Independence Day of Cyprus - Cyprus’ Five Most Iconic Eurovision Entries
Today October 1 is the ‘Independence Day of Cyprus’. On August 16 in 1960 the United Kingdom granted Cyprus full sovereignty and formed the Republic of Cyprus. It is celebrated on the 1st of October.
Cyprus made its debut in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981 with their first representative being the musical group Island, formed especially for the Contest, who sung the Greek song “Monika”. Their entry ended up in 6th place, making it an impressive start for Cyprus. Over the last 38 years they have achieved 10 top 10 placings.
From their Greek ballads to their recent English bangers, let’s look at our top five most iconic entries from Cyprus:
=5. Anna Vissi - Mono i agapi (5th place - 1982)
=5. Lia Vissi - To katalava arga (16th place - 1985)
Tied in 5th place in this countdown, both Vissi sisters actually performed in Eurovision for the first time together representing Greece in 1980 as Anna Vissi and The Epikouri with the song “Autostop”. With Anna Vissi as the lead singer and her older sister Lia Vissi part of the back up singers.
Two years later Anna represented Cyprus in 1982 with her self penned ballad “Mono i agapi” and then three years later her older sister Lia represented Cyprus with her self penned ballad “To katalava arga”. Both of their performances are very iconic with the Greek music scene at the time. Their participation in the Contest marks the second time in the Contest’s history that two sisters represented their countries in different years. The first time was when Finnish sisters Monica Aspelund entered the 1977 Contest with the song “Lapponia” and her sister Ami Aspelund competed in the 1983 Contest with the song “Fantasiaa”.
4. Evridiki - Comme Ci, Comme ça (Semi Final 15th place - 2007)
Greek Cypriot Evridiki performed in three Contests for Cyprus, first in 1992 with the song “Teriazoume”, then in 1994 with “Ime anthropos ki ego”. Both emotional Greek ballads that ended up in 11th place. She returned 13 years later in 2007 with the catchy electropop “Comme Ci, Comme ça” a French song which was a first for Cyprus where most entries have been sung in Greek or English, and even once in Italian. But not unexpected for Evridiki who previously released French versions of her earlier Eurovision songs. It was also the first French song performed in Eurovision from a non French speaking country sung entirely in French.
3. Constantinos Christoforou - Ela Ela (Come Baby) (18th place - 2005)
The self proclaimed ‘King of the night’, holds the record in Eurovision for performing three times in a rare sequence where he firstly performs as a soloist, with the 1996 song “Mono gia mas”, to then return to front the Greek and Cypriot pop boy band One (known for being the very first boy band in Greece and Cyprus) with their song “Gimme” in 2002, and then to come back with a banger as a soloist in 2005 with “Ela Ela (Come Baby)”. This entry is reminiscent of what most eastern European and Balkan countries were bringing to the Contest in the 00’s and a memorable one for Cyprus.
2. Lisa Andreas - Stronger Every Minute (5th place - 2004)
In 2004 Cyprus stormed in with a big moving ballad, sung by 16 year old Lisa Andreas, the youngest competitor in the 2004 Contest. Her performance is most notable for its simplicity, with just herself, her microphone and her big voice on stage, making it rather memorable. Lisa's impressive 5th place finish was Cyprus’ best result in seven years and at the time tied for best performing entry for Cyprus at 5th place with Anna Vissi’s 1982 entry “Mono i agapi” and Hara & Andreas Constantinou's 1997 entry “Mana mou”.
1. Eleni Foureira - Fuego (2nd place - 2018)
No surprises here! This entry is on fire and is one of the most iconic Eurovision performances in recent years. The stage director was choreographer Sacha Jean-Baptiste who has a long list of Eurovision performances which she has been involved with, most notably Loreen’s “Euphoria”, Nina Sublatti’s “Warrior”, Luca Hänni’s “She Got Me” and our very own Jessica Mauboy’s “We Got Love”. The staging with its iconic choreography, great lighting, and a lot of fire created huge buzz back in 2018, and will be talked about for years to come.
At runner-up place to Netta’s “Toy” Eleni achieved Cyprus’ best ever result.
Eleni herself has become just as iconic as her song “Fuego” as she returned to the 2019 Contest in Tel Aviv to compete in Eurovision Switch Song as the interval act with Conchita Wurst, Måns Zelmerlöw, Verka Serduchka and Gali Atari. Måns performed a slow tempo cover of Eleni’s “Fuego” and Eleni performed an electrically iconic rendition of “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” in the now infamous star covered cat suit… Check it out!
Other Cypriot entries that need an honourable mention would have be the 1999 entrant, and fan favourite to win Marlain with “Tha ‘nai erotas”, the 2012 entry by Ivi Adamou with “La La Love” and from 2017 Hovig’s “Gravity”.
We hope you enjoyed our countdown.
Who would you put in your top five?