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05 December, 2021
 
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Cyprus’ baddie 'opens up' Euro contest

Eurovision is back after COVID break and El Diablo gets to go first in Saturday’s grand final

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After last year’s hiatus due to the pandemic, Eurovision fans around the world are hours away from enjoying the biggest live music event, with Cyprus’ entry opening the popular competition where love of music is mixed with high emotions and decisive computations to declare a winner.

(Click here for an update to the story)

Twenty-six out of a total of 39 countries are participating in the grand final in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest 2021, taking place in Holland on Saturday night. This year's main theme “Open Up” comes after last year's cancelation due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Cyprus will open the competition with El Diablo, an elevating dance song loved by fans but also the cause of controversy on the island and overseas

Elena Tsagrinou will open the final competition with Cyprus’ entry El Diablo (The Devil), an elevating dance song loved by fans but also the cause of controversy both on the island for its "hellish" theme and overseas because of the music.

Tsagrinou, a Greek national who launched her singing career after she participated in a talent show in Athens, was initially rumored to be among the top favorites during semifinal qualifiers this week.

But according to Kathimerini Cyprus, after the official running order showed the island appearing first, bookies had revised their picks with El Diablo dropping a few spots.

El Diablo has drawn criticism in Cyprus after protesters from conservative and religious groups accused RIK, a state-supported broadcaster, of picking a song that went “against Christian values.”

Other critics on the island also accused RIK of overlooking local talent, arguing the Eurovision song contest ought to have been a platform not for established performers but potential breakout artists trying to reach a wider audience.

Another big controversy came from fans themselves around the world, who were concerned that El Diablo sounded a lot like Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

After Tsagrinou’s high-energy performance during semi-finals earlier this week, many Euro fans posted comments online on what they described as similarities between the two songs.

But some observers still believe El Diablo has what it takes to make it far, according to online articles about the contest.

Citizens in participating nations can vote on the winner but cannot vote for their own entry, while a national jury selected by each country accounts for half of the vote.

Eurovision is watched by over 200 million people, who tune in to see the live performances, eclectic costumes, surprise props and backup dancers, all of which were the backdrop of a Netflix original movie last year called Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Eurovision  |  El Diablo  |  Elena Tsagrinou  |  music

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