In a press conference, held at the Hilton Hotel in Athens, ERT, the Greek broadcaster, presented the team for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Greece was the first country this year to announce their representative who is no other than Sakis Rouvas, who also represented the country in 2004 and hosted the 2006 contest in Athens.
Although the Greek broadcaster did not confirm the exact date or venue of the Greek final, it was reported by local media that it will be held on 17 February. ERT announced that it will be hosted once more by the Maggira sisters, who hosted last year's show and commentated for the Greek TV from Belgrade. Sakis will perform three songs by Dimitris Kontopoulos. When asked on the type of songs he wil be singing, the Greek mega star joked : "If you have watched me these 17 past years, do you think I would go with a ballad?"
ERT executive, Mr Johnny Kalimeris said that his year, ERT decided to select internally at all levels. Sakis Rouvas will be representing Greece with a song by Dimitris Kontopoulos, the show will be choreographed by Fokas Evangelinos, who also choreographed Helena's Paparizou victorious entry in 2005,Ani Lorak and Dima Bilan last year and was the art director of the 2006 contest, held in Athens. Fokas Evangelinos will not be working with another delegation next year, like he did in the 2008 contest.
“2004 in Istanbul was the “time of innocence” for us” said Mr Kalimeris, “we had no idea what all this was about. Since then though, I think we have mastered it. The team aims for the top, and Greece has a tradition in the contest, nevertheless I want to stress that difficulties do exist everywhere and always so we need a lot of serious work until the semi final in Moscow, consistency, great effort, a big promo tour. I am sure for Sakis, I know he is a “soldier”, as for us … I hope we find the courage.” he concluded.
Sakis Rouvas stated that he is touched and flattered to be back to the Eurovision Song Contest which brings back fond memories. He wants to give it his best shot and he is happy for his team with which he has been working for a long time. "Everyone's aim is to hold Eurovision 2010 in Athens", he smiles.
When Sakis was asked whether he is prepared for a bad result in Moscow he answered: "No, I do not want to think negatively. Istanbul was a tremendous experience but we have more to give. We are readier now. Until recently I was telling myself "Ok, I went to Eurovision" but something was missing. And now I feel ready." Mr Kalimeris added to that: " The only way not to lose is not to play!"
Sakis was also asked whether the songs Dimitris Kontopoulos will write will be written by Eurovision standards or will they be songs to his personal liking, he answered that the songs will be tailor made to him, as Dimitris knows Sakis' style very well having worked extensively with him. Sakis was also asked which of the 2004 mistakes he would not want to repeat. He reassured everyone that ERT as well as the entire team are now more experienced and they have a deeper knowledge of the contest: " We are going well prepared", he said
Sakis also sent out a message to Kalomira, who left for the States after placing third in Belgrade last year due to a conflict with her label: "I like her and I continue to support her. Kalomira is and will continue to be a star. She is a star! She is the one who willmake the decisionson her life and her career. Everyone is entitled to a break. One thing is certain, what she has accomplished is not accidental"
You can watch the entire press conference here.
Very special thanks to Michalis Vranis for his contribution.
Sakis Ke se thelo by Dimitris Kontopoulos