Cyprus’ Tamta and Greece’s Katerine Duska compete in the Eurovision Song Contest Final on Saturday at Tel Aviv Expo both countries made it via the semi-finals this week.

Cyprus sings in the number #11 slot, Greece #13 in the running order of 26 tonight.

Eleni Foureira was confirmed as a special guest interval act, last year’s Cyprus runners-up; she takes part in a tribute segment to former Eurovision entries.

The UK’s entry Michael Rice, with ‘Bigger Than Us’ is set to perform #16 in the line-up.

LGR’s Eurovision guru Tony Neophytou said, “Cyprus and Greece qualified and that is a great achievement, for patriotic reasons; Eurovision is increasingly competitive, and this year is no exception”.

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 semis.

Tamta, performs infectious-catchy ‘Replay’ track, up-tempo pop-banger with a horns-fuelled chorus. Tony 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.

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.

The Greek pop singer  struts the stage and the choreography is slick and on-point, with Sweden-based dancers Lamin, Kenny, Niklas and Benjamin.

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

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.

Katerine Duska with mid-tempo pop ballad, ‘Better Love’. Another relevant and radio friendly, lovely melodic track.

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.

She nails the live vocal in the routine, especially the long high-note as the track climaxes, which earns high marks, with expert jurors.

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.

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. Flowery prop on stage, girls in yellow-frocks, it is pop-art, that’s brave staging, as it asks the viewer to interpret the elaborate stage, and indeed, focus on quite a few things.”

Tony looks at a few other contenders…

Netherlands with Duncan Lawrence ‘Arcade’, is a well-crafted ballad, with a genuine and sincere vocal. The type of slow-song which cuts to the soul. In March, after a 41 songs marathon, Tony picked out The Netherlands and Italy, as potential front-runners.

Italy (Mahmood, ‘Soldi’), is a hip hop track, sung in Italian, with a line in Arabic. The song is about his dad who walks out on him as a child; there’s a sad, moody feel to it; incredible good beat, with catchy refrains and peak moments in this well-made song.

Switzerland with (Luca Hänni, ‘She Got Me’) a “ethnic” pop song with exciting ‘clarinet’ breaks, and infectious beats.

Sweden, John Lundvik with ‘Too Late For Love’ and gospel-choir, very polished staging, catchy song, Sweden’s the usual Top 5, or there-about for years.

Azerbaijan (Chingiz, ‘Truth’), ethnic and modern fusion, just think of Greek-pop Laika, it’s sort of like that, Azeri-style. Some wicked effects his ‘body’ descends during the break-down part; digital robots, laser surgery on his broken heart, visually gripping.

Australia with Kate Miller-Heidke’s song, ‘Zero Gravity’, infuses operatic style with a pop beat. It covers a dark subject: her post-natal depression after giving birth to son Ernie. Kate, and two dancers are flying on poles above the ‘earth’ and is eye-catching staging.

Russia with Sergey Lazarev ‘Scream’, a dramatic ballad, is composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos and the man behind the creative staging is Fokas Evangelinos both Eurovision veterans.  The stage with mirrors/holograms, multiple images each aspect and emotion of his personality. In short, a strong Greek team is behind it, with the same people as the 2016 second-placed Sergey entry.

The Eurovision Song Contest Final airs tonight on BBC1 at 8pm GMT.

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

Article written by Tony Neophytou