The best-organised Greek national final ever was held tonight (Wednesday) at Cine Keramikos. The artist who is going to represent Greece in the 48th Eurovision Song Contest in Riga is talented female singer Mando with her song Never Let You Go.
Mando, singing her winning song on stage
Nothing of a similar scale has been seen at a Greek national final before. The Greek broadcaster ERT really tried their best.
The show opened with S.A.G.A.P.O., the song that represented Greece in Tallinn last year. Dafni Bokota, the long serving commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest for ERT, was the hostess for the evening. Dafni was very relaxed, witty and pleasant, as always. To her aid, she had Rika Vagianni and Popi Tsapanidou in a commentary box. All three ladies were looking great (on a night that was far from short of splendidly looking ladies).
Then the ten competing songs were performed live, with each one of them introduced by a video where the contestants made a short comment about the contest. As previously promised, ERT had paid special attention to fair coverage for every song. The sound wasn�t bad at all and the stage was lit in blue.
The first surprise of the evening came after the presentation of the ten songs had finished. Top Greek choreographer Fokas Evaggelinos had prepared a special dance routine to music that consisted of previous Greek ESC entries, going as far back as 1974 and Marinella�s Krasi, Thalassa kai t' Agori Mou.
Marie N, serving as a jury member for the event, was also present. In a short interview with Rika and Popi she revealed how much her life, not to mention her career, has changed since she won at the Eurovision Song Contest. “I am constantly on an airplane,” she confessed.
Just a small interview didn�t seem to be enough for Marie N. She is a girl who knows how to steal the show (remember last year). As expected, she gave a special performance of a slower version of I Wanna, the Latvian winning song in Tallinn. She was wearing (you guessed it) a white hat, a white jacket and a red dress. She soon got rid of the white hat and the white jacket (guessed it again). Then a quick movement and� the red dress drops and changes into a white one (who would have guessed?).
Stelios Konstantas, the Cypriot entrant this year, was also there and performed Feeling Alive. He said he liked all ten Greek entries.
Now, remember Millstreet in 1993? Remember a Greek girl in a very revealing dress singing Ellada, Hora Tou Fotos? Well yes, Kaiti Garbi, one of the great pop divas in Greece these days, was present, too. She was looking absolutely gorgeous! She shared her views on the level of the songs saying she liked some of them (not as easy to impress as Stelios then) and talked about her own experience representing Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest ten years ago. “To start with, I was thinking of running away. Then I tried to pretend I was singing at a Greek club. When the whole thing was over, I rushed into my dressing room and cried (with excitement),” she said.
And then, after more than 2 and a half hours of live broadcast, came the big moment. Michalis Rakintzis appeared on stage, followed by Giorgos Katsaros, the president of the jury and composer of Krasi, Thalassa kai t' Agori Mou, who was holding the envelope with the result. As chosen by the jury (40%), the SMS messaging (30%) and the televoting (30%), the artist who is going to represent Greece in the 48th Eurovision Song Contest in Riga is� Mando with Never Let You Go. A deafening reaction of approval followed from the audience.
Mando is a very well-known singer in Greece. She tried to represent her country in the Eurovision Song Contest in the past, but she was a runner-up in the Greek selection. She is famous for her beautiful, crystal-clear voice. She is a very competent songwriter, too (she is also the composer of Never Let You Go). She penned Jessica Simpson�s international hit Where you are. If an article by leading Greek newspaper TA NEA is to be believed, she is about to write some songs for Rosa, the singer who represented Spain last year. Another very nice coincidence is that Mando is going to meet again with Sertab Erener, the Turkish entrant in Riga. A few years ago, the two artists had sung together Fos (the Turkish title being Ask), a song that had been much loved by the Greek public.
The very best of luck, Mando!
Esctoday.com wish Mando the best of luck in the Eurovision Song Contest and want to congratulate ERT for an overall good show. The full result of the Greek final will be soon available at Greece 2003 page.