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Music

Greece and Cyprus Qualified for the Eurovision Grand Final

MALMO, Sweden – The first semifinal of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest was a resounding success from the impressive stage of Malmö Arena in Sweden.

The ten countries that got the ticket to the final of the competition (in random order) are Cyprus, Ukraine, Serbia, Serbia, Lithuania, Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, Finland, Portugal, Finland, Portugal, and Luxembourg.

This year’s competition started with Eleni Foureira dressed in a golden creation by Shelia Krithariotis performing ‘Fuego’, reminding the whole world of the wonderful song that finished in second place in 2018 and put Cyprus so close to the top for the first time.

Then Eric Saade took the baton singing ‘Popular’ which gave Sweden third place in 2011 and Spanish Chanel who again presented ‘SloMo’ which secured third place in 2022. This year’s presenters were singer-comedian Petra Mede and actress Malin Åkerman who, dressed in shades of pink and orange, welcomed millions of fans to the big celebration.

Cyprus opened the competition with 17-year-old Silia Kapsis performing ‘Liar’ by Dimitris Kontopoulos and Elke Tiel. Accompanied by four dancers, she took to the stage of Malmö Arena dressed in white by Stelios Koudounaris.

Silia Kapsis of Cyprus performs the song Liar during the first semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, Tuesday, May 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The second semifinal took place on Thursday, May 9. Greece is represented by singer Marina Satti who presented the much talked about ‘Zari’. A slight fever and laryngitis before the second semifinal did not hamper Satti whose performance earned Greece one of the spots in the final along with Armenia, Austria, Estonia, Georgia, Israel, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.

The Grand Final takes place on Saturday, May 11.

Greece has won Eurovision only once – with Helena Paparizou for the aptly named ‘My Number One’ in 2005 – in 43 tries, but this year Marina Satti is hoping to add another trophy.

She was invited four times by the state broadcaster ERT- which this year named the country’s entry directly without a contest – but turned it down every time. Not any more. She’s on board for this year’s finals in Malmo, Sweden on May 11.

After reviewing several potential songs sent to her she settled on ‘Zari’, from a team of collaborators, from among 200 entries. It means ‘dice’ and she said she had a good feeling it would work.

The song is highly influenced by urban rhythms mixed with ethnic sounds from Greece, as well as from other parts of the globe, and it’ll mark the first time since 2018 that Greece will be represented by a song in Greek, Eurovision World reported.

“I have no boundaries when it comes to music. If you take a look at my Spotify playlist you will be listening to stuff that goes from Kanye West to Giannis Kapsalis to MIA. My goal is to connect musical cultures and elements because I strongly believe that every genre has something to offer,” she told the site.

“I’ve had to work a lot with deadlines for the past six months and that was a learning experience for me because, people who know me, know I spend a lot of time on my projects and I cannot finish them without checking a huge amount of times,” Satti added.

She said that representing Greece is her focus and that when she’s performing she wants viewers watching the contest to say “look at what the Greeks did this year,” wanting to sing in Greek.

“That’s also what I do when I tour Europe. I want people to know Greeks better, and I cannot find a better way to do so than to show what we have to offer in music,” Satti said, adding that “whenever I hear people trying to sing my songs in Greek, I feel the happiest.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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