will be chosen internally or via a national selection. Georgian media had previously reported that Helen Kalandadze, one of the presenters of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017, which was held in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, would compete in the Georgian national final for Eurovision 2018. GPB had yet to confirm any selection details at the time.
Georgia chose their 2017 participant through a twenty-five strong televised national final, in which Tamara Gachechiladze came out on top. With her song “Keep The Faith”, she failed to qualify for the Grand Final in Kyiv, placing 11th with 99 points. This was the first time that the country had opted for a selection show since 2012 when the country selected Anri with the song ‘I’m a Joker’.
Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Georgia debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, they were represented by Sopho Khalvashi and the song “Visionary Dream”. Sopho finished 8th in the final scoring 97 points, the song received 12 points from the televoters in Lithuania. Georgia has only ever missed one contest since their debut, this was in 2009 when Georgia had selected Stephane & 3G with “We Don’t Wanna Put In”, the song proved controversial for its lyrics aimed at the Russian President. The EBU asked for Georgia to rewrite the lyrics of the song or change the song completely. Georgia was forced to withdraw as it continued to state the lyrics were not of a political nature.