In this series, we’re continuing to look at the current participating countries of Eurovision and why we love them for all the right (and wrong) reasons. Next up, we take a look at Austria.
They debuted in 1957, the second year of the song contest. Since then, they’ve competed 51 times — but have also notably taken a few pointed periods of timeout. These are ten reasons why we love Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. Udo Jürgens took three attempts to win
In 1964 he sang “Warum nur warum?” and placed sixth. The following year he returned with “Sag ihr, ich lass sie grüßen” and did better with fourth place. Udo Jürgens came back in 1966 for the third year in a row and gave Austria its first ever Eurovision win with the French-themed “Merci, Chérie”.
2. They have finished last seven times
It’s not the record (that’s Norway with nine), but it’s close. They would have finished last eight times, but in 2015 The Makemakes were technically saved from last place when the nil points tie-break put Germany below them.
3. How awkward Trackshittaz was for the BBC
The name of the hip-hop duo had an English swear word in it. And worse, to English ears the chorus of their song “Woki mit deim Popo” sounded a bit like “F*** me with the poo-poo”. The BBC commentators had to speak very carefully in their Baku booth.
4. They’re not afraid to make a fuss if things aren’t working
- In 1970, Austria stayed home to boycott the four-way winners’ tie of 1969. A tiebreak system was then introduced.
- In the mid-1970s they took a break, thought to be a protest against the awkward scoring system of the time. The now iconic “12 points” voting system was then introduced.
- From 2008 to 2010 Austria took three years off as a protest against bloc voting. The 50/50 televote/jury vote system was then introduced.
5. All that was happening with “Boom Boom Boomerang”
In 1977, it was Austria not Australia that took a boomerang to Eurovision. Schmetterlinge brought a striking “Boom Boom Boomerang” performance to the sedate Wembley Conference Centre venue. The four male singers of the group appeared to be wearing beige jumpsuits, but when they turned around, they revealed a tuxedo on their back half, complete with an alarming fake face. The bilingual lyrics started with this truthful couplet: Music is love for you and me / Music is money for the record company.
6. They do quite well in French
As well as Udo Jürgens’ 1967 win with the French-German “Merci, Chérie”, Austria also did well with a song entirely en français. In 2016, Zoë delivered the dreamy “Loin d’ici” and took audiences away to her fantasy land. The song finished 13th and was a big fan favourite.
7. They are the only host country to score nil points
It was all going so well in 2015. ORF were putting on a good show in Vienna, and the home crowd was excited to see national final winners The Makemakes with their hipster ballad “I Am Yours”. But they just weren’t especially memorable and in the end, no one remembered to vote for them.
8. Conchita’s triumphant comeback
In 2012, Conchita made the super final of Österreich rockt den Song Contest with the dance track “That’s What I Am”. She narrowly lost to Trackshittaz who pipped her with 51% of the vote. But her efforts had not gone unnoticed. Two years later she was internally selected by ORF, given a strong Bond-style ballad and went on to win Austria their second Eurovision victory.
9. Their last four male acts have had facial hair
Conchita served bearded-lady fantasy. The Makemakes had a scruffy hipster look. Nathan Trent wore a cute beard. Cesár Sampson was classicly handsome with a five o’clock shadow. We’re not sure what this all means.
10. The flaming fake piano
What are your favourite moments from Austria at Eurovision? Share the love below!