Georgia said it was pulling out of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow this May after organisers banned its song for taking a swipe at Russian Prime Minister Vladimar Putin.
Broadcasting official George Chanturia said Georgia was withdrawing after refusing to change its song, entitled “We Don’t Wanna Put In.”
Organisers of the 43-nation contest had demanded that the former Soviet republic ditch the song or rewrite the lyrics because they breached the rules by being political.
“Our song … does not contain political statements and the public broadcaster is not going to change the text of the song and refuses to go to competition in Moscow,” Chanturia, head of production at Georgia’s state broadcaster, First Channel, told a news briefing.
Georgians have vilified Russia’s Putin since last year’s five-day war between the two countries.
The group Stefane & 3G had been due to sing the Georgian song. In a clear pun on Putin’s name, the chorus runs, in English:
“We don’t wanna put in,
Cuz negative move,
It’s killin’ the groove,
I’m gonna try to shoot in,
Some disco tonight,
Boogie with you.”
Chanturia also said the Georgian public broadcaster had written to the Eurovision Song Contest’s governing body, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), to contest the ban. He also hinted the letter would suggest that Russia had exerted pressure on the EBU to bar the Georgian song.
The EBU declined to comment.
Last year more than 100 million television viewers watched Dima Bilan win the contest for Russia for the first time, giving it the right to host this year’s event.
The last countries to pull out of the contest were Lebanon in 2005 over Israel’s participation and Serbia and Montenegro in 2006 because of an internal row over their entry.
More Eurovision coverage:
Georgia’s Eurovision Entry Takes A Shot At Putin: