Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest

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Greece
Greece
Member stationHellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)
Former members
National selection events
Internal selection
  • 1974
  • 1976–1978
  • 1981
  • 1985
  • 1992–1997
  • 2004
  • 2016
  • 2017 (artist)
  • 2018–2021
National final
Participation summary
Appearances41 (39 finals)
First appearance1974
Best result1st: 2005
External links
ERT Page
Greece's page at Eurovision.tv
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021

Greece has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 41 times since its debut in 1974, missing six contests in that time (1975, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1999 and 2000). Greece's first win came in 2005 with "My Number One", sung by Helena Paparizou. The Greek national broadcaster, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT), broadcasts the event each year and organises the process for the selection of the Greek entry.[1] Greece has never finished last in the contest.

Throughout the 20th century, Greece achieved only two top five results, finishing fifth with Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy in 1977 and again fifth with Cleopatra in 1992. The start of the 21st century saw Greece become one of the most successful countries in the contest, with ten out of thirteen top-ten results between 2001 and 2013, including third-place finishes for Antique in 2001 (with 2005 winner Paparizou as lead singer), Sakis Rouvas in 2004 and Kalomira in 2008.

Between 2014 and 2019, Greece did not reach the top ten, including twice failing to qualify from the semi-final to the grand final (2016 and 2018). In 2021, Stefania managed to bring the country back in the top 10 for the first time since 2013 by finishing 10th with her entry "Last Dance".

History[edit]

Before Greece as a country participated in the contest, singers from Greece have represented other countries. These singers were Jimmy Makulis (1961) for Austria, Yovanna (1965) for Switzerland, and Nana Mouskouri (1963) and Vicky Leandros (1967 and 1972) for Luxembourg.

In 1974, during the Greek military junta, rock band Nostradamos won the first Eurovision participation contest ran by the state broadcaster EIRT to represent Greece at Eurovision, after broadcasting it since 1970.[2] However, due to a scandal, the band was not allowed to compete at Eurovision, and Greek laiko singer Marinella was sent instead.[2] Greece did not participate in 1975 for "unknown reasons" according to the EBU, but it was later discovered that it was in protest of Turkey's debut and its invasion of Cyprus in 1974.[3][4] 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, it had been revised for the competition, but this violated the rules which stated that all songs had 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.[5] Had Adamantidis been allowed to perform "Sarantapente Kopelies", he would have appeared second at Harrogate.[6] 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,[7] 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.[7] Had she performed, she would have appeared eighteenth and she would have performed the song "Wagon-lit".[7][8]

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 at the time 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 as well as 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 program, 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 16th place in the 2016 semi-final with the song "Utopian Land" by Argo, with 44 points.

In 2006, the 51st Eurovision Song Contest was held in Athens, in the O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall, 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.[9] The song voted by the public was "This Is Our Night", another song performed by Sakis Rouvas on the show.

Greece has been one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest in the 21st century, ten times finishing in the top-ten,[10] including ninth in 2006, seventh in 2007, third in 2008, seventh in 2009, eighth in 2010 and seventh in 2011. After Eleftheria Eleftheriou placed 17th in 2012 with her song "Aphrodisiac", Greece achieved its 10th top-ten result of the century and 18th in total in 2013, finishing sixth with the song "Alcohol is Free". In 2014, Greece finished in 20th place, which, along with 1998, were the country's worst result in the contest at that time. Greece was one of only three countries (along with Romania and Russia) to have never failed to qualify from the semifinals since their 2004 introduction (2004–15). In addition, Greece also qualified from the 1996 audio-only pre-qualifying round.

In 2013, ERT was shut down by a government directive and replaced with the interim Dimosia Tileorasi (DT) and later by the New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) broadcaster.[11][12] During this time, from 2013 through 2015, the Greek television station MAD TV organised the selection process.[13] On 28 April 2015, a legislative proposal that resulted in the renaming of NERIT to ERT was approved and signed into law by the Hellenic Parliament; ERT began broadcasting once again on 11 June 2015,[12][14] and shortly after confirmed their intentions to once again participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.[15]

For 2016, ERT selected the Eurovision entry internally. They selected the band Argo with the song "Utopian Land".[16] For the first time since the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, Greece failed to qualify for the final. They finished 16th in the first semi-final.

In 2017, ERT selected the composer Dimitris Kontopoulos and the choreographer Fokas Evangelinos internally. They chose Demy for representing Greece in Kyiv. ERT agreed, and on the 6 March 2017, Greece chose their song via a national final. Three songs were competed: "Angels", "This Is Love" and "When The Morning Comes Around". The final result was combined by 70% from televoting and by 30% from international juries from nine countries. Finally, "This Is Love" gained 70% and won the national final. At Eurovision, she qualified for the Grand Final, where she finished in 19th place with 77 points.

For 2018, the Greek broadcaster decided to hold a national final to choose the Greek entry to Lisbon and was to take place on 22 February 2018.[17] However, on 16 February 2018 ERT confirmed Yianna Terzi as the Greek representative for the 2018 contest following the disqualification of Areti Ketime and Chorostalites, with the selected song being "Oniro mou".[18] In Lisbon, Greece failed to qualify for the grand final for the second time on its participation history.

In 2019, ERT selected internally Katerine Duska to represent Greece in Tel Aviv with the song "Better Love". The song managed to qualify from the first semi-final. In the grand final, Greece finished 21st with 74 points. It was later revealed that Greece placed fifth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 185 points: 54 points from the televoting and 131 points from the juries.

In 2020, ERT decided once again to select internally the Greek entry. Seven acts had been shortlisted to represent Greece in Rotterdam, including Irini Papadopoulou, Stefania, Ian Stratis, and the boy band One.[19] On 3 February 2020, ERT announced Stefania as the Greek representative with the song "Supergirl". Greece was drawn to compete in the second semi-final and was to perform in the first position, but in 18 March 2020, the contest was cancelled for the first time in its history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[20]

For 2021, ERT was one of the first four broadcasters (the other were Spain's RTVE, Netherlands' AVROTROS and Ukraine's UA:PBC) that confirmed its participation for the next edition with the same artist who would participate for 2020, in this case Stefania.[21] It was also announced that the same team that was responsible for the songwriting and the choreography of the 2020 entry would also be used for the 2021 contest, and that the song would be selected internally.[22] The selected song, "Last Dance", an 80's-pop song, premiered for the first time on March 10, 2021 at 17:00 EET through ERTFLIX, ERT's hybrid platform.[23] On 7 May 2021, it was announced that 10 year old Manolis Gkinis will announce the Greek votes, making him the youngest spokesperson in the history of Eurovision.

Voting[edit]

"Cyprus and Greece are commonly accused of favouring each other and of all the countries, statistics suggest they are the most likely to vote for each other. Wogan seemed to sum it up when Cyprus awarded Greece 12 points in last year's contest. 'Over the years people say this is ludicrous [...] but still they do it. They just don't care.' "

Ruth Alexander, "The maths of Eurovision voting", BBC News[24]

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 Iberian, Balkan, Nordic, 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. This was not always the case, as until 1997 (and, for Greece and Cyprus, 1998), all the votes were given by juries, who may be less biased by diaspora or neighbourly influence than televoters. While Greece and Cyprus did exchange top marks a few times (1987, 1994, and 1997 all saw an exchange of twelves), there were also several years where one or the other didn't receive the twelve. In 1983, only the second time Greece and Cyprus competed together, Greece awarded the Cypriot entry no points for the first and only time (the only occasion in which one of the two didn't vote for the other when they had the ability to). However, between 1997 and 2013 (except the contests in 1999 and 2000, which Greece didn't compete in, and 2001, which Cyprus didn't compete in), the two countries always gave each other twelve points if presented the opportunity. 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.[25] 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".[26] However, for the first time since 1990, in 2015 Greece and Cyprus did not give each other 12 points, with Greece giving Cyprus 10 points and Cyprus giving Greece only 8 points, and curiously both countries gave the maximum to Italy. It was also the first time since 1996 that one of the two hadn't given the other twelve (with the exceptions of 1985 and 1990, one of the two countries gave the other twelve points every year).

Popularity of the contest[edit]

Until 2001, Greece was seen as one of the least successful countries in the contest,[by whom?] 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 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. They are the second most successful country, behind Russia, in the contest between 2000 and 2009, with one win and three third places. Since 2014 their performance has declined, having failed to finish in the top 10 six consecutive years. In 2016, Greece failed to qualify for the first time since the introduction of the semifinals in 2004 with the group Argo, breaking their qualification record. This was the first year Greece was absent from the final since 2000. Greece failed to qualify for the final again in 2018.

Contestants[edit]

The following table lists the forty entries which have competed for Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Table key
1
Winner
2
Second place
3
Third place
X
Entry selected but did not compete
Upcoming
Year Artist Title Language Final Points Semi Points
Marinella "Krasi, thalassa ke t'agori mou" (Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ'αγόρι μου) Greek 11 7 No semi-finals
Mariza Koch "Panagia mou, panagia mou" (Παναγιά μου, παναγιά μου) Greek 13 20
Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy "Mathima solfege" (Μάθημα σολφέζ) Greek 5 92
Tania Tsanaklidou "Charlie Chaplin" (Τσάρλυ Τσάπλιν) Greek 8 66
Elpida "Sokratis" (Σωκράτης) Greek 8 69
Anna Vissi & The Epikouri "Autostop" (Ωτοστόπ) Greek 13 30
Yiannis Dimitras "Feggari kalokerino" (Φεγγάρι καλοκαιρινό) Greek 8 55
Themis Adamadidis "Sarantapente kopelies" (Σαρανταπέντε κοπελιές) Greek Withdrawn X
Kristi Stassinopoulou "Mou les" (Μου λες) Greek 14 32
Takis Biniaris "Moiazoume" (Μοιάζουμε) Greek 16 15
Polina "Wagon-lit" (Βαγκόν λι) Greek Withdrawn X
Bang "Stop" (Στοπ) Greek 10 64
Afroditi Frida "Clown" (Κλόουν) Greek 17 10
Mariana Efstratiou "To diko sou asteri" (Το δικό σου αστέρι) Greek 9 56
Christos Callow & Wave "Horis Skopo" (Χωρίς σκοπό) Greek 19 11
Sophia Vossou "I anoixi" (Η ανοιξη) Greek 13 36
Kleopatra "Olou tou kosmou i Elpida" (Όλου του κόσμου η Ελπίδα) Greek 5 94
Katy Garbi "Ellada, chora tou fotos" (Ελλάδα, χώρα του φωτός) Greek 9 64 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
Kostas Bigalis & The Sea Lovers "To trehandiri" (Το τρεχαντήρι) Greek 14 44 No semi-finals
Elina Konstantopoulou "Poia prosefchi" (Ποια προσευχή) Greek 12 68
Mariana Efstratiou "Emeis forame to himona anoixiatika" (Εμείς φοράμε το χειμώνα ανοιξιάτικα) Greek 14 36 12 45
Marianna Zorba "Horepse" (Χόρεψε) Greek 12 39 No semi-finals
Thalassa "Mia krifi evaisthisia" (Μια κρυφή ευαισθησία) Greek 20 12
Antique "(I Would) Die for You" English, Greek 3 147
Michalis Rakintzis "S.A.G.A.P.O." English 17 27
Mando "Never Let You Go" English 17 25
Sakis Rouvas "Shake It" English 3 252 3 238
Helena Paparizou "My Number One" English 1 230 Top 12 previous year[a]
Anna Vissi "Everything" English 9 128 Host country[b]
Sarbel "Yassou Maria" (Γεια σου Μαρία) English 7 139 Top 10 previous year[a]
Kalomira "Secret Combination" English 3 218 1 156
Sakis Rouvas "This Is Our Night" English 7 120 4 110
Giorgos Alkaios & Friends "OPA!" (ΩΠΑ!) Greek[c] 8 140 2 133
Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike "Watch My Dance" Greek, English 7 120 1 133
Eleftheria Eleftheriou "Aphrodisiac" English 17 64 4 116
Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis "Alcohol Is Free" Greek, English 6 152 2 121
Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd "Rise Up" English 20 35 7 74
Maria Elena Kyriakou "One Last Breath" English 19 23 6 81
Argo "Utopian Land" Greek,[d] English Failed to qualify 16 44
Demy "This Is Love" English 19 77 10 115
Yianna Terzi "Oniro mou" (Όνειρό μου) Greek Failed to qualify 14 81
Katerine Duska "Better Love" English 21 74 5 185
Stefania "Supergirl" English Contest cancelled[e] X
Stefania "Last Dance" English 10 170 6 184
TBD December 2021 [27]

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

Artist Title Language At Congratulations At Eurovision
Final Points Semi Points Year Place Points
Helena Paparizou "My Number One" English 4 245 4 167 2005 1 230

Hostings[edit]

Year Location Venue Presenters Ref.
2006 Athens Olympic Indoor Hall Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas

Awards[edit]

Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Year Category Song Performer Final Points Host city Ref.
2005 Artistic Award[f] "My Number One" Helena Paparizou 1 230 Ukraine Kyiv

Barbara Dex Award[edit]

Year Performer Host city Ref.
2002 Michalis Rakintzis Estonia Tallinn

Related involvement[edit]

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

Year Commentator Channel Radio commentator Spokesperson Ref.
1970 TBC EIRT TBC Did not participate
1971 Mako Georgiadou No broadcast
1972
1973
1974 Irini Gavala
1975 ERT Did not participate
1976 Irini Gavala
1977 Dimitris Konstantaras Naki Agathou
1978 Niki Venega
1979
1980
1981 Tatiana Darra
1982 No broadcast Did not participate
1983 Dimitris Konstantaras Irini Gavala
1984 No broadcast No broadcast Did not participate
1985 Mako Georgiadou ERT Dimitris Konstantaras Kelly Sakakou
1986 No broadcast Did not participate
1987 Dafni Bokota Dimitris Konstantaras Kelly Sakakou
1988 Fotini Giannoulatou
1989
1990
1991 Giorgos Mitropoulos
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996 Niki Venega
1997
1998 Giorgos Mitropoulos Dimitris Konstantaras Alexis Kostalas
1999 Dafni Bokota No broadcast Did not participate
2000
2001 Giorgos Mitropoulos Alexis Kostalas
2002
2003
2004 No broadcast
2005 Alexandra Pascalidou
2006 Giorgos Kapoutzidis, Zeta Makrypoulia Maria Kozakou [63][64]
2007 Maria Bakodimou, Fotis Sergoulopoulos [63][64]
2008 Maggira Sisters [63][64]
2009 [63][64]
2010 Rika Vayani [63][64]
2011 Maria Kozakou Lena Aroni [63][65]
2012 Andrianna Maggania [63][66]
2013 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis [63][67]
2014 Maria Kozakou (all shows), Giorgos Kapoutzidis (final) NERIT No broadcast
2015 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Helena Paparizou
2016 ERT Constantinos Christoforou
2017
2018 Alexandros Lizardos, Daphne Skalioni Dimitris Meidanis Olina Xenopoulou
2019 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Gus G [64][69]
2020 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Not announced before cancellation
2021 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Dimitris Meidanis (all shows), Giorgos Katsaros (final) Manolis Gkinis

Other shows[edit]

Show Commentator Channel Ref.
Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest Elizabeth Filippouli NET
Eurovision's Greatest Hits Greek subtitles NERIT1
Het Grote Songfestivalfeest ERT1
Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light Maria Kozakou [75][76]

Photogallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b According to the then-Eurovision rules, the top ten non-Big Four countries from the previous year along with the Big Four automatically qualified for the Grand Final without having to compete in semi-finals. For example, if Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the 11th and 12th spots were advanced to next year's Grand Final along with all countries ranked in the top ten.
  2. ^ If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.
  3. ^ Contains one phrase in English.
  4. ^ Particularly Pontic Greek, except the first two sentences of the song.
  5. ^ The 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. ^ Voted by previous winners.
  7. ^ All conductors are of Greek nationality unless otherwise noted.

References[edit]

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