2017 Review: Georgia

Last year one of my friends (let’s call him SF, short for Serhat Fan) told us how despite taking a year of Spanish in high school, the only things he knew were “si”, “no,” “rojo”, “¿Cómo estás?”, and “mi llamo es Taco.” (For anyone too lazy to put the phrases into Google Translate, they are: “yes”, “no”, “red”, “how are you”, and “my name is Taco.”)

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He wasn’t kidding about the tacos. Apparently when the teacher asked SF to pick a name he picked Taco as a joke; as a result the person next to him picked the name Burrito or Enchilada or something food related.

Unfortunately, maybe someone should now tell SF: had he been in Georgia (country), Taco wouldn’t have been a guy’s name.

Following a 25-song national final, Georgia picked Tamar “Tako” Gachechiladze to represent the country with the song “Keep the Faith.”

When I first saw the results at work, my initial reaction was something on the line of “WTF Georgia, another ballad?” A complete 180 from last year’s entry, she was dressed like Conchita Wurst, yet her song reminded me a bit more of Cristina Scarlat’s “Wild Soul” (minus the hair extensions removal) and Maria Elena Kyriakou’s “One Last Breath”. I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics (still haven’t as of this posting), but based on the backing images the song’s content seemed to be something like a combination of Finland 2005 and Ukraine 2016: still bitter about the past, announcing that the world was currently shite a la Hungary 2015, but the people had to hold on, be strong, and keep the faith in order to keep going. Okay, so a diva peace ballad it was then. Also, yay for being a 100% self-composed entry:

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Later I found out more about the artist: Tako Gachechiladze was one of the backing vocalists of Stephane and 3G, who almost represented Georgia in 2009 before getting disqualified. Their song, “We Don’t Wanna Put In” was interpreted by the Russian broadcaster as a political response to Vladimir Putin the war in Ossetia the year prior and deemed too overtly political to be performed at Eurovision. While the lyrics to “Keep the Faith” aren’t as explicit, Gachechiladze (or whoever designed her stage backdrop) decided to make an extremely unsubtle political jab:

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Given that the host country typically has a bit more say in what’s “too political”, and that the current host Ukraine isn’t exactly on best terms with Russia right now, I would guess that the song will not be disqualified. However, like the Israeli broadcaster IBA complained about the Hungary’s stage backdrop in 2015 posting facts about the Gaza strip, Rossiya-1 is extremely likely to make similar complaints about Georgia’s backdrop, and the images will have to be changed.

It’s currently too early to tell whether Georgia will qualify or not since only 3 songs have been released. However, it’s pretty likely that there will be a lot of “the world is shite” ballads this year due to 2016 drama, so “Keep the Faith” might end up as a borderline qualifier if more countries send similar entries. One thing is completely certain though: Just like Macedonia (FYR) was swamped by donut (or less commonly, döner) memes, someone’s going to start spamming taco memes because of the artist’s name. So much for being named for Tamar the Great…

 

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