Georgia's Eurovision divas take aim at Putin

After last year's Russian invasion, protest song chosen for final in Moscow
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The Independent Online

Georgia can be fairly certain of getting "nul points" from Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow this May after the country chose a disco tune that appears to poke fun at Vladimir Putin.

The two countries fought a war last summer over the breakaway region of South Ossetia and still have no diplomatic relations. Georgia had planned not to send anyone to the contest in Moscow but has opted for a protest entry that is sure to irk the Russian Prime Minister.

The Georgian number, by Stefane and 3G, is entitled "We Don't Wanna Put In", which is pronounced in a way that makes it sound suspiciously like "We don't want Putin".

Stefane and 3G is made up of Stefane Mgebrishvili and three Georgian women wearing sparkly, skimpy hotpants. Mgebrishvili is kitted out in a shiny blue suit, black spectacles, and a stick-on moustache and sideburns.

They sing the lyrics in accented English over a kitsch disco beat. The chorus runs: "We don't wanna put in, The negative move, It's killin' the groove."

At the countrywide final held on Wednesday night, the group beat nine other entries in a vote decided by public SMS voting and a panel of judges. Mr Putin revealed himself as a Eurovision fan when he received the British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber at his dacha two months ago. Lloyd Webber will play the piano during Jade Ewen's performance for Britain in Moscow. Mr Putin refused to say how he would vote but admitted to a penchant for Lloyd Webber's musicals.

It is unlikely the Georgian entry will get Mr Putin busting a groove on the dance floor, however. The song will compete in a semi-final in Moscow on 12 May and if it makes it into the final, which will be broadcast live across Europe, there will be fears in Moscow that the entry could win an embarrassingly high number of votes from eastern European countries and spoil Russia's Eurovision party.

The Russian leadership takes Eurovision seriously. Mr Putin and the President, Dmitry Medvedev, called to congratulate the singer Dima Bilan when he won last year in Belgrade and earned Moscow the right to host the final.

There are also fears about how Moscow will cope with an event that draws a cult following among gay communities. The city is notoriously homophobic and the Mayor, Yury Luzhkov, has called homosexuals "Satanists", refusing to sanction a gay pride march.

"We've already received a lot of bookings from Scandinavian male couples," said a hotel owner in Moscow. "We'll probably be advising them not to engage in public displays of affection in Moscow, as it could be dangerous for them."

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