32 became 24 as the first round of eliminations concluded this evening on The Voice of Georgia after each contestant was pitched head-to-head against their fellow teammates in the “Ring round.”

Within each team, the coach picked singers to go head to head, with the winner advancing to the next round and allowing rivals to “steal” losing singers. The 24 remaining contestants after the ring round are listed further down.

However, each coach was not alone, as Georgian musical celebrities joined in order to advise each coach on which singer would win their head to head.

Stephane was aided by Georgian singer-songwriter Maia Darsmelidze, who was also a judge on the first and second seasons of The Voice of Georgia. Sopho was aided by Nina Sublatti, who came in 11th for Georgia at Eurovision 2015 with “Warrior.” Dato’s adviser was veteran Georgian singer and former politician Dato Khujadze, while Nika Kocharov joined David Evgenidze. Kocharov came in 20th at Eurovision 2016 as frontman for the Young Lolitaz, while also leading Circus Mircus at Eurovision 2022.

And each guest had the chance to showcase their own music, with Kocharov kicking off this episode with a cover of The Beatles’s “Revolution 1.”

Down to the duels, Stephane pitched short-haired and pink suited Anastasia Vashakmadze against shaggy haired and pink moustached Saba Chachua on Beyonce’s “Deja Vu.” Saba won, and Sopho stole Anastasia.

Erekle Turkadze was a wild card entering this contest considering his quirky Jerry Lee Lewis performance on Georgian Idol three years ago, but he was to overcome Nini Asiliani on the first of Dato’s ring battles on the soul classic Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in the need of love today.”

The award for oddest arrangement of a classic song today goes to Sopho selecting Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and having Salome Tsintsadze compete against Mariam Kokeladze. Sopho gave the win to Salome, and Stephane swept in to steal Mariam.

Stephane picked Anka Tatarashvili over Luka Niavadze after performing Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

David Evgenidze decided to go with two Georgian jazz classics, with Giorgi Putkaradze and Salome Takaishvili competing on “Emotions” and Sopho Garakanidze and Gvantsa Kupatadze on “Don’t be Afraid.” Giorgi prevailed over Salome and Gvantsa beat Sopho, respectively.

Sopho pointed out that Lika Siradze was included on the “Best Blind Auditions of The Voice 2022” compilation of the best blind auditions from all across the world. Her take on the Nirvana version of Leadbelly’s “Where did you sleep last night” was included (see the 23rd minute below), and may have a chance for being added to the best ring round compilation with her win over Anika Gabiskiria on a cover of Skunk Anansie’s “Hedonism.”

Finally, Irakli Kapanadze pulled out the win over Koka Davitadze on Earth, Wind and Fire’s “After the Love has Gone.”

Next week, the live rounds will be begin with each coach having settled on their six contestants. The teams are as follows:​

Dato Porchkhidze’s Team: Tsotne Barbakadze, Iru Khechanovi, Ekaterine Mdivani, Tako Kakalashvili, Erekle Turkadze, Irakli Kapanadze.

David Evgenidze’s Team: Giorgi Datiashvili, Allegro, Kakha Aslamazashvili, Ani Nozadze, Gvantsa Kupatadze,
Giorgi Putkaradze.

Sopho Toroshelidze’s Team: Tina Datikashvili, Sopho Batilashvili, Mariam Toronjadze, Lika Siradze, Salome Tsintsadze, Ana Vashakmadze.

Stephane Mgebrishvili’s Team: Likuna Tutisani, Dato Rusadze, Saba Chachua, Anka Tatarashvili, Mariam Kokeladze, Nini Asiliani

The Voice of Georgia is being used to select Georgia’s Eurovision entrant for the 2023 season, and 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. “We Don’t Wanna Put In” was a reference to Russia’s invasion and subsequent occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008. 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, their cult status has not translated into qualification for the Grand Final of late.

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 next episode of The Voice of Georgia airs at 22:00 local time on Thursday, January 12, 2023. 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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