Cyprus on the cusp of Eurovision deliverance

6 mins read

Amid the mayhem of electioneering, COVID-19 variants reaching our shores and where we can’t go on holiday, Cyprus got to the final of Eurovision.

You might scoff at Euro pop’s low standards, but Cyprus doesn’t win that many competitions it enters.

If it can’t be rigged, then the country hasn’t much chance of winning anything on any stage you care to mention.

This summer, big sporting events like the Olympics, Euro2020 or Wimbledon will not serve as a platform for Cypriot ability to shine.

The island is not a breeding ground for hungry competitors willing to scale impossible heights to achieve glory; we would rather sit on the sofa and eat kebabs or drink ice-cold beers.

Cypriots might excuse themselves by saying Cyprus is a small country without the proper investment or infrastructure to produce talented athletes.

I would argue there’s an attitude and mentality problem by those who run sports like football.

Like most things, there is no vision or blueprint to succeed; Cyprus would rather accept its lot in life and play the bad hand it’s dealt.

If smaller nations like Iceland can reach the Euros, then why not Cyprus with its high standard of living and resources.

Is Cyprus aiming to be the best at anything, apart from luring wealthy investors to spend their money?

Does our pursuit of excellence stop at producing lawyers, doctors, and accountants?

Why are we not thinking outside the box to train the next generation to excel in innovation or sporting prowess?

Sure, there is a limited talent pool, but we shouldn’t ignore it; we must aspire to nurture young musicians, artists, dancers, athletes, not use their ambition as a means to make money.

I suppose I’m trying to say that Cyprus doesn’t have much to shout about and isn’t too bothered about losing; we wear it well.

Nevertheless, its Eurovision entry has got people talking after Greek singer Elena Tsagrinou gyrated her way through the semi-final in Rotterdam to secure a place in Saturday’s final to be watched by millions.

Although tipped to win the competition for the first time for Cyprus, the Church and some of its followers are having none of it.

A hardcore of Christian faithful is convinced the song pays homage to the devil and not a harmless ditty about a toxic relationship.

Okay, it’s called ‘El Diablo’, but the song is hardly a gothic anthem to the devil’s power.

A day after Elena performed her way into the final, a small group protested outside CyBC, claiming the song was about devil worship.

You could say the same about climate change, but nobody is protesting to save the planet.

Being a beacon of enlightenment, Cyprus’ Orthodox Church raised its voice for the song to be withdrawn, with thousands signing an online petition.

I’m sure if there was a petition supporting the song, many more would have signed it.

Most reactionaries would argue that the devil controls Eurovision with its penchant for diversity and gender liberation.

The Orthodox Church isn’t going to stand for that.

The 65th edition of Eurovision draws a television audience of about 200 million; there’s no accounting for poor taste.

But that’s the attraction of the song contest; it is predictably kitsch, in wonderful self-denial with bad taste on an adrenalin rush what’s not to like.

And the best part, if you can keep awake, is the political point-scoring that gives you a good idea of where Europe is at these days.

Ironically, song entries are not allowed to be political, but the winner is usually the result of politics.

To its credit, the government did intervene at the height of the devil hysteria to say dissent is respected, but freedom of expression had to be upheld and cherished.

Without the furore over the song, El Diablo might have slipped under the radar and into obscurity.

Although the media attention makes Cyprus sound like the last stand against modern society, it has diverted us from the endless COVIDwatch drudgery.

The contest was not held in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic.

Seeing as the curfew beings at midnight, it gives you plenty of time to catch Eurovision on TV and cringe a little in the privacy of your own home.

There is also an outside chance that Cyprus could win a competition with millions watching across the continent.

That might inspire people to celebrate a success story, although detractors will blame it on the devil.