Eurovision 2016 – Greece: ‘Utopian Land’ (Argo)

Much underrated, sometimes misunderstood, and often overlooked, Greece has participated in Eurovision, on and off, since 1974.

Their first decent (and potentially finest) entry? That would be 1985. Takis Biniaris singing ‘Miazoume‘. Sure, it will sound a little dated now, but listen carefully and you’ll see a cheeky, shameless ploy for votes. Miazoume exploits one very famous theme of European unity: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (listen out for the middle eight). The rest of Europe had no idea about that (imbeciles) and gave Greece a paltry 15 points, placing the country 16th. Tut tut.

Be sure to take in Bang’s ‘Stop‘ from 1987 (it came 10th) and marvel at their shameless imitation of Wham! Naff as 1989’s ‘Tou dhiko sou asteri‘ (9th) might at first seem, its’ musical backbone is without doubt its rather sweet melody (just ignore the jazz flute at the end of the first chorus).

There most remarkable and earliest most-deserving winner is from 2001. Fifteen years on, Antique’s ‘Die For You‘ is a timeless Eurovision number, progressive for its time too. It came third, the year this won. Eurovision is a cruel cruel beast.

There can be no doubt that Greece’s worst effort was in 2002 (17th – a pre-cursor to the shocking technical difficulties the UK’s Jemini suffered the following year). Sakis Rouvas improved things in 2004 with some old school Eurovision (4th). But it was Helena Paparizou who clinched Greece’s only win in 2005 with the indescribably dull ‘My Number One‘. Aside from Sakis’ return in 2009 which was by far better than his first Eurovision appearance, with ‘This is Our Night‘ (it wasn’t), everything else since has been spectacularly awful. Miraculously, they’ve still managed to qualify for a place in the final.

This year’s entry continues the theme, making full use of an ‘authentic’ Greek song, packed full of hefty drums, a spattering of what we might loosely describe as ‘rap’ and a chorus which (trust me on this) does little to hold anyone’s attention. The question here is whether they’ll qualify at all. A terribly disappointing from Greece this year. Tut. Tut.

And I’m going to call it. If it does get a place in the final then it absolutely should be below the UK. And if it isn’t then I’m voting for Brexit.

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