The preselection formula for the entry that will represent Greece in the 49th Eurovision Song Contest was presented during a press conference last Wednesday. As previously reported at esctoday.com, it was announced that ERT, the Greek broadcaster, opted to produce a talent show, titled EUROSTAR VODAFON. Joining forces with ERT, production company Fremantle, record company MINOS EMI and VODAFON telecommunications will also be part of the project.
The press conference was addressed by Mr Johnny Kalimeris, Television Managing Director of ERT. Mr Kalimeris said that the decision to put together this new TV programme came in response to the increased interest the Eurovision Song Contest has received by the Greek public in recent years. He added that, apart from selecting the song and artist that will represent the country in the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest, another major objective of the show is to discover talented solo artists who have not yet been exposed to the media or the music industry.
Daphne Bokota, the popular presenter of past national finals and commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest for ERT, described the formula of the programme. She announced that the show will be travelling all over Greece, hosting auditions in search of new talents. Auditionees will have to sing a song of their choice in front of a four-member jury. In this initial stage, the judges will cut the number of participants down to a number of finalists who will then compete against each other during live heats. In the heats, the voting will be jointly carried out by a jury and the televiewers. This will also be the voting system for both the selection of the artist and the song that will go on to represent Greece in Istanbul. A total of three artists will make it to the final. The winner of the final will have to perform three songs especially penned by a famous Greek songwriter. The song that will receive the most votes will be the one to be performed on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Managing Director of MINOS EMI, Mr Miltos Karatzas, revealed that it was his company who came to ERT with the idea of putting together a talent show. Mr. Karatzas said that the proposal came as a result of his company�s special contract with EBU and the conclusion that a famous artist cannot necessarily guarantee a successful result in the contest. One could argue that such a statement may be debatable, since last year�s winner in Riga was a popular and experienced artist, whereas talent shows have failed to provide a winner as yet. Nevertheless, Mr Karatzas pointed out that similar programmes have proved to be very popular in other countries and that his company will do its best to support the project.
Finally, Ms Katerina Gagaki, spokesperson for VODAFON, underlined the fact that “Eurovision is a legendary institution, (which is) much loved by the public”. She also announced that, apart from sponsoring the programme, VODAFON will provide help in terms of the technical equipment, human resources, advertising and promotion of the show.
It remains to be seen what will come out of this ambitious undertaking. Esctoday.com would like to wish the very best of luck to all parties involved and praise ERT for its efforts in recent years to promote the Eurovision Song Contest in Greece.