Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest

Greece has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 42 times since its debut in 1974, missing six contests in that time (1975, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1999 and 2000). Greece's first win came in 2005 with "My Number One", sung by Helena Paparizou. The Greek national broadcaster, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), broadcasts the event each year and organises the process for the selection of the Greek entry.[1] Greece has never finished last in the contest.

Greece
Greece
Member stationHellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)
Former members
National selection events
Internal selection
  • 1974
  • 1976–1978
  • 1981
  • 1982 (withdrew)
  • 1985
  • 1986 (withdrew)
  • 1992–1997
  • 2004
  • 2016
  • 2017 (artist)
  • 2018–2023
  • 1979–1980
  • 1983
  • 1987–1991
  • 1998
  • 2001–2003
  • 2005–2015
  • 2017 (song)
Participation summary
Appearances42 (40 finals)
Host2006
First appearance1974
Highest placement1st: 2005
External links
ERT Page
Greece's page at Eurovision.tv
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022

Throughout the 20th century, Greece achieved only two top five results, finishing fifth with Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy in 1977 and again fifth with Cleopatra in 1992. The start of the 21st century saw Greece become one of the most successful countries in the contest, with ten out of thirteen top-ten results between 2001 and 2013, including third-place finishes for Antique in 2001 (with 2005 winner Paparizou as lead singer), Sakis Rouvas in 2004 and Kalomira in 2008.

Between 2014 and 2019, Greece did not reach the top ten, including twice failing to qualify from the semi-final to the grand final (2016 and 2018). In 2021, Stefania managed to bring the country back in the top ten for the first time since 2013 by finishing in tenth place with her entry "Last Dance", followed by an eighth-place finish by Amanda Tenfjord with her song "Die Together" in 2022.

HistoryEdit

Before participationEdit

Before Greece as a country participated in the contest, some singers from Greece represented other countries. These singers were Jimmy Makulis (1961) for Austria, Yovanna (1965) for Switzerland, and Nana Mouskouri (1963) and Vicky Leandros (1967 and 1972) for Luxembourg.

1970s to 1990sEdit

 
Marinella (pictured in 2006) was the first representative for Greece at their contest debut in 1974.

In 1974, during the Greek military junta, rock band Nostradamos won the first Eurovision participation contest ran by the state broadcaster EIRT to represent Greece at Eurovision, after broadcasting it since 1970.[2] However, due to a scandal, the band was not allowed to compete at Eurovision, and Greek laiko singer Marinella was sent instead.[2] Greece did not participate in 1975 for "unknown reasons" according to the EBU, but it was later discovered that it was in protest of Turkey's debut and its invasion of Cyprus in 1974.[3][4] Three years after Greece's debut in the contest, the country achieved its first top-five result with the song "Mathima solfege" (Solfege Lesson) performed by Bessy, Paschalis, Marianna and Robert in 1977. The decade closed with Greece reaching eighth place twice in 1978 and 1979 with the songs "Charlie Chaplin" and "Socrati".

Greece was disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 after it was revealed that Themis Adamantidis was to sing "Sarantapente kopelies", a previously released song. A known Greek folk song, it had been revised for the competition, but this violated the rules which stated that all songs had to be original in terms of songwriting and instrumentation and cannot be cover songs. Greece was forced to pay a fine and was allowed to return the following year.[5] Had Adamantidis been allowed to perform, he would have appeared second at Harrogate.[6] After returning in 1983, ERT stated that all of the possible songs were of "low quality" and decided not to participate in the 1984 contest.

Greece returned once more to the contest in 1985, and Polina was selected in the 1986 national selection to represent Greece at the 1986 contest in Bergen, Norway, but ERT pulled out of the contest unexpectedly. Polina stated that it was due to political troubles in Greece at the time,[7] but she noted that a Eurovision website had learned that the real reason was that the contest was to be held the night before Orthodox Easter.[7] Had she performed, she would have appeared eighteenth and she would have performed the song "Wagon-lit".[7][8] Greece returned to the contest in 1987 with the band Bang reaching tenth place. Overall the country reached three times top-ten in the 80s, with the other two songs being "Feggari kalokerino" in 1981 and "To diko sou asteri" in 1989.

During the 1990s, Greece achieved two top-ten results with Cleopatra and Katy Garbi reaching fifth and ninth place in 1992 and 1993 respectively.[9] The nation performed each year until the Eurovision Song Contest 1999, when it was relegated from participation due its five-year points average had fallen under the limit for participation after Thalassa's 20th place finish in 1998. The following year, ERT announced that it would not return at the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 due to financial reasons.[10][11]

2000sEdit

 
Helena Paparizou (pictured in 2010) represented Greece at the 2001 (as part of Antique) and 2005 contests, winning the latter.

Greece returned in 2001, represented by the Greek-Swedish duo Antique, consisting Helena Paparizou and Nikos Panagiotidis. Their song "Die for You" was selected through the national final Ellinikós Telikós 2001 and placed third at the 2001 contest, a new record for highest placing for the nation.[9][12] Thirty-one years after its debut, Greece won for the first time in 2005 with Helena Paparizou singing "My Number One", which at the time tied for the record for the most number of twelve points allocated to a song (ten in total) along with Katrina and the Waves' 1997 "Love Shine a Light". The song also made Greece the first country not a member of Big Four to win the contest without going through a semi-final. After Eurovision, the song topped the charts in Greece, Cyprus as well as Sweden and entered the top ten in Romania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Belgium, as well as the American Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart. In 2005, Eurovision held a commemorative program, Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest, to celebrate 50 years of the contest, in which "My Number One" came fourth in a vote for the show's most popular entry, behind "Hold Me Now" (1987), "Nel blu, dipinto di blu" (1958) and ABBA's "Waterloo" (1974).

Before Greece's win, the highest score was third place, achieved by duo Antique (of which Paparizou was a member) in 2001 with "Die for You" and then again by Sakis Rouvas in 2004 with "Shake It". In 2006, the 51st Eurovision Song Contest was held in Athens, in the O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall, following Elena Paparizou's victory the previous year. The two hosts were popular singer, and former contestant, Sakis Rouvas and Greek American presenter Maria Menounos. The singer representing Greece in their own country was popular Greek Cypriot artist Anna Vissi (who had also participated in 1980) achieving ninth place with the song "Everything". Until the end of the decade Greece achieved three more top-ten results, including seventh place by Sarbel in 2007 and third place by Kalomira with the song "Secret Combination" in 2008.

From 2004 to 2006, ERT had selected high-profile artists internally and set up national finals to choose the song, while in 2007 and 2008 it held a televised national final to choose both the song and performer. For the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, ERT was able to secure a high-profile artist once again and planned a national final to choose the song.[13] The song voted by the public was "This Is Our Night", another song performed by Sakis Rouvas, which eventually reached seventh place. Greece has been one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest in the 21st century with 12 times finishing in the top-ten[14] and 20 in total.

2010sEdit

In 2010 Greece finished eighth with the song "Opa", followed by a seventh place in 2011 with the song "Watch My Dance". After Eleftheria Eleftheriou placed 17th in 2012 with her song "Aphrodisiac", Greece achieved its 10th top-ten result of the century and 18th in total in 2013, finishing sixth with the song "Alcohol Is Free" by Koza Mostra and Agathonas Iakovidis. In 2014, Greece finished in 20th place, which, along with 1998, were the country's worst result in the contest at that time. Greece was one of only three countries (along with Romania and Russia) to have never failed to qualify from the semifinals since their 2004 introduction (2004–15). In addition, Greece also qualified from the 1996 audio-only pre-qualifying round.

In 2013, ERT was shut down by a government directive and replaced with the interim Dimosia Tileorasi (DT) and later by the New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) broadcaster.[15][16] During this time, from 2013 through 2015, the Greek television station MAD TV organised the selection process.[17] On 28 April 2015, a legislative proposal that resulted in the renaming of NERIT to ERT was approved and signed into law by the Hellenic Parliament; ERT began broadcasting once again on 11 June 2015,[16][18] and shortly after confirmed their intentions to once again participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.[19]

For 2016, ERT selected the Eurovision entry internally. They selected the band Argo with the song "Utopian Land".[20] For the first time since the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, Greece failed to qualify for the final, after finishing 16th in the first semi-final.

In 2017, ERT selected the composer Dimitris Kontopoulos and the choreographer Fokas Evangelinos internally. They chose Demy for representing Greece in Kyiv. ERT agreed, and on 6 March 2017, Greece chose their song via a national final. Three songs were competed: "Angels", "This Is Love" and "When the Morning Comes Around". The final result was combined by 70% from televoting and by 30% from international juries from nine countries. Finally, "This Is Love" gained 70% and won the national final. At Eurovision, she qualified for the Grand Final, where she finished in 19th place with 77 points.

For 2018, the Greek broadcaster decided to hold a national final to choose the Greek entry to Lisbon and was to take place on 22 February 2018.[21] However, on 16 February 2018 ERT confirmed Yianna Terzi as the Greek representative for the 2018 contest following the disqualification of Areti Ketime and Chorostalites, with the selected song being "Oniro mou".[22] In Lisbon, Greece failed to qualify for the grand final for the second time on its participation history. In 2019, ERT selected internally Katerine Duska to represent Greece in Tel Aviv with the song "Better Love" finishing 21st. It was later revealed that Greece placed fifth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 185 points.

2020sEdit

In 2020, ERT decided once again to select internally the Greek entry. Seven acts had been shortlisted to represent Greece in Rotterdam, including Irini Papadopoulou, Stefania, Ian Stratis, and the boy band One.[23] On 3 February 2020, ERT announced Stefania as the Greek representative with the song "Supergirl". Greece was drawn to compete in the second semi-final and was to perform in the first position, but in 18 March 2020, the contest was cancelled for the first time in its history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[24]

For 2021, ERT was one of the first four broadcasters (the other were Spain's RTVE, Netherlands' AVROTROS and Ukraine's UA:PBC) that confirmed its participation for the next edition with the same artist who would participate for 2020, in this case Stefania.[25] It was also announced that the same team that was responsible for the songwriting and the choreography of the 2020 entry would also be used for the 2021 contest, and that the song would be selected internally.[26] The selected song, "Last Dance", an 80's-pop song, premiered for the first time on 10 March 2021 at 17:00 EET through ERTFLIX, ERT's hybrid platform.[27] On 7 May 2021, it was announced that 10 year old Manolis Gkinis will announce the Greek votes, making him the youngest spokesperson in the history of Eurovision. Though Stefania placed well at the contest, Greece's recent placements have been lower through their use of internal selections as compared to the national selection Ellinikós Telikós, which had produced seven top ten results consecutively.[28]

For 2022, ERT opened a submission period on 7 September 2021 where artists and composers were able to submit up to three songs each for consideration by the broadcaster with a 10 October 2021 deadline.[29] 25 artists were reported to have submitted applications from a total of more than 40 entries, where a seven-member jury panel shortlisted five entrants in late October 2021.[30] On 15 December 2021, the committee selected the Greek Norwegian artist Amanda Georgiadis Tenfjord as the Greek entrant withthe song "Die Together" to represent the country in Turin.[31] In the contest, Greece managed to qualify from the first semi-final to the grand final. In the final, Greece finished in eighth place with 215 points: 57 points from the televoting and 158 points from the juries. It was later revealed that "Die Together" placed third in the semi-final, receiving a total of 211 points: 60 points from the televoting and 151 points from the juries. This was the best place for Greece in the grand final, since the sixth place of 2013.

VotingEdit

 
2008 entrants from Cyprus (Evdokia Kadi) and Greece (Kalomira) at a contest press event.

"Cyprus and Greece are commonly accused of favouring each other and of all the countries, statistics suggest they are the most likely to vote for each other. Wogan seemed to sum it up when Cyprus awarded Greece 12 points in last year's contest. 'Over the years people say this is ludicrous [...] but still they do it. They just don't care.' "

Ruth Alexander, "The maths of Eurovision voting", BBC News[32]

Greece is infamous for regularly giving twelve points to Cyprus and receiving twelve points from Cyprus. This exchange of twelve points may be influenced by close cultural ties.[33] While Greece and Cyprus did exchange top marks a few times (1987, 1994, and 1997), there were also several years where this did not occur. In 1983, the second time Greece and Cyprus competed together, Greece awarded the Cypriot entry no points for the first and only time. However, between 1997 and 2013, the two countries always gave each other twelve points if presented the opportunity. Due to the controversies caused by political voting, two semi-finals were introduced for the 2008 contest in which Cyprus and Greece were unable to vote for each other in the semi-finals.[34] In the build-up to the 2008 contest, however, the artists representing Greece and Cyprus jointly held a successful warm-up party at the Euroclub, attended by 17 other delegations from the contest and 1500 guests attracted by the promised "confluence of the Greek-Cypriot sound".[35] However, for the first time since 1990, in 2015 Greece and Cyprus did not give each other 12 points, with Greece giving Cyprus 10 points and Cyprus giving Greece only 8 points, while both countries gave the maximum to Italy.

Participation overviewEdit

Table key
1
Winner
2
Second place
3
Third place
X
Entry selected but did not compete
Upcoming
Year Entrant Song Language Final Points Semi Points
1974 Marinella "Krasi, thalassa kai t' agori mou" (Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ' αγόρι μου) Greek 11 7 No semi-finals
1976 Mariza Koch "Panagia mou, panagia mou" (Παναγιά μου, παναγιά μου) Greek 13 20
1977 Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy "Mathima solfege" (Μάθημα σολφέζ) Greek 5 92
1978 Tania Tsanaklidou "Charlie Chaplin" (Τσάρλυ Τσάπλιν) Greek 8 66
1979 Elpida "Sokrati" (Σωκράτη) Greek 8 69
1980 Anna Vissi and the Epikouri "Autostop" (Ωτοστόπ) Greek 13 30
1981 Yiannis Dimitras "Feggari kalokerino" (Φεγγάρι καλοκαιρινό) Greek 8 55
1982 Themis Adamantidis "Sarantapente kopelies" (Σαρανταπέντε κοπελιές) Greek Withdrew X
1983 Kristi Stassinopoulou "Mou les" (Μου λες) Greek 14 32
1985 Takis Biniaris "Miazoume" (Μοιάζουμε) Greek 16 15
1986 Polina "Wagon-lit" (Βαγκόν λι) Greek Withdrew X
1987 Bang "Stop" (Στοπ) Greek 10 64
1988 Afroditi Frida "Clown" (Κλόουν) Greek 17 10
1989 Marianna "To diko sou asteri" (Το δικό σου αστέρι) Greek 9 56
1990 Christos Callow and Wave "Horis skopo" (Χωρίς σκοπό) Greek 19 11
1991 Sophia Vossou "I anixi" (Η ανοιξη) Greek 13 36
1992 Cleopatra "Olou tou kosmou i Elpida" (Όλου του κόσμου η Ελπίδα) Greek 5 94
1993 Katy Garbi "Ellada, chora tou fotos" (Ελλάδα, χώρα του φωτός) Greek 9 64 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
1994 Kostas Bigalis and the Sea Lovers "To trehantiri (Diri Diri)" (Το τρεχαντήρι (Ντίρι Ντίρι)) Greek 14 44 No semi-finals
1995 Elina Konstantopoulou "Pia prosefhi" (Ποια προσευχή) Greek[a] 12 68
1996 Marianna Efstratiou "Emis forame to himona anixiatika" (Εμείς φοράμε το χειμώνα ανοιξιάτικα) Greek 14 36 12 45
1997 Marianna Zorba "Horepse" (Χόρεψε) Greek 12 39 No semi-finals
1998 Thalassa "Mia krifi evaisthisia" (Μια κρυφή ευαισθησία) Greek 20 12
2001 Antique "Die for You" English, Greek 3 147
2002 Michalis Rakintzis "S.A.G.A.P.O." English 17 27
2003 Mando "Never Let You Go" English 17 25
2004 Sakis Rouvas "Shake It" English 3 252 3 238
2005 Helena Paparizou "My Number One" English 1 230 Top 12 previous year[b]
2006 Anna Vissi "Everything" English 9 128 Host country[c]
2007 Sarbel "Yassou Maria" (Γεια σου Μαρία) English 7 139 Top 10 previous year[b]
2008 Kalomira "Secret Combination" English 3 218 1 156
2009 Sakis Rouvas "This Is Our Night" English 7 120 4 110
2010 Giorgos Alkaios and Friends "Opa" (Ώπα) Greek[d] 8 140 2 133
2011 Loukas Yorkas feat. Stereo Mike "Watch My Dance" Greek, English 7 120 1 133
2012 Eleftheria Eleftheriou "Aphrodisiac" English 17 64 4 116
2013 Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis "Alcohol Is Free" Greek, English 6 152 2 121
2014 Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd "Rise Up" English 20 35 7 74
2015 Maria Elena Kyriakou "One Last Breath" English 19 23 6 81
2016 Argo "Utopian Land" Greek,[e] English Failed to qualify 16 44
2017 Demy "This Is Love" English 19 77 10 115
2018 Yianna Terzi "Oniro mou" (Όνειρό μου) Greek Failed to qualify 14 81
2019 Katerine Duska "Better Love" English 21 74 5 185
2020 Stefania "Supergirl" English Contest cancelled[f] X
2021 Stefania "Last Dance" English 10 170 6 184
2022 Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord "Die Together" English 8 215 3 211
2023 Confirmed intention to participate [36]

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song ContestEdit

Entrant Song Language At Congratulations At Eurovision
Final Points Semi Points Year Place Points
Helena Paparizou "My Number One" English 4 245 4 167 2005 1 230

HostingsEdit

Year Location Venue Presenters Ref.
2006 Athens O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas

AwardsEdit

Marcel Bezençon AwardsEdit

Year Category Song Performer Final Points Host city Ref.
2005 Artistic Award[g] "My Number One" Helena Paparizou 1 230   Kyiv

Barbara Dex AwardEdit

Year Performer Host city Ref.
2002 Michalis Rakintzis   Tallinn

Related involvementEdit

Commentators and spokespersonsEdit

For the show's broadcast in Greece, various commentators have provided comment on the contest in the local language. At the Eurovision Song Contest after all points are calculated, the presenters of the show call upon each voting country to invite each respective spokesperson to announce the results of their vote on-screen.[79]

Year Commentator Channel Radio commentator Spokesperson Ref.
1970 Mako Georgiadou[80] EIRT TBC Did not participate
1971 No broadcast |
1972
1973
1974 Irini Gavala
1975 ERT Did not participate
1976 Irini Gavala
1977 Dimitris Konstantaras Naki Agathou
1978 Niki Venega
1979
1980
1981 Tatiana Darra
1982 No broadcast Did not participate
1983 Dimitris Konstantaras Irini Gavala
1984 No broadcast No broadcast Did not participate
1985 Mako Georgiadou[80] ERT Dimitris Konstantaras Kelly Sakakou
1986 No broadcast Did not participate
1987 Dafni Bokota[80] Dimitris Konstantaras Kelly Sakakou
1988 Fotini Giannoulatou
1989
1990
1991 Giorgos Mitropoulos
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996 Niki Venega
1997
1998 Giorgos Mitropoulos Dimitris Konstantaras Alexis Kostalas
1999 Dafni Bokota[80] No broadcast Did not participate
2000[h]
2001 Giorgos Mitropoulos Alexis Kostalas
2002
2003
2004 No broadcast
2005 Alexandra Pascalidou
2006 Giorgos Kapoutzidis, Zeta Makrypoulia[80] Maria Kozakou [80][83]
2007 Maria Bakodimou, Fotis Sergoulopoulos [80][83]
2008 Maggira Sisters [80][83]
2009 [80][83]
2010 Rika Vayani [80][83]
2011 Maria Kozakou Lena Aroni [80][84]
2012 Andrianna Maggania [80][85]
2013 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis [80][86]
2014 Maria Kozakou (all shows), Giorgos Kapoutzidis (final) NERIT No broadcast
2015 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Helena Paparizou
2016 ERT Constantinos Christoforou
2017
2018 Alexandros Lizardos, Daphne Skalioni Dimitris Meidanis Olina Xenopoulou
2019 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Gus G [83][88]
2020 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Not announced before cancellation
2021 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Dimitris Meidanis (all shows), Giorgos Katsaros (final) Manolis Gkinis
2022 Dimitris Meidanis Stefania [91][92][93]

Other showsEdit

Show Commentator Channel Ref.
Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest Elizabeth Filippouli NET
Eurovision's Greatest Hits Greek subtitles NERIT1
Het Grote Songfestivalfeest ERT1
Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light Maria Kozakou [97][98]