Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Why Greece should not win Eurovision


No matter what your opinion of Giorgos Alkaios and the grunting goodness of “Opa!”, Greece thankfully dodged a bullet Saturday night by placing 8th and it’s probably best if it doesn’t win Eurovision in years to come.

Despite the fact Eurovision is one of the longest-running TV programs in the world, the annual competition that pits EU nations against each other in a week-long contest of kitsch and song has become a financial burden on the winning country.

Norway, last year’s winner and this year’s host, told Reuters they spent $32 million and cannot afford to host again if they won. Russia spent $43 million last year, and the government and taxpayers absorbed $30 million. The last country to turn a profit was Greece in 2006, when Helena Paparizou brought Eurovision to Athens and commercials were permitted during the show. The latter is no longer true.

I understand that far more people care about Eurovision than Euro elections, which is why I don’t have a choice but to hear the show via balconies and living rooms around me. But did we forget that we are still paying for Athens 2004 and standing knee-deep in austerity?

Perhaps we should fight the urge to be #1 and be content to revel in Helena’s “My Number One.” Ah, the good ol’ days of denial.



Eurovision song contest feels the pinch” — Reuters

More info

Greek academic sees crisis nationalism in his country’s entry” – Sydney Morning Herald
Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest

Related posts

Four songs in Greek that always make me cry
My infatuation with Dimitris Basis


  Anastasia wrote @ May 29th, 2010 at 20:44

I own and manage a neighborhood bookstore in Maroussi and I can assure you the topic of discussion is not the Eurovision Song Contest. There is a sharp contrast in the mood of my customers from last year, and they are more open and interested to hear, share and discuss any theory, opinion or view in what is in store for the future. Furthermore, should you try to discuss the contest to them, it would seem to them quite distasteful to consume one’s time with such trivial small talk and arrogantly not acknowledging the blight we are all in . Approaching them with taxpayers money issues and would we cough up the bill for the song contest, not that I posed the question to them, but my guess would be a firm yes- cause we are still here and we are somehow still standing.

  baresytapas wrote @ May 31st, 2010 at 14:26

I came to this blog by accident, but I found it very interesting. Greetings to all the people who visit this page!

  Demitris wrote @ June 1st, 2010 at 19:58

I agree with this article. To begin, Giorgio’s song was terrible – something one would not even hear in the tackiest skyladiko. The fact that Greece even got 8th place for this song is a frigging miracle. Then again Eurovision is not known for good taste, but bringing out the worst Europe has to offer musically most of the time. The German contestant was not that great either but at least she was a bit better than Alkaios and Germany can afford to put on the show next year.

Personally I couldn’t care less if Greece never gets to host the Eurovision again. Festivals like the upcoming Synch in Gazi may lack the profile of Eurovision and cater mainly to the indie crowd. But it’s a step forward because it exposes people to new music & more talented artists both local & international. Greeks should support more of these kind of endeavours over the kitsch-fest.

Kat Reply:

Hi Demetri, it’s good to see you again. Months ago when people voted for one of five (?) songs, I was a bit surprised this one won. But I didn’t vote, so I don’t have a right to criticize. Like you, I’d rather see time and money spent on encouraging and promoting local talent. Too many artists go abroad because opportunities and venues are limited, and it makes more sense to invest at home.

  bios wrote @ June 4th, 2010 at 20:33

Do Greeks even see Eurovision as a kitsch fest though? From what i remember, they took it pretty seriously. Over here people watch it for that reason, but not in the same numbers.

Most of the Greek pop singers are not that much better than the average Eurovision contestant nowadays.

  Demitris wrote @ June 6th, 2010 at 22:59

Hi Kat, it’s nice to be back. I may not comment much lately but I always pop around from time to time, as you always have interesting and informative articles.

Bios, Greeks take Eurovision more seriously than they should. I believe Greece can produce great pop songs and for an international market as well. Melisses are not too bad, they’re not mind-numbingly brilliant but they have potential. I sent a link of their youtube clip of Kryfa to a lot of my non-greek friends a few months back and they all seemed to like it. They commented on how good the hook was, which is essential for a pop song.

Furthermore they are producing a style of music that is current with international trends i.e. electro-pop with a punk flavour. I think what stands in the way of many artists in Greece is that the local audience tends to have old-fashioned tastes out of synch with the rest of the world. Fortunately a younger generation is gradually changing this, hopefully this will help raise interest in contemporary greek music worldwide in the near future.

Kat Reply:

Just want you to know I’m happy and grateful to have your long-time readership, even if you don’t comment much. And for what it’s worth, I liked the Melisses’ “Kryfa” when it first came out and it was in the vodpod, but they played it to death!

  Athena wrote @ June 27th, 2010 at 03:33

I firmly agree with this article. Eurovision is, what I would call, an ”expensive shame”. Not only does it cost millions & millions of euros that could have been spent for better purposes, but it also doesn’t promote our culture at its best (in my personal opinion). There are numerous kinds of Greek music: zembekika, dimotika, tsamika, etc. I acknowledge that as time goes on, we must adapt our music to certain changes in order to keep in touch with the rest of the world, however, this shouldn’t mean that we must completely sacrifice our traditional music styles for the sake of modernity. We, too, have a lot of interesting stuff to offer. Besides containing the word ”Opa” & singing in Greek, I don’t see how the song presented at Eurovision represents who we really are. It’s a shame. Why not blend in a bit of OUR culture into OUR music? It’s possible to do so while still being up-to-date. Being modern doesn’t mean having to look just like Americans. We shouldn’t be afraid to show the world our true colors. In fact, there’s no country that should. (by the way, I’m part of the younger generation )

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