Wednesday, 18 February 2009

"We don't wanna Put in" - controversial Georgian entry for Eurovision 2009

This may prove to be the most controversial entry for this year's Eurovision. Georgia decided to send Stephane & 3G with "We don't wanna Put in". Clever and funny 'playing with words' :) While the song itself is pretty typical, it's quite catchy and funny. And it's possible to sing along, unlike Armenia's entry.

This song, if approved by Eurovision officials, will get a very tough reception in Moscow, with likely boo-ing in the auditorium. No chances for 12 points from Russia to Georgia (this was alleged by many as a possible political gesture from Russia's side.) However, all these PR and scandals surrounding the song may play well in developing a fan base and a Europe-wide support, especially in Western Europe and some post-Soviet states. On the other hand, there is always risk that this type of songs may backfire.

There have been regular attempts at protest songs at Eurovision in past: some - successful, others - not. Perhaps, the most successful recent attempt, which Georgians want to repeat, was that of Ukraine two years ago with Verka Serduchka 'playing with words' while singing 'Lusha Tumbai' (='Russia Good Bye'). It cased outrage in Russia back then and an excellent PR advantage for Ukrainian entry. Let's see how this new Georgia-Russia 'war' will develop. There were comments on Eurovision related sites that "Due to the somewhat political connotations of the song, it is likely that the EBU may force some lyrics from the Georgian song to be changed." In any case, in my opinion, as of now, this is the best entry for Eurovision 2009 from the South Caucasus.

13 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Seems like they changed the lyrics for the performance too. In the original audio recording and lyrics there's no reference to "shooting..."

http://www.eurovision-georgia.ge/participants/3g/music.aspx?LanguageID=2

Incidentally, while the audio recording is better sung, the live version isn't so good.

On the other hand, from looking at the performance they're not taking it seriously at all.

It's a piss-take and really intended only to mock. I kind of admire the attempt, though...

;-)

Onnik Krikorian said...

I have to admit, though, I'm playing the song constantly these past few days and even singing it to myself on the streets. I can only imagine how widely heard it is in Tbilisi... ;-)

artmika said...

See, it's working, the formula is working. :)

Onnik Krikorian said...

Jesus! I'm on dialup at home and have only managed to see all the video just now...

Check out the mimicking of pointing a gun and the slowly rising Nazi salute at the end!!!

I don't even think they're even expecting Eurovision to allow them to perform.

And is it just me or is the girl in the purple actually so angry she's unable to control her voice?

Anyway, it's a statement and I suspect they don't expect it to go any further...

Let's see, but I have to admit. I really do admire the attempt.

Totally out of spirit with Eurovision, though...

If it went through, though, I'd give them 12 points just for having the guts...

Onnik Krikorian said...

Correction, the reference to "shoot him" is in the original audio, but not in the published lyrics. It's just that it was more noticeable in the video... ;-)

Onnik Krikorian said...

And you were right:

The International media have picked it up:

Georgia's Eurovision song pokes fun at Russian politics

http://en.rian.ru/world/20090219/120222304.html

Putin jibe picked for Eurovision

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7899014.stm

Georgians take swipe at Putin with Eurovision entry

http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUKTRE51I2Y220090219

Georgia doesn’t want to "put in" at the Eurovision in Moscow

http://observers.france24.com/en/content/20090219-georgia-doesn-want-put-in-eurovision-moscow-putin

Georgian group to sing anti-Russia song in Eurovision

http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=97435

artmika said...

+ 1
The Times: We Don't Wanna Put In - Georgia's Eurovision mockery of Russia

Georgia has chosen a song that mocks Vladimir Putin as its entry for this year's Eurovision contest in Moscow.

We Don't Wanna Put In includes a play on the Russia Prime Minister's name in a Seventies-style performance that is unlikely to get Russian organisers of the contest dancing in the aisles. The cheesy disco number, sung in English by Stephane and 3G, contains the chorus: "We don't wanna put in/The negative move/It's killin' the groove" before urging "You better change your perspective".

It also features the line "Gonna try to shoot in/some disco tonight" - at which the trio of women in the group mimed being shot in the head during their performance on Georgia's public television last night. Songwriter Stephane Mgebrishvili goes on to rap "I love Europe". [...]

The prospect of Georgia's less-than-subtle message winning the Eurovision contest in the Russian capital is already stirring controversy. It has success attracted dozens of comments on the contest's official website, with predictions that Eurovision's notorious bloc-voting tradition would be used to deliver a humiliating snub to Russia's Prime Minister, particularly in the Baltic States and eastern Europe. [...]

The girl-group 3G - Nini Badurashvili, Tako Gachechiladze and Kristine Imedadze - entered Georgia's national final last year with a song titled I'm Free. They lost out in the final to Diana Gurtskaya, a blind refugee from Abkhazia, who sang Peace Will Come. Her forecast proved tragically inaccurate and Georgia decided initially to boycott the Moscow final as a protest over the war. It reversed that decision last month and many Georgian viewers saw We Don't Wanna Put In as an opportunity to embarrass Russia, which is hosting Eurovision for the first time.

If Stephane and 3G win in Moscow, Georgia will earn the right to stage next year's Eurovision final. Mr Putin is unlikely to be invited.

Georgia has a patchy record of disco diplomacy. President Saakashvili staged a Boney M concert in a village on the front-line with South Ossetia in October 2007 in an attempt to ease tensions. He said then that he hoped the sound of the group's 1970s hits such as Rasputin and Daddy Cool would "lure people out from their trenches". War broke out ten months later.

artmika said...

According to Newsru.com, and some other Russian agencies, Georgian side decided to change the lyrics. No other details on specific changes made, if any, and confirmations are provided.

On the other hand, Russia's prime minister spokesman was quoted as saying that, if confirmed, Georgian entry could be considered simply as "hooliganism".

The fate of the Georgian entry will be decided on 16 March during the Eurovision Song Contests Head of Delegation meeting.

Without such lyrics, this song is pretty average and unremarkable. However, I suppose, even with changed lyrics, Georgians at least partly achieved their goal, and got an exposure no other country's entry could dream of. Any PR is good PR, as they say.

artmika said...

Georgian Eurovision official denied today reports by Russian media that they decided to change the lyrics. She said they have no intention to do so, reports Newsru.com. Saga continues, and so is PR :)

Ani said...

The New York Times finally has picked up the story: http://tinyurl.com/ck3ycc

Georgia Offers Sideburns and a Disco Beat as Payback for a War

By OLESYA VARTANYAN and MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ

TBILISI, Georgia — Having suffered a battlefield bruising from Russia last August, Georgia has taken the fight with its northern neighbor to the disco floor, with plans to present a tune that jabs at Russia’s pre-eminent leader, Vladimir V. Putin, at Europe’s premier song contest.

The title of the song, sung in accented English, is “We Don’t Wanna Put In,” a barely successful play on words involving the Russian prime minister’s name.

The song, by a Georgian group called Stephane and 3G, was chosen by popular vote on Wednesday as Georgia’s entry for Eurovision, the megapopular and kitschy European song contest that will be hosted by Moscow in May.

Georgia was planning to boycott this year’s event to protest Russia’s de facto annexation of two Georgian separatist regions after the August war, but it apparently settled on taking a musical swipe at Mr. Putin right in the Russian capital.

The news has already begun to excite patriotic passions in Russia, where anti-Georgian sentiment remains high after the war, which many in Russia believe Georgia started.

“In my opinion, this is amoral,” Yana Rudkovskaya, the Russian producer for Dima Bilan, last year’s Eurovision winner, told the Echo Moskvy radio station. “I think that the Eurovision board and the heads of Channel One should forbid this song because it insults our country.”

The state-controlled Channel One will broadcast the competition live. If Georgia makes it to the final round, it is unclear how the station will handle such an affront to Mr. Putin, who receives little but fawning coverage by Russian federal television.

Stephane Mgebrishvili, the Georgian group’s front man, said he and his three female bandmates had hoped for this kind of resonance when they came up with the song, which he referred to as a “marketing trick.”

“The most important thing for us was to create the project that would attract as much attention as possible,” said Mr. Mgebrishvili, a slight man of 29 who in a YouTube video performs the tune in a large black wig with sideburns as his three bandmates dance in spandex and hot pants to a disco beat that evokes “Saturday Night Fever.”

“We don’t wanna put in / the negative mood / is killin’ the groove,” goes the chorus.

Mr. Mgebrishvili, who participated in street protests against Russia in Tbilisi during the August war, said his group received “moral support” from some government ministers.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Mr. Putin, called the song “hooliganism” and told the Ria Novosti news agency that he thought it unfortunate that Georgia would use the song competition to “promote pseudopolitical ambitions.”

It is not the first time former Soviet republics have used the song contest to take pop-music potshots at Russia.

The Ukrainian pop star Verka Serduchka, a flamboyant middle-aged drag queen, ruffled not a few feather boas in Russia with her 2007 Eurovision performance of “Dancing Lasha Tumbai,” a nonsensical phrase that many — to the apparent surprise of the artist — interpreted as “Russia goodbye.”

artmika said...

Here we go... Georgian entry is banned unless...

Georgian song lyrics do not comply with Rules

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has officially informed Georgian public broadcaster GPB that the lyrics of their song for the 54th Eurovision Song Contest We Don't Wanna Put In do not comply with the rules of the competition. The EBU Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest has now offered GPB the opportunity to either re-write the lyrics of the song, or to select another song for the contest. This year's contest will be hosted by Channel One Russia and will take place on 12, 14 and 16 May at the Olympiyski Arena in Moscow.

Today, the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest announced that the title and lyrics of the selected Georgian entry for this year's Contest do not comply with Section 4 Rule 9 of the Rules of the 54th Eurovision Song Contest, and cannot take part in the competition as such.

4.9 The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows or the Eurovision Song Contest as such into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs. No commercial messages of any kind shall be allowed. A breach of this rule may result in disqualification.

The EBU Reference Group has officially offered GPB the opportunity to select another song, or to change the lyrics of the selected song in such a way that it complies with the Rules. The deadline is the 16th of March, when all represented countries will officially hand in their selected entry to the European Broadcasting Union.

artmika said...

Here we go... Georgian entry is banned unless...

Georgian song lyrics do not comply with Rules

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has officially informed Georgian public broadcaster GPB that the lyrics of their song for the 54th Eurovision Song Contest We Don't Wanna Put In do not comply with the rules of the competition. The EBU Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest has now offered GPB the opportunity to either re-write the lyrics of the song, or to select another song for the contest. This year's contest will be hosted by Channel One Russia and will take place on 12, 14 and 16 May at the Olympiyski Arena in Moscow.

Today, the Reference Group of the Eurovision Song Contest announced that the title and lyrics of the selected Georgian entry for this year's Contest do not comply with Section 4 Rule 9 of the Rules of the 54th Eurovision Song Contest, and cannot take part in the competition as such.

4.9 The lyrics and/or performance of the songs shall not bring the Shows or the Eurovision Song Contest as such into disrepute. No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political or similar nature shall be permitted during the Eurovision Song Contest. No swearing or other unacceptable language shall be allowed in the lyrics or in the performances of the songs. No commercial messages of any kind shall be allowed. A breach of this rule may result in disqualification.

The EBU Reference Group has officially offered GPB the opportunity to select another song, or to change the lyrics of the selected song in such a way that it complies with the Rules. The deadline is the 16th of March, when all represented countries will officially hand in their selected entry to the European Broadcasting Union.

artmika said...

Georgia pulls out of Eurovision after controversial song is banned

Georgia will not take part in this year's Eurovision Song Contest after it decided not to enter a new song following the banning of its controversial tune 'We Don't Wanna Put In'. [...]

The Eurovision authorities offered Georgia the choice of either changing the lyrics of the song or entering a different one. The Georgians deny that there is any political content in the song and say that therefore they see no reason to change anything and will instead withdraw from the competition.

"There really is nothing negative about this song," lead singer Stephane said. "In any democratic country it would be taken as a harmless joke."

Georgia appealed to the EBU to revise their decision but they declined.

In a letter sent to the EBU, the producers of the song said that they had their suspicions that the decision to ask Georgia to revise its entry came about as a result of pressure from Russia, where this year's contest is to be held. [...]