Earlier in this countdown series we talked about Alexey Zhigalkovich. Now it’s time to check up on Bzikebi, the JESC 2008 winners from Georgia!
Limassol 2008: throwback
The sixth edition of the contest took place in Lismassol, Cyprus. The contest had 15 participating countries, two less than the previous year as Sweden and Portugal withdrew. No country made their debut this year, however Israel, Azerbaijan and Bosnia & Herzegovina had originally intended to do so.
Several changes were made for the 2008 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. For the first time adults could assist in writing songs for the competition, before only children could write them. It was also ruled that only six performers could be on stage at once, instead of the previously permitted eight.
Unlike previous years the results were not decided by 100% Televoting. Instead, the contest incorporated a 50/50 Televote/Jury system which would be introduced in adult Eurovision at the 2009 final. The juries consisted of both adults and children.
The winners of the contest were the group ‘Bzikebi’ from Georgia. It was the first time Georgia won the contest, and the first winning song sung in a imaginary language. But how did the group come to be?
Bzikebi was a trio consisting of Mariam Kikulashvili, Mariam Tatulashvili and Georgi Shiolashvili. All three came to an audition separately, but the production team got the idea to form them into a trio to compete together at the Georgian national selection. The idea was for them to perform as bees. This was achieved by the trio wearing black and yellow striped outfits, and indeed, buzzing on stage like a bee does. The song won the national final, and the trio ended up winning the Junior Eurovision too, giving an iconic (or infamous) performance of their song ‘Bzz’.
Life after the Junior Eurovision
Upon coming back to Georgia after their win, a massive reception party was held for them. They were gifted many presents, including bikes. The trio also told of a massive celebration when they returned to school. They expressed their wish to represent their country in the adult Eurovision Song Contest, but this time using a different image and style.
They band returned to the Junior Eurovision in 2010, participating along with other past JESC winners in the interval act. Bzikebi was also included in a ‘Kids of Eurovision’ documentary filmed by Belarusian broadcaster BTRC.
What are Bzikebi up to now?
A musical school for kids in Tbilisi is named after the band. ‘Bzikebi Studio’ has been attended by many familiar faces, including 2016 JESC winner Mariam Mamadashvili.
It’s believed the band disbanded sometime after their 2010 interval act appearance, however they made a comeback at the opening ceremony of the 2017 JESC held in Georgia. Here they were interviewed by 2016 winner Mariam Mamadashvili.