RtD14: Looking Back at Georgia
In its short history, Georgia has had varied success at the Contest. While they have two victories at the Junior version – where it has submitted very unique and experimental entries, its songs for the ESC have generally been much more formulaic. In my opinion, the songs have declined in quality since their debut in 2007. Let’s dive in, shall we?
2007 – Visionary Dream – Georgia’s debut at the Contest, it definitely tried to show its unique style with this entry. The music is hot and the singing was outstanding. I think Sopho and Georgia took Europe by surprise with the strength of this song. Though, the lyrics leave much to be desired.
2008 – Peace Will Come – The only female singer for Georgia not named “Sopho,” Gurtskaya is one of the country’s biggest stars. The song was nice; the costume change was well done and I am still looking for where the clothes went. Irony! Right after a song about peace and maturity, Georgia withdraws because they’re political, anti-Putin song did not qualify to compete.
2010 – Shine – A formulaic song that won the hearts of the juries, I think that the performance outshone the actual elements of the song. Nizharadze’s voice was strong and pure – very well done. I thought the staging was a bit over the top, but the singing was right on target.
2011 – One More Day – In an unexpected turn of events, Georgia broke into the Top Ten with a rock song (and incredibly ugly outfits). I still do not quite understand how this song managed to be so successful among such a strong field of contenders, but it is what it is. I do not think that the composition was all that compelling nor the lyrics all that moving – the performance wasn’t even all that interesting. One of those results I just do not quite understand.
2012 – I’m a Joker – The only Georgian entry, thus far, to fail to qualify for the Final. It was a hot mess – it’s lyrics, it’s composition, it’s performance: it was nowhere near quality. It was not even a decent joke entry as it took itself too seriously. Just…poorly done.
2013 – Waterfall – Big ballad: Check! Swedish song author: Check! Wind machine: Check! Key change at just the right moment: Double check!! ESC victory: nul. This is, as ESC Insight would say, “Eurovision by numbers;” however, it failed to impress the fans or garner the jury support that everyone figured it would. In fact, it barely slipped into the Grand Final ahead of San Marino’s effort. This reminds us all that it may be time to reexamine what makes a “perfect” ESC entry.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at: Georgia 2013. Painting by numbers is when one is able to recreate a painting by matching colors to a number on a canvas. When applied to ESC “Eurovision by numbers” is the concept that an entry encapsulates all the stereotypical elements of songs that have traditionally been successful in decades past – a power ballad with a dramatic key change and overly sentimental lyrics that involves a key change and uses a wind machine in its performance. Waterfall had all of these, plus a bonus point for having a big name Swedish songwriter. Unfortunately for Georgia, the song fell flat, with the fans and the juries. I think it’s an indication that we must rethink what we deem as the “ideal ESC entry.” Ever since the involvement of televoting in 1998, the strength of the performance (the singing as well as the staging) became more important. With the victories of Estonia, Turkey, Greece, and Sweden 2012 – the influence of dance music has multiplied tenfold. In fact, since 1998, only three true, ballads (in this case, ballad is defined as a slow, emotional song) have won – Denmark’s surprising folk entry from 2000, Serbia’s megaballad from 2007, and the 2008 winner performed by Russian megastar Dima Bilan. Otherwise, pure pop tunes or dance hall tracks have lifted the trophy at ESC. Maybe, instead of asking if a song is stirring enough, we should ask “can I dance to this beat?” What this means for the future of the Contest, I’m not quite sure. But with similar failures like France 2009 and Spain 2012, we really have to challenge what we believe are the conventions that define a strong entry.
Check back for the next stop on the Road to Denmark: Germany! You can also look for previous stops as well.