It was inevitable that a few familiar Georgian voices would show up to audition for The Voice of Georgia’s auditions, and in today’s audition round, three of the ten auditions shown were aspiring singers who had tried out for Eurovision before.

The most familiar name to audition was Georgian Idol 2020 finalist Tako Kakalashvili, who was nicknamed “Queen Tamar” in the early stages as she was the only singer to actually beat eventual winner Tornike Kipiani in a round. She has since traveled abroad and played in rock band, and wowed three of the four coaches with her rendition of Olivia Rodrigo’s break out hit “Driver’s License.”

Georgian Idol 2020 semi-finalist Dato Rusadze also returned, though his locks had been shorn and he wore a ’90s center part and goatee look. The rebrand worked, and he was picked by all four coaches after performing Labrinth’s “Beneath your beautiful”, selecting Sopho in response.

The third Georgian Idol 2020 graduate to audition is remembered as something of a goofball from that season, being eliminated very early for an overly theatrical performance of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” (yes, believe it or not, you can overdo it). But Erekle Turkadze’s take on Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” won over all the coaches.

If last week’s episode grouped together the rock singers, then this week’s got the blues and pop singers sorted. Kicking off the show was Mariam Bugianishvili, showing bravery in doing Edith Piaf’s “La vie en rose.” Coach David Evgenidze approved and turned around his chair mid-performance.

Elene Guledan’s cover of Jessie J’s “Sexy Silk” did not impress, and no coach turned around for her.

If the whole The Voice and Eurovision thing doesn’t work out for Saba Chachua, he has a career as a Weird Al Yankovic impersonator. Or, more specifically, a Daniel Radcliffe as Weird Al impersonator as he exudes Harry Potter energy, even on a Bruno Mars cover. Nonetheless, all but Stephane were impressed.

Perhaps the most enthused upon entry of the night was Ekaterine Sofa’s cover of Kate Bush’s “Babooshka.” The 19-year-old, like all other Zoomers, loves Kate Bush but actually gets the quirks and essence of Bush’s performance right. All four coaches are impressed and vie for her, and she picks David Evgenidze.

Biker Giorgi Barbakadze did a serviceable Georgian language acoustic song, and though his technique was fine, he was criticized for lacking the requisite charisma to continue.

28-year-old barista from Batumi Anri Bolkhadze impressed by doing a Ukrainian folk song. He attempted that as his wife is Ukrainian and he lived there before having to move back to Georgia with his wife and son. All except Stephane liked his performance.

26-year-old Tina Datikashvili let it all hang out for her cover of Demi Lovato’s “Anyone.” She selected Sopho as her coach after all but Stephane turned around.

Given that The Voice is being used to select Georgia’s Eurovision entrant, two coaches have a direct connection to past Georgian Eurovision entrants.

Sopho Toroshelidze was the lead singer of Georgian nu metal band Eldrine. Eldrine’s “One Fine Day,” which was entered at Eurovision 2011, is currently Georgia’s joint-best entry coming in 9th (Sofia Nizharadze’s “Shine” also came in 9th at Eurovision 2010). Eldrine won the Georgian national final, and Toroshelidze later replaced original vocalist Tako Vadachkoria due to a contract dispute between GPB and Vadachkoria.

Stephane Mgrebishvili was kicked out of Eurovision 2009 as part of Stephane and 3G when the band refused to change lyrics to their entry “We Don’t Wanna Put In” in response to the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) political content rule. Stephane was also a judge on the season of Georgian Idol that selected Oto Nemsadze to represent Georgia at Eurovision 2019. He was also a judge on The Voice Season 3.

The man with the bandanna that everyone recognizes as the third judge is Georgian musician and film composer David Evgenidze. He was previously a judge on Georgian Idol when Tornike Kipiani was selected to represent Georgia at Eurovision 2020 (he was internally selected to compete at Eurovision 2021 after the cancellation of Eurovision 2020). Evgenidze is also a regular judge on Ranina, Georgia’s method of selection for Junior Eurovision. He also wrote “We Need Love” for Giorgi Rostiashvili, which came in 14th at Junior Eurovision 2019.

Lastly, Dato Porchkhidze returns as a coach on The Voice of Georgia having been a coach on the first two seasons in 2012 and 2013. Dato’s proteges Salome Katamadze and Mariam Chachkhiani won Season 1 and Season 2, respectively. A musician in his own right, with over 600 compositions to his name, he was also a part of the famous Georgian group Face.

Georgia have not qualified for the Eurovision Grand Final since Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz’s “Midnight Gold” at Eurovision 2016. Though Georgia is often highly regarded in the Eurovision fanbase (see below for one of many ESC United endorsements of Georgia), their cult status has not translated into qualification for the Grand Final.

Georgia’s last entry, Circus Mircus’s “Lock Me In,” came in 18th and last in Semi-Final 2 at Eurovision 2022 in Turin, Italy.

The Voice airs at 22:00 local time on Thursday, December 8, 2022. The Voice is presented by Gvantsa Daraselia. Non-Georgian viewers will be able to check it out directly on TV-1’s livestream on their own website or The Voice’s Facebook page.

Do #YOU think the Voice of Georgia is the right method of selection for Eurovision 2023? Do #YOU think this and the recent change to Semi-Final voting rules will bring Georgia’s first Grand Final qualification since 2016? Let us know in the comments below, our social media, our forum or Discord.

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