The Eurovision Semi-Final 1 airs on Tuesday 14th May at 8pm UK time with Cyprus and Greece competing among 17 countries. The aim is clear-cut: a Top 10 finish guarantees qualification to the final on Saturday.

As Eurovision week begins at the Tel Aviv Expo in Israel, Cyprus and Greece are well-fancied ‘favourites’ in the first semi-final to qualify.  Katerine Duska is slightly edging it at 2/1 ‘first favourite’ to win the semi-final for Greece.  Both countries are Top 12 to win the Eurovision outright and seize the 2019 trophy.

Tamta and Katerine Duska have entered the London Greek Radio [LGR] official Air-Play Chart this month.  The tracks, ‘Replay’ and ‘Better Love’ are proving popular with listeners, which reflect their cross-over potential, as hits and radio-friendly songs.

Cyprus is opening the first semi in slot number one, officially launching Eurovision this year.

Tamta performs ‘Replay’, an up-tempo dance track that has a horns-fuelled chorus with a thumping bassline. LGR’s Eurovision guru, Tony Neophytou says, “The brass, or instrumental parts, are the biggest asset to this song, and no doubt gives it a slight edge.”

Georgian-Greek singer, Tamta Goduadze, 38, agreed to do the Eurovision gig last December and fulfilled a long-time ambition to participate in the event.

The Greek star who is very popular in her hometown, could be quite popular in Tel Aviv.

CyBC chiefs felt that the Georgian-born singer was right for this year’s contest as the up-tempo tune compliments Tamta as a singer and performance-artist, comprising that “complete package”.

The song’s composer Alex Papaconstantinou, aka Alex P, was the man behind Eleni Foureira’s ‘Fuego’ – last year’s unlucky runners-up in the competition. He collaborates on the tune with Sweden-based songwriters, Geraldo Sandell, Viktor Svensson, Albin Nedler and Kristoffer “Bonn” Fogelmark.

Sacha Jean-Baptise, the creative woman behind ‘Fuego’, is in charge of the staging and “it looks like it will no doubt be an elevated, good, modern radio-ready song”, according to Mr Neophytou.  Tony has had a sneak-peak of the rehearsal footage and the Cypriot staging “is on-point, very slick, and professional.  It appears that many disciplined hours, weeks and months has clearly gone into this and they hope it will pay-off.”

He added, “It’s a slick black, white and blue presentation with smart camera work and quick shot changes. Tamta is the pop-star oozing confidence, sexiness and a cute smile; front and centre of the stage, with four dancers Lamin, Kenny, Niklas and Benjamin from Sweden.

“It is street-dance, choreographed and rigorous, for three minutes, which are highly entertaining.  Tamta is in a white and black outfit, black pleather boots snaked all the way up to her thighs; with a nice Eurovision “trick” of a costume-change adding a dynamic element to the stage show.

“For the “replay” lyric, we get the repetitive camera tricks as we see in Tamta’s music video, with some smoke pyrotechnics for the final chorus of the performance.”

Canadian-Greek indie-pop artist Katerine Duska co-writes Greece’s entry, ‘Better Love’ with Greek-British musician Leon of Athens and Scottish songwriter David Sneddon.

Tony Neophytou’s view is that “the songstress has a unique and distinctive voice and doesn’t hold back.  ‘Better Love’ features strong vocals and that trademark soulful rasp, with melodic hooks swirling beneath the orchestral drums.

Her soaring vocals and catchy chorus give the tune that feel of a “competitive” package and a possible game-changer, as Greece embarks on a comeback to the Eurovision final, after a shock exit at the semis last year.

Tony continued, “The pop-art staging is colourful, with flowers blooming and romantic overtures that suit the song.”

Katerina said, “I’d like to keep it [the song] open to interpretation”.  Tony added that the song has great-depth lyrically.  “It’s a mid-tempo track, ethereal that in essence, is about purist and unconditional love”, Mr Neophytou concluded.

One interesting theory behind the inspired-staging, suggests a painting of renaissance from “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch.

Reviewing the performance, Tony Neophytou said, “Katerine is in an ‘Edwardian’ frock with her ballerinas and her fencers on stage to tell the story, which is aesthetically pleasing.”

Backing-vocalists Erasma Markides and Eleni Ponzantzidou, along with dancers Dimitra Vlachou and Fania Grigoriou complete the line up for Greece.

The Eurovision first Semi-Final airs on Tuesday 14th May at 8pm on BBC4.

The Eurovision Song Contest Final is broadcast on Saturday 18th May on BBC1.

Tamta performs in the running order of 17 at slot number #1.  Meanwhile, Ms Duska is at #16 second to last.

London Greek Radio wishes Cyprus and Greece the very best of luck in the competition.

Article written by Tony Neophytou