Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (August 2012)|
|Eurovision Song Contest 2006|
|Selection process||National Final
40% Judging panel
|Selection date(s)||March 14, 2006|
|Selected entrant||Anna Vissi|
|Final result||9th, 128 points|
|Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest|
Anna Vissi represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with her song "Everything". The Greek national broadcaster, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT), internally selected Vissi to represent the country at the contest, which took place in Athens after Greece's win at the 2005 contest with the song "My Number One" performed by Elena Paparizou. "Everything", composed by Nikos Karvelas and written by Anna Vissi herself, was selected on March 14, 2006 at a national final by a combination of a televoting/SMS vote (60%) and expert jury (40%). At Eurovision, Vissi placed 9th, receiving 128 points. Vissi went on hiatus after the contest for a couple of years. The result had a negative impact on her career, which never recovered.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2006 marked Greece's twenty-seventh participation in the Contest since its first entry in 1974. It won for the first time at the previous contest in 2005 with the song "My Number One" performed by Elena Paparizou, and had been placed third twice up to the Contest: in 2001 with the song "Die for You" performed by the duo Antique and in 2004 with "Shake It" performed by Sakis Rouvas. Following the introduction of semi-finals for the 2004 contest, Greece has had a top ten placing each year. Greece's least successful result was in 1998 when it placed twentieth with the song "Mia Krifi Evesthisia" by Thalassa, receiving only twelve points in total, all from Cyprus.
The Greek national broadcaster, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT) broadcasts the event in Greece each year and organizes the selection process for its entry. From 2001 to 2003, ERT held a national final with several artists, but for 2004 and 2005, it selected high-profile artists internally and set up national finals to choose their song. ERT continued the internal selection of the artist for 2006 and subsequently held a national final to select the song.
As it had done in 2005, ERT asked 2004 entrant Sakis Rouvas to represent Greece in the 2006 contest, but he once again denied. In an interview with Down Town magazine Rouvas recalled getting the proposal from the network in "either August or September" and considering it briefly; however, he ultimately found there was no reason for him to go, especially when Greece was the reigning champion, making chances of winning little to none. Nevertheless, ERT still wanted Rouvas involved in some way and they asked him to host the competition, which he accepted. With the news leaked by the newspaper Ethnos, a public announcement was made on 1 November 2005. Rouvas said of his decision "but when I received the proposal for the hosting of Eurovision I found it intriguing" and that it would challenge him. American television personality and actress Maria Menounos would eventually be announced as his female co-host. The two presented all of the major Eurovision events, including the allocation draw, in addition to the semi-final and final.
On August 6, 2005, MAD TV reported that Despina Vandi was "seriously considering" representing Greece in 2006 and would be or possibly already had been proposed to by ERT to be the Greek entrant. Vandi had been asked previously to represent the country at the 2005 contest, but declined, fearing a bad result while her international career was going well. A few months later on December 12, 2005, Star Channel announced that ERT would soon officially propose to a different artist, Anna Vissi, to be the representative. Vissi said in reply that she "never [excludes] a Eurovision Song Contest participation as long as everything is organized well". She had participated in the contest twice before: in 1980 with "Autostop" for Greece and in 1982 for Cyprus with the song "Mono I Agapi", placing 13th and 5th respectively. She had also attempted to take part in the contest on several other years, either failing to win against other artists or having deals not materialize. An official announcement was not made soon after as no agreement could be made at the time, but one month later on January 24, 2006, Vissi was officially announced as the artist for 2006. A few days later in an interview with the press, she said "finally [a decision is made], I want to go to Eurovision too much". She said the reason that the final decision took so long to be announced was because she was still debating entering; using opinion polls along with talking to her usual collaborators. It was also announced that Vissi would sing either four or five songs live at the national final to choose her song.
The date of the final was set for March 14, 2006 and took place at club Votanikos; broadcast live as a television program titled Feel the Party. The show was hosted by Giorgos Capountzides and Zeta Makripoulia from the Greek television series Sto Para Pente and included a recap of Greece's entries from 1974 to 2005. Past entries such as "Mathima Solfege", "Stop", "I Anixi", and "I Would Die for You" were shown on a large screen along with a video message by 2006 Eurovision host Maria Menounos, while Sakis Rouvas, Elena Paparizou, and Nana Mouskouri all sent personal messages via satellite. During the show, guest acts representing other countries partaking in Eurovision performed their entries and they included: Fabrizio Faniello of Malta with "I Do", Sibel Tuzun of Turkey with "Süper Star", Mihai Traistariu of Romania with "Tornerò", Christine Guldbrandsen of Norway with "Alvedansen", and Annet Artani of Cyprus with "Why Angels Cry".
Four candidate songs were decided on for Vissi to sing at the national final by ERT: "Who Cares About Love" which was written and composed by Nikos Karvelas, "Everything" which was also composed by Karvelas, with lyrics by Anna Vissi, "Welcome to the Party" which was composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos with lyrics by Dimitris S, and "A Beautiful Night" which was written and composed by Pegasos (Antonis and Dimitris Papavomvolakis). "Everything" is described as a ballad, while the three others are more upbeat.
The winning song was chosen by the public through televoting and a jury weighted at 60% and 40% of the result respectively. The jury panel was made up of Mimis Plessas, Antonis Andrikakis, Dimitris Starovas, Themos Anastasiadis, Christina Politi, Evangelia Piskera, Antonis Karatzikos, Rena Kapitsala, and a ninth vote was split between Sietse Bakker of ESCToday and Fotis Konstantopoulos of Oikotimes.
Result of national final
"Everything" was proclaimed the winner after receiving 47.79% of the total vote, representing over 200,000 televotes. She received 55.66% of the vote from the viewers and 35.98% from the jury. "Welcome to the Party" placed second with 26.32% (27.69% from the viewers; 24.27% from the jury), 13.72% (7.25% from the viewers; 24.43% from the jury) for "Who Cares About Love" in third place, and 12.6% (9.39% from the viewers; 16.32% from the jury) for "A Beautiful Night" which placed last. Vissi stated that she liked all four songs, and after seeing the results, pledged to sing "Everything" "from the heart and give all her best for Greece".
|Draw||Song||Composer||Televoting (60%)||Jury (40%)||Total||Place|
|1||"Beautiful Night"||Pegasos (Antonis & Dimitris Papavomvolakis)||16.32%||9.39%||12.16%||4th|
|2||"Who Cares About Love"||Nikos Karvelas||7.25%||24.43%||13.72%||3rd|
|3||"Welcome To The Party"||Dimitris Kontopoulos (Lyrics by Dimitris S.)||27.69%||24.27%||26.32%||2nd|
|4||"Everything"||Nikos Karvelas (Lyrics by Anna Vissi)||55.66%||35.98%||47.9%||1st|
Before her appearance at the contest, Vissi went on a promotional tour, singing her song in several Eurovision countries. The first stop was Moscow on March 25, 2006, Greek Independence Day, and she attended a reception at the Greek embassy. She stayed for three days and gave seven television appearances, three newspaper interviews and posed for several magazines. Following Russia, Vissi traveled to Malta and then Cyprus where she performed at a large club in Nicosia. Cyprus was followed by Albania, where she appeared at the "Albania Awards Kult", an awards show, and also gave a few interviews. The next stop was Serbia and Montenegro, followed by Romania. By the end of April, Vissi had visited Sweden where she gave several more interviews to the local press. Bosnia and Herzegovina was next at the beginning of May, followed by Belgium on the fourth. She met with Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Panteleimon of Belgium to whom she offered an autographed copy of her CD single "Everything" after having spoken to the media. Vissi then attended a reception at the Greek embassy before meeting up with Belgium entrant Kate Ryan with whom she visited a chocolate museum. After Belgium, Vissi returned to Greece for a break before leaving for Israel, the last stop on the tour, where she remained for ten days.
On April 25, 2006, Vissi re-released her most recent album at the time, Nylon, as Nylon: Euro Edition to include the four tracks from the national final and to coincide with the ongoing international promotional tour. At the same time, "Welcome to the Party" had entered the American market, already being played on some radio stations.
At a press conference on May 16, Anna Vissi thanked her fans and God for everything that had been given to her. She also explained how important the competition was to her saying that she "really, really [wants] to win" and she also received several gifts from journalists and fans.
"Everything" was considered a favorite at the contest, placing in the top three in a majority of fan polls and first in online betting houses. British commentator for the semi-final stated that "she's massive in Greece, she's even bigger than the country itself". "None of the rehearsals were attended by so many people as Anna Vissi's", noted Sietse Bakker, one of the jury members from the national final, "not only a large amount of fans and journalists took seat in the arena [...] but the president of Greek broadcaster ERT also entered the arena to see how 'his' artist was doing".
As the winning country of the 2005 edition, Greece was automatically qualified for the final of the 2006 contest, and was drawn to present its song 16th on the night of the final, after the United Kingdom and before Finland.
At the final, held on May 20, 2006, Anna Vissi appeared on stage surrounded by a fog effect created by dry ice. She was alone on the large stage and wore an exclusive Jean Paul Gaultier black and white outfit with black leggings. By the end of the song, she was down on her knees singing. Her choreography for the final was arranged by Mia Michaels. Although considered a favorite, a ninth place finish was all Vissi could manage. She received 128 points, including the coveted "douze points" from Bulgaria and Cyprus.
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
The day after the contest, Vissi could be seen crying in front of cameras while recounting her experience, but thanking the Greek public for all their love and support. She soon re-released Nylon again as a dual disc with music videos, and also a remix of "Everything" by Valentino and Siganos. After Eurovision Vissi went on hiatus from the Greek music industry, performing a worldwide tour for the Greek diaspora in 2007 as well as recording English-language material for her planned international album in Los Angeles, California with her then-producer Greg Ladanyi. A court case also further postponed her Greek career. Since the second re-release of Nylon in autumn 2006, Vissi had not released any new material until October 29, 2008, when she released the song "To Parelthon Mou" (my past) as the lead soundtrack single for the Greek movie Bank Bang. On December 9, 2008 she released the album Apagorevmeno (2008) which was certified double platinum in Greece under the new 2009 thresholds, denoting shipments of 24 thousand copies, one of her lowest selling albums and lowest of the 2000s. It was certified triple platinum in her native Cyprus. Her first album in the 2010s, Agapi Einai Esi, performed worse than its predecessor, being certified gold for shipments of six thousand copies and falling off of the charts after two months, while her concert attendances generally did not meet expectations, despite heavy promotion.
While Vissi's popularity and commercial appeal had already begun declining by the early 2000s, as seen by the sales of albums such as Nylon —which although successful had relatively low sales compared to her other albums— Eurovision was considered to have had a detrimental affect to her career. The Greeks viewed the sudden departure and abstaining completely from the media as Vissi being ashamed about her result in the contest, furthered by Vissi's own statements of the participation being a mistake. Although this was partially due to hardships faced by the Greek music industry including piracy, the financial crisis, and changing musical tastes, leading to a general decline of the laïko-pop scene and image-based singers, her career choices, such as the pursuit of an international career at a relatively advanced age, leading to several long absences from Greece and attempting to use Eurovision as a gateway, were thought to be major components. In an article about the "golden trio of Greek pop" consisting of Vissi, Despina Vandi, and Sakis Rouvas, Anna Vlavianou of To Vima considered Vissi to have "the most vociferous" decline of the group. Vlavianou interpreted her tears on the night:
"When America looked to big to be won, Anna Vissi turned towards Europe. She took part in Eurovision to conquer the summit of the Alps and lost Mount Olympus too. Her tears on the evening of the contest in 2006, following her failure, showed that she was fully aware of her situation: not only had she not conquered the European audience, but she had lost the Greek one too."
Vissi's music rival Despina Vandi also became less prominent. While the supposed rivalry between the two was once a grand topic in the media, with speculation as to who would come out on top, the possible overexposure of the story and their subsequent absences allowed fellow laïko-pop singer Elena Paparizou, fresh off of the momentum of her 2005 Eurovision win, to ultimately overshadow the two during the second half of the decade. While reviewing Apagorevmeno, Haris Simvoulidis of Avopolis felt that Vissi appeared to be attempting to catch up to her contemporaries, Paparizou and Peggy Zina. Vissi continued to make music and while her career never fully recovered to its previous state, she did continue to have some impact, being placed 15th in Forbes list of the most powerful and influential Greece celebrities in 2010. Her time on hiatus in the late 2000s was filmed and used for a reality show called Oso Eho Foni in 2011.
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