Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Member station Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances 39 (37 finals)
First appearance 1974
Best result 1st: 2005
Worst result 16th SF: 2016
External links
ERT Page
Greece's page at
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018

Greece has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 39 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 Elena 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 Kleopatra in 1992. The start of the 21st century saw Greece become one of the most successful countries in the contest, with ten top-ten results between 2000 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.

In the last five contests (2014–18), Greece has not reached the top ten, including twice failing to qualify from the semi-final to the grand final (2016, 2018).


After debuting in the 1974 Contest, Greece did not participate in 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.[2][3] 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.[4] Had Adamantidis been allowed to perform "Sarantapente Kopelies", he would have appeared second at Harrogate.[5] 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,[6] 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.[6] Had she performed, she would have appeared eighteenth and she would have performed the song "Wagon-lit".[6][7]

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 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 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, 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.[8]

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,[9] 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 2015, Greece failed to reach the top-ten for the third time in four years, finishing 19th.

From 2013 through 2015, the music channel MAD produced the Greek national final.

For 2016, ERT selected the Eurovision entry internally. They selected the band Argo with the song "Utopian Land".[10] 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 Kiev. 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.


"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[11]

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, 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.[12] 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".[13] However, for the first time ever 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.

Popularity of the Contest[edit]

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 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 four 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.


The following table lists the thirty-three entries which competed for Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
1974 Marinella Greek "Krasi, thalassa ke t'agori mou" (Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ'αγόρι μου) 11 7 No semi-finals
1975 Did not participate
1976 Mariza Koch Greek "Panagia mou, panagia mou" (Παναγιά μου, παναγιά μου) 13 20
1977 Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy Greek "Mathima solfege" (Μάθημα σολφέζ) 5 92
1978 Tania Tsanaklidou Greek "Charlie Chaplin" (Τσάρλυ Τσάπλιν) 8 66
1979 Elpida Greek "Sokratis" (Σωκράτης) 8 69
1980 Anna Vissi & The Epikouri Greek "Autostop" (Ωτοστόπ) 13 30
1981 Yiannis Dimitras Greek "Feggari kalokerino" (Φεγγάρι καλοκαιρινό) 8 55
1982 Themis Adamantidis Greek "Sarantapente kopelies" (Σαρανταπέντε κοπελιές) Withdrawn
1983 Kristi Stassinopoulou Greek "Mou les" (Μου λες) 14 32
1984 Did not participate
1985 Takis Biniaris Greek "Moiazoume" (Μοιάζουμε) 16 15
1986 Polina Greek "Wagon-lit" (Βαγκόν λι) Withdrawn
1987 Bang Greek "Stop" (Στοπ) 10 64
1988 Afroditi Frida Greek "Clown" (Κλόουν) 17 10
1989 Mariana Efstratiou Greek "To diko sou asteri" (Το δικό σου αστέρι) 9 56
1990 Christos Callow & Wave Greek "Horis Skopo" (Χωρίς σκοπό) 19 11
1991 Sophia Vossou Greek "I anoixi" (Η ανοιξη) 13 36
1992 Kleopatra Greek "Olou tou kosmou i Elpida" (Όλου του κόσμου η Ελπίδα) 5 94
1993 Katy Garbi Greek "Ellada, chora tou fotos" (Ελλάδα, χώρα του φωτός) 9 64 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
1994 Kostas Bigalis Greek "To trehandiri" (Το τρεχαντήρι) 14 44 No semi-finals
1995 Elina Konstantopoulou Greek "Poia prosefchi" (Ποια προσευχή) 12 68
1996 Mariana Efstratiou Greek "Emeis forame to himona anoixiatika" (Εμείς φοράμε το χειμώνα ανοιξιάτικα) 14 36 12 45
1997 Marianna Zorba Greek "Horepse" (Χόρεψε) 12 39 No semi-finals
1998 Thalassa Greek "Mia krifi evaisthisia" (Μια κρυφή ευαισθησία) 20 12
Did not participate between 1999 and 2000
2001 Antique English, Greek "(I Would) Die for You" 3 147
2002 Michalis Rakintzis English "S.A.G.A.P.O." 17 27
2003 Mando English "Never Let You Go" 17 25
2004 Sakis Rouvas English "Shake It" 3 252 3 238
2005 Helena Paparizou English "My Number One" 1 230 Top 12 Previous Year[a]
2006 Anna Vissi English "Everything" 9 128 Host country
2007 Sarbel English "Yassou Maria" (Γεια σου Μαρία) 7 139 Top 10 Previous Year[a]
2008 Kalomira English "Secret Combination" 3 218 1 156
2009 Sakis Rouvas English "This Is Our Night" 7 120 4 110
2010 Giorgos Alkaios & Friends Greek1 "OPA!" (ΩΠΑ!) 8 140 2 133
2011 Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike Greek, English "Watch My Dance" 7 120 1 133
2012 Eleftheria Eleftheriou English "Aphrodisiac" 17 64 4 116
2013 Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis Greek, English "Alcohol Is Free" 6 152 2 121
2014 Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd English "Rise Up" 20 35 7 74
2015 Maria Elena Kyriakou English "One Last Breath" 19 23 6 81
2016 Argo Greek2, English "Utopian Land" Failed to qualify 16 44
2017 Demy English "This Is Love" 19 77 10 115
2018 Yianna Terzi Greek Oniro mou(Όνειρο Μου) Failed to qualify 14 81


1.^ Contains one phrase in English.
2.^ Contains phrases in Pontic Greek.

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.


All conductors are Greek except with a flag.

Prior to 1999, the Greek entry was performed without orchestral accompaniment in 1998.[14]

Voting history[edit]

As of 2018, Greece's voting history is as follows:


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

Marcel Bezençon Awards[edit]

Artistic Award

Year Song Performer Final result Points Host city
2005 "My Number One" Helena Paparizou 1st 230 Kiev

Commentators and spokespersons[edit]

Year(s) Commentator Spokesperson Radio commentator Channel
1971 Mako Georgiadou Greece did not participate No radio broadcast EIRT
1974 Irini Gavala
1975 Greece did not participate ERT
1976 Irini Gavala
1977 Naki Agathou Dimitris Konstantaras
1978 Niki Venega
1981 Tatiana Darra
1982 Greece did not participate No radio broadcast
1983 Irini Gavala Dimitris Konstantaras
1984 No broadcast Greece did not participate No radio broadcast
1985 Mako Georgiadou Kelly Sakakou Dimitris Konstantaras
1986 Greece did not participate No radio broadcast
1987 Dafni Bokota Kelly Sakakou Dimitris Konstantaras
1988 Fotini Giannoulatou
1991 Giorgos Mitropoulos
1996 Niki Venega
1998 Giorgos Mitropoulos Alexis Kostalas Dimitris Konstantaras
1999 Dafni Bokota Greece did not participate No radio broadcast
2001 Alexis Kostalas Giorgos Mitropoulos
2004 No radio broadcast
2005 Alexandra Pascalidou
2006 Giorgos Kapoutzidis and Zeta Makrypoulia
2007 Maria Bakodimou and Fotis Sergoulopoulos
2008 Maggira Sisters
2010 Rika Vagiani
2011 Maria Kozakou Lena Aroni
2012 Andrianna Maggania
2013 Maria Kozakou and Giorgos Kapoutzidis
2014 NERIT
2015 Helena Paparizou Maria Kozakou and Giorgos Kapoutzidis
2016 Constantinos Christoforou ERT
2018 Alexandros Lizardos and Daphne Skalioni Olina Xenopoulou Alexandros Lizardos and Daphne Skalioni

NOTE: In 2014, Maria Kozakou was the commentator for all shows (Semi-finals & final). Giorgos Kapoutzidis, was the commentator only for the final, along with Maria Kozakou.

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

Table key
  Second place
  Third place
  Last place
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


See also[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.


  1. ^ Paravantes, Maria. (2005-06-11). Joy In Greece Over Eurovision Win. Billboard 117(24), 17-17. Retrieved on 2009-01-16.
  2. ^ "EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 1975" (in Greek). OGAE Greece. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  3. ^ Raycoff, Ivan; Robert Deayom Tobin (July 2007). A Song for Europe. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-5878-8.
  4. ^ Konstantopoulos, Fotis (2005-02-03). "Greek, Cypriot and Lebanese news". Oikotimes. Archived from the original on 2005-02-05. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  5. ^ - Eurovision 1982
  6. ^ a b c "Polina Biography" (in Greek). Archived from the original on 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  7. ^ ""Wagon-lit" single - 1986". Sony Music. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
  8. ^ ERT Staff (2008-07-16). "Ο Σάκης Ρουβάς και πάλι στη EUROVISION" (in Greek). ERT. Retrieved 2008-07-16.[dead link]
  9. ^ Osborn, Michael (2008-05-25). "Eurovision vote 2008: Top 10". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  10. ^ Vasileiadis, George. "Greece: Argo release Eurovision song "Utopian Land"". Eurovision 2016 Predictions, Polls, Odds, Rankings | wiwibloggs. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  11. ^ Alexander, Ruth (2008-05-19). "The maths of Eurovision voting". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  12. ^ Osborn, Michael (2008-05-20). "Sweden tipped to win Eurovision". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  13. ^ Floras, Stella (2008-05-17). "Greece-Cyprus party hugely successful". ESCToday. Archived from the original on 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  14. ^

Eurovision sites[edit]

External links[edit]