Hungarian gypsy singer Joci Pápai has delivered a great performance to reach the European song contest’s top twenty, securing his place at Eurovision 2016’s finals on Saturday, 13 May.
His song “Origo”, a hip hop influenced track which blends traditional gypsy music was written by Joci himself. He made it into the top ten on Thursday evening at the second semi-finals of the 18th Eurovision festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, out of a eighteen-member field on the basis of a combination of points given by the professional jury and the audience. Joci was the seventh performer to take to the stage of Kyiv’s International Exhibition Centre yesterday night and received rambling applause from the audience.
Joci said he feels very proud of being the first gypsy representative in the Grand Final. “I am so proud that, in the history of Eurovision, as a gypsy I managed to get to the final. It’s such an honour to be there. Today, I did not sing just for Hungarians, gypsies or minorities — this is for everyone who has ever felt oppressed. I left a piece of my heart here in Kyiv,” he said.
The 35-year-old musician comes from the town of Tata and has been a celebrity in Hungary since shooting to fame in 2005 by talent show Megasztár. Earlier this year, Joci took part in a competition on Hungarian national TV called “A Dal 2017” (The Song), which selected the Eurovision entry. The winning song was picked by a combination of a jury vote and a public vote and Joci was the favourite of both and stormed the competition.
The Hungarian singer will perform as eighth performer in the Grand Final on Saturday. Despite making its Eurovision debut in 1994, Hungary has never won Eurovision. The closest they came was in their first year when they placed fourth.
via eurovision.tv and thesun.co.uk; photo and video: Eurovision Song Contest official Facebook page and Youtube channel