The follow up to ‘Fuego’ was one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year. ‘Replay’ by Tamta has largely impressed fans and has been clocking up decent views on YouTube. Yet many were quick to dismiss it as a copy of last year’s Swedish-Cypriot scorcher. It’s a lazy comparison but I can definitely see where they are coming from. The vibes of the two songs are indeed similar, and there are two points I would say in response. Firstly, I am reliably informed that Tamta is a much more assured live performer than Eleni Foureira. Secondly, Cyprus 2019 is doing a fair bit better in the stats than Cyprus 2018 was at the same point this time last year. The challenge for the Cypriot delegation will be to come up with a staging concept that is equally impressive yet totally distinct from the Sacha J-B masterclass. Regardless, if it goes well enough then Cyprus could and should be heading for the Top 5 again this year.
The competition for Cyprus to win semi-final 1 looks likely to come from their Greek neighbours. After a non-qualification last year, they are sending the relatively unknown Katerine Duska with ‘Better Love’. This is a simple, accessible song with a somewhat epic feel that should appeal to both televoters and juries. But really, it is all about Katerine’s Florence Welch-style voice which is distinctive in this competition. The two previous entries I’m reminded of here are ‘Sound of Silence’ and ‘City Lights’, though I don’t think the song is as song is as strong as either in studio form. I’m worried that the composition is a little too basic-sounding overall, but that didn’t stop Dami Im storming the jury vote with powerful live vocals that greatly elevated her performance. As long as the staging concept isn’t a fail, then the semi-final winner and Top 10 should be within reach for Greece.