03 February 2015

Review: Cyprus: Eurovision 2015: Giannis Karagiannis

Giannis Karagiannis will sing for Cyprus (Facebook)
Channelling a look that combines both Elvis Costello and ByeAlex and sounding similar to Belgium's Tom Dice, 20-year-old singer Giannis Karagiannis (aka John Karayiannis) won the ticket to represent Cyprus at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.

He will perform a guitar-based ballad written by English composer Mike Connaris called One Thing I Should Have Done.

The song was chosen at the national final on Sunday from among six competing candidates, following a lengthy elimination process that started late last year. Connaris previously wrote Stronger Every Minute, performed by Lisa Andreas, the Cypriot entry at the 2004 edition which gave the country one of its best ever results in the contest: a fifth place.

One Thing I Should Have Done is constructed in a similar vein to that 2004 entry. It's a quiet, plaintive ballad, but this time it recounts the regret of a missed opportunity following the break-up of a relationship. Karagiannis handles the somewhat complex phrasing tenderly, with a voice that is both strong and clear, yet he caresses the lyrics when the vocal requires it.

Like similar tunes at the Contest before it, this composition will have to rely upon regular playback to be fully appreciated. It has already divided opinion among the "Eurovision community" - some calling it mediocre and forgettable while others - who dislike the Eurodance songs the Contest always seems to churn out - call it brave and refreshing.

I tend to side with the latter opinion, although One Thing I Should Have Done did not have overwhelming support from either the Cypriot public or its jury. It ranked as the runner-up in both votes, with different songs from the final six preferred by one and the other.

So, while it's great to see Cyprus back in the Contest, their comeback song may struggle to qualify - particularly as seven songs are eliminated from the second semi-final. However, should it make it to the Saturday night final, it may just surprise us all and fly into the Top 10 like the country's 2004 effort.

What do you think?

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