Road to Malmö: Despina Olympiou – “An me thimasai” (Cyprus)

Into each life some rain must fall, as they say. Actually I don’t know if people say it, it was just in a song. But anyway, I fear for Cyprus this year. With a pretty horrendous financial climate over the Mediterranean island, Cyprus’s participation in this year’s Eurovision was looking dubious for a while. While some countries pulled out on financial grounds (Portugal, Bosnia & Herzegovina etc) and others making alternative arrangements (Greece’s outsourcing to a private TV channel), Cyprus are pressing on.

Cyprus eurovision heartOnly their 30-year history in the contest has always been in Greece’s shadow, particularly in the last 10 years. While Greece has so far always qualified for the grand final, Cyprus has only managed 3 out of 8 attempts. Last year Ivi Adamou managed a rare Cypriot triumph over Greece, beating Elena by one point in Baku, something they didn’t manage even when reaching 5th place in 2004 (ass-shaking Sakis managed 3rd place in response).

5th place is Cyprus’s personal best, acheived three times. But I don’t know if that’s going to be surpassed this year. I suspect it might end up further reducing Cyprus’s qualification average.

Internal selection chose established Cypriot starlet Despina Olympiou to represent in Malmö just 6 days from now. Having released several successful albums in Cyprus, Despina emerged after much speculation over a ‘big name’ representing the country. “An me thimasai” is a softly-spoken acoustic ballad, starting with a risky acapella intro.

despina olympiou an me thimasai cyprus eurovisionAcapella intros can be pretty great if executed well, as Cyprus well knows. Their 2004 entry by young Lisa Andreas opened with one, and it paid dividends. I think the problem is that while Despina seems to be a more than capable singer, the song itself doesn’t seem to demand too much. It’s very pleasant, but a little old-fashioned. I think the last minute is crying out for a key change, but none comes.

In a contest full of melodrama scream-a-thon ballads, I worry that Despina will get lost in the mix. She has a nice late performing slot in semi-final one, but I think there are just too many dead-certs for qualification, someone’s got to miss out. Stuck between uptempo Ireland and Belgium, I think she’s got the short straw. A shame, I wish everyone could qualify really, but such is life.

For more ESC 2013 reviews and news, my Malmö hub has links to entries about the national finals and the 39 representatives. Alternatively you can click “Malmö 2013” at the top of the screen.

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Filed under Eurovision, Malmö 2013, Music, Reviews

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