Image Credit: Nikos Zikos
After an internal selection at broadcaster ERT was carried out, Victor Vernicos was chosen to represent Greece at Eurovision 2023 with his song ‘What They Say’.
Here’s all you need to know about Victor ahead of this years contest!
Who Is Victor Vernicos?
Victor Vernicos Jørgensen was born in October 2006 in Athens, Greece to a Greek mother and Danish Father. He’s just 16 years old, making him the youngest contestant taking part in Eurovision 2023. Growing up, Victor was interested in music, learning how to play the piano and guitar, and beginning singing lessons at age 8. He comes from a musical family, with both his grandfather and father being musicians themselves. When he was 11, Victor started writing his own music and began producing it himself when he was just 14 years old.
Victor released his first song in 2020 called ‘Alone‘, and began releasing his self-written and self-produced music in 2021. He notes John Mayer, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay as his influences.
Greek broadcaster ERT opened submissions for Eurovision in August 2022, closing them that October. An artistic committee shortlisted 7 entries, which were then announced at the end of December. These songs were then evaluated by a public committee made up of people from five age groups. The songs were then shortlisted again, with three remaining in the running to represent Greece at Eurovision 2023.
The three shortlisted songs were:
Victor Vernicos – ‘What they Say’
Melissa Mantzoukis – ‘Liar’
Maria Maragou & Antonia Kaouri – ‘Shout Out’
The public committee and artistic committee then selected the Greek entry from the three ‘finalists’, with Victor coming out on top, ahead of Melissa by 117 points. Melissa then filed a lawsuit against ERT, questioning the legitimacy of the vote. It was also said that Maria & Antonia withdrew, meaning that if this were the case, they shouldn’t have been included in the final vote at all. Her request for an injunction against ERT to stop them undertaking any activities related to Eurovision was denied, meaning they could continue on with their plans and decision to be represented by ‘What They Say’ in Liverpool.
Victor’s song was officially released on March 12th 2023 and had that distinct singer-songwriter vibe. He wrote and produced the song himself, which has received praise from fans – especially due to its lyrical content and the fact he wrote it when he was only 14 years old. This is what he has to say about ‘What They Say’:
It is a very personal song that I wrote in just two days. I wrote it about six months after a period where I felt a lot of anxiety. It was an eye-opening experience that I always knew I wanted to write about.
I wrote the song, and it instantly became my favourite song of the ones that I’ve written. I received so much positive feedback from my friends and family that listened to it.
It is the song that has taken me the most time to produce. I was thinking about going to Eurovision, so I made the song shorter and added a finale that I think is quite cool and that I love, and I submitted it to ERT for Eurovision with high hopes.Victor Vernicos on ‘What They Say’, quotes from an interview with Eurovision World
At Eurovision 2023, Greece will perform after Diljá from Iceland with the song ‘Power‘, and before Poland’s Blanka with ‘Solo‘. It’s one of the few acoustic-style sounding entries we have this year, and may really connect with an audience that enjoy that genre. Lyrically, it may also connect with those who recognise and understand the emotions and perspective it’s written from. He spoke about how the song has been perceived by the public and what his hopes are for Eurovision 2023 to the Liverpool Echo:
There’s been good support and a lot of criticism but I expected there to be a little bit of doubt because [of] the fact that I’m 16, my song is in English and [I’m] coming from a country that is so proud of its heritage. […] My eyes are on the prize and I’m just taking it from the heart and expressing it on stage. That’s my ultimate goal.
[…] Don’t get it twisted. I want to win […] I’m a big fan of positive manifestation but again it’s up to the crowd. My number one goal is to perform the best I can and bring it back to Greece.Victor Vernicos, Liverpool Echo
Greece also has the added benefit of Cyprus also being in this semi-final (represented by Andrew Lambrou with ‘Break A Broken Heart’), and despite being televote only these countries are historically known to give each other a high amount of points, often the maximum 12 points. San Marino (represented by Piqued Jacks – ‘Like An Animal’) are also often voting partners with Greece, putting them in a good position to potentially qualify for Saturday’s Grand Final.
We wish Victor and Greece the best of luck at Eurovision 2023!
You can follow Victor on social media: