Another nation I wasn’t sure would make the party… Greece have obviously been through the wringer in the last few years due to the Eurozone crisis and tough austerity measures. And yet they persist in Eurovision – even despite the national broadcaster being shut down suddenly by the government last year. You can’t be in Eurovision without being a member of the EBU.
Fortunately, the EBU were happy to include its successor broadcaster NERIT in the Eurovision party despite only being established a few months ago. They even managed to hold a national final, “A M.A.D. show” in partnership with private music TV broadcaster MAD TV. Four acts were selected, and a 50/50 SMS/Jury split decided the winner.
Greece have good reason to be keen, they have one of the strongest modern-day records in Eurovision. Debuting 40 years ago, they never quite hit the big leagues, with a sole 5th place finish as their high watermark before pulling out entirely in 2000. But a 3rd place return in 2001 with a certain Helena Paparizou as part of Antique fired up Greek passion for the show. When semi-finals arrived in 2004, they not only defended a 100% qualification record – something only Russia, Ukraine & Romania have managed over the same period – but nine of these ten qualifiers reached the top 10 in the end, including Helena’s solo win in 2005. Quite a saga to preside over, so who is going to rise to the challenge?
Mark Angelo feat. Josephine – Dancing Night
Come on Greece, we need some fun-for-Europe tit shakers this year, OPA!!! Greece weren’t feeling Josephine, maybe those rather distracting bum-notes didn’t help. It’s a little… basic, it’s like a Pitbull song about nothing in particular. It’s dancing night! People are losing control and partying all night long! Yeah!! On the floor!!! Pffft… I think this is even a bit of a stretch for Greece who have got a lot of mileage out of Euro dance fluff over the years.
Crystallia – Petalouda stin Athina
Ooh Ethno-stomper time? It’s been a while since a proper Greek one of those, love those strings! She’s got quite the voice too, almost a flip-top head. I rather like this! Perhaps a bit of a hard sell as a singalong, the chorus is just a collection of glory notes. In that sense it doesn’t really go anywhere but it’s quite energising, and she’s a ray of sunshine to watch. Greece put her 3rd though, I hope it was worth it!
Kostas Martakis – Kanenas de me stamata
Oh Kostas!! Very nice… looks like they aren’t straying too far from the rockier sound that brought Greece back to the top 10 last year, though it’s more thrown-back ‘rawk’ than the charmingly cheeky Koza Mostra’s ska-rock last year. I’m not sure I’m quite getting this one, those trumpets add an interesting twist that surprisingly makes it quite hypnotic by the end. Can’t say sexy Kostas hurt though…
Freaky Fortune feat. Riskykidd – Rise Up
So here’s our Greek entry, with… what is that accent?! Is he from London? Guest rappers are always a tricky thing to get right (i.e. by not having them), but this has ‘hit’ written all over it, it’s basically a Mediterranean summer hit isn’t it? That chorus is made for Magaluf. If anything though, the main singer is a bit surplus to requirements, he’s not very charismatic.
The song itself is barely there but you can’t fault the execution. If Eurovision needs to keep moving towards the music of the day, then this will help a lot. As a song I’m not sure I’d be happy with it winning, but it’s blowing the cobwebs off a slightly sedate year. Top 10 again? I wouldn’t be against it.