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.