Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest

Greece has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 40 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, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (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.

Member stationHellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT)
National selection events
Participation summary
Appearances40 (38 finals)
First appearance1974
Best result1st: 2005
External links
ERT Page
Greece's page at
Song contest current event.png For the most recent participation see
Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020

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 Kleopatra in 1992. The start of the 21st century saw Greece become one of the most successful countries in the contest, with ten out of eleven 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.

In the last six contests (2014–19), Greece has not reached the top ten, including twice failing to qualify from the semi-final to the grand final (2016, 2018).


Before Greece as a country participated in the contest, singers from Greece have 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.

After debuting in the 1974 contest, 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.[2][3] Greece was disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 after it was revealed that Themis Adamantidis was to sing "Sarantapente Kopelies" (Σαρανταπέντε Κοπελιές), 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.[4] Had Adamantidis been allowed to perform "Sarantapente Kopelies", he would have appeared second at Harrogate.[5] After returning in 1983, ERT decided that all of the possible songs were of "low quality" and decided not to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 1984.

Greece returned once again to the Contest in 1985, and Polina was picked in the 1986 national selection to represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 1986 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,[6] 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.[6] Had she performed, she would have appeared eighteenth and she would have performed the song "Wagon-lit".[6][7]

Greece returned to the Contest in 1987 and performed each year until the Eurovision Song Contest 1999, when it as not permitted to participate because 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.

Thirty-one years after its debut, Greece won for the first time in 2005 with Elena 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 semifinal. 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, 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 Elena Paparizou was a member) in 2001 with "Die for You" and then again by Sakis Rouvas in 2004 with "Shake It". Greece's least successful result was at 16th place in the 2016 semi-final with the song "Utopian Land" by Argo, with 44 points.

In 2006, the 51st Eurovision Song Contest was held in Athens, iν the O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall, Greece, 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.

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.[8] The song voted by the public was "This Is Our Night", another song performed by Sakis Rouvas on the show.

Greece has been one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest in the 21st century, ten times finishing in the top-ten,[9] including ninth in 2006, seventh in 2007, third in 2008, seventh in 2009, eighth in 2010 and seventh in 2011. 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". 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 2015, Greece failed to reach the top-ten for the third time in four years, finishing 19th.

From 2013 through 2015, the music channel MAD produced the Greek national final.

For 2016, ERT selected the Eurovision entry internally. They selected the band Argo with the song "Utopian Land".[10] For the first time since the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, Greece failed to qualify for the final. They finished 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 the 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.


"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[11]

Greece is famous for, especially in recent years, always giving twelve points to Cyprus and always receiving twelve points from Cyprus. This is one of many examples of the bloc voting seen in contest which also occurs between Iberian, Balkan, Scandinavian, ex-Soviet and Baltic countries. In the case of Greece and Cyprus, the exchange of twelve points is probably because the majority of Cypriot citizens are Greeks thus sharing linguistic ties (speaking Greek) and musical taste. Furthermore, Greece and Cyprus share the same music industry. This was not always the case, as until 1997 (and, for Greece and Cyprus, 1998), all the votes were given by juries, who may be less biased by diaspora or neighbourly influence than televoters. While Greece and Cyprus did exchange top marks a few times (1987, 1994, and 1997 all saw an exchange of twelves), there were also several years where one or the other didn't receive the twelve. In 1983, only the second time Greece and Cyprus competed together, Greece awarded the Cypriot entry no points for the first and only time (the only occasion in which one of the two didn't vote for the other when they had the ability to). However, between 1997 and 2013 (except the contests in 1999 and 2000, which Greece didn't compete in, and 2001, which Cyprus didn't compete in), 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.[12] 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".[13] 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, and curiously both countries gave the maximum to Italy. It was also the first time since 1996 that one of the two hadn't given the other twelve (with the exceptions of 1985 and 1990, one of the two countries gave the other twelve points every year).

Popularity of the contestEdit

Until 2001, Greece was seen as one of the least successful countries in the contest,[by whom?] and therefore the interest of Greek people in the contest was relatively low. Since Antique's third place in 2001, the contest has grown into one of the most popular events in Greece with an estimated five million viewers each year. The high expectations of the Greek public has led to seeing the contest as a "national affair" of very big importance, and this has caused controversy. The Greek viewers expect their singers to qualify from the semi-final to the final and place inside the Top 10, except from one 17th place: in 2012 for the first time since the introduction of the semifinals failed to place in the Top 10 in Baku. In 2013 Greece was again in top 10 finishing 6th. They are the second most successful country, behind Russia, in the contest between 2000 and 2009, with one win and three third places. Since 2014 their performance has declined, having failed to finish in the top 10 six consecutive years. In 2016, Greece failed to qualify for the first time since the introduction of the semifinals in 2004 with the group Argo, breaking their qualification record. This was the first year Greece was absent from the final since 2000. Greece failed to qualify for the final again in 2018.


The following table lists the forty entries which have competed for Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Table key
Second place
Third place
Entry selected but did not compete
Year Artist Language Title Final Points Semi Points
Marinella Greek "Krasi, thalassa ke t'agori mou" (Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ'αγόρι μου) 11 7 No semi-finals
Mariza Koch Greek "Panagia mou, panagia mou" (Παναγιά μου, παναγιά μου) 13 20
Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy Greek "Mathima solfege" (Μάθημα σολφέζ) 5 92
Tania Tsanaklidou Greek "Charlie Chaplin" (Τσάρλυ Τσάπλιν) 8 66
Elpida Greek "Sokratis" (Σωκράτης) 8 69
Anna Vissi & The Epikouri Greek "Autostop" (Ωτοστόπ) 13 30
Yiannis Dimitras Greek "Feggari kalokerino" (Φεγγάρι καλοκαιρινό) 8 55
Themis Adamadidis Greek "Sarantapente kopelies" (Σαρανταπέντε κοπελιές) Withdrawn X
Kristi Stassinopoulou Greek "Mou les" (Μου λες) 14 32 No semi-finals
Takis Biniaris Greek "Moiazoume" (Μοιάζουμε) 16 15
Polina Greek "Wagon-lit" (Βαγκόν λι) Withdrawn X
Bang Greek "Stop" (Στοπ) 10 64 No semi-finals
Afroditi Frida Greek "Clown" (Κλόουν) 17 10
Mariana Efstratiou Greek "To diko sou asteri" (Το δικό σου αστέρι) 9 56
Christos Callow & Wave Greek "Horis Skopo" (Χωρίς σκοπό) 19 11
Sophia Vossou Greek "I anoixi" (Η ανοιξη) 13 36
Kleopatra Greek "Olou tou kosmou i Elpida" (Όλου του κόσμου η Ελπίδα) 5 94
Katy Garbi Greek "Ellada, chora tou fotos" (Ελλάδα, χώρα του φωτός) 9 64 Kvalifikacija za Millstreet
Kostas Bigalis Greek "To trehandiri" (Το τρεχαντήρι) 14 44 No semi-finals
Elina Konstantopoulou Greek "Poia prosefchi" (Ποια προσευχή) 12 68
Mariana Efstratiou Greek "Emeis forame to himona anoixiatika" (Εμείς φοράμε το χειμώνα ανοιξιάτικα) 14 36 12 45
Marianna Zorba Greek "Horepse" (Χόρεψε) 12 39 No semi-finals
Thalassa Greek "Mia krifi evaisthisia" (Μια κρυφή ευαισθησία) 20 12
Antique English, Greek "(I Would) Die for You" 3 147
Michalis Rakintzis English "S.A.G.A.P.O." 17 27
Mando English "Never Let You Go" 17 25
Sakis Rouvas English "Shake It" 3 252 3 238
Helena Paparizou English "My Number One" 1 230 Top 12 previous year[a]
Anna Vissi English "Everything" 9 128 Host country[b]
Sarbel English "Yassou Maria" (Γεια σου Μαρία) 7 139 Top 10 previous year[a]
Kalomira English "Secret Combination" 3 218 1 156
Sakis Rouvas English "This Is Our Night" 7 120 4 110
Giorgos Alkaios & Friends Greek[c] "OPA!" (ΩΠΑ!) 8 140 2 133
Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike Greek, English "Watch My Dance" 7 120 1 133
Eleftheria Eleftheriou English "Aphrodisiac" 17 64 4 116
Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis Greek, English "Alcohol Is Free" 6 152 2 121
Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd English "Rise Up" 20 35 7 74
Maria Elena Kyriakou English "One Last Breath" 19 23 6 81
Argo Greek,[d] English "Utopian Land" Failed to qualify 16 44
Demy English "This Is Love" 19 77 10 115
Yianna Terzi Greek "Oniro mou" (Όνειρό μου) Failed to qualify 14 81
Katerine Duska English "Better Love" 21 74 5 185
Stefania English "Supergirl" Contest cancelled[e] X

Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song ContestEdit

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


Year Location Venue Presenters
2006 Athens Olympic Indoor Hall Maria Menounos and Sakis Rouvas


Marcel Bezençon AwardsEdit

Year Category Song Performer Final Points Host city Ref.
2005 Artistic Award[f] "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

Year Commentator Channel Radio commentator Spokesperson Ref.
1971 Mako Georgiadou EIRT No broadcast Did not participate
1974 Irini Gavala
1975 ERT Did not participate
1976 Irini Gavala
1977 Dimitris Konstantaras Naki Agathou
1978 Niki Venega
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 ERT Dimitris Konstantaras Kelly Sakakou
1986 No broadcast Did not participate
1987 Dafni Bokota Dimitris Konstantaras Kelly Sakakou
1988 Fotini Giannoulatou
1991 Giorgos Mitropoulos
1996 Niki Venega
1998 Giorgos Mitropoulos Dimitris Konstantaras Alexis Kostalas
1999 Dafni Bokota No broadcast Did not participate
2001 Giorgos Mitropoulos Alexis Kostalas
2004 No broadcast
2005 Alexandra Pascalidou
2006 Giorgos Kapoutzidis, Zeta Makrypoulia
2007 Maria Bakodimou, Fotis Sergoulopoulos
2008 Maggira Sisters
2010 Rika Vayani
2011 Maria Kozakou Lena Aroni
2012 Andrianna Maggania
2013 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis
2014 Maria Kozakou (all shows), Giorgos Kapoutzidis (final) NERIT
2015 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Helena Paparizou
2016 ERT Constantinos Christoforou
2018 Alexandros Lizardos, Daphne Skalioni Alexandros Lizardos, Daphne Skalioni Olina Xenopoulou
2019 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Gus G
2020 Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Maria Kozakou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis Not announced before cancellation

Stage directorsEdit

Year Stage director Ref.
2004 Fokas Evangelinos
2005 Fokas Evangelinos
2009 Fokas Evangelinos
2011 Konstantinos Rigos
2012 Konstantinos Rigos
2013 Maria Liraraki
2016 Maria Liraraki
2017 Fokas Evangelinos
2018 Chali Jennings
2019 Efi Gousi
2020 Fokas Evangelinos


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b According to the then-Eurovision rules, the top ten non-Big Four countries from the previous year along with the Big Four automatically qualified for the Grand Final without having to compete in semi-finals. For example, if Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the 11th and 12th spots were advanced to next year's Grand Final along with all countries ranked in the top ten.
  2. ^ If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.
  3. ^ Contains one phrase in English.
  4. ^ Particularly Pontic Greek, except the first two sentences of the song.
  5. ^ The 2020 contest was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. ^ Voted by previous winners.


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  39. ^ van Rossem, Aline (March 1, 2020). "Stefania releases Greek Eurovision entry "SUPERG!RL"". Retrieved March 1, 2020.

External linksEdit