The Cyprus entry for this year’s Eurovision is one of the more hyped songs in the 2019 contest, and bookmakers are having trouble weighing it up.
At one point the song Replay sung by Tamta was regarded as an early favourite, but although it has drifted in price in recent weeks, you can still back it at anywhere between 14/1 and 33/1, reflecting the uncertainty felt by bookies and punters alike ahead of the May 18 contest.
But when it comes to Eurovision pedigree, Cyprus can boast some of the best form around. Although they were relatively late to the Eurovision party, joining in 1981, and went through a tough period following the introduction of the semi-finals, failing to reach the final six times out of eight between 2006 and 2013, they have improved dramatically in recent years, making each of the last four finals and finishing second last year with Eleni Foureira’s Fuego.
The influence of Fuego can clearly be heard in this year’s appropriately named entrant, and Sacha Jean-Baptiste has once again been given responsibility for overseeing the presentation of the song. Judging by the evidence of the first day of Eurovision rehearsals, she’s come up with another excellent staging, complete with striking set design, an eye-catching costume change and an intro that would fit in any modern music video. And while Replay does reflect some of the elements of last year’s entry, it has distinctive elements particularly its recurring trombone-led riff and is likely to have broad pop-appeal for both the public and voting juries.
The element of uncertainty is over how well Tamta will be able to bring the song to life on stage. She is a capable singer, but Fuego’s impact was built at least partially on a strong and memorable performance, and on the evidence so far, she doesn’t quite Eleni’s stage presence. Nevertheless, the Cyprus entry has plenty going for it and it certainly has the potential to challenge for the top five.