Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest
|Member station||New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT)|
|National selection events|
|Best result||1st: 2005|
|Worst result||20th: 1998, 2014|
|Greece's page at Eurovision.tv|
Greece has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 35 times since its debut in 1974, missing six contests in that time (1975, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1999 and 2000). Greece won for the first time in 2005 with "My Number One", sung by Elena Paparizou. The Greek national broadcaster, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT) broadcast the event in Greece each year and organised the process for the selection of the Greek entry.
Greece only achieved two top five results in the contest throughout the 20th century, both times finishing fifth, in 1977 with the song "Mathima Solfege" and in 1992 with the song "Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida" performed by Kleopatra.
Since 2001, Greece has been far more successful, finishing in the top ten in all but four of the last 14 contests (2001-2014). The country's best results, other than Elena Paparizou's victory in 2005, are three third place finishes, achieved by Antique (with Paparizou as lead singer) in 2001, Sakis Rouvas in 2004 and Kalomira in 2008.
Greece, along with Romania, Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina have never missed a final since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004 and has placed in the top ten in nine of the last eleven contests (2004-2014), the exceptions being 2012 and 2014. Greece has never finished last.
After debuting in the 1974 Contest, Greece did not participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 1975 for "unknown reasons" according to the EBU, but it was discovered that the withdrawal was in protest of Turkey's debut and its invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Greece was disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 after it was revealed that Themis Adamantidis was to sing "Sarantapente Kopelies" (Σαρανταπέντε Κοπελιές), a previously released song. A known Greek folk song had been revised for the competition, but it violated the rules since all songs have to be original in terms of songwriting and instrumentation and cannot be cover songs. Greece was forced to pay a fine, and was allowed to return the following year. Had Adamantidis been allowed to perform "Sarantapente Kopelies", he would have appeared second at Harrogate. After returning in 1983, ERT decided that all of the possible songs were of "low quality" and decided not to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 1984.
Greece returned once again to the Contest in 1985, and Polina was picked in the 1986 national selection to represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 1986 in Bergen, Norway, but ERT pulled out of the Contest unexpectedly. Polina stated that it was due to political troubles in Greece at the time, but she noted that a Eurovision website had learned that the real reason was that the Contest was to be held the night before Orthodox Easter. Had she performed, she would have appeared eighteenth and she would have performed the song "Wagon-lit".
Greece returned to the Contest in 1987 and performed each year until the Eurovision Song Contest 1999, when it as not permitted to participate because its five-year points average had fallen under the limit for participation after Thalassa's 20th place finish in 1998. The following year ERT announced that it would not return at the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 due to financial reasons.
Thirty-one years after its debut, Greece won for the first time in 2005 with Elena Paparizou singing "My Number One", which tied for the record for the most number of twelve points allocated to a song (ten in total) along with Katrina and the Waves' 1997 "Love Shine A Light". The song also made Greece the first country not a member of Big Four to win the contest without going through a semifinal. After Eurovision, the song topped the charts in Greece, Cyprus and Sweden and entered the top ten in Romania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Belgium, as well as the American Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart. In 2005, Eurovision held a commemorative programme, Congratulations, to celebrate 50 years of the contest, in which "My Number One" came fourth in a vote for the show's most popular entry, behind "Hold Me Now" (1987), "Nel blu dipinto di blu" (1958) and ABBA's "Waterloo" (1974).
Before Greece's win, the highest score was third place, achieved by duo Antique (of which Elena Paparizou was a member) in 2001 with "Die for You" and then again by Sakis Rouvas in 2004 with "Shake It". Greece's least successful result was at 20th place in 1998 with the song "Mia Krifi Evesthisia" (English, "A Hidden Sensibility") by Thalassa, with 12 points, all from Cyprus and in 2014 with the song "Rise Up" by Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd, with 35 points, but this time Cyprus was out of the contest.
In 2006, the 51st Eurovision Song Contest was held in Athens, Greece, following Elena Paparizou's victory the previous year. The two hosts were popular singer, and former contestant, Sakis Rouvas and Greek American presenter Maria Menounos. The singer representing Greece in their own country was popular Greek Cypriot artist Anna Vissi.
From 2004 to 2006, ERT had selected high-profile artists internally and set up national finals to choose the song, while in 2007 and 2008 it held a televised national final to choose both the song and performer. For the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, ERT was able to secure a high-profile artist once again and planned a national final to choose the song.
Greece has been the most successful country of the Eurovision Song Contest after the introduction of the semi-final round in 2004. They had placed within the top-ten position after advancing into the finals every year since then: third in 2004, first in 2005, ninth in 2006, seventh in 2007, third in 2008, seventh in 2009, eighth in 2010 and seventh in 2011. However, this record was broken in 2012, when Eleftheria Eleftheriou only placed 17th place with her song "Aphrodisiac" in the finals. However in the televoting, Eleftheria did place in top 10 in the finals, she finished 9th with 89 points. Although Greece's luck came back in 2013 when Alcohol is Free finished in 6th place which means that the record was reopened. But again in 2014 Greece finished in 20th place, which is Greece's worst result.
Since 2013, the music channel MAD produces the Greek national final.
Greece is famous for, especially in recent years, always giving twelve points to Cyprus and always receiving twelve points from Cyprus. This is one of many examples of the bloc voting seen in contest which also occurs between Balkan, Scandinavian, ex-Soviet and Baltic countries. In the case of Greece and Cyprus, the exchange of twelve points is probably because the majority of Cypriot citizens are Greeks thus sharing linguistic ties (speaking Greek) and musical taste. Furthermore, Greece and Cyprus share the same music industry. Due to the controversies caused by political voting, two semi-finals were introduced for the 2008 Contest in which Cyprus and Greece were unable to vote for each other in the semi-finals. In the build-up to the 2008 contest, however, the artists representing Greece and Cyprus jointly held a successful warm-up party at the Euroclub, attended by 17 other delegations from the contest and 1500 guests attracted by the promised "confluence of the Greek-Cypriot sound".
Popularity of the Contest
Until 2001, Greece was seen as one of the least successful countries in the Contest, and therefore the interest of Greek people in the Contest was relatively low. Since Antique's third place in 2001, the contest has grown into one of the most popular events in Greece with an estimated five million viewers each year. The extremely high expectations of the Greek public has led to seeing the Contest as a "national affair" of very big importance, and this has caused controversy. The Greek viewers expect their singers to qualify from the semi-final to the final and place inside the Top 10, except from one 17th place: in 2012 for the first time since the introduction of the semifinals failed to place in the Top 10 in Baku. In 2013 Greece was again in top 10 finishing 6th. So far Greece has not missed any finals since the introduction of semifinals in 2004. They are also the second most successful country, behind Russia, in the contest between 2000 and 2009, with one win and three third places.
The following table lists the thirty-three entries which competed for Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Table key
NOTE: If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.
As of 2014, Greece's voting history is as follows:
|2006||Athens||Olympic Indoor Hall||Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas|
Marcel Bezençon Awards
|Year||Song||Performer||Final Result||Points||Host city|
|2005||Elena Paparizou||"My Number One"||1st||230||Kiev|
Commentators and spokespersons
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|1971||Mako Georgiadou||Greece did not participate||ERT|
|1975||Greece did not participate|
|1982||Greece did not participate|
|1984||No broadcast||Greece did not participate|
|1985||Mako Georgiadou||Kelly Sakakou|
|1986||Greece did not participate|
|1987||Dafni Bokota||Kelly Sakakou|
|1998||Giorgos Mitropoulos||Alexis Kostalas|
|1999||Dafni Bokota||Greece did not participate|
|2006||Giorgos Kapoutzidis and Zeta Makrypoulia|
|2007||Maria Bakodimou and Fotis Sergoulopoulos|
|2011||Maria Kozakou||Lena Aroni|
|2013||Maria Kozakou and Giorgos Kapoutzidis|
Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest
- Table key
|Year||Artist||Language||Title||Final||Points||Semi||Points||Place (2005)||Points (2005)|
|2005||Helena Paparizou||English||"My Number One"||4||245||4||167||1||230|
- Paravantes, Maria. (2005-06-11). Joy In Greece Over Eurovision Win. Billboard 117(24), 17-17. Retrieved on 2009-01-16.
- "EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 1975" (in Greek). OGAE Greece. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- Raycoff, Ivan; Robert Deayom Tobin (July 2007). A Song for Europe. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-5878-8.
- Konstantopoulos, Fotis (2005-02-03). "Greek, Cypriot and Lebanese news". Oikotimes. Archived from the original on 2005-02-05. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- TV.com - Eurovision 1982
- "Polina Biography" (in Greek). Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- ""Wagon-lit" single - 1986". Sony Music. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- ERT Staff (2008-07-16). "Ο Σάκης Ρουβάς και πάλι στη EUROVISION" (in Greek). ERT. Retrieved 2008-07-16.[dead link]
- Osborn, Michael (2008-05-25). "Eurovision vote 2008: Top 10". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Alexander, Ruth (2008-05-19). "The maths of Eurovision voting". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Osborn, Michael (2008-05-20). "Sweden tipped to win Eurovision". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Floras, Stella (2008-05-17). "Greece-Cyprus party hugely successful". ESCToday. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Klier, Marcus (2009-03-30). "Introducing the 2009 entries: Greece". ESCToday. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
- Points to and from Greece eurovisioncovers.co.uk