Looking down the long road that leads to Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands, we can already see plenty of twists and turns. And one surprise that we’d love to embrace is having a former Junior Eurovision star graduate to the stage in Maastricht or Rotterdam. And who better than Stefania Liberakakis — the 16-year-old who rose to fame as part of the Dutch JESC 2016 act Kisses?
As the last name suggests, Stefania is a Dutch singer of Greek descent. She represents a vision of Europe without borders and embodies the Eurovision theme of celebrating diversity. Our dream of this teen queen singing at the song contest isn’t built on wishes alone. The idea that she could be considered by ERT actually seems increasingly realistic.
First, she recently delivered her debut television performance at the MAD VMAs in Greece. The annual spectacle routinely welcomes Eurovision stars — past, present and future — and is a barometer of who is in favour with fans — and bigwigs — in Greece. At the most recent edition earlier this summer, Stefania performed on the same stage as 2019 acts Luca Hänni and Tamta, and 2018 fan favourite Eleni Foureira.
The Utrecht star performed an all-girl cover of Daddy Yankee’s “Con calma” with Ilenia Williams and Konnie Metaxa. But she had the honour of being the first to walk out, boldly strutting down the catwalk and announcing her name: STEFANIA. She was cool, confident and completely unfazed. “I know we don’t speak the same language,” she sang, “but I’m gonna let my body speak for me.”
Another reason this could actually happen? Because Greece frequently searches far and wide for its star, often turning to its global diaspora. Eurovision winner Helena Paparizou — a Swede of Greek descent — immediately springs to mind. But there’s also New York born Kalomira, who placed third back in 2008, and more recently 2019 fan favourite Katerine Duska, who was born in Montreal, Canada. One competition, many Greek goddesses.
Know yourself and slay at all times. Those are two key attributes that Stefania brings to the table. Her burgeoning career stems from vast experience. In 2016 she won one of three coveted spots in Kisses — the Dutch Junior Eurovision act — and went on to place eighth out of 17 countries at the contest in Malta. Their number showcased major potential in all three of the girls, who danced, sang and generally wowed the audience.
Since then she’s starred in two episodes of the hit NPO series Brugklas, a scripted reality series about students in junior high. And she’s set to play a leading role in the big-screen adaptation of Brugklas. Prior to all this Stefania had already competed on The Voice Kids as a nine-year-old, and sung in two seasons of the show Children for Children. Eurovision seems like a good step in her ongoing evolution.
As you can see from the MAD VMA performance, our girl is fresh, she knows how to connect with a Greek audience and she can work a bold colour palate. Most of all she’s got the talent to deliver an upbeat ethno-bop that so many of us Eurovision fans crave from Greece.
What do you think about all this? Should Greece consider Dutch star Stefania? Do you agree that she embodies a touching cross-cultural collab? Would you want her to work with the Dream Team like Sergey, Aisel and Demy before her? Shout it out in the comments below!