Let’s face it, everyone loves a winner. But for all the winners of our illustrious contest, around half of the countries taking part in Eurovision have never taken home the trophy. This is despite the fact that after 60 contests with 50 nations taking part, it was theoretically possible for everyone to have won at least once by now.
In this series of articles, I’ll be looking at some of the contest’s longest serving competitors that have yet to take home the gold. As well as pin-pointing where their strengths lie, I’ll also talk about what may be stopping them from winning Europe’s most popular music competition. We’ve already had a look at Croatia and Iceland, so let’s say Kalispéra Lefkosia and take a look at Cyprus!
Best Result – 5th (1982, 1997, 2004)
Top 10 Finishes – 9 in 32 entries
Top 5 Finishes – 3 in 32 entries
This Writer’s Winner – “Nomiza” (2000)
Since their debut, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus has come 5th three times. Their heyday at Eurovision was definitely the late 1980s and 1990s, which saw Cypriot singers enter the Top 10 several times, including for 3 consecutive years between 1995 and 1997. This isn’t surprising when you remember that Cyprus is part of one of Eurovision’s most notorious voting blocs – having received 225 points from Greece over the years! Traditionally, the United Kingdom has also given Cyprus good scores (imperial nostalgia?), as has Malta – clearly tiny Mediterranean islands stick together!
Some have argued to me that the Cypriot War of 1974 and the resulting political situation on the island has prevented a Cypriot win. Personally, I think this is just not true. Yes, it has caused issues at the contest (Greece withdrew in 1975 in protest over Turkey’s debut and the following year Turkey withdrew after it was suggested the Greek entry was about the invasion of the island) but I don’t think it features in the mind of the average Eurovision voter enough to stop Cyprus winning.
The main hurdle standing in Cyprus’ way at the moment is qualifying for the final. Out of 11 appearances since the semi-finals were introduced, Cyprus has only made it into 5 finals – meaning an under 50% success rate. And when they have qualified, they’ve had fairly lukewarm success (16th in 2012, 21st in 2010…) But to Cyprus’ credit, they have sent a range of different genres to the contest, so clearly they’re not afraid of trying something new. Will it ever pay off for them? Norway had (and to be fair, still has!) a slightly dubious Eurovision history and their 1995 entry stood out enough to win – so it can be done!
RANDOM FACT ALERT: Since the semi-finals were introduced, Cyprus and Finland have never both qualified in the same year – no idea why, but still! Interesting enough to note!!
Cyprus equal their best placing roughly every 10 years. Will this decade see Cyprus beat their previous best and enter the Top 3 at last? I think Minus One have what it takes to do well in Stockholm. Alter Ego’s upbeat and rock sound is sure to go down well across the continent… dare I jinx it and say 2016 could be Cyprus’ year at last?!
My personal favourite from Cyprus might have slipped under your Eurovision radar – “Nomiza” was sung by Voice in Stockholm back in 2000. A haunting ethnic ballad sung in a mixture of Greek and Italian, the song finished 21st out of 24 with only 8 points (no Greece in 2000 to offer them more!) Someone once told me that Nomiza was too ahead of its time and would have fared better if it has entered a later edition of the contest. Regardless of its poor placing on the night, I still love it – have a listen and see for yourself what you think!
What do you think? Will Minus One qualify in Stockholm? Will it be long before Cyprus joins the ranks Eurovision Song Contest winners? What is your favourite Cypriot Eurovision entry?
Let us know what you think!
Author: James Scanlan
Source: Eurovision Ireland