After an average day at school, I get a call from another volunteer in the city saying I need to come to her house after school. At that particular moment I did not have time to ask why ( I was finishing up my Georgian lesson) and said I would be there. I assumed she wanted me to come over and see the new couches her host mother had gotten. Instead, my friend was calling to tell me that her host mother had three tickets to see Georgia’s version of American Idol for that night in Tbilisi!
I get to her house, am immediately told to sit and eat borsch, stewed vegetables, squash, and potato salad. YUM! My host mother cooks great food, but it is always nice to taste someone elses cooking, especially when it is delicious! As soon as I was finished my friend and I and her host brother hopped on a bus and went to the university.
Of course, once at the university, we stand around not sure what is going on in semi-awkward silence. Eventually, two women, three girls and a couple young guys come up and great my friend’s host brother. These are the people who have the tickets and have rented a private marshutka to take us to Tbilisi and wait to take us bake to Kutaisi. It is important to note that this is a Monday night, Tbilisi is at least 3 hours away and the show did not begin until ten in the evening. It was going to be a loooong night.
Once the marshutka arrived, we all climbed in and enjoyed the extra space (marshutka’s are usually jam-packed with people)! The usual marshutka ride passed and then we were in Tbilisi outside of the Tbilisi Concert Hall. We parked and were lead around the side of the building to a unofficial looking entrance.Here we waited, again not knowing why we were waiting, for about forty minutes.
Suddenly everyone else in the group became very excited and rushed towards a young lady walking towards us. Turns out she is one of the contestants and she knows the people we are with. So we get a photo with her. She is the only contestant from Kutaisi and is also the youngest at 19. She was incredibly friendly!
We then actually head into the building to watch the show. The concert hall is nothing extravagant or of any particular note. The stage was set up with lots of flashing lights and a central dais for the contestants to sing on. There were cameras everywhere, clearly since it was a show and I was a live audience member, which I have never been before. It was interesting to be a part of a live audience and actually sit through the commercial breaks.
The girl we met backstage had a beautiful voice and the judges and voters agreed. She received 45% of the votes to stay on the show, so we were shouting and cheering happily. There were three other contestants, another girl and two guys. It was one of the guys that was voted of this episode. Sadly, I was more impressed with his voice than the other female contestants voice.
The show ended around midnight with a lovely song called “I am a Georgian Guy”, sung by last years winner. I must admit the lyrics were h-y-s-t-e-r-c-a-l. Laugh out loud funny. The best lyric was ” I am a Georgian guy, so I don’t cry.” Wow. It was sung in complete seriousness as well.
We all then got back into the marshutka and everyone else spread out over multiple seats to sleep. My friend and I managed sitting up. I slept for a bit, but going through the mountains I woke up and did not fall back asleep. We arrived back in Kutaisi and at her house at around 4 in the morning. We promptly were greeted by her host mother asking if we were hungry, which we said no and fell into bed and slept.
Needless to say school the next day at 9:50 was fun! I love the complete randomness that seems to be ubiquitous in this country.