Georgia at Eurovision

For You by Iriao

Quietly, unexpectedly, late on New Year’s Eve, Georgian ethno folk and jazz band Iriao were announced as this year’s entrants. It was a manner that felt suited to their style, and a distinct shift from the long national final which had resulted in an overblown ballad that had failed to qualify for them last year. The relaxed approach carried into the song’s reveal too, a day after the deadline by which it had to be submitted to the Heads of Delegation meeting.

Anyone expecting a banger was to be sorely disappointed. Instead we have a gentle, but quietly beautiful, piece of music – incorporating a unique mix of polyphonic singing, apparently – that stands out a mile. This is a band that clearly does things their own way. A seven-piece ensemble, we always knew they would have to drop one member to meet the Eurovision six-on-a-stage requirements, but in the end they’re down to five. Maybe they felt it was fairer not to single out just one, or that whoever was to sit in the green room needed some company?

Of course, most people have dismissed this, and that’s quite likely to be the case with voters too, but for a band like this participation isn’t just about their three minutes on stage. With the performances now easily accessible online this is an enormous, durable showcase that will allow them to reach their niche audience after the event, whatever the actual result. But who knows? The difference may be enough to see them to the final? That in itself would probably be more than they’re realistically expecting.

My marks: 6 points

Will it qualify? Probably not