Elena Tsagrinou is set to represent Cyprus at Eurovision 2021 with the fiery “El Diablo”. While in the midst of her preparations for the contest, the star took time to have an interview with wiwibloggs about her entry and discredits ideas that the song is in any way paying homage to the devil.

Indeed, Elena’s entry was the subject of a petition from a local religious group who were campaigning for the song to be axed. The Association of Theologists in Cyprus claimed that “El Diablo” is “scandalous” and goes against Christian values. But the country’s broadcaster stood their ground. CyBC released a response to said petition, and say the song will not be withdrawn from Eurovision.

Speaking to us on Zoom from Panik Records Studios, Elena has her say on the matter and immediately sets the record straight by telling us what “El diablo” is all about.

Interview: Cyprus’ Elena Tsagrinou on “El Diablo”

“It’s not about the devil. We all fight, this song takes me inside of this position. When the song goes to the end, I get off from the relationship. I am inside the song from the beginning to the end.” Elena continues, “[It is about] a bad relationship with someone. I connect so much with “El Diablo”. That’s why I do this job and that’s why I am singing it. I am a singer and I want to feel what I am doing.”

Moving on from the meaning of the song, Elena also talks about her first impressions of “El Diablo” when she was initially offered the song: “From the first time I see that the production is very huge”. And while a good first impression is of course vital, the star notes that she developed an even stronger appreciation for the track further down the line. “It was a good quality song for the Eurovision Song Contest but when I got into the process and to the rehearsals, I see that it is not just about just a good song. It has everything, the attitude and the brokenness.”

Songs of course don’t have to be ballads to be emotional. Elena reveals to us where the song takes her when she is singing it. “I have a history and I take the history inside the rehearsals. I get emotional every time and I have a story in my mind”, she said. “Sometimes inside the song I feel dead, completely dead because they are destroying me. That guy, the situation, destroyed me so I cry and I am completely dead, then I get off of this.”

Elena Tsagrinou on the “El Diablo” music video

There is so much going on in Elena’s dark and pulsating music video for “El Diablo”. It leaves a lot for discussion and debate, especially the star’s battle with the demonic men painted in dark greys to blacks. Elena let’s us know exactly what is going on.

“It’s the angel and the devil inside us that talk to much in our heads and make us crazy”, she said. “In the end, in this relationship between the devil and the angel, I am the winner. They destroy my passion and I get it back again – freedom.”

Live-on-tape recording and stage performance

Elena recorded her live-on-tape recording for Eurovision 2021 last month in Sofia, Bulgaria. We wanted to see if we could get a flavour of what that was like. “It’s very very different because there was no audience, it’s like a video clip”, she said. “But it is completely different when we perform on stage. I don’t feel the same. I want to feel the real performance in the Eurovision Song Contest and I am really glad we will have it this year.”

Unfortunately for us, Elena Tsagrinou was tight lipped in the interview and wouldn’t reveal anything about her stage show for Rotterdam: “I will keep my little secrets for the live performance!”.

Elena did reveal though that Canadian Eurovision writer extraordinaire Laurell Barker will be singing backup on the night as part of an all-female backing singer team. Laurell was the mastermind who co-wrote “El Diablo” and had three songs competing at Eurovision 2019. “She does the best backing vocals ever! She is the best. I think her voice is amazing.”, notes Elena. “My voice is not so high, Laurel takes that personality in my voice and we connect with each other.”

Elena on support from previous acts and her Eurovision 2021 favourites

We love it when artists have a respect for the contest before they enter Eurovision and Elena is no different. She confesses to be a massive fan herself. “I love Eurovision, I am a huge fan too! So I want to have fun!”

As part of the interview, Elena Tsagrinou also revealed that previous Cypriot Eurovision artists have shown her a lot of support, including 2018 fire queen Eleni Fouriera and 2019 “Replay” singer Tamta. “We are all in Panik Records so we keep this vibe, they support me so much.”

The support for Elena transcends time as well. Her former band members from Greek group OtherView have also sent Elena wishes. “These guys have made my career what it is now, so I give it to them and thank them. They have made me who I am.”

Elena has also been keeping tabs on the competition for Eurovision 2021. She notes Montaigne as one of her favourites from this year’s contingent. “She is completely different, I like it. She reminds me of me last year when I had pink hair.” Other acts mentioned were Malta’s Destiny and Bulgaria’s Victoria. “I love [Victoria], I love her ballads, so emotional. We have a lot of good songs this year!”

Preparation for the contest

Schedules are incredibly busy for stars like Elena at the best of times. Throw in the biggest music contest in the world and you have anarchy. Elena explains what she gets up to and how she is staying calm in preparation for Rotterdam.

“I work a lot now. I have exactly the time when I am sleeping and exactly the time when I am eating. Exactly the time when I am on phone calls for work and friends. It’s all in boxes.” Elena continues, “I don’t want to be anxious. That is me and that’s good about me, the programme makes me not anxious, it keeps me relaxed. I am doing yoga all the time that keeps me sane. That is the secret.”

What did you take away from this interview with Elena Tsagrinou? Are you hoping she can go all the way with “El Diablo” at Eurovision 2021? Let us know in the comments box down below.

Read more Eurovision 2021 interviews here

Read more Cyprus Eurovision news here

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Alex
Alex
7 months ago

Tamta is not signed under Panik but she’s with EMI.

Anyway, i find it annoying and superficial when we’re analysing so deep silly fun pop songs like El Diablo. It’s not about the devil or some deep meaning about troubled relationships. just a fun silly pop song so enjoy it guys!!

Thisisntourlastdance
Thisisntourlastdance
7 months ago

It annoys me when artists try to give to a song a deeper meaning that it has.
The song is about giving in to a man that doesnt act right all the time but owns a devilish charm. Where in the song she gets off the relationship? Shes singing the same lyrics at the end. Everyone wants to give to their song a feminist message nowdays… Sing your sexy song and go lolita <3

Last edited 7 months ago by Thisisntourlastdance
kohen
kohen
7 months ago

periodt

Gustav
Gustav
7 months ago

Cyprus should be favorite to win!!! So amazing <3

kohen
kohen
7 months ago
Reply to  Gustav

should BE? no way honey

Ern
Ern
7 months ago

Did they actually think the song was about the Devil? lol

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
7 months ago

With all this philosophical PR, I’m surprised that Elena didn’t mention the playground child part of the song. Evoking an inner child gives the song a poignant and potentially very sad metaphor. It just depends how the audience feels about it and how Elena chooses to perform that.

London Boy
London Boy
7 months ago

Wowww did you guys watch the live song performances.. Elena she blew me away.. If she will be like that on stage lets start booking tickets for Cyprus next year.. By far one of the best vocalists together with Croatia, Romania and Malta.. Cyprus is coming strong to claim the victory left back by the other Elena!!!

Polegend Godgarina
7 months ago

loving her philosophical interpretation !

Kas
Kas
7 months ago

After todays test…we’ll see if she is competent to sing like lady gaga or is just gaga

London Boy
London Boy
7 months ago
Reply to  Kas

And you kaka as always.. Grow up I will say again you became a clown in here.

Yannis
Yannis
7 months ago

where is her personality?

American Boy
American Boy
7 months ago
Reply to  Yannis

watch the video interview. She seems very friendly and always looking to make people smile, laugh, and to have a good time. I couldn’t help but smile throughout the entire interview.

esc_fl
esc_fl
7 months ago

I’m curious, where in the song is Elena breaking free from the relationship? The song still ends with “I love el diablo,” and in the verses she doesn’t seem to want to get out.

I honestly don’t understand where all this hate toward the Christian groups that called out the song comes from. As a Catholic I understand why it’s so controversial, and for me the song’s structure makes it hard for me to take it “metaphorically.” Just my opinion, but I still wish Elena all the best in Rotterdam!

Roodi
Roodi
7 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

where are you talking about? So you think it is normal that a person get dead threads because of the word el diablo in the song.You christians are not normal.If you wanna give criticism give it to the songwriters and producers not to Elena who is succesfull unlike you.

Kas
Kas
7 months ago
Reply to  Roodi

I suppose you R normal….lol

esc_fl
esc_fl
7 months ago
Reply to  Roodi

That’s 2.4 billion abnormal people; and since when was being normal (or successful) the standard?

Btw I wasn’t criticizing Elena and I think she could take Rotterdam by storm; it’s just the song that I don’t know what to think of.

Last edited 7 months ago by esc_fl
Trina
Trina
7 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

I actually agree with you here. While I think their stance is hyperbolic, and I find death threats completely inappropriate, I do think it is reasonable to consider that a portion of the Cypriot community feels that this song – which is composed by a non-Cypriot team and performed by a non-Cypriot – does not represent their values.

It is too bad this did not come out earlier, because it would have been such a simple fix to change the words ‘el diablo’ to something else; the lyrics are so…odd…that it probably wouldn’t change the song.

esc_fl
esc_fl
7 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

I should have specified that although I understand the Cypriot backlash, I 187% completely condemn the death threats she had received as well! And I acknowledge that she’s an amazing vocalist (I heard her acoustic snippet!). For me it just doesn’t make sense why some are quick to dismiss those reactions as groundless or ridiculous. And I would have agreed with a lyric change to clarify her meaning, like: “I fell in love, I fell in love, but you’re as bad as el diablo, el diablo, I’ve given up, I’ve given up, find someone else to be your angel, I’m… Read more »

esc_fl
esc_fl
7 months ago

To be fair atheism is also implied anti-religionism in the definition 😉

Roodi
Roodi
7 months ago
Reply to  esc_fl

Who cares

notyourtoy
notyourtoy
7 months ago

Elena is such a kind person! The song in terms of lyrics might not be the best, but listening to the song actually we don’t care that much for the lyrics by the time the sound is catchy. Apparently, a big amount of ESC songs (especially in the 2000s) have poor lyrics,(maybe because in that period it was allowed to sing in non native language). However, I believe if she doesn’t flop like Tamta, she will do really well

Kas
Kas
7 months ago
Reply to  notyourtoy

What is considered as a flop ?

notyourtoy
notyourtoy
7 months ago
Reply to  Kas

Performing below the expectations or simply sing badly on stage

Kas
Kas
7 months ago
Reply to  notyourtoy

Ok…but who had excpectations…from Tamta ?

notyourtoy
notyourtoy
7 months ago

Yeah, actually this is a radio-friendly song and that will be visible to the juries, with a good performance (I even believe that juries will appreciate as much as Sweden perhaps)

GiavK
GiavK
7 months ago

Elena is religious her self and has stated that her faith helped her go through the tough period when her boyfriend was fighting with cancer.
She really had no intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings and cause any controversy!

whoareyoupeople
whoareyoupeople
7 months ago

Who cares for 20 people, seriously?

Sot
Sot
7 months ago

Those kinds of misunderstandings make me feel bad for Elena… ‘El Diablo’ is a motivational song about having a bad husband and getting over it, spreading the message that you are not alone, and some CHRISTIANS4LIFE took it personally and thought she praised the devil…

What the heck, man!?

notyourtoy
notyourtoy
7 months ago
Reply to  Sot

It might be cringy hearing “I fell in love with El Diablo” and “I love El Diablo”, but if you have basic language knowledge, you would know that this is metaphoric

Sot
Sot
7 months ago
Reply to  notyourtoy

Yes, that’s what I’m saying, thank you

Kas
Kas
7 months ago
Reply to  notyourtoy

Do you believe this ?….heehee
its lovely…excuse for the masses…friends and enemies
Any pub.is good pub.
After Heleni the esc politic of Cyprus is cheapy and gupsy…

Kas
Kas
7 months ago
Reply to  Sot

If you want to provoke and to promote….that’s the way…

You think that they didn’t know….about the upcoming “noise” ?

Ian
Ian
7 months ago

She seems such a hard working person, I can’t wait for what she’s gonna do in May

Colin
Colin
7 months ago

The funny thing is that I find it kinda meta. It’s a calculated and slick product, with every inch in it’s place, selling commercial products in the process. It tells the story of a woman surrendering to the darkness, because she feels validated there. It tells it in such a calculated way that it actually, ironically, makes it ten times better. Elena is willing to forgive her devil all his faults because he ”tells her she is his angel”. People are willing to overlook how cheesy this song is because it sells them the club banger they need. You know… Read more »

impressiveinstants
impressiveinstants
7 months ago

You can literally remove her voice and sing Bad Romance over this. Entirely. Anyway, the entry is effective so…

daizy
daizy
7 months ago

I am greek and I like here very much first of alla because she is so down to earth and positive vibed person. She gave also another interview at greek tv this week in which I made a translation of. ournalist:??u are so beautiful,positive,joyful girl. Elena:I try,whatever I do,to keep my charachter in it and generally look at things with a positive vibe. I think in the last six months I have lived everything. I couldn’t imagine that there would be these religious reactions . I expected that everyone would see it as an act ,as a joyful performance which… Read more »

daizy
daizy
7 months ago
Reply to  daizy