Greece joined the Eurovision family in 1974 and sends its 34th entry to the contest next month in Malmö. They have picked up a reputation as a Eurovision heavyweight, but that’s a relatively recent development, perhaps not coincidental with nations being able to send songs in whatever language they wanted.
Until then, Greece had sent Greek-language songs that produced sturdy but unexciting results. They never came last, but they never came top 3 in the 20th century. However their English-language comeback in 2001 with Antique produced the first of four top 3 finishes, including their first win in 2005 with Helena Paparizou’s “My number one” topping the table in Kiev. They also have a 100% record of comfortably qualifying, coming top 4 in all six of the semi-finals it has participated in.
Since 2010 though, there has been the spectre of Eurozone meltdown hanging over the contest, with Greece particularly finding it hard to justify the entrance fee, let alone the worry about hosting the event if they did win. A Greek pullout was imminent, but a joint venture saved the day with national broadcaster ERT contracting music channel MADTV to take care of the 2013 entry, including a small national final (see my review of Eurosong 2013) with four acts signed to Panik Records looking for a ticket to Malmö.
Koza Mostra & Agathonas Iakovidis were selected, with their manic Greco-ska track bringing a familiar hi-octane energy to the Eurovision stage. I’ve heard people criticise Greek entries as generic, but I’d struggle to think of a nation who has taken so many different directions in the last decade, and what’s more, managed a string of 8 top 10 finishes in a row whilst doing it.
With this in mind, I’m not going to worry too much about Greece this year, particularly in the comparatively easy 2nd semi final. Top 10 might be a stretch, it just depends how the song is presented and received, it’s a true wildcard. I wouldn’t bet against them though, similarly raucous entries from Moldova and the like often stand out in a final populated by safer ballads and pop songs.
Koza Mostra are quite a new group I think, joined by veteran performer Agathonas, but I’m not sure they have much of a European profile. However, they still seem like great performers (not to mention pretty hot), and will surely get the crowd jumping in Malmö. The song has grown on me a lot, though I’m still not sure what it’s about, even after reading a translation. A booze cruise around Greece? It’s a lot of fun, whatever it is, and I hope to see them do well next month.
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