Formed in 2009, Minus One is a five-piece rock band that specializes in covers and rearrangements of songs. The group became more widely known in the Eurovision universe in 2015 when they competed in the Cypriot national final. Though the national jury ranked Minus One as number one, the viewer vote sent John Kaayiannis to Vienna instead.
Cyprus kicked off the selection process for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest by choosing Minus One to be their representative in Stockholm. It is not unheard of for a national final runner-up to do well at a future Contest. They finally settled on “Alter Ego” as the song:
Although rock tends to have a difficult time getting a foothold at the Contest, this entry is much more polished than recent rock entries. It may also help that Minus One worked with esteemed Eurovision songwriter Thomas G:son in composing their entry. G:son’s more recent work includes Georgia’s 2015 entry “Warrior” and 2013 entry “Waterfall”, Spain’s 2015 entry “Amanecer” and 2012 entry “Quedate Conmigo”, and Sweden’s winner from 2012 “Euphoria.” In total, G:son has a resume of almost 70 songs submitted for national finals across Europe since 1999.
I’m reminded of Turkey’s 2010 and 2011 entries when listening to “Alter Ego”, which may be a mixed blessing as one was a runner up while the other failed to qualify. I doubt this song will change at this point and I’m concerned that lyrically “Alter Ego” could use one more pass. However, if Minus One puts together a strong stage performance, we could be talking about Cyprus as a contender this year.