Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 5-6 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Austria who have won the contest twice in 48 appearances. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE and Spain HERE.
So this year Austria are represented by Zoë with the song ‘Loin d’ici‘ We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Austria but the overall reaction is fairly positive so far. You can look back at our announcement of the Austrian winner HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Austria have 2 winners and five top 5 finishes in 48 participations as well as coming last no less than eight times (although one of those times was in a semi final). So lots to choose from for Austria.
First off I am going to choose what is most likely the best Austrian entry ever. I speak none other than Conchita Wurst who brought the entry ‘Rise Like A Pheonix’ to the Eurovision stage in Copenhagen.
Conchita brought her big Bond Themed sounding power ballad to the stage and certainly divided opinion based more upon the stage look rather than the song itself. But she proved to be unstoppable not only qualifying to the Final in 1st place but going on to lift the trophy for Austria’s second victory with 290 points.
Moving along to finding one of the worst entries for Austria we are spoilt for choice since they have come last quite a few times. I head back to Rome in 1991 when Thomas Forstner represented his country for a second time with the song ‘Venedig im Regen’.
Now he sings a rather dull ballad about a chance sighting of a beautiful woman on a rainy day in Venice. Well exactly! Dull. Also his rather fetching violet outfit set off his lovely stylish mullet hairdo perfectly, lovely ears mind. Poor Thomas after coming 5th the first time he proceeded to come last with absolutely nul points.
My next entry that is one of Austria’s best was performed in Harrogate in 1983. None other than the duo going by the name of Mess with the song ‘Sonntag’.
Now this was a bouncy little number which really caught my attention. It had a catchy chorus and a great little dance routine not to mention the colourful outfits. The song is in praise of lying around on a Sunday, which is described as being one of the best things to do and I agree with that wholeheartedly. It came in 9th position amassing 57 points.
Back to another of the entries from Austria that really got on my nerves. It surfaced in Kiev in 2005 and it was Global Kryner with the song ‘Y asi’
The one thing I did like about this song was the trombone player but that was not a good enough excuse to vote for this alpine ditty. It was performed in English and Spanish and had something of the folk traditions of Austrian alps with lots of yodelling and brass. It had to perform in the Semi Final and failed to qualify for the Final coming 21st in a field of 25 with 30 points.
So moving on and my final song from Austria that I think is one of the best. Now this could prove to be controversial as it is another of those marmite song. But I loved it. It was 2003 and we were in Riga to see Alf Poier performing ‘Weil der Mensch zählt’.
Now this has all the hallmarks of a song that should be one of the worst. But I felt it was so bad it became brilliant. It was meant to be a bit of a send up of the competition and was performed in Alf’s local Styrian dialect of German. The song switches tempo from a simple folk melody during the verse to a singalong chorus before featuring loud guitar chords. As well as this it featured cardboard cut outs of animals playing instruments. What’s not to like? Anyway it ended up in 6th place with a remarkable 101 points.
So I have reached my last song for Austria and it has to be yet another baddie. Who am I going to choose? Dilemma? I am going for a song that many thought would do well but I felt was a car crash waiting to happen. It was 2007 and we were in Helsinki and the performer was Eric Papilaya with the song ‘Get a Life-Get Alive’
Now this song had the double honour of also being the official song for Vienna’s Life Ball as well as for Eurovision. It failed to do very much at Eurovision at all coming only 27th in the Semi Final with 4 points. Austria were miffed with this and proceeded to boycott the Contest for 3 years due to what they said was unfair voting systems. They came back in 2011 once the mixed Jury and Televote system was introduced.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Austrian Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
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Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland
I rewatched Eric Papilaya’s performance and think he was not that BAD. In my opinion Austria’s worst entry ever had been Lisa Mona Lisa by Wilfried in 1988. Dull song and he was off-key all the time. I still don’t get the zero points for The Makemakes last year.
Agree Michaela – How did the Makemakes become the ‘Zeros of the Night’ as they said
Ooops – I actually forgot one of my alltime favourite ESC-entries:
1979 – Heute In Jerusalem
Could have been a cheesy peaceanthem , given the context. but it’s a wonderful, atmsopheric, sophisticated and innovative ballad. Austria sometimes enters daring entries musically, and this is one of them. I think this is a ballad done the way ballads sound best. Silent and not pompous, which sadly is not so usual for the “typical” euroballad style in ESC. Piano and saxophone as leading instruments. Create a simple arrangement of a musically complex song. Sheer beauty! 🙂
Love the saxophone Steinar – I miss underused instrument at Eurovision
I agree with everything you write EXCEPT Alf Poier. The only comfort was that most of the viewers wouldn’t understand the lyrics anyway 🙂 I remember that when Mess competed for Austria, it had been Nicole who won for Germany but I liked our entry better. But both peace and Sundays are something I appreciate very much 🙂
1962 – NUR IN DER WIENER LUFT
Entering an opera song to ESC, a good idea? The juries replied with giving it 0 points…
1994 FUR DIE FRIEDEN DER WELT
Cheesy beyond beliefe, almost ended up like a parody on old German schlagers
2014 – RISE LIKE A PHOENIX
The stage act was just half of the story (wouldn’t have mind it outside ESC though). The other – and most important half: An extremely dull and non-despcrpt song. To me, it’s the sound of “overratedness”. But Europe liked the song. My sole comfort: It was not the WORST song that year…. Nothing is more subjective than music
2003 – WEIL DER MANSCH ZÄHLT
There are good, bad and BAD novelty songs. This is what I consider BAD. The whole feeling of it is unsympathic I think. It’s not totally devoid of musical talent. But the childish nursery rhyme chorus gets on my nerves
1981 – WENN DU DA BIST
Some 3 minutes can be packed with content. Some 3 minutes can just sound empty. To me, this is an example of the latter. A rather ordinary popballad passes by. It ends, and I just think “Was that it?”
Austria is certainly a country with big ups and downs! Both produced some of my alltime ESC-faves, and some of my “pet hates”. Here are my opinions:
1972 Falter im Wind
Brilliant folkrock influenced song, even with a slight psychedelic touch. A song with many different innovative parts, and some suprises musically. I find it very classy. And the juries agreed, it finished a strong 5th.)
1996 – WEIL’S DR GUAT GOT
A brave soul decided that Austria should go for gospel for ESC 1996. And why not? Probably the 3 most joyous 3 minutes in ESC ever I think. So much energy, musicality and enthusiasm crammed into this song. Love the use of the choir. And how the song almost go “bonkers” during the last minute
1986 – DIE ZEIT IST EINSAM
From jollyness to melancholia. I find this slightly jazzy / classical influenced song pure gold. A serene, genuine and sophisticated touch. Even if I’m not much into poweballads in ESC, I love the way it builds. Wonderful song.
1971 – MUSIK
Brilliant arrangement, very lively and strong. I think Marianne Mendt really did a great job with her powerful voice. One of the reasons why I love this song, is actually the lyrics. Which has a kind of “un-glamourous” message, which maybe fits the bill in ESC….
1995 – DIE WELT DREHT SICH VERKEHRT
One of the most modern entries of the 90 contest. Acid jazz was popular back then, and this funky song has a touch of that. I find it very skilled, and her voice seems perfect for the song. Very nice use of saxophone, and it sounds very fresh and catchy. Sounds even better now than then, to me
Some honourable mention: 2007, 2005, 1999, 1997, 1985, 1983, 1967 etc.