Georgia is gearing up to host the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Tbilisi. It is the first Eurovision event ever to be held in the country and followed a record three victories in Junior Eurovision. We spoke to representatives from Georgia's Public Broadcaster, GPB, to find out more about Georgia's Junior Eurovision journey.
Georgia first won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, one year after making its debut in the competition, with the song Bzz performed by Bzikebi. In 2011 Georgian band Candy scored the country’s second victory in the contest with the song Candy Music. In 2016 Georgia lifted the trophy again with Mzeo performed by Mariam Mamadashvili and became the first country to win the competition three times.
Bringing Junior Eurovision to Georgia
Previously Georgia declined the opportunity to host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest but in late 2016 public broadcaster GPB entered into talks with the EBU. In January 2017 it was confirmed that the contest was coming to Georgia. Sergi Gvarjaladze, Executive Producer of the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest explained the importance of the event for Georgia. "We are a small, proud country, it is a great honour to welcome so many participating nations to Tbilisi. This is also a huge opportunity for our public broadcaster and an immense chance for our employees."
(Above: Natia Mshvenieradze, Natia Uznadze, Sergi Gvarjaladze, Tinatin Berdzenishvili)
Tinatin Berdzenishvili, Media and Communications Director for GPB, was previously the Head of Delegation for Georgia at the Eurovision Song Contest. "The thing I am most proud of is all the feedback from the delegations," she explained. "I know how stressful the job can be, so it's good to know that their experience is a positive one. Georgia has not hosted a Eurovision event before and it was only possible thanks to funding from the Georgian National Tourism Administration. It is wonderful to be able to welcome so many people from around the world to our country."
Natia Mshvenieradze, who is Head of Delegation Services and Hospitality, alongside Natia Uznadze, believes the experience is has been a valuable one for her and her colleagues. "We have learned so much from hosting this event. It is a lot of work but it has been very rewarding." Are the Georgians prepared to host the Eurovision Song Contest one day? "Well, that is a huge event and it would be a challenge but we would definitely do it, we are ready! I have loved welcoming people to Tbilisi, I know the delegations, we are like one big family."
What can you expect from the show?
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is a large international co-production and promises to be a spectacular show. "The stage looks amazing and it will be exciting to watch. Viewers will see the best of Georgia," said Sergi Gvarjaladze. What can Georgia offer tourists? "We have a unique history and culture, as well as music and of course, we have amazing food! Everyone should visit Georgia at least once in their lifetime," said Tinatin with a smile.
Tune into the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest at 16:00 CET, Sunday 26th November. Watch the show live on the official Junior Eurovision channel on YouTube. For the first time ever, viewers from around the world will be able to cast their vote!