The song to represent Greece in 1997 was selected after a secret pre-selection from all the songs that were submitted to the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT). The winning song is "Horepse" (= dance), written by Emmanouil Manousselis and performed by Mariana Zorba (right).
But let me take everything from the beginning.
ERT proclaimed a national competition on December 2nd 1996. According to the Greek rules the way of selection is as follows:
ERT/ET-1 decide the members forming the jury as well as the number of them. This jury will select the song to represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 1997. In the case that the voting is not unanimous, ERT holds the right to appoint another composer for the Greek entry to this Contest. The way of the voting will be decided by ERT and it will be the same for all the hearings of the jury. No member of the jury can submit a song to the Contest (as composer, lyricist or performer).
The transmission of the songs will be held in the same way to secure the equal treatment of all the songs and for the best possible sound.For every problem that may arise which is not covered by the rules, the jury will decide by unanimous voting.In these rules it is also stated that the composer of the winning song can suggest the orchestra director and the performer(s). ERT has the right to accept his/her suggestions or to reject them and select some others.
In February ERT gave away a press-release announcing that the winning song was "An den agapisis de thí agapithis" (= If you donít love you wonít be loved), written by Dimosthenis Striglis, who had written the Greek entry for 1993. This song was selected among 203 others that were submitted to ERT.The names of the members of the national jury were also mentioned: Dafne Bokota, Dafne Tzaferi, Yiorgos Papadakis, Lefteris Konkalidis, Aleksis Kostalas, Akis Evenis and Sasa Maneta. They were all involved in some way at ERT as commentators, directors, producers etc.In that press-release it was not stated that Dimosthenis will be the performer of the song. ERT was trying to find another performer, but Dimosthenis wanted to sing it himself. He was supported by the Hellenic Lyricistsí Society. ERT contacted some other performers, such as Despina Vandi, Dionyssis Schinas, Fiona and Maria Polykandrioti.
As no solution could be given to the problem, the jury decided to select another song in the place of Dimosthenisí.
The composer of "Horepse" was unknown, but ERT decided to put Mariana Zorba perform it. Mariana is not very well-known to the Greek public, but she has already released a couple of records. The song is quite oriental and it will have many traditional musical instruments. She has kept a low profile saying that she will do her best for a good result.
On the other hand, Dimosthenis has stated that he will proceed legally against ERT, but no further news about that were made known.
In this report of mine I tried to give to all the Euro-fans the main idea of what is going on at ERT. I could mention many more things that I have heard as rumours or personal speculations, but I will not do it. I wanted to be as objective as possible. I have my personal points of view and whoever wants to hear them he can contact me via e-mail at zchris(a)med.auth.gr.
You may use part or all the info contained here as long as you have mentioned the source.
I would like to thank Geoff Harrison for hosting me on his web site. I wish the best for every country and for our annual Song Contest.
[Chris Zavos - Thessaloniki, Hellas]