Grèce 2009

Greece participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 with the song « This Is Our Night » sung by Sakis Rouvas. The Greek national television broadcaster Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT) announced that it had internally selected Rouvas to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest on July 15, 2008,[1][2][3] making Greece the first country to pick an artist for the 2009 edition.[4]

After choosing the artist, ERT set up a national final held on February 18, 2009 to select the song. Rouvas sang three candidate songs, all with music written by Dimitris Kontopoulos, and « This Is Our Night » was declared the winner, gaining a large majority of the votes. Following the selection of the song, Rouvas began a promotional tour around Europe and appeared on many shows, including the selections for other countries participating in the Contest.

At the second semi-final of the Contest on May 14, Greece qualified for the final after coming in fourth place with 110 points. At the May 16 final, Rouvas presented « This Is Our Night » eighth out of 25 and at the end of voting, was awarded seventh place, marking Greece’s sixth consecutive top 10 placing since 2004.

Background

Prior to the 2009 Contest, Greece had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twenty-nine times since its first entry in 1974,[5] winning it in 2005 with the song « My Number One » performed by Elena Paparizou,[6] and being placed third three times: in 2001 with the song « Die for You » performed by the duo Antique; in 2004 with « Shake It » performed by Sakis Rouvas; and the 2008 entry « Secret Combination » performed by Kalomoira. Following the introduction of the semi-finals for the 2004 contest, Greece has had a top ten placing each year. Greece’s least successful result was in 1998 when it placed twentieth with the song « Mia Krifi Evesthisia » by Thalassa, receiving only twelve points in total, all from Cyprus.[7]

The Greek national broadcaster, Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT) broadcasts the event in Greece each year and organizes the selection process for its entry.[8] 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.[1]

Before Eurovision

Selection process

Sakis Rouvas, as seen at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, was once again selected as the singer for Greece.

Announced in July 2008, Sakis Rouvas represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. This was Rouvas’ second appearance at Eurovision as a performer, and third overall.[1][4] In 2004, he represented Greece with « Shake It« , placing third, and in 2006, he hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens alongside Maria Menounos.[9] Johnny Kalimeris, Eurovision project manager for ERT stated that they had announced Rouvas’ participation so early because they had « already agreed with Sakis Rouvas so there was no reason to keep it a secret [and that] it was about to leak [so they] decided to make a short announcement early on to avoid the usual speculations and rumors which could do more damage than good« .[10]

As in 2005 and 2006, when ERT also picked the artist internally, a national final was organized where three potential entries would be heard in playback and voted on via televoting/SMS and « expert » jury voting weighted at 60% and 40% respectively.[10] On October 14, 2008, ERT held a press conference to officially present Rouvas as the entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. It was also announced that Dimitris Kontopoulos will be the only composer to submit songs.[11] Another press conference followed on February 12, 2009 where ERT presented the three potential entries to the media.[12][13][14]

The songs

Dimitris Kontopoulos, a previous Rouvas collaborator, was chosen as the sole composer for all three songs, a first for the Greek selection process.

The public along with an « expert » jury had three songs to choose from, all composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos.[15] All three songs were choreographed by Fokas Evagelinos.[14] Responding to a question about the style of the song, asked by a reporter in the October 14 press conference, Rouvas answered that he trusted in Dimitris Kontopoulos, and that Kontopoulos had written many hits for him and knew what style of songs that fit Rouvas the best.[15]

On February 10, 2009, two days ahead of the song press conference, song titles and lyricists were revealed to the media.[16] Alexandra Zakka wrote the lyrics for the first song, titled Out of control, a pop song with R&B elements, while Craig Porteils and Cameron Giles-Webb wrote the lyrics for both Right on time, a mid-tempo song with rock elements, and This is our night, an dance song.[17] Craig Porteils is a Greek Australian music producer who has written songs and lyrics for Cher, Billy Idol, Tevin Campbell, Guns N’ Roses, Rod Stewart, and Ozzy Osbourne among others,[18] while Cameron Giles-Webb is another Greek Australian music producer who is currently the head of Gusto Music.[19] Alexandra Zakka is a young upcoming lyricist who speaks English, French, German, and Spanish among other languages.[20]

Result

The national final took place on February 18, 2009 at the Athinon Arena.[11][13][21]Betty and Mathildi Maggira presented the show, and will also be the Greek commentators at the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.[11][22] The show had a main concept of Eurovision history and included a flashback to the Eurovision world from 1956 when the contest was broadcast on radio to the present.[23] The show was directed by Giorgos Kapoutzidis.[24]

Along with televoting, a seven-member ‘expert’ jury picked the entry.[25] The jury, which accounted for 40% of the votes, consisted of composer Mimis Plessas, who was once again the head of the jury, General Manager of ERT Television Dimitris Gontikas, lyricist and General Manager of ERT Radio Antonis Andrikakis, President of ERT Public Relations Evangelia Piskera, record executive Olga Pavlatou, record producer Giorgos Kyvelos, and Greek ESCToday representative Stella Floras.[23] The seventh jury vote by Eurovision news site ESCToday editor Stella Floras, came from the result of a poll for international fans conducted by ESCToday.[26]

The show featured appearances by Cyprus’ Christina Metaxa performing « Firefly« , Turkey’s Hadise performing « Düm Tek Tek« , Malta’s Chiara performing « What If We« , Belarus’ Petr Elfimov performing « Eyes That Never Lie« , Montenegro’s Andrea Demirović performing « Just Get Out of My Life« , and the United Kingdom’s Jade Ewen performing « My Time« .[27][28] 2008’s entrant Kalomoira perform a medley during the national final which included Lady Gaga‘s « Just Dance« , the Pussycat Dolls‘s « When I Grow Up » and the Master Tempo remix of her entry « Secret Combination« .[27][29] The official Eurovision website, Eurovision.tv, once again streamed the national final live online as it had the previous year.[30]

At the end of voting, « This Is Our Night » was revealed as the winner receiving over eighty percent of the votes. « Right on Time » and « Out of Control » placed second and third respectively.[31]

Results of the National Final
Draw Song Composer – Lyricist Percentage[31] Place
1 « Out of Control » Dimitris KontopoulosAlexandra Zakka 9% 3
2 « Right on Time » Dimitris KontopoulosCraig Porteils, Cameron Giles-Webb 10% 2
3 « This Is Our Night«  Dimitris KontopoulosCraig Porteils, Cameron Giles-Webb 81% 1

Promotion

Ani Lorak and Philipp Kirkorov were frequent collaborators of Rouvas during his promo tour. Controversy of the nature of Rouvas and Kirkorov’s friendship later led to Kirkorov withdrawing as head of the Russian jury.

Rouvas will be embarking on an extensive promotional tour around Europe after picking his song. So far it is rumored that almost all countries have invited him to be on their shows.[32] Even before his song was picked, Rouvas was invited to perform in Belgrade, Serbia on the talent show « Operacija trijumf« , the Ex-Yugoslav version of Star Academy, on December 29, 2008.[33] On the show, which is broadcast in Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia,[34] Rouvas sang his 2004 entry « Shake It » with Aleksandar Belov,[35] one of the shows contestants who is of Macedonian origin, while he also premiered the English version of his massive summer hit « + Se Thelo » titled « Keep on Moving » for the first time with a fully choreographed performance.[36]

Following the national final, initial plans for the promotion of « This Is Our Night » were revealed. The tour was revealed by Johnny Kalimeris to be quite extensive, with Rouvas visiting more Eurovision countries than had been visited in previous years. The first official stop kicking off Rouvas’ promotional tour after the selection was to Bosnia and Herzegovina where Rouvas performed at the official presentation of the nation’s entry « Bistra Voda » on March 1. Other guests included Turkey and Malta. The show was streamed live on eurovision.tv as had been for the Greek national final.[37] An extensive promotional schedule was laid out for the following day, with Rouvas doing many appearances on numerous press, television, and radio networks. Rouvas was a guest at the Pink TV BH Morning Show which aired live on Balkan Net, and also starred on the live radio show Stari Grad at 14:00. He also gave interviews to TV Hayat, the Obavezan smjer show on TV Sarajevo, and on the Radio Televizija BiH show Konacno petak. Following his two-day stay in Bosnia and Herzigovina, Rouvas will return to Belgrade, Serbia where he will stay until March 4 and will appear on Fox TV, Radio S, live on 3 March, at 15.30 (local time), TV S, TV Avala and Pink TV. On the 4th March, he will be a special guest of Jovana Janković, the hostess of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, on the RTS Morning Show. Rouvas will conclude his promotion in Serbia at 15:00 that day with a live appearance on Novi SAT channel. Rouvas will then fly to Moscow, where he will perform live at the Russian National Final along with past Russian representatives, namely Dima Bilan, Yulia Savicheva, Alsou, Youddiph, Natalia Podolskaya, Prime Minister, and Serebro. The next day he will give a large performce at the Kremlin for the celebration of International Woman’s Day in Russia. Russia, being the host country, has been called an important stop by ERT. Rouvas has also had success on the Russian charts with his hit « Se Thelo San Trelos » in 2004 and is known in the country from his successful collaboration with successful singer-songwriter Philipp Kirkorov. At the second press conference, it was stated that Rouvas’ previous success and popularity in Russia will be a definite factor in Greece conquering the Eastern votes.[38] It has also been confirmed that Rouvas will give a concert in Cyprus on March 13, and will also be continuing promotion in Turkey from April 10–12. ERT is currently considering many more destinations for promotion, keeping Belgium and the Netherlands as a high priority.[39]

At Eurovision

Although Greece placed third in the 2008 contest, it was still required to compete in the semi-finals under current rules, as it was not one of the « Big Four » nor was it the host of the 2009 contest.

Fokas Evangelinos along with Elias Ledakis, will be the choreographers and artistic directors of Rouvas’ stage show.[15][40] Evangelinos had choreographed Rouvas’ third place 2004 entry, Elena Paparizou‘s winning 2005 entry, the opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest 2006, Ani Lorak‘s second place 2008 entry, and Dima Bilan‘s second place entry in 2006 and winning 2008 entry among others.[41] Evangelinos has worked with Rouvas for more than a decade long, being his choreographer for the majority of his shows. At a press conference that took place on October 14, 2008, it was revealed that Evangelinos will be working exclusively with Rouvas and no other contest entrants.[40]

Rouvas in Moscow.

Semi-final

It was announced in January that Greece would take part in the second semi-final on May 14 where it will have to qualify for the grand final. Greece was drawn to perform 13th out of a field of 19, succeeding Azerbaijan‘s AySel and Arash with « Always » and preceding Lithuania‘s Sasha Son with « Love« . It was one of the ten performances which qualified for the grand final.

Final and reception

In the final, on May 16, « This Is Our Night » finished in seventh place with a total of 120 points, receiving maximum 12 points from Albania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. The song therefore carried on Greece’s Eurovision success by finishing within the top-ten for the sixth consecutive year, thus making the country the second most successful entrant of the past decade, despite not having even participated in 2000. The event was watched by 86% of the Greek television audience.[42]

The performance included complex choreography, with BBC News announcing that « Greece’s Sakis Rouvas had one of the more ambitious dance routines » of the contest.[43] Rouvas wore an all white outfit designed by acclaimed Greek designer Celia Kritharioti. He performed on a rotating podium which transported him from left to right across the stage, was part of his group dance routine with four other performers and, in the end, was responsible for lifting him high into the air. In the same moment, a Greek flag is displayed on the floor, only visible to the television viewers. The final part of the performance was completed by silver fireworks in two separate parts. The official Eurovision website states that, this year, Greece had made « high-tech advancements » in the contest’s standards.[44]

Rouvas –as seen here raising the Greek flag– was given full support by Greek media after his result.

Whilst Rouvas was disappointed with his seventh-place finish, announcing to Greek media « I am so sorry, I wanted us to win », there was still unanimous support towards the artist himself in the country. « Seventh in Europe, first in our hearts » many journalists reported on Greek television. The media and public pronounced their support for Rouvas, the general consensus being that the artist gave it his best even though this did not translate in enough votes in the contest. All criticism in Greece focused on the selection of the song itself, rather than the artist’s performance. Rouvas stated that, overall, it has all been a wonderful experience for him: « some win, some lose, personally, I gave everything I had. But it was a wonderful experience ».[45]

Some critics, including those from London Greek Radio, suggested the reason why Greece failed to achieve a higher placing was due to a lack of an ethnic-sounding song. He notes the way in which all of Greece’s top-three placings, including Rovas’ performance of « Shake It » in 2004, had an ethnic bouzouki sound, as did the 2009 Azerbaijani and Turkish entries which finished in third and fourth place respectively.[42]

The song has since peaked at number one on the Greek and Cypriot charts, and has also gone on to chart in Sweden, Ukraine, Iceland, Lithuania and Russia.

The Greek broadcaster ERT has confirmed that Greece will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010.[46]

Points Awarded by Greece

Points Awarded to Greece (Semi-Final 2)
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Points Awarded to Greece (Final)
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point

References

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External links