Georgia: Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao – For you (First and second rehearsal, video and gallery)

It’s safe to say Salvador Sobral would be partially proud. Iriao keeps Jazz’s essence alive during their rehearsals but didn’t say no to fireworks. Apart from that, it’s a quite simplistic performance that focus mostly on the song.

Georgia is competing in the second semi-final as start number 10. They are represented by Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao (Often referred to as Iraiao) and the song For You, which is written by Davit Malazonia and Irina Sanikidze.


Second rehearsal

Opinions expressed during our second rehearsal coverage are personal from the mentioned writers.

Jens Erik, Denmark (in the arena) After the Australia George is something completely different. This is voices in harmony. If you like Balkan sound – or in this case Georgian sound – you’ll like this one. It’s well done, and the three guys sings perfectly together. Personally, it’s not my kind of song, and I get a bit bored during the performance. It doesn’t blow me away as a song like this is supposed to do. I’m afraid Georgia is not on my list of qualifiers from the second semifinal this year.

Josef, Czech Republic (in the press centre) It seems that almost everybody dislikes Georgia this year, but I just love it. The polyphonic sound is magical and also a little bit mystical – that is the touch of the georgian language that the Eurovision sees only for the second time. And for the very first time, the song is entirely in that language. I am afraid, that Georgia may fail to qualify, but as it is Georgia, that failed to qualify only three times, we may see Iriao as the dark horse of the second semifinal.

First rehearsal

It all starts with a blue scenario and with the main camera getting closer to the trio of vocalists until it focus only on one of the group’s member. The stage is filled with smoke and remains that way throughout the entire performance. There are small transitions between the individuals and a good division of parts amongst the three.

In addition to the them, the stage is filled in with a guitarist and a pianist that do have some camera plans throughout the performance that, in the meantime, turns into a red scenario. They’re all dressed in very similar suits and often change places. Nonetheless, don’t expect to see much more movement than that as Iriao did bring Salvador Sobral’s hope to Eurovision and remained extremely faihtful to Jazz… Except for the fireworks part as by the end, they do make an incredible appeareance.

Vocally, there is not a single thing to criticize as the group nailed it.

How Iriao was selected

Over the years, Georgia have used both national finals as well as internal selections to choose their Eurovision participants. This year, it was the internal selection that came in use. On the very last day of 2017, the 31st of December, broadcaster GPB announced Iriao for the 2018 contest.

On the 13th of March, their entry titled For You was released. It had been rumoured to be a bilingual edition, but it is sung entirely in Georgian despite its English title.

Georgia at the Eurovision Song Contest

Back in 2007, Sopho Khalvashi represented Georgia at it’s Eurovision debut. With the song Visionary Dream, she reached the final and finished 12th. The following year, Diana Gurtskaya came 11th – and Georgia had established themselves as a country to watch out for.

In 2009, EBU however insisted that the lyrics to the entry We Don’t Wanna Put In should be changed as ‘Put In’ were seen as a clear reference to Vladimir Putin. Georgia refused, and instead withdrew from the contest.

As the country returned to the 2010 contest, it was to a 9th place which was repeated the following year – to date those results are the best the country ever did. In 2012, Georgia failed to reach the final for the first time, and that were to happen twice more in the following years.

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