My top 5 songs from…Cyprus

When I wrote the first Top 5 of Cyprus after Portugal’s win in 2017, I noted that Cyprus now carried the dubious record of having entered Eurovision the most times without a win. Unlike pre-win Portugal, they had at least reached the top 5 on a couple of occasions; however, I wasn’t expecting Cyprus to come so close to winning the contest for the first time so soon after saying that, but they very nearly did! You won’t be surprised to see their first ever runner up enter this top 5… 

Of course with that addition of 2018’s entry to the top 5, one song had to go from my original top 5 and it isn’t the song that I put in at number 5 last time, but actually what I placed at 4! That means we say goodbye to Ivi Adamou “La La Love” I am afraid – but with Eleni entering the top 5, we do keep a big Cypriot party banger here.

5. Anna Vissi “Mono i agapi” (1982, 5th place, 85 points)

This is Cyprus’s joint second best placing (and in their second appearance in the contest) and Anna Vissi was, and remains, a huge star in Greece and Cyprus. This was her second Eurovision appearance, and her first and only one for her native Cyprus (she represented Greece in the other two appearances in 1980 and 2006).

4. Alex Panayi “Sti fotia” (1995, 9th place, 79 points)

Sporting an impressive head of hair is Alex Panayi, my number four choice for Cyprus. It’s one of those songs that could only come from that country/region (unlike so many songs now that could come from anywhere rather than being unique to that country/region) – it’s dramatic, catchy and very Greek Cypriot!

3. Lisa Andreas “Stronger Every Minute” (2004, 5th place, 170 points)

A mighty fine ballad that, at the time, equalled Cyprus’s best ever placings and was their highest points score (until 2018!) – and this was the year that the contest was hosted in Turkey. I believe (and I am happy to be corrected) that this was the first time Cyprus ever received votes from Turkey (even if it was a single point). Lisa herself is actually English, from Kent, but is of Greek Cypriot heritage and was just 16 years old when she performed this in Istanbul.

2. Eleni Foureira “Fuego” (2018, 2nd place, 436 points)

Who would have thought that Cyprus came closer than they have ever done before to winning the contest. Not I, I have to confess and when I did my top 43 in advance of the contest, I put this around mid-table but for me, as I think it did for many, it grew and grew in stature and in the bookies’ standings, and the full on, hair flicking live performance was great to see – Eurovision needs these ethnic party bangers, and Eleni provided that in huge spades in 2018.

1. Hara & Andreas Constantinou “Mana mou” (1997, 5th place, 98 points)

Topping my list still, even with 2018’s storming result, and completing the appearance of all of their top 5 placed entries, this is a mid to uptempo number from the year Katrina stormed to victory. It’s very (Greek) Cypriot, and appropriately, the song itself an ode to Cyprus itself, with the singers likening the country’s beauty to that of Aphrodite.

That concludes this southern flavoured top 5 – have I missed any of your favourites from Cyprus? Did Eleni deserve top spot?

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