• Chris Hannaford

100 Days. 100 Songs. Countdown To Eurovision


The 7th of February marked exactly 100 hundred days until Eurovision, it seems fitting to celebrate this by counting down 100 days with 100 songs. The last sixty three years has brought us nearly eighteen hundred fantastic, and unique Eurovision entries that some will love, whist others might not like so much. Each day we will bring you a song, and give you details on how it performed at the contest, but also information on the artist, and find out what happened next? Join us on this journey as we countdown from day 100 to 1 where we will have another 43 songs to add to this list.


Day 93- Michalis Hatzigiannis - "Genesis" For Cyprus 1998


The 1998 competition marked the 43rd year of the show, and would be the last time that the competition would be held in the United Kingdom. It was the eighth and final time that the United Kingdom would host the show despite only winning five times. It was a hot summer's day on the 9th May 1998 that saw many thousands of fans packed into the national indoor arena Birmingham. Swedish presenter Ulrika Jonsson would host the show, along with veteran commentator Terry Wogan who had insisted that he would have that job. He was a busy man that evening, both comparing for the UK viewers, whilst hosting for the European one's. It was a year of many firsts for Eurovision, and instead of the show being a formal affair with the audience dressed in Tuxedo's and ball gowns, it was very different this year. The audience made it more of a carnival atmosphere, and interjected laughter, and "Coo Wee" with the hosts on many of times during the voting, and hosting segments. The show was no longer inclusive, and was very LGBT. This was quite fitting considering the winner made headlines around the world for being the first transsexual to ever win. Dana International with the song, "Diva" would win to an ecstatic reaction from the audience who were all anticipating, and expecting it. However, the win would not be as easy as Dana may have wanted it.


25 songs competed this year, that saw Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Iceland, Italy and Russia withdraw, but see Belgium, Finland, Israel, Romania and Slovakia return. It would be the first time that the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia would enter the competition. They would also be the country that would decide the winner, and create "a real cliffhanger" towards the end of the show. FYR Macedonia awarding Israel 8 points, then the United Kingdom 10 with Croatia giving 12 came as an exciting climax. Many had thought Malta had won it at that point. Televoting really took off this year too with 21 of the 25 countries adopting it to chose their top 10. In 1998, the EBU would make several permanent changes that would see the last year a live orchestra was used, and 1998 would mark the last year that the national language had to be used, from 1999 on wards, English would be the predominant language. The show also saw Ulrika Jonsson inadvertently insult dutch spokesperson Conny Van des Bos by telling her she had been present, "a long time ago was it"? What is interesting was that the winner Israel had scored points from 21 of the 24 jurors. The United Kingdom had scored from every juror, just like 1997, and both the UK and Malta would receive more 12 points, yet Israel would still win.


Cyprus would be represented by Michalis Hatzigiannis with the song "Genesis". He would nearly secure a top ten spot for his country. The song was sung in Greek, and he would perform in the 17th spot. He was unfortunate enough to endure some heavy whistling from a mic during his performance, but it did not stop him and his powerful voice from getting the large round of applause that it did. On the night the song did come joint 11th with Portugal, and Estonia. However, due to a miscalculation of votes it ended up coming 11th, whilst the other two nations would end in joint 12th place. He would score 37 points, which would come from ten countries. Not surprisingly both Greece and Cyprus would do their annual swapping of 12 points which was much of a Eurovision tradition than singing a song itself. Check his entry out below:





Who Is Michalis Hatzigiannis?


Michalis Hatzigiannis was born in Nicosia, Cyprus on the 5th November 1978. He has always been into music. He is a graduate of the Cyprus Music Academy (Royal College of London) with a degree in piano, guitar and music theory. At the age of 18 he won a song contest in Cyprus, and would later compete at the "Laiki Bank Song Contest", another competition he would win. He would also try to represent Cyprus at the 1995 contest, but would come third in that national final. He would have his turn in 1998. He didn't win, however his musical career back home would be extensive, and very successful. His current partner is Greek television presenter, and model Zeta Makripoulia.


What Happened After Eurovision?


There is no doubt that after the contest, Michalis' career really blossomed. He has become one of the most successful male artists in Cyprus history. It is in Greece, and Cyprus that he is very popular, and prominent. Not only is he a singer, song writer, but a guitarist, pianist and a record producer. By December 1998, his first album had gone platinum in both countries. His first award also came that year where he won the Mad Video Music Awards 1998: Best New Artist, something he would repeat three years later. Since representing Cyprus he has gone onto win over 19 awards, and is recognised as one of the countries best singers. He has released 13 studio albums, 2 live albums, released 11 singles, and a further 2 compilations albums. The majority of them have gone multi platinum. He has been very prolific in making music video's and has made a staggering 45 of them. It's true to say a star was born after Eurovision.

Michalis appears to have been more successful after Eurovision, than before it. His song was a massive power ballad that nearly made the top 10. Have you heard it? Do you like it? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


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