Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 5 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Cyprus who have never won the contest but have reached number 5 on 3 occasions and the top 10 on 6 other occasions and finished last once. This has been achieved in 32 participations. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE,Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE and Germany HERE.
So this year Cyprus are represented by the group Minus One with the song ‘Alter Ego’. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Cyprus but the overall reaction is fairly positive so far and we LOVE IT! You can catch up on our recent article telling some little known facts on the Cypriot representatives HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now Cyprus have 32 entries to choose from and have a good mix of songs from modern pop to out and out ethnic Greek Cypriot songs.
We do not have to go very far back in time to find our first song that is one of the best for Cyprus. The year was 2012 and we were in Baku to see Ivi Adamou represent Cyprus with the song ‘La La Love’.
Now this song has a special place in my heart as due to my family connections with Cyprus and long held friendship with the Cyprus delegation I was invited to Nicosia to appear on the jury that helped select the song for Cyprus that year. I spent a week there getting to know the songs and the artist and her family. Despite not speaking any Greek I was the only foreign member of the jury that went on to select La La Love for Eurovision. It was by far the favourite amongst the people on Cyprus and was played constantly on the radio. The song was a refreshing dance track and was well received by fans and music critics alike. It went on to finish 7th in the Semi Final then only 16th in the Final with 65 points.
Moving along we look at one of the worst entries for Cyprus. We were in Millstreet to see Kyriakos Zympoulakis & Dimos Van Beke singing the song ‘Mi Stamatas’.
Now we had two young guys that looked like they were singing to each other with longing looks, very unnerving. I liked their jackets but less so the song which was a plea for global unity, with the duo urging their listeners “don’t stop helping people”. It went on to finish in 19th position with 17 points.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for Cyprus. The year was 1997 and we were in Dublin to see Hara & Andreas Constantinou sing the song ‘Mana Mou’.
Now this was more like it from Cyprus, a lovely ethnic midtempo ballad that was an ode to Cyprus itself, with the singers likening the country’s beauty to that of Aphrodite. It was performed first and clearly stuck in the minds of the juries gaining two maximum 12 points(from Greece and Iceland) and two 10 points(from Netherlands and Spain), so overall liked Europe wide. It ended up in 5th place with 98 points therefore equalling Cyprus’ previous best by Anna Vissi.
The next song I have selected to be one of the worst goes back a fair few years to 1986 when we were in Bergen to see Elpida sing the song ‘Tora Zo’
Now this was Elpida’s second appearance in Eurovision as she had represented Greece back in 1979 with ‘Socrates’ which finished a respectable 8th. This time round she was singing for Cyprus, not an unusual transformation in the annuls of Greek/Cypriot music. The song is a dramatic ballad, with Elpida singing that she is now living an experience she had previously only dreamed about. It certainly was dramatic and memorable to me by having a bouncy intro then falling a bit flat. It clearly did not impress as it ended up giving Cyprus her only last place to date finishing 20th with only 4 points.
So onto our next song that was one of Cyprus’ best. We were in Sweden and the year was 1992. Malmo was the venue that saw the birth of an extended Eurovision career begin for Evridiki with the song ‘Teriazoume’.
Now this was the debut performance from a singer that went on to represent Cyprus again in 1994 and 2007. Evridiki was a sex kitten dressed in a fetching red dress who performed the socks off this song with a sultry steamy performance of this love ballad, with Evridiki telling her lover that they each want the same thing. Rarrrrr! It proved to be her best showing at Eurovision finishing in 11th place with 57 points.
We now arrive at the last song for Cyprus that was not so good. In 1985 we were in Sweden again, this time Gothenburg to see Lia Vissi performing the song ‘To Katalava Arga’.
It was a song that continued a run of poor results for Cyprus during the mid 80’s. Now Lia Vissi comes from a Eurovision pedigree being the elder sister of Anna Vissa and also did backing vocals for Elpida in 1979 for Greece. She has also tried for both Cyprus and Greece on other occasions to get to Eurovision but missed out. This song also marks the second time that sisters had taken part but at different times(The other occasion was the Aspelund sisters for Finland). The song itself is a ballad, with Vissi lamenting the fact that she realised the mistake she had done of having a relationship with a person, but she did it too late. The part that let it down for me was a bad offkey moment right at the end of the introductory verse. From then it struggled to gain further attention and finished in 16th place with 15 points.
So we move onto the last song for Cyprus. This is actually the fourth best of song I have chosen which is one more than I have been choosing for other countries. But Cyprus has a very special place in my heart as do many of the songs that I could not see this little gem go by. The year was 2004 and we were in Istanbul for performance of Lisa Andreas with the song ‘Stronger Every Minute’.
Now Lisa is actually English but of Cypriot descent. She was only 16 when she appeared at Eurovision and was the youngest singer that year. Her strong power ballad was performed on stage unaccompanied by any other singers or musicians, earning a comparison to Barbra Streisand by one broadcaster. The simple staging combined with stunning vocals and artistic camera work led the song to qualify from the Semi Final in 5th place and then go on to also finish in 5th place in the Final with 170 points. Although this equals Cyprus’ best finish it is actually the most points received so technically the best entry ever for Cyprus to date.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Cypriot Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland