Understanding the Greek Eurovision plans… Or their lack off

One day they want to make an internal selection, the next day they are suddenly set on a national final and on the third day they are back opting for an internal selection – or are they? It can be extremely hard to understand why the Greeks can’t just make up their mind once and for all. What sounds logical to the Greeks can be pure madness to a foreigner.

Let me introduce you to my country first. I am from Denmark, a country where the national selection have stayed basically the same since the introduction of it in 1957. Yes, we have seen the typical things with a broadcaster in doubt about how the right combination of jury and televoting should be, and if there should be restrictions or not on the language of the songs. We even had the broadcaster experimenting so much that the name of the national selection one year totally changed from Melodi Grand Prix to Musik Event. That was not a success, the public complaint and the name disappeared so soon that most had forgotten about it before the next year started to approach. Or what about when we, in jealousy over the Swedes, quickly introduced two semi-finals? We ended up picking a winner that was kicked out of the semi-final, and suddenly it ended up being about LGBT rights despite us being one of the most liberal countries in the world in that field. Yes, Denmark had its shares of drama, but to foreigners we are a country where things don’t change much. And that’s just how the Danes like it. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

It is the same in many other countries. Being a Eurovision fan since the mid ’80’s and running EuroVisionary for nearly a decade now has taught me that most countries have a steady plan which they, with minor adjustments here and there, stick to every year. For some countries, Denmark included, a national final show on a fantastic stage in a big arena fully capable of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest is the most natural thing in the world just as it of course is obvious that the population have a say in who should represent them at Eurovision. In other countries it is natural that the broadcaster makes an internal selection, with or without an open submission.

And then there is Greece… A country which leaves us all wondering if there is meaning behind all the madness. Seriously, how difficult can it be to decide if you want an internal selection or a national final and how can we be in mid December and they still haven’t decided? No other broadcaster can be in doubt at this point. And no other broadcaster will talk in favour of the one thing one week, and the next thing the next week.

This 2017 season started out with the Greeks going for an internal selection. Young talented Demy with an extremely strong songwriter team behind her was the obvious choice. Until former winner Helena opened up wanting to go again. We knew a national selection with those two competing would not happen, so we waited for broadcaster ERT to announce their choice. It didn’t take long before they spoke out, but they surprised most by saying that a national final was the most likely option for Greece to chose its 2017 Eurovision representative.

With the prospect of a national final, potential participants started to express their interest in taking part. It even went as far as record labels sending their bids to the Greek broadcaster which still hadn’t communicated any details. Mind you, we are half way through December. Most broadcasters with a national final have revealed the date, opened and closed the submission period, are now listening to the songs while keeping the interest high by revealing hosts of the show and interesting well known names as interval acts.  And the ticket sale will have started, and it will probably be sold out before any participants are announced. But ok, that they probably don’t need to do in Greece if they once again just improvise with a small intimate stage in the middle of a shopping centre.

By this time, we have received several comments from people wondering why we can write one thing one week, just to write something completely different the next week. Well, we can only do that as the Greeks themselves do it. It is confusing to our readers, yes, I acknowledge that. It is probably confusing and non-understandable for most non Greeks. When I felt lost, I asked a Greek writer who wasn’t confused at all – he was relaxed, watching the various scenarios unfold and close. “Charlotte, it’s Greece here, don’t forget that”, with those words he tried to make me understand that this was completely normal. So dear readers, if you are confused, just remember it is totally normal to the Greeks.

And yes, there is a new scenario in place in Greece now. An internal selection – but based on what the record labels submits. Several songs have been submitted for Greek broadcaster ERT, and if they go for the internal choice it now seems like, they will choose one of these. Whatever they do, it will follow an autumn with so many options in play that only the Greeks can fully understand it.

Greek Eurovision selections

The last time Greece had a national final with open submission was in 2003. After that things started to get difficult to predict. In 2004 they made a full internal selection just like they did in 2016, but that’s not common either.

In 2005, 2006 and 2009, the broadcaster had internally selected the artist and 3-4 songs for the TV viewers to be choose between in the national final.

And in the year’s in between? Well, there they had a national final with the participants being selected by the record companies. A variation of that national final is now the likely scenario. The record companies submit their contribution, but ERT will be the only one to vote!

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