Kalomoira (Greek: Καλομοίρα; born Maria Kalomira Sarantis, January 31, 1985, West Hempstead, New York, US) is a Greek-American singer who has achieved recognition in Greece and Cyprus following her participation and win on the Greek talent show Fame Story. Following Fame Story, she continued with a music career and has released four studio albums, represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, and hosted various television shows. She was born to Greek-American restaurant owners Nikos (Nick) and Eleni (Helen) Sarantisand has one sister.
Despite speaking primarily English, Kalomoira went to Greece on a tip from her cousin, to compete on Fame Story (licensed from Star Academy, a reality talent show similar to American Idol in the United States and Pop Idol in the United Kingdom). She has since learned Greek to a much better level, having been previously mocked and criticized for her poor skills in the language.
On February 27, 2008, Kalomoira won the Greek national final with "Secret Combination" and represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. In the first semi-final, held on May 20, 2008 Kalomoira fared well coming in first place while at the Eurovision final, on May 24, she came in third behind Russia and Ukraine with 218 points.
After the NY auditions where her charisma and musicality were evident in auditions, she came to Greece, determined to essay new experiences that will change her life. The Fame Story show began, and Kalomoira immediately won the Greek audience’s attention by singing Katy Garbi’s “Μια φορά κι ένα καιρό” and making a change in the song lyrics. She swapped “είμαι η Καίτη που αγαπούσες” (“I am Kaiti, who you used to love”) with “είμαι η Καλομοίρα που αγαπούσες” (“I am Kalomoira, who you used to love”). This marked the beginning of her legacy in Fame Story. Her difficulties with Greek songs were not significant enough to hold her back because her musicality, theatricality and ability to enteratain outweighed the communication barriers of the Greek language in lyrics sung. The Greek public was won over by her character, talent, innocence, the interest, consideration she showed for fellow participants and her positive energy, which in turn, proved to be a strong "weapon" for success.
Each of her performances were marked by her personality. In her first performance described above, she grabbed the audience's attention, while a week later, she performed another popular song “Stand By Me,” which caught everyone by surprise. The following week, the challenge became bigger as she was made to perform the Greek song “H Γκαρσόνα” ("The Waitress"), which seemed totally out of Kalomoira's vocal and style capability. She proved everyone wrong and nailed the song. She was also told to perform Aliki’s song “Γατούλα” ("Pussycat"), written by Manos Xatzidakis, which gives the chance to Kalomoira to show her talent once again. The songs became more challenging for the young singer as her teachers in the academy would push her in singing Greek songs. Her next mission was “Ανάβεις φωτιές” ("You are lighting fires"), which seemed difficult, but she still managed to be pull it off. A sweet performance of “Dancing Queen” and Kalomoira made the whole entertainment industry of Greece talk about her, as she had started to become a household name. The judges assigned Kalomoira with Barbara Streisand’s “Woman in Love”, which is a song with special vocal requirements. Kalomoira, determined as she was, surpassed all and every expectations of herself and the judges with a great performance, as it is still talked about in Greece today.In the week that followed Kalomoira's rendition of Stavros Ksarhakos’ “Ένα πρωινό” ("One morning") was not up to par with the judges' expectations because it was a folk song specifically written for a movie soundtrack and she was forced to a televoting competition with another fellow contestant. She chose to perform a song from her idol, Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” and managed to stay in the game. This was followed by a duet with another participant (Nikos Mihas) in “Gucci των Μασάι” ("Masais' Gucci"), which gave her a chance to remain another week in the show. Marinella’s “Γιατί Φοβάσαι” (Why are you afraid) was a bit difficult for her, but Kalomoira made it through and next week’s “Περιττός” was proved to be quite easy for her. She continued to stay in the game with a performance of Britney Spears' “Oops, I Did It Again”. After many weeks of the competition, Kalomoira was one of the final six participants of the game with only two performances left. Her rendition of “Εϊ Καζανόβα” ("Hey Cazanova") was topped only by her performance of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” in the final show. Kalomoira won the contest, earned 200,000 euros and a recording contract with Heaven Music.
Kalomoira performed in Thessaloniki’s FOCUS from July 8th to August 14th. While entertaining audiences by night, she was recording her first album by day. Outside of Greece, Kalomoira has appeared on NBC’s "Today Show" and "Access Hollywood," along with a number of other shows and websites.
On September 1, 2004, Kalomoira released her 15 track first album Kalomoira which went gold. In the same year, she closed her season at the REX studio with Despina Vandi and Thanos Petrelis. Kalomoira received good reviews from critics and was awarded "Woman of the Year - Best Newcomer" by Life and Style magazine.
Kalomoira’s tour around Greece ended with appearances in Athina’s “Thalassa” in September, accompanied by the rest of the"Fame Story" participants.
In 2005, Kalomira released her second album titled Paizeis? (You Playing?) with 12 songs, of which two were written and composed by her. She also agreed to appear with Elli Kokkinou, Andreas Stamos and Constantinos Christoforou at the Piraeus 130 music club. In her program, she included covers of songs such as "Scandalous," "Don't Cha" and "Don't Phunk with My Heart," in addition to songs from her first and second albums.
On 11th April, 2005 she was a special guest on the first live concert of the first season of Star Academy Bulgaria.
As of fall 2006, Kalomoira is the new female co-hostess on the hit Sunday night show Pio Poli Tin Kiriaki along side with Grigoris Arnaoutoglou on Mega Channel.
In December of 2006, Kalomoira released her third CD I Kalomoira Paei Cinema (Kalomira Goes to the Cinema). It features songs from classic Greek movies which Kalomoira re-vamped.
Kalomoira announced via her online diary that she will be recording her new album during September/October 2007 in Greece. She has stated that the album will have an edgier sound but no specifics have been released yet.
Kalomoira performed a cover of Rihanna's song Don't Stop The Music and a medley of her best songs at the show TV Stars Parousiaste.
Kalomoira took place in the 2008 National Final to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Kalomoira picked an R&B style upbeat song with a Greek feel composed by Konstantinos Pantzis with lyrics by Poseidonas Giannopoulou titled "Secret Combination".The song has an "American production" feel to it.
Many young people surveyed are considerably tempted to join the ranks of Fame Story, having Kalomoira in mind. Also in 2004, she had a minor credited role in the Greek TV drama series I Lampsi, playing the part of Jennifer, where veteran director Nikos Foskolos compared her to Aliki Vougiouklaki. As of early 2006 she co-hosted the Good Morning show Proinos Kafes in ANT1 TV.
Kalomoira has been profiled as belonging to the very light-hearted side of pop music. Although she is famed for her high charisma, natural charm and overall innocent image, she usually sings about cliché boy-girl relationships and falling-in-love songs. Her audience is mostly amongst the young teenagers and early twenty-somethings. Her image makers have been trying to establish an 'innocent' baby look for her, which has resulted in often caricaturization.
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