Georgia’s Junior Eurovision 2023 campaign got off to its start today with the first episode of Ranina, the children’s talent show that has been used to pick the country’s artist for the contest for six seasons.

Five of the ten hopefuls performed this evening in a duet with a past Ranina participant, and given Iru Kchechanov’s ascendance from Junior Eurovision to Eurovision this year, interest in the junior version of the contest is arguably higher than usual.

Anastasia Vasadze emerged as tonight’s front runner, earning the maximum points of 120 in her duet with Oto Bazerashvili across the four judging categories of vocals, performance, artistry and collaboration (a potential maximum of ten in each category from each of the evening’s three judges).

Anaroza Gaprindashvili, the youngest contestant at nine years old, and aspiring lawyer and rock fan Demetre Okriashvili, impressed with totals of 118 points.  Datuna Kereselidze also earned 117 points, with Mariam Gomiashvili bringing in 115 points.

Hosted by classical pianist David Aladashvili, Ranina also added a young co-host in Vache Ghviniashvili, who was a finalist in last year’s edition of Ranina. He also performed a duet with Anaroza Gaprindashvili in addition to his duties of interviewing the young performers before they took to the stage.

The head of the judging panel is the familiar bandanna wearing Georgian musician and composer Davit Evgenidze, who was also a coach on this season’s The Voice of Georgia which picked Iru Kchechanov for Eurovision 2023. The other two judges for this tour are musician and television producer Giorgi Asanishvili and Georgian singer Liza Bagrationi.

Next week, Saturday April 8, 2023, the remaining five hopefuls will try out to complete the first of four rounds or tours.

Ranina features ten contestants performing a range of styles across various “tours.” This week and next week’s tour features the young hopefuls performing duets with past Ranina contestants.

Past highlights have the Shavnabada tour, where each contestant is asked to lead the famed Georgian choral group. Other “tours” usually include a kids’ movie or TV show theme, musicals, duets with Georgian Eurovision contestants or famous Georgian singers, and an acapella challenge with a group like The Quintessence.

Ranina has four tours or rounds, with the kids scored by three judges every round. The four or five with the highest scores move on to the Semi-Final, and the top three move on to The Grand Final.

Last year’s winner Mariam Bigvava posted Georgia’s best result since 2017 and in the Ranina era by coming in 3rd with “I Believe.” Georgia came in 2nd with the Jury vote, though 12th with the online vote.

Georgia holds the most Junior Eurovision wins, having taken the trophy in 2008, 2011, and 2016.

Do #YOU think any of the five hopefuls have what it takes to deliver a great result for Georgia? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.

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