Every year the men of Eurovision wow millions of viewers with their vocals and choreography. But once they leave the stage they have even more work to do. That’s because the race to win Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model—the premier online modelling contest for men competing at the Eurovision Song Contest—continues long after the cameras stop rolling. This requires them to pump iron, drink protein shakes, choose clothes that will show off all their assets and deal with the ever-present paparazzi and bloggers who stalk them in search of that elusive shirtless pic.
On March 29 twenty-five men entered the House of Wiwi, each of them hungry to win Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model, and a spot in the Top Model Hall of Fame. Along the way we had to say goodbye to nine of them, and on April 29 we kicked off the finals with 16 mostly attractive men. France’s Lorent Ardouvin brought Maghreb mystery and some major hair. Finland’s Topi Latukka worked teenage angst and alt-rock edge. And Switzerland’s Sebalter offered scruffy-chic with a dose of boyish charm. But in the end one singer proved to be the man among the boys. After counting 10,756 votes in the semi-finals and another 17,114 in the final, we are pleased to announce that Greece’s Riskykidd is Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model 2014.
Below we celebrate Riskykidd’s achievement. But he’s not the only man we’re honouring today. Nikolas Raptakis and Theofilos Pouzbouris, the two halves of Greece’s Freaky Fortune, have also earned spots in the Top Model Hall of Fame. They join an esteemed list of Eurovision talents who have gone on to front campaigns for fashion brands, to star in movies and, of course, to release music. This marks the first year that three people from the same country have swept the board.
The Winner: Riskykidd
At meal time we all crave a bit of flavour, and boy does Riskykidd bring the spice. Born Shane Schuller, Risky is the son of a Jamaican mother and German father. He grew up in London before moving to Greece as a teen. He picked up the local tongue—and immediately started to werk it. His vocals are raw and spiritual, and whenever he speaks we can’t help but listen.
We first fell in love with Mr Kidd when Freaky Fortune released an acoustic medley of Eurovision winners on March 29. Risky brought drama and depth to Ell & Nikki’s “Running Scared” and Lena’s “Satellite”, among other songs. You have to watch this.
We had our first encounter with Riskykidd a few days later in Amsterdam during Eurovision in Concert 2014. We learned that Risky doesn’t do pretension and prefers a casual, urban look. He and the men of Freaky Fortune wore their #RiseUp t-shirts, and paired them with denim jeans. Risky (and Nick and Theo) were pure warmth. They brought the Greek weather and blasted us with sunshine. Wiwi and Riskykidd even shared an on-camera hug.
By the time Eurovision rolled around, Riskykidd had won over tens of thousands of new fans with his effortless cool and openness. He opened Greece’s Eurovision act with his sexy vocals, telling Europe “I’ve got the crowd and that’s enough…” One minute and twenty-four seconds into the performance, he began to stomp down the runway, at one point loosening his leather jacket from his right shoulder. He jammed and grooved and vogued with ease. In that one moment we knew a star had been born.
First Runner-Up: Nikolas Raptakis
During our interview in Amsterdam, we learned that Nikolas is the “Freaky” in Freaky Fortune. It’s not just because he goes by @freaky_nick on Instagram. This wild child has several tattoos, including a soundwave and a pin-up girl. He told us that the message of “Rise Up” is to be positive and creative, and to get over all your difficulties. When you look as good as Nikolas, it’s easy to be optimistic.
Nikolas doesn’t follow the rules and he isn’t a slave to fashion. During Greece’s Eurovision performance he let his white button-up shirt hang out beneath his black jacket. He was edgy and at ease, and he worked every inch of that runway. When he mounted the trampoline and continued to sing we knew this was a man in control of his voice—and his body.
It doesn’t surprise us that he has a tight diaphragm. Ahead of the final we caught up with Freaky Fortune and Riskykidd in the press center. They told us they had been working out…
Second Runner-Up: Theofilos Pouzbouris
Theofilis is the “Fortune” in Freaky Fortune. In Amsterdam he told us about his magical connection to dreams. It’s appropriate. Our readers think he is super dreamy.
He also prefers casual to stuffy and loose to uptight. He wears an earring in one of his years, adding a bit of rebel to balance out the angelic face.
The group’s producer, Teo knows how to drop a beat—and how to turn it into something hot. He’s a magician on the keyboard and was the steady heartbeat of Greece’s act this year. He may have stood in place for most of the act, but this is the man who made the song move.
But it’s not just about the music for him. “We urge people to rise up above their difficulties and whatever keeps them down,” he says of their song Rise Up. “Young people are often affected by the financial crisis. [Our song] is reality through the prism of youth and creativity.”
Modern look. Modern mind. Modern man.
Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model 2014: Complete Results
- Greece’s Riskykidd: 6,610 votes, 38.62%
- Greece’s Nikolas Raptakis: 2,642 votes, 15.44%
- Greece’s Theofilos Pouzbouris: 1,749 votes, 10.22%
- Armenia’s Aram Mp3: 1,391 votes, 8.13%
- Romania’s Ovi: 1,046 votes, 6.11%
- The Netherlands’ Waylon: 1,019 votes, 5.95%
- Switzerland’s Sebalter: 819 votes, 4.79%
- Belarus’ Teo: 469 votes, 2.74%
- Hungary’s András Kállay-Saunders: 382 votes, 2.23%
- Finland’s Topi Latukka: 243 votes, 1.42%
- Malta’s Richard Edwards Micallef: 234 votes, 1.37%
- France’s Lorent Ardouvin: 223 votes, 1.3%
- Finland’s Men of Softengine: 111 votes, 0.65%
- Montenegro’s Sergej Cetkovic: 77 votes, 0.45%
- Denmark’s Basim: 72 votes, 0.42%
- Georgia’s Men of the Shin: 27 votes, 0.16%
- France’s Patrick Biyik: 93 votes, 0.87% [Eliminated — Week 2]
- Norway’s Carl Espen: 80 votes, 0.75% [Eliminated — Week 2]
- Latvia’s Jöran Steinhauer: 68 votes, 0.64% [Eliminated — Week 2]
- France’s François Ardouvin: 58 votes, 0.54% [Eliminated — Week 2]
- Poland’s Donatan: 57 votes, 0.53% [Eliminated — Week 2]
- Belgium’s Axel Hirsoux: 41 votes, 0.38% [Eliminated — Week 2]
- Iceland’s Men of Pollapönk: 29 votes, 0.27% [Eliminated — Week 1]
- Latvia’s Raitis Vilumovs: 28 votes, 0.26% [Eliminated — Week 1]
- Latvia’s Guntis Veilands: 21 votes, 0.2% [Eliminated — Week 1]
Normally the winner’s portfolio features only the winner. But given that Greece went 1-2-3, we’re bypassing tradition and including photos of both Riskykidd and his Eurovision collaborators Nick and Theo. What a trio…