Frustrations in Greece and Cyprus for not exchanging the (usual) 12 points

It may have been 10 days since the end of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest but it is still intensely discussed both in Greece and in Cyprus that the most predictable 12 points between those two countries were not exchanged. The issue was even discussed among politicians of the two countries, who wondered what went wrong this year and why the coveted 12 points were not given.

This was the first time since televoting was introduced in the contest that Greece and Cyprus did not exchange 12 points. Many people on 23rd May wondered what happened and waited for the split results to see how, what was previously thought impossible by a lot of fans, became true. Things were simple with the Greek voting. The jury ranked Cypriot John Karayannis second behind Il Volo, so the 12 points from Greece still looked likely, given that never before in Eurovision history has a Cypriot song not managed to win the Greek televoting. Βut, like everywhere, so in Eurovision there is always a first time. One Thing I Should Have Done, in the combined results, was second, not so much because of the jury, but because of the fact that Greeks voted Cyprus in 3rd place after Italy and Albania.

Things were very different in Cyprus. There, the Cypriot public voted, as expected, Maria Elena Kyriakou in 1st place. The jury’s vote that was published later revealed the fact that Greece could not get the 12 points from Cyprus anyway, because the judges rated One Last Breath in 6th place. This, as might be expected, drew reactions.

  • Last Monday, in her first TV interview after the contest, Maria Elena Kyriakou said on ANT1 TV: ‘I was not expecting that from Cyprus although I learned that the audience voted us first and we were sixth in the jury; that’s why we got this rating. Embarrassed, I felt ashamed with the voting of Cyprus. Both  I am a Cypriot and Efthyvoulos (the song’s co-creator) also. The public voted us first, five individuals determined the 8 points from the jury’–

Τhe bad climate continued with posts in electronic media:

  • ‘These are the two Cypriot judges that hurt Maria Elena Kyriakou… Some say they could probably get better persons as members of the jury and, once again, made the biggest mistake – a move that irreversibly exposed them to the eyes of music lovers in Cyprus. Others talk about empathy… First was the Armenian born Goren Melian who wanted to see Greece and Maria Elena Kyriakou in 12th place…The second was the composer Argiro Christoudoulidi who believed that the song of Greece and the performance by Maria Elena Kyriakou deserved the 15th place. The music teacher and singer Stella Stylianou gave to Maria Elena Kyriakou the best grade, putting her at first place. The journalist and presenter Andreas Giortsios voted Maria Elena Kyriakou in 8th position while Elias Antoniadis in 3rd. This vote was invariably commented upon from everywhere and we would like RIK to clarify to us with which criteria it put some of these persons into the important position of the jury’ –
  • ‘Abusive messages were also received by members of the Cypriot jury (…) after the announcement by the EBU of the split results”
  • ‘The Cypriot delegation should loosen up. Is it indeed that relations between Athens and Nicosia are strained? And could this be connected with breaking the historic tradition of the two countries exchanging douze points?’.–

Two of the members of the Cypriot jury answered to the above accusations. The singer Stella Stylianou, who voted Greece in 1st place, and Argiro Christodoulidi, who voted Greece in 15th place.

Stella Stylianou said in an interview after the contest: This year’s Eurovision had very good songs. I loved Sweden and Latvia. The song from Greece was very good though not memorable enough… In the semifinal, I can say that shivers went up my spine when I saw her. I did not expect such a spectacular performance by Maria Elena. And that’s why I gave 12 points, because her voice was definitely among the best three maybe four (of the contest).

On the other hand, Argiro Christodoulidi, who is a composer (she was even a candidate in this year’s Cypriot final with the song Stone In A River sung by Hovig), posted in her Facebook profile:

The world has a thousand troubles and you are only dealing with a show, a one-night feast, which has nothing whatsoever to do with nationalism, patriotism and political beliefs unless one chooses to see it from this angle. (…) I was invited as an independent composer and selflessly to join the jury….The judges did not give scores but provided rankings – that our best song was number 1, the second best number 2 etc. I personally, comparing against 26 other entries judged in terms of composition, lyrics, production, instrumentation, interpretation and overall presentation, thought that Greece had to take 15th place. The juries of Europe from 40 countries ranked Greece in 19th place (that means I was out by four places). You are saying that I am a pseudo-connoisseur, then you support that 200 judges (i.e. five jury members from 40 countries) are all pseudo-experts because they did not put Greece first. I’m sorry, but after years of study at one of the best music schools in London and after award-winning work and productions abroad (…) it was difficult to give first place to a song which I considered weaker than most in the competition just because I’m Greek Cypriot like Maria Elena.

As if that was not enough, the issue reached even higher just one day after the competition. Cypriot MEP Andreas Pitsillides criticized the judges from Cyprus for under-ranking the Greek entry. Specifically, provoking further reactions, he wrote on his personal page:

It is certainly clear that Eurovision is a song contest, but the Cypriot people giving 12 points to Greece and our jury only giving 5 is in stark contrast. Andreas Giortsios: 3 points, Elias Antoniades: 8 points, Gore Melian: 0 (!) points, Stella Stylianou: 12 points, Argyro Christodoulidou: 0 (!) points. I emphasize the obvious: I absolutely respect the right of their free vote but such disharmony with the people of Cyprus? (Nationalism is a different thing, a disease that i fight against, and it is yet another thing to have a national complex, which is what some people have even in a song contest like this).

Greece and Cyprus voting history:

It may not be the first time that the two countries did not exchange 12 points, but, surely, everyone understands that it was the most eventful. Since 1981, Greece and Cyprus met 22 times in the Eurovision final. Greece gave Cyprus 12 points 14 times, while Cyprus gave the maximum points to Greece 16 times. Greece took part for the 1st time in 1974 while Cyprus joined the contest in 1981. Greece gave Cyprus a 12 point welcome, while Cyprus gave Greece only 6 points that year. The next year that the two countries met was in 1983; it was Cyprus’s turn to give Greece 12 points, but Greece, obviously remembering the 6 points from 1981, gave …a zero to Cyprus! This was the first and, so far, only time that Greece did not give any points to Cyprus at all. In 1985, Greece gave 8 points to Cyprus and Cyprus gave 8 points to Greece. 1987 was the first time that Greece and Cyprus exchanged 12 points – it seems that they needed 6 years after their first meeting in the contest to get synchronized.  In 1989, Cyprus gave 12 points again but Greece gave to Cyprus only 7 points. In 1990, Greece and Cyprus  exchanged 6 points. In 1991 and 1996, Cyprus gave Greece 10 points, whereas Greece gave 10 points to Cyprus in 1992 and 1993. Finally, in 1995, Greece gave Cyprus only 8 points. In 1999, televoting was introduced in the contest and, since then, Greece and Cyprus have exchanged 12 points every year they have met in the contest… Until 2015 that is,  when Greece gave 10 points to Cyprus and Cyprus gave 8 points to Greece.

Below, you can see the occasions when the two countries did not give 12 points to each other and to which country they gave them.

1981: Cyprus gave 12 points to Ireland and 6 points to Greece.

1983: Greece gave 12 points to Luxemburg and 0 points to Cyprus.

1985: Greece gave 12 points to France and 8 points to Cyprus, while Cyprus gave 12 points to Germany and 8 points to Greece.

1989: Greece gave 12 points to Austria and 7 points to Cyprus.

1990: Greece gave 12 points to Switzerland and 6 points to Cyprus, while Cyprus gave 12 points to Italy and 6 points to Greece.

1991: Cyprus gave 12 points to Spain and 10 points to Greece.

1992: Greece gave 12 points to Ireland and 10 points to Cyprus.

1993: Greece gave 12 points to Norway and 10 points to Cyprus.

1995: Greece gave 12 points to Norway and 8 points to Cyprus.

1996: Cyprus gave 12 points to Portugal and 10 points to Greece.

2015: Greece gave 12 points to Italy and 10 points to Cyprus, while Cyprus gave 12 points to Italy and 8 points to Greece.

Source: EuroVisionary, Wikipedia, Various Facebook profiles, Showtime-CY,,
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