XTRA Throwback Thursday: Charming Cyprus

It’s Thursday, so we all know it’s time for another special XTRA Throwback Thursday! In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. This week, we’re focusing on the island of Cyprus, in honor of their Independence Day that was celebrated on 1 October!

This week’s theme: Charming Cyprus

The Mediterranean island made its debut in 1981 with the band Island and the song Monika. The country managed to place 6th scoring a total of 69 points. The following year, Cyprus would achieve one of their best results in the contest by achieving a 5th place. The same result would be achieved again in 1997 and 2004. In the recent years, however, the country hasn’t been overly successful. Between 2004 and 2013 the country qualified to the final only four times. Of course, the country has qualified to the final every year since 2015; but their placements in the finals (22nd, 21st and 21st) are not a big success.
For the first twenty years of its participation, the country performed solely in Greek. That was until 1999, when EBU dropped the language rule. Since 2002, only a handful of the country’s entries have been performed in a language other than English; specifically three entries were performed in Greek (2008, 2011 and 2013) while their 2007 entry Comme ci, comme ça was performed in French.


I can name a few songs that I love from Cyprus (not biased for Cyprus being my home country though); 2004’s Stronger Every Minute, 2007’s Comme ci, comme ça, and of course 2012’s La La Love are some of my biggest favorites from the country. However, due to the circumstances and the celebration of the country’s independence day recently, I find Stronger Every Minute a more “appropriate” choice on this occasion.
In 2004, Cyprus achieved their best result to date with the beautiful ballad Stronger Every Minute performed by Lisa Andreas. The ballad has a strong message of a love confession and Lisa delivered the song so simply, yet so emotionally, beautifully and elegantly on the stage in Istanbul. She has, rightfully, been compared to the likes of singers such as Barbra Streisand or Whitney Houston with this charming performance. She managed to fill the stage even without being accompanied by any background singer, dancer or whatsoever. Her plain and honest performance of the song was enough to boost her right into the top 5!
It might not be my favorite 2004 song (that place goes to Ruslana, obviously!), but Stronger Every Minute was definitely the best ballad that year. It is rightfully Cyprus’ best entry to date! And as mentioned below, I would really love to see her returning with a similar song, now that a ballad has managed to win the contest.

What the others had to say…


Lisa Andreas’ song ‘Stronger Every Minute’ is a really beautiful song with a simple but yet strong message. I agree that it is definitely one of Cyprus’ better songs and it deserved its 5th place finish back in 2004. The staging is simplistic and makes you want to completely focus on Lisa singing. She evokes great meaning from the song, and nearly 14 years on I would not mind seeing her return to the Eurovision stage with a similar style song. Well done Dimitris on such a great choice for your Throwback Thursday.


I think it’s such a cute song. I kind of miss these kind of songs, cause there not so many of them during the last years. Also, I love that Lisa is just standing in front of the audience and actually sining without trying to do any weird movements, or without any performance behind her back/3d butterflies flying around her. I also like that she is not wearing a typical “spectacular dress full of feathers and swarovski crystals all around”. What she was basically doing was winning the audience with her voice and a cute song; not with her outfit or some fireworks. Very solid and nice performance. Simplicity can oftentimes be the key, in my opinion.


2004 is one of my favorite years, and still; this beautiful little ballad was in my top 10. Lisa performed it to perfection, allowing both her voice and the song to shine. No mad staging, just her, her voice and her song. As for Cypriot entries, I have to admit this is not even top 3. This does not, obviously, have anything to do with me not liking the song. It’s just that Cyprus has sent soooo many good songs to Eurovision. My favorite, by far, is the wonderful “Genesis” by the no less wonderful Michalis Hatzigiannis. How that didn’t win I’ll never understand!

Next week

On our next Throwback Thursday we’ll be moving on to another Mediterranean country; Spain! Yassia will be guiding us through the country of passion. Olé!
But for now, let’s remember Cyprus’ ‘Stronger Every Minute’. What is your favorite Cypriot entry? Let us know below!

Dimitris Ioannou

I'm Dimitris, from Cyprus. Eurovision has been a big part of my life for so long now. My first memories of the contest go back to 2005, which was a special year as Greece had won with Helena Paparizou. But 2009 was truly the first year I became a die-hard Eurofan, which is why that year holds a special place in my heart.

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