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A mix of styles for Georgia

16 May 2012 at 12:42 CEST met Anri Jokhadze backstage before taking the stage for the first rehearsal of the Georgian delegation today. "No, I'm not nervous. Not at all", he told us about his feelings. "I've been a backing vocalist for Georgia already before in the Eurovision Song Contest, and I was nervous back then. But after that experience, the nervousness is gone now."

One of his backing vocalists in Baku is Nini Shermadini, one of the most famous Georgian pop artists. "It feels wonderful to go on the Eurovision stage and perform in front of such a huge audience", she stated. We asked her if she would like to follow the same path as Anri Jokhadze, representing Georgia as the lead artist after having been a backing vocalist previously. "It's my dream to represent Georgia myself one day as well", she said.

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On the question if the fact that neighbouring Azerbaijan won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest put additional pressure on the Georgian team this year, the Head of the Georgian Delegation, Maia Bichikashvili, said: "It's not pressure, but rather an expectation. Everyone in Georgia expects that we win the contest some time soon. But the main thing is: It's great that we have the Eurovision Song Contest in the Caucasus this year finally."

The Georgian stage performance features a lot of movements and action: Anri Jokhadze was accompanied by five backing vocalists and dancers who showed an energetic performance, standing and sitting on metal-framed cube structures. Anri himself also didn't only sing, but he danced, beat a huge white drum, played the piano, and even used a megaphone!

On the LEDs in the background, fast moving stars and circles were displayed to support the eclectic style of the stage act and the strong beat of the song. The main colour of the stage lighting was red, and Anri Jokhadze performed very well vocally, both the operatic parts in the beginning and the rock parts throughout the rest of the song.

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During the last run of the rehearsal, the pyrotechnical effects were also shown - they consisted of flames appearing around the main stages. Apart from that, smoke effects were used as well.

In the Georgian press conference today, Anri Jokhadze and his backing vocalists greeted the press by singing Tavisupleba, the Georgian national anthem. Then the Head of Press of the Georgian Delegation, Tinatin Berzenishvili, introduced the team behind the Georgian entry to the press.

When Anri was asked if the Georgian representative in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, Diana Ghurtskaia, had given him any advice for his stage performance, he replied: "Yes, we are still good friends, and we shared our experiences."

About his chances to win the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, Anri Jokhadze stated: "We just do our best, and hope people will like our song. We are sure we can host the contest and light the Georgian fire!" Later on, he added: "My song is as unpredictable as the Eurovision Song Contest itself."

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On the importance of the Eurovision Song Contest for Georgia, the Head of Delegation said: "We are a small country, but it's full of talents. That's why spreading it and promoting our country is very important for us.

Anri Jokhadze also commented on his friendship with Sabina Babayeva, the Azerbaijani representative this year: "She is a good friend of mine, when she comes to Georgia, she stays at my place even. Her Eurovision song is my favourite this year, and on the official Georgian party tomorrow, you can witness our duet performance as well."

"The message of our song is clear: Do what you wanna do!", Maia Bichikashvili added in the end of the press conference.