🇨🇾 A country that woke up and follows the ERT golden years steps
Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece)
EDITORIAL – The period 2004 – 2009 was the golden age for Greece as they have taken seriously the Eurovision Song Contest and ERT’s aim was to host and again and again. Brother nation Cyprus which debut in the contest in 1981 seemed to have settled with the success of a top five in numerous occasions. Somehow it seemed impossible for Cyprus to win the contest as Cypriot signers risen in the music industry only via Greek market and thought that levelled under the Greek flag was safer for them to go to Eurovision Song Contest.
Cyprus was “forced” to wake up in 2004 when Greece had to be represented highly inside Turkey, which hosted the event, choosing the amazing Lisa Andreas. They got a two five, a somehow had-to-get-to-ttop-five inside Istanbul. Since 2004, simply the chaos. In 2008 Cyprus national broadcaster seems to wanna test itself and applied (and hosted) the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with a great success in production and logistics. Since then again the chaos in the Eurovision Song Contest.
In overall, Cyprus has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 35 times since making its debut in 1981. Cyprus’ first entry was the group Island, who finished sixth. The country’s best result in the contest is a second-place finish with Eleni Foureira in 2018. Since 2004, Cyprus failed to qualify from the semi-final round for six out of eight years (2006–2013), before withdrawing from the 2014 contest. On 14 July 2014, CyBC officially confirmed Cyprus’ return to the contest, with the country reaching the final four times in a row in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
In 2018 new CyBC management under the influence of the amazing woman heading the national delegation for years, managed to persuade the ambitious new CEO that CyBC must not only start competing the other commercial broadcasters but also must do something internationally as Eurovision is for Cyprus (as well as for Malta) one of the few windows for thee country’s international exposure. Their collaboration with SVT’s Christer Bjorkamn the previous years also paid off. His advises to the broadcaster were listened and tempted CyBC two risk. Therefore a Swedish composing team and a league A’ signer would be ideal.
Their approach to Helena Paparizou and Tamta failed and their third choice brought the country in such media attention in 2018 that practically CyBC barely could handle itself. With the experience of Head of Delegation Evi Papamichael, the support of all Greeks and Cypriot inland and abroad, and the assistance of Panik Records, a powerful in public relations label in Greece, thee risk paid off. Cyprus almost won the contest. CyBC realised that they can win the Eurovision Song contest despite the obvious exchange of no jury voting with Israel!
The brig question was who’s next. Tamta was the person approached even from the day after the 2018 Grand Final concluded. Cyprus wants to win and you can tell from it’s strategy. Why not? A Eurovision edition in an exotic island full of sun, hot temperatures, amazing hospitality, facilities and food would be a paradise for the fans. But not that Tamta and the song Replay have been chosen – and despite wee haven’t heard the song yet, the big question is: Can Cyprus win in 2019?
Theoretically and statistically it seems impossible for achieving such a success again. But theories and statistics can be proven wrong. If back in the 90s someone told you that Cyprus will triumph in Eurovision, you would probably laugh.
Tamta’s history with Eurovision is not unknown. Although in 2006 Tamta said that she would only go to Eurovision to represent her home country, Georgia, in 2007 she participated in Greek national selection failing to win. In 2015 she missed the deadline for submitting her song “Unloved” to ERT loosing the Eurovision ticket again. It seems that there were attempts to send Tamta for Greece in 2016 and 2017 but somehow they failed.
Tamta on the other hand wasn’t sure herself. She was always stating that she needs a dog that can make her secure to present it on a Eurovision stage. Somehow the fans knew that Tamta would go to Eurovision, though, especially after thee was spotted in the audience seats in Copenhagen (2014) cheering for Freaky Fortune and Risky Kid.
For me, what actually Tamta need to hear from ERT and obviously heard it from CyBC, is the willingness of the broadcaster to win the contest. Of course she is smartly advised to make cal statements saying not emphasising in the victory when talking to the media, but come on, we all know thee wants to win.
It could be a “revenge” for Cyprus to win within Tel Aviv, who “stole” (for the Cypriots) the trophy from them. After all, for the Greeks and the Cypriots (and actually for everyone), the commercial success of Fuego was bigger than that of Toy. Eleni had more international appearances, great YouTube and Spotify figures, multiple times higher than Netta’s song.
So it seems that Cyprus will feature high in the betting odds when the song presented. Not sure if that will do any good to her though as we know that betting odds in the recent years are not only fixed but also ignored big time by the juries. On the other hand it’s Cyprus unique moment to break the odds and work on a miracle. After all they have Christer Bjorkman on their side and we all know how powerful and influential that man is inside the Eurovision world (and the juries!).
So let’s replay the history of 2018 only this time the end would be for Cyprus to carry the trophy back home!