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Photo: Giel Domen (EBU)

Georgia on our mind

Earlier this year Georgia won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for a record third time. Whilst the country has never won the Eurovision Song Contest, it has entered some memorable acts over the years. Today we look back at some of those Georgian gems. 

Georgia first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, the second Caucasus country to do so following Armenia's debut in 2006. Azerbaijan was the third and entered in 2008 for the first time. 

Sopho represented Georgia in 2007 with the contemporary Visionary Dream which had echoes of Icelandic singer Björk. Sopho's performance also incorporated Georgian folk dancing whilst the official preview video of her entry showcased the Georgian countryside. Visionary Dream qualified for the Grand Final and placed 12th in the contest. The small nation certainly made its presence felt in Helsinki when it hosted its debut party and treated press and fans to typical Georgian hospitality which included the finest of Georgian wine and cuisine.  

In 2008 Georgia was represented by Diana Gurtskaya with her song Peace Will Come. During her performance Diana pulled off a cunning stunt when she and her team completed a full costume change in a matter of seconds. Like Sopho the year before, Diana qualified for the Grand Final, placing 11th. 

Despite initially withdrawing from the 2009 contest following the conflict with Russia in summer 2008, Georgia announced its intention to participate later that year. However after the EBU requested that the lyrics of its proposed entry were changed, the country later decided to withdraw from the contest which was due to be held in Moscow.

Georgia returned to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010 when the show was held in Oslo, Norway. Sopho Nizharadze performed the power ballad Shine. As in previous years Georgia qualified for the Grand Final only this time Sopho took Georgia into the top ten for the first time, placing 9th. Rumour has it that Shine was originally written for Celine Dion. 

Georgia qualified once again for the Grand Final in 2011 when Eldrine performed the rock song One More Day. They managed to equal Sopho Nizharadze's 9th place of the year before.

2012 marks the first year that Georgia failed to qualify for the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Anri Jokhadze represented Georgia in Baku, Azerbaijan with the song I'm A Joker which finished 14th in the semi-final. Those with a keen eye might spot Anri as the main backing singer for Diana Gurtskaya's entry in 2008. 

The following year in Malmö the Georgians came out fighting and enlisted the help of Swedish composer Thomas G:son who won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with Euphoria performed by Loreen. G:son wrote Waterfall which was performed by Sopho Gelovani and Nodiko Tatishvili. The pair took Georgia back to the Grand Final once more placing 15th on the night. 

The Shin and Mariko performed the Georgian entry in 2014, Three Minutes to Earth. The song was a somewhat unusual offering but failed to impress during the semi-finals and placed 15th meaning that Georgia would once again have to sit out the Grand Final. 

In 2015 the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Vienna, Austria following Conchita's victory with Rise Like A Phoenix. Georgia was represented by Nina Sublatti and her song Warrior. The entry was written by Thomas G:son and saw Georgia reach the Grand Final once again, placing 11th. During the live performance of Nina's entry in the Grand Final excessive smoke effects saw her temporarily disappear from view but like a true warrior, the singer carried on regardless!

Earlier this year Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz represented Georgia in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm with the song Midnight Gold. The combination of light and camera work created an almost psychedelic look. Midnight Gold qualified for the Grand Final and placed 20th. The entry impressed jurors in the United Kingdom in particular who awarded Georgia 12 points in both the Semi-Final and the Grand Final. The band are the first all-male group to represent Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest.

So will Georgia replicate their Junior Eurovision success in the Eurovision Song Contest? In a few short months we will know the answer!