We continue to look at all the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them. And today we will be crossing the Mediterranean Sea straight to this year’s runner-up, Cyprus.

Cyprus debuted in 1981. Their early years in Eurovision were quite good, having reached fifth and sixth places in their first two appearances. Their record afterwards was mixed, with some songs that were ranked amongst the top ten (mainly between the mid-’80s to the mid-’90s). Since the introduction of the semi-finals, Cyprus had been struggling, having failed to qualify four times in a row between 2006 to 2009. But during the last few years, their qualification rate has improved dramatically, and last May they were very close to a win with Eleni Fouriera’s “Fuego”.

With a unique and interesting series of songs and artists in the history of Eurovision, let us sail to the lovely island of Cyprus and highlight the 10 reasons of why we love Cyprus at the Eurovision Song Contest.

1. They have competed for the longest at Eurovision without a victory

Cyprus joined Eurovision 37 years ago and has missed it only three times (1988, 2001 and 2014). This means that Cyprus now holds the record for the most number of times competing in Eurovision without a single victory. But 2018 may have changed Cyprus’s fortune at the contest. After their amazing show in Lisbon and their best result ever, it looks as if it is now only a matter of time until they win. We hope that Cyprus will not have to wait much longer before they finally take the trophy!

2. Yeah yeah, fire!

From the fierceness of the performance to the emotion and tension of the televote — Cyprus brought the drama to Lisbon (not to mention the epic Wiwi Jam performance). Eleni Fouriera’s performance and charisma set the arena ablaze – serving that fiery realness. “Fuego” has since become a huge hit, with around 50 million views on YouTube for the music video and the live performances. It can still be heard in clubs and on radios around Europe.

3. The Greek–Cypriot connection and the Vissi dynasty

It is no secret that Greece and Cyprus’ bonds are unbreakable, probably due to their cultural closeness and shared language. As we’ve seen in our article regarding why we love Greece, the exchange of points between the countries speaks for itself. But the bonds between the countries are also demonstrated in their selection of artists. Many artists who represented Cyprus are Greek or with Greek origins. The most interesting ones to mention are the Cyprus-born sisters Anna and Lia Vissi. Anna, who represented Greece in 1980, returned in 1982 with her legendary “Mono I agapi” (“Only Love”) as a performing artist for Cyprus. Sister Lia represented Cyprus with “To Katalava Arga” (“I realised it too late”) and six years earlier as a backing singer for Greece in Jerusalem 1979.

4. They put their own twist on Greek

Back in the era of the national-language rule, Cyprus knew how to use Greek to create a modern sound. In 1987, they sent “Aspro Mavro”, which used a catchy rhythm. Ten years later they sent the unforgettable “Mana Mou”, which used a similar structure and ensured the equally catchy song could be a huge success.

5. You can predict their songs by their title

It’s the oldest trick in a songwriter’s book — choose a song title that evokes a key lyric from a song and you’ll get people humming along just from the title alone. Cyprus has raised this to an art form. Try to read “Ela Ela (Come Baby)”, “Anna Maria Lena”, “La La Love” and – of course – “Fuego” and not get triggered!

6. Their songs age very well

Take “Mono i agapi” as an example – it is almost 40 years old but it still sounds like a modern ballad. “Genesis” from 1998 is another example. The song is a powerful pop tune which still sounds relevant despite its age (alongside with his handsome performer, Michalis Hatzigiannis, who has since become famous in Greece and Cyprus).

7. Some of their songs were overwhelming underrated

In 1999, Cyprus had huge expectations with their song “Thane Erotas” (“It will be love”), performed by Marlain. It was also ranked very high in the betting odds. But on the night of the show, the song finished second last. Fans were devastated.

Evridiki is another example of a great singer who brought two masterpieces to the Eurovision stage which weren’t appreciated. In 1994, she sang the unforgettable “Eimai anthropos ki ego” (“I am also a human being”), which only reached 11th place. Evridiki came back in 2007 again but this time with a French up-tempo number, “Comme ci, comme ça”. It was a hot favourite going into the contest, but it failed to qualify from the mammoth single semi-final.

8. They change their numbers and never stick with one style

Over the years, their songs were very diverse: from quiet ballads like “Stronger Every Minute”, to cheery performances such as “Gimme”; from hymns addressing the universe like “S.O.S” and “Genesis” to ethno-pop and dancing such as “Gravity” and “Fuego”. Cyprus takes Eurovision very seriously and always finds a way to be original and bring something new.

9. Without Cyprus’ points, Turkey would not have won in 2003

Since its Eurovision debut, Cyprus has never normally given any points to Turkey — nor has it received any. Except for one very interesting year. In 2003, Cyprus broke the cycle and awarded Sertab Erener eight points for “Everyway That I Can”. It was enough to give Turkey a two-point lead over Belgium and earn them their first Eurovision victory. Curiously, Turkey gave one point “back” to Cyprus a year later — also for the first time — when the contest was held in Istanbul.

10. They know how to rock out

Cyprus excels when it comes to sending glamorous divas to Eurovision, but in 2016 they proved they could go in the opposite direction. After making a mark in the 2015 national final, rock band Minus One was internally selected with the song “Alter Ego”. They brought their Cypriot rock to Stockholm, where it sailed into the grand final.

Bonus! They work their hairography

Whether it is a straight and smooth style like a femme fatale (Evdokia Kadi and Evridiki), wild like a lioness (Eleni Fouriera) or sleek-but-relaxed (Despina Olimpiou), Cyprus females’ singers simply have a very chic style when it comes to their hair!

Bonus 2! Alex Panayi

Building on those Greek-Cypriot connections, we just have to mention Alex Panayi. The Nicosia-born singer sang with Helena Paparizou in 2005 when she won the contest with ‘My Number 1’. But he’s also had plenty of success at Eurovision on his own — he came ninth with fan favourite “Sti fotia” in 1995 and placed 21st in 2000 as part of the duo The Voice with the song “Nomiza”. And let’s not even get into all the amazing artists he has coached, including Sergey Lazarev and Aisel. A man of the people, and a huge supporter of the Eurovision community, he also performed at the inaugural Wiwi Jam in Stockholm in 2016!

Read more Cyprus Eurovision news here

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Matt C
Guest
Matt C

4 consecutive finals in the last 4 years. No one can boast of that except of Sweden and Austria (albeit both had a win in between so they qualified anyway) and Australia who were in the final by default in 2015.

Matt C
Guest
Matt C

“Many artists who represented Cyprus are Greek or with Greek origins. The most interesting ones to mention are sisters Anna and Lia Vissi.”

Is the author implying that Anna Vissi is Greek? Because if that’s the case then I’ve got some news for you. She’s actually Cypriot and a proud one at that. The phrasing seems very off as to say that she’s of Greek origin where in fact she was born in Larnaca and then made a successful career in Greece spanning 5 decades.

OrangeVorty
Guest
OrangeVorty

What about the awesome “Teriazoume”? Evridiki’s first attempt of three for Cyprus in 1992 – and possibly her best if you forgive her hitting the microphone stand. The very definition of sultry.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

pelican fly fly flyin

Joe
Guest
Joe

Hot take: blow for blow, I prefer Cyprus’ entries to Greece’s. I dunno, I feel like they kept changing it up while Greece was content to keep sending the same thing, and like a lot of other countries with more esoteric selections, they kind of waited it out and are now constant qualifiers and the most recent runners-up. Lots of goodies to choose here, but much as I love Fuego (though it took me until rehearsals to see it for the smash it was), my favorite’s either Mono i agapi or Mana mou (97 has my favorite entries for Cyprus,… Read more »

Linzer Torte
Guest
Linzer Torte

Best Top 10 of why wiwi loves ever. Very thoughtful and legit.

The others were really awkward, random facts, and Germany’s love came from a German blogger.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Mana Mou’s “Dam dam daba dam, daba daba dam, dapa dam dapa dam, dapa dapa dapa dam…daba daba dam, daba daba dam….” will never leave my brain.

Evridiki 1994 is their best ever, though. She represented them three times, don’t forget 1992…

ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)
Guest
ESCFan2009 (male, 22, German)

Yey, finally an article where all the Netta haters on this website could go to, so that they don’t spam the other articles with their weirdness or saying bad things about wiwibloggs, that are not true, cause wiwibloggs is the best Eurovision website ever! 😉 😛 And now, haters, downvoting my comment in 3, 2, 1…

Kat
Guest
Kat

“Life Looks Better In Spring” is one of my all-time favorite Eurovision songs, and it’s so oft-overlooked and underrated! They made me FEEL

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

That’s probably one of my least favorite Cyrus entries, or actually of any entry. Maybe because he was Welsh , I don’t know, but it didn’t seem genuinely Cypriot and was so dull. Plus he beat Constantinos in the national final, and even though he too had a bad song it would have been nice to see him back in Oslo like in ’96.

Fredrik
Guest
Fredrik

Cyprus is most “famous” in a bad way for “Greece 12 Points” . I love the new voting system so we dont have to hear it that often anymore. Cyprus in 2012 i STILL feel its a crime it wasnt top 5. Cyprus in 2007 and 1985 was a crime to.

Eyal
Guest
Eyal

I love Cyprus because they are our close neighbors and their country is beautiful. Like us, they are part of that “club” of countries which take part in Eurovision that aren’t geographically part of Europe, but culturally have a lot in common with this continent (each country on a different level, of course). This club includes Armenia and to a great extent Georgia and Azerbaijan (and Turkey, back in the day).
We’re the real Big5 (;

Cheers from Israel

Wind
Guest
Wind

All contrary, songs like Fuego are what Cyprus listens most of the time, but they were afraid to send them, they thought that for an international festival, they must send traditional/folk inspired songs. I hope next year, Cyprus or Greece will send Elli Kokkinou.

pp77
Guest
pp77

For me best 3 song from Cyprus was song from 1997 than 2000 , 1995, I also like song from 1987, 1989,1991,1992,1994,1998,1999,2002,2004,2005,2007,2012,2018
They deserved to be in final in 2007, 2011. They don t deserved to be in final 2010,2015. Overrated in points for me in 1982, 2004 . Underrated in points in 1992,1994,1998,1999 and especialy in 2000.

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

Fuego was all well and good but it feels like an outlier. Unless CyBC is going to get Alex P and Eleni F involved every year, they’ll probably go back to using the remaining Eurosong 2015 finalists who will all end up placing around 22nd.

Blackquill
Guest
Blackquill

“Yeah yeah fire”? Yeah, one could tell that song was not written so that I would like it.

That being said, I want to give a shout out to the biggest injustice, “San Aggelos S’agapisa” ending second to last in its semi. I would’ve wished for something of that similar style, ethno-rock or what you may call it. But I figure as much that Cyprus won’t go for that sound anytime soon.

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

2011 was a strange year – very “all bets are off” re the qualifiers. But to be fair the staging for “San Aggelos S’agapisa” kind of killed it – ethnno mystique meets Smooth Criminal. The songs that did well that year had stronger staging that didn’t get lost on the huge stage.

#pioneer
Guest
#pioneer

as for Cyprus 2011: wasn’t it them who had a screaming/wailing? lady on stage who was spinning a big ball (or whatever was that) covered with some lines? (dunno how to describe it well)
The song wasn’t bad, but the performance kinda destroyed their chances…

Mia
Guest
Mia

2011 my favourite Cyprus entry ever. So underrated. It’s so magical and i liked the staging. <3

hi im gay
Guest

The true winner of eurovision 2018….

Is Netta <3

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

We all know that, she won, alright, this article is about Cyprus.
And that’s coming from an Israeli guy…

Eee Pee
Guest
Eee Pee

La La Love is one of my favourite Eurovision songs of all time! It should of won!

Yanis2Y
Guest
Yanis2Y

I’m waiting for the “cYpRuS sHoUlD hAvE wOn EuRoViSiOn 2018” comments

Alex
Guest
Alex

Yeah Yeah Fire.