The 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has come and gone. From my home in Greece, I watched Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöw cruise to victory with a distinctive entry and a breathtaking stage show. Sadly these two elements were missing from Greece‘s handbook as it prepared its Eurovision bid with “One Last Breath” and Maria Elena Kyriakou. For a second year in a row, the land of Eurovision legends like Sakis Rouvas and Helena Paparizou ended up on the right-hand side of the scoreboard. Maria Elena finished in 19th position with just 23 points.

In a way it’s déjà vu. Last year Greece’s Freaky Fortune and Riskykidd sang the happy, but forgettable “Rise Up”, and finished 20th, which was the country’s worst result in years. We all had high hopes for Greece to get back on a winning path. But when Greece selected a ballad —one of 15 in the contest — it became clear Greece might get lost in the mix.

MARIA-ELENA IN TEARS AFTER RESULT

The morning after the grand final, Greek starlet Maria-Elena Kyriakou appeared on the morning TV show “Proino SouKou” live via satellite from Vienna. The Voice of Greece winner was devastated. “Unfortunately, Eurovision includes two different aspects: the performance and the voting,” she said. She also questioned how acts that finished below her in the first semi-final — Serbia, Armenia, Albania — ended up higher than Greece in the final. “I’ve watched the contest for years, but it’s the first time I’ve dealt with such problematic voting,” she said. “It’s telling that Austria got no points. I cried a lot yesterday.”

Maria Elena also mourned the fact that, while the Cypriot viewers voted her first, the Cypriot jury only ranked her 6th. The fact that Cyprus did not award Greece douze points must tell us something about the Greek act. As for the winner of the contest, Maria-Elena was taken by surprise, as she believed Italy would win.

WHAT GREECE NEEDS FOR SUCCESS

Enough is enough: No more songs in English. The Greek music industry is strong enough and deep enough to dream up a catchy song that honours Greek tradition and rhythm, and that can appeal to its Balkan neighbours. As you’ll recall Greece’s only Eurovision win — Miss Paparizou with “My Number One” — was distinctly Greek and managed to appeal to voters across the continent. Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis? Very Greek and very sixth place. Authenticity is in. Go Greek, I say!

Do not count pop songs out. In order to get into the Top 10, Greece should consider a distinctive pop song. The last time that this hapenned was in 2008 with “Secret Combination”. And guess what? Third place.

In two years of broadcasting Eurovision, NERIT has failed in virtually every domain I can think of. On the most serious level it’s been criticized as a mouthpiece of the state. And on a cultural level it’s failed at Eurovision. We hope that the return of ERT will mark Greece’s return to distinctive and original entries at ESC.

Follow all of our Greece Eurovision news here

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Azaad
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Azaad

Well since the bailout for Greece has been approved, the network responsible (I think for 2016 they’re reverting to the original) might feel less anxious of managing Eurovision 2017.

I think what Greece should do is send their version of Loic or Aminata- these countries lack significant voting support via neighbours or diasporas and still did really well because of how unique and ethereal their songs were. But they were probably too left field for a victory. If Greece do a modern uber artistic song like Love Injected then they can get a top 10 place without winning.

esc1234
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esc1234

Well to be honest nobody really likes what we send. Ballad? Nooo boring uptempo? Pff as usual. Decide what you want from us and then tell us.

Ivan
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Ivan

@Gilho Ahn: If we want to be very, but very strict, I completely agree. But the Eurovision Olympus can’t be that empty.

marinek
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marinek

TO Gilho Ahn

But why you want always Greece with bouzouki or traditional music when Russia came 2nd with a western ballad.Serbia in top 10 with pop song etc.Why this exception for Greece?I cant understand this.They dont listen to bouzouki all day.They have great greek pop and rock music too.

Gilho Ahn
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Gilho Ahn

And there is one way of Greece returning to top 10. Bouzouki.

Gilho Ahn
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Gilho Ahn

@Ivan and @GG
I recognize only one legend, the only one to have won the contest thrice, two as performer and one as composer.

BIONDA
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BIONDA

I have watched the greek final and Maria Elena was the best act.The others couldnt sing.Sunshine as a song was good but when Shaya started to sing ,oh god!Leave it. In my opinion she was unlucky because there were too many ballads this year and when you have Norway and Greece you go to Norway because of the Scandianavian block.Just see how many countries support each other.But this year Greece and Cyprus were out of this and I was so happy.It was so fair that Greece gave 12 points to Italy and not to Cyprus as it was for me… Read more »

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

@Robyn Oh right, I never knew.

George
Guest
George

2009-We sent a pop song and we got down 2 places cause of juries.. 2010- we sent a Greek dance dance song and we got down 3 place cause of juries.. 2011- We sent a very greek song including rap and we got 4 place down cause of juries (top 3 at televoting) 2012- an English pop dance song with Greek dance 8 places lower ause if juries 2013- a Greek balcan song 2 places down cause of juries 2014- a dance club song 7 place down cause if juries This year we sent a ballad cause we see that… Read more »

Ivan
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Ivan

@GG: Getting a 3rd and a 7th place is basically lowering the standards to call someone a “legend”. There are much more relevant people in the Eurovision history.

Richie
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Richie

it was great Greece sent something different by its own standards, but unfortunately it chose a ballad in the year-of-the-ballads. Of course she cried, the relief and emotion must be huge – but so many things to be proud about. I was a never a big fan of this song but in the SF and GF she was a million times better than the Greek NF. Moreover she handled the pressure to keep Greece’s 100% qualification record in tact. Perhaps 19th place is not as good as other entries in the past but she did not lose any fans in… Read more »

Ivan
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Ivan

Sakis Rouvas and Helena Paparizou? Legends of Eurovision? … Seriously?

Milla
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Milla

I actually couldn’t hear that she sung in english until the first refrain. Maybe this song would be better in greek. But the performance is nothing new either. It’s been seen so many times and it has no identity. Greece is best when they show their culture more with both sound and performance. Blend and mix the modern with traditional influences. Experiment! Sorry if I can’t explain better.

davve
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davve

People say her vocals was great. In my opinion it did not impress me… her english pronounciation is not great. she couldnt handle the high notes 100%.

had she had the same vocal ability as Polina, greece could/would have been top5.

Daniel_2015
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Daniel_2015

As far as I could see, Greece’s results started to worsen since 2009, when, of course, the juries were introduced. A traditional song would be great for viewers, who showed in the past that they loved it, but I’m not sure the juries would feel the same way…

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

I think Maria Elena’s voice is really amazing and she could certainly have won the contest… but the song was really mediocre.

Darren
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Darren

Greece sang in Greek before, in 2010 with OPA so its not uncommon, I forget how they placed though but I think it was top 10

Darren
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Darren

Greece played it way too safe this year I think. Credit to Maria, she has a great voice, but the song was instantly forgettable. She was basically repeating the same thing over again, just in a higher key each time. IMO she should just be happy she qualified, because if that was any other country, and not the 100% qualifier, Greece, it definitely wouldn’t have qualified, just look at Malta and Switzerland. I dunno why she is complaining, Greece qualifies every year!!! I would like to see a Eurovision where Russia, Greece, Romania and Azerbaijan dont actually qualify….just to make… Read more »

Vicente
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Vicente

One last breath is good enough in my mind. Maybe being 19th doesn’t sound good in Greece, but listening pop songs again and again every year without obvious changing, that’s gonna be bored, especially from Greece. I’m very happy seeing Greece did something different this year. They sent a lovely Cypriot singer(or goddess in my viewpoint), letting her sentimental ballad to enter the gate of Eurovision. Although the result may not fits huge amounts’ expectation, I’d rather think like this…it proves that Greece can still be IN the final if the Greek doesn’t send a happily, crazily, over-dancing pop song.… Read more »

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

It was a great song and like Spain’s, if it was another year, could have been a winner. For whatever reason, Eurovision voters and juries do not go big for the same style of song as the winner from the year before. A big ballad was not going to get the job done this year.

I thought Greece did an amazing job.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I mean, Maria Elena sung perfectly well. But the song is not that interesting, period. It’s pretty generic. There were so many other ballads/slow songs that were more moving or musically interesting than this one (Norway, Azerbaijan, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Montenegro), so the ranking is not a surprise at all.

Zac
Guest
Zac

Send Demy or Eleni Foureira?

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Deven: “Like Ireland, Greece has serious financial difficulties and as a result, they can’t afford a win.” Don’t believe the myth that Eurovision is costly to stage. The EBU essentially pays for the production and sponsors come on board to help out. It’s not hard for the host country to profit from hosting Eurovision, as Austria have done. Countries that over spend do so from things not directly related to hosting Eurovision – like building a brand new arena. If Ireland or Greece won the competition, they would have no trouble hosting it. And remember – the winning country is… Read more »

Charles
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Charles

Praising the songs that got to the top5 or top10 as a way to explain Greece’s success does not mean it had quality, it just meant people felt entertained (what do televoters know about music anyway? even dog lifting up its legs can be delightfully entertaining) and if it is Greece’s goal to just entertain … send a monkey then. Had these songs never reached the top5 or top10 I kinda wonder what would be the purpose of this opinion article today? …. Because the true beauty of Greece’s ethnic sound is far more superior that any piece of crap… Read more »

Racal
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Racal

Geeve was one of my favourite acts before the live shows, but when I saw Maria-Elena singing live… What a disappointment! She was just trying too hard to look like a diva, with that resting b*tch face and all those big arm gestures. She was trying so hard that she actually looked ridiculous… Doesn’t surprise me that she didn’t score a lot of points. The studio version of the song is cool though!

Btw, I would totally like it if Greece sing in greek next year!

Calvin
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Calvin

“Enough is enough: No more songs in English.”

Hear to the frickin’ hear. Europe’s voters have shown that they are responsive to the Greek language (a privilege not every country coughFrancecough has); why not take advantage of it?

JimM
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JimM

First of all I don’t think that ranking 19th among 40 countries is that bad.
Secondly the recipe for a top 10 performance is one: investment. If we want to achieve sth good, we have to invest: in time, talent, brainstorming and of course money. With this investment, innovation will come either on the production of the song, on the staging, on the performance, on the marketing etc and this innovation can lead to points inflow…

George
Guest

@ Alex
”People tend to forget that it’s not a voice contest though.”

It’s not a dancing contest either. Sayha didn’t go to Vienna because she didn’t sang at all, not because she didn’t sang great ! . And Thomai’s song was a total crap.

Mar
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Mar

Please bring some Mediterranean flavor into next year’s contest, Greece! I’ve been missing it for the last two years

MTD
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MTD

Oh, c’mon Wiwi writers, jump in and write a losers story about each of your respective countries/entries. This is beyond pathetic.

Eris
Guest
Eris

She could have placed higher i think. Semi final results have no connection with the final. In semi finals votw half of the countries while in the final all countries. The voting this year was a mess , no one denies that. But 7/10 countries that reached the top 10 deserves it. what i don’t get it is how did serbia end 10th with the 50/50, serbia was like dead last with albania and poland In the jury voting.

Alex
Guest
Alex

the problem this year was the poor national final. Thomai was clearly the best and her song was extremely interesting and catchy! It stands out from the rest boring and slow songs.

Maria Elena was chosen because her vocal performance was flawless. People tend to forget that it’s not a voice contest though.

George
Guest

Nothing went wrong this year. It’s just proven that Europeans want Greece as the party animal of the contest, sending euro-balkan-trash pop craps. Oh yeah . How amazing was Saya this year with Sunshine. She simply couldn’t sing a note! But we should have sent her anyway, cause you whould vote for her.
That said ,I think Maria Elena whould be top 10 in a less competitive year.

blondboybc
Guest
blondboybc

Yes, I agree Greece needs to return to its roots with something more upbeat and Greek-sounding…instrumentally, vocally, etc! Helena Paparizou was the perfect act for Greece…let her be your model, Greece! Best of luck in Sweden in 2016! You’ve such a rich ESC history, don’t let us down! 🙂

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

YES…This thing that we always trade with Cyprus the 12 points without really deserving it managed to stop this year finally at last & will not get ever repeated again from now on…Except if only the greek or cypriot song really deserve to get voted with 12 points..

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

My sister asked me how many times i voted 4 Italy and we Greeks did not give our 12 points to Cyprus but to Italy! 😛 ahahahahaha 😀 😛
Well our Greek jury ranked Cuprus’s song 2nd & surprisingly Cyprus did not win in our televoting but came even 3rd behind Italy & Albania {because we have too many albanians immigrants in Greece thats why..}
At least Maria Eleni won Cyprus’ televoting but the cypriot jury ranked her 6th..

criticca
Guest
criticca

Kudos to the Cypriot juries for not giving 12pts to Greece though. They did the right thing by eliminating neighbour bias. The song just didn’t click with the rest of Europe. Also yoo many ballads in grand finals, it failed to stand out.

SMM
Guest
SMM

Why all the smearing after the fact? I had no doubt in my mind the right choice in Greece was made. Fantastic singer with a bright future ahead of her, and a compelling song with an interesting form, particularly between the bridge and the final chorus. Silly me for thinking Greece might even win this year!

Chris
Guest
Chris

@ Mario
Maybe you are right.

poppipol
Guest
poppipol

Greece had a great summer hit in their final. It’s called Sunshine by Shaya. This song would’ve been at top 10.

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

@ No i do not believe that at all Chris…
The polish parlaiment might rejected it this time but next year or very soon will APPROVE it 4 sure! <3 🙂
Poland & tones of other countries will legalize gay arriages the following years! <3 🙂

We just need few countries to do the start and all of the others will follow! <3 🙂

Chris
Guest
Chris

@ Mario
Today Polish parliament rejected once more the civil partnerships. So your dream will come true not so soon.

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

@ Well Greece is one of the most active countries in EuroVision.. <3 In each Vision the tv ratings are huge & EurOvision is the most watched program show in teleVision here in Greece! <3 The tv ratings were even bigger than the ones we had in Euro 2004 that we were champions in football & the opening ceremony in Olympic Games! <3 When Greece manages to win again the tv ratings will break a record again here! <3 If we win the Vision again we will cheer & celebrate it even more vividly than in 2005.. <3 EuroVision without… Read more »

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

GreAtY news 4 the gay eurofans that my country Greece Hellas will fianlly legalize political marriages 4 Greek homosexuals & the gay couples will have civil partnerships <3 🙂 This will happen this summer <3 In USA gay marriages will finally be legalized in all 50 states of America this year! <3 Ireland voted YEs to legalize gay marriages few days ago <3 Give it few years & all the countries in Europe & the rest western countries will legalize gay marriages! <3 Sooner than we think in whole planet & in 200+ countries gay citizens people will enjoy the… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Why do we care so much about Greece. It’s just another country in Eurovision.

Mario My Vision of Gay Love
Guest
Mario My Vision of Gay Love

Maria Eleni with beautiful GreAtY Voice she has deserved a much betterr ballad..

We could had scored a better result in Vienna but im satisfied with our place & especially the fact that we managed to qualify from the SF and not lose our GreAtY record! <3 🙂

Oostenrijk
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Oostenrijk

Thank you Maria-Elena for crying over nul points for Austria. So did I.

rob
Guest

I like one last breath a lot! I voted for greece in the final!!!

Hippo
Guest
Hippo

Forgot to add, I was undecided at the time between jazz kai sirtaki and one last breath, in hindsight, maybe jazz kai sirtaki would have been a better choice but it could easily have gone down like electro velvet, guess we’ll never know.
The other three songs would have been eliminated in the semi though.

Alison
Guest
Alison

6th from the Cypriot jury is rather neighbourly for a very generic ballad…