Cyprus’ Tamta and Greece’s Katerine Duska have qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest’s final following a high-energy semi-final in Tel Aviv.

Australia, Iceland, Belarus, Serbia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, San Marino and Slovenia will also compete in the 26-strong event on Saturday.

A total of 17 international acts took to the stage on Tuesday night but only 10 moved on to the final following a 50-50 vote split between the public and music experts jury.

This result means Cyprus’ qualification streak continues for a fifth year, long may this continue. Greece made a strong comeback to the final following last year’s shock exit at the semi-finals.

Tamta was the opening act with infectious-catchy ‘Replay’ track, an up-tempo pop banger, that’s current and radio-friendly. The song builds to a horns-fuelled chorus with a thumping bass-line. 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.”

‘Replay’ shot to number one on the London Greek Radio, (LGR), Airplay Chart this month.

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 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.

Tony believes, “Both entries were qualifying worthy; with strong production, catchy hooks, melody, creative and thoughtful staging, exciting camera-work, with credible performers to support the entries.”

The Greek pop singer worked the stage with a cutesy charm; whipping up excitement in the crowd at Tel Aviv Expo. The choreography was on-point, with Tamta, centre and front of stage with dancers Lamin, Kenny, Niklas and Benjamin from Sweden.

Sacha Jean-Baptise, the creative woman behind ‘Fuego’, is in charge of the staging, and no doubt, the slick routine, elevated, a good, modern radio-ready song.

Katerine Duska came on number 16 in the line-up, she performed mid-tempo pop song ‘Better Love’. Another relevant and radio-friendly track which, the reviewer believes “the song has hit-potential that goes far and wide. It forges the idea that Greek music has multi-versatile styles, genres, sub-genres, with this lovely, melodic indie-pop track.”

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

Tony’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.”

The stage act is colourful with blossoming flowers, pinks and purple-like tulips. Greece have no camera-effects or tech gadgets as part of the show, instead a song, Katerine interprets with an honest and sincere vocal.

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

The Greek pop industry should continue to invest in good, quality acts, and for sure it is scratching the surface. Tony believes, “Cyprus and Greece have a wealth of song-writing talent, that could put their foot forward at Eurovision. The composers, producers, that write high-impact, ethnic pop songs, every-day hits, that are extremely popular on LGR, would no doubt be rated pretty high at Eurovision, with creative staging”.

UK residents could not vote in this round but will be able to during the 18-act second semi-final on Thursday and the final on Saturday.

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

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

Article written by Tony Neophytou