From topping the jury table at Eurovision 2018 to suffering a series of semi-final eliminations, Austria’s Eurovision scout Eberhard Forcher has experienced it all. And once again the DJ, musician, producer and presenter is at the helm of Austria’s search for a song and artist for ESC 2022. 

As we detailed in an earlier tease of this interview, the search for Torino had already moved from around 20 acts to just four earlier this month. Now, as we hit play on our hour-long interview below, Eberhard has updated us to say the search is down to just three acts. He hopes that ORF will make its final decision by the end of January.

This year’s selection is a little tricker than in the past, not just because of the immense variety and quality on offer, but also because ORF 1 will have a new Programme Director from the New Year. 

Austria’s Eurovision scout Eberhard Forcher relives highs and lows of searches

 

Finding an artist and a song isn’t an easy feat. The search ahead of Eurovision 2019 proved particularly difficult for Eberhard, who ultimately went with Paenda.

“There was just one song I could imagine where maybe it works and this was ‘Limits,'” he remembers. “It was a very tricky situation. We had big problems with the management. She wouldn’t change anything in the song. We thought, ‘Hey, listen. The song will need some dramatic buildup or whatever…but she wouldn’t do that and the management said, ‘No way.'”

“We know what happened. I was very sad that year. The manager: she didn’t even say hello when we met in Lisbon.”

But for every low there is, of course, a high. Eberhard remembers fondly the excitement and nerves after Cesar won the jury vote at Eurovision 2018 with “Nobody But You,” calling that moment “heartwarming” and “uplifting”.

Funnily enough — he’d rejected a different version of that song the year before.

“[Cesar] was, the year before, in the internal pitch — but he had a very different chorus. It was kind of a disco-like thing. We said ‘Hey, listen, the verse is so good. Why don’t you try it next year and try to make a chorus that really fits to that?'”

Curiously, Cesar almost had his Eurovision 2018 experience snatched from him by another artist in the internal selection. Can you guess who it was? You can find out in the full interview above.

Eberhard Forcher timestamps

00:50 Eberhard on his career as a DJ, musician and producer

02:55 His love of Eurovision as a kid…and when Eurovision started to feel boring to him

04:00 The songs that re-ignited his Eurovision passion, including “Euphoria” and “Rise Like a Phoenix”

05:40 The Eurovision 2015 national final and The Makemakes

07:00 The difficulty of scouting for 2016 national final Wer singt für Österreich?

07:50 Zoe and “Loin d’ici” + visiting Stockholm for Eurovision 2016

11:00 Nathan Trent and “Running on Air”

14:00 Nathan getting zero points at Eurovision 2017

15:35 Cesar Sampson and “Nobody But You”

16:10 Troubles getting Russkaja and King & Potter to Eurovision 2019

18:25 Paenda and her team’s refusal to make changes to their song “Limits”

20:45 Vincent Bueno and his narrow loss to Cesar Sampson in the 2018 selection

22:00 On inviting Vincent back for Eurovision 2021 and the challenges of getting a song for Rotterdam

26:00 On why “Amen” didn’t make the Eurovision final

26:30 How Eurovision 2021 inspired him and his love of Ukraine’s Go_A, France’s Barbara Pravi and Italy’s Maneskin

28:30 The seven weeks he spent courting Bilderbuch for Eurovision 2022

31:09 Eberhard details the four finalists that remain in the internal selection for Turin

32:00 Act #1: “An electronic duo with origins in southern Tyrol” that lives in Vienna. They have a “very distinctive sound.”

34:25 Act #2: An act that plays “a combination between electro-swing and EDM” with a “charismatic female singer”.

35:10 Act #3: An act from Styria who are a “very cool pop act, but not in the usual average radio-pop idiom.” They’re “very funky, but not too aggressive.”

36:00 Act #4: A young, male DJ-producer with a young female singer. “This guy is the most successful Austrian DJ act ever” with like 80 million Spotify followers and videos with 180 million YouTube clicks.

37:40 The daughter of Gene Simmons of KISS sang the demo of one of the songs in contention

39:40 He’s never had such a good selection process as in 2022. “I don’t think in Austria you have better acts than I approached this year.”

42:30 Why hasn’t the perception of Eurovision changed in Austria since Conchita’s win?

47:00 When will Austria reveal its Eurovision 2022 act and song?

50:40 Eberhard’s most special moment at Eurovision is winning the jury vote with Cesar Sampson

 

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Stian F
Stian F
9 days ago

Oh my…. None of those 4 amazing female singers he wanted for the dj song will ever participate for Austria if he is going to mock-imitate them like that just because they didnt feel like the song suited them…such a rude attitude when they declined politely.

The best is always to find an act that has written, produced and performs their own song, in that way the whole performance will be way more authentic and genuine. If one performs with them’s own song then the singer(s) will put much more passion into the performance as well.

Alex
Alex
10 days ago

They were so lucky in 2018! I don\’t know why they wanted to choose Vincent Bueno in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Yes he is talented but he is also bland. Alive was a bop though, Austria was clearly unlucky in 2020. Choosing a very depressing song like Amen was very obvious it was gonna miss the final. They should have done another song selection in 2021. Did he explain about the zero points of Austria in 2015? I just couldn’t follow his accent throughout the video. For me it looks like he knows what he’s doing but at the same… Read more »

Cristian Silviu Bucur
Cristian Silviu Bucur
12 days ago

What we got from this interview is that Vincent Bueno did not care about Eurovision the second time and was lazy to write a good song.Austria’s nonqualification is entire his fault.He got Amen and flopped like Ana Soklic.#CancelVincentBueno

Nikko
Nikko
12 days ago

I hope it’s Mathea. Would be the first time since 10 years to hear German

roxy
roxy
12 days ago
Reply to  Nikko

there was no female act among the last four.

Meckie
Meckie
12 days ago

All this shade towards PAENDA and her team. He simply could have chosen another act if he did not like the whole song how it was. Or blame the HoD of Austria for choosing it, too. There were plenty other acts to choose from with even better songs instead. What a typical old white man drama queen he is. Of course it is never their fault, when it goes wrong.

Rojo Mx
Rojo Mx
12 days ago
Reply to  Meckie

I mean she was the one that arranged the song and made it as we all heard, and at the first listen anyone could see that wasn’t going to qualify. She was the one that didn’t listen to Eberhard and that turned out very bad for them so I clearly see the reason of this “shade”

Meckie
Meckie
12 days ago

I wrote to Sophia, daughter of Gene Simmons. She doesn’t even know Eurovision at all. So maybe it is a lie?

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
12 days ago
Reply to  Meckie

You can record the demo of a song without knowing it’s in the running for the austrian eurovision selection.

Jofty
Jofty
12 days ago
Reply to  Frisian esc

Or German, as per Black Smoke by Ella Eyre in 2015.

Whisker
Whisker
12 days ago

Excellent interview! I’m putting Austria on my love list.

Hyunwoo
Hyunwoo
12 days ago

I think the candidates for Austria will look like this.

Act 1, HVOB
Act 2, DelaDap
Act 3, YUKNO (Band)
Act 4, Parov Stelar and Zoë (Zoe Straub)

Last edited 12 days ago by Hyunwoo
roxy
roxy
12 days ago
Reply to  Hyunwoo

2 is right, but i dont think they still are in the race.

Nils
Nils
12 days ago
Reply to  Hyunwoo

I think he would have hinted at the Eurovision past if Zoë or any other former contestant was involved.

Alex
Alex
10 days ago
Reply to  Hyunwoo

Parov Stelar is not a young DJ, he’s 46 and he has rejected Eurovision multiple times. If Parov wanted to do Eurovision, they would have chosen him immediately.

John
John
12 days ago

The takeaway here is that Austria is not that different situation than the UK. ORF doesn’t see Eurovision (or at least winning it) as a priority. Otherwise why would they use such a haphazard process for their entry each year. Additionally, the fact that Austrian artists see it as a negative to appear in ESC, will undoubtedly continue to result in Austria’s hit or miss track record.

Alex
Alex
10 days ago
Reply to  John

No, they’re doing a better job than BBC but clearly they don’t take it as seriously as in the Netherlands or Norway. Sad to see Conchita’s victory did not change the perception of ESC.. maybe because she was a drag queen so popular acts do not want to associated themselves with ESC?

Rasmus Bording Irlind
Rasmus Bording Irlind
13 days ago

damn austria really dodged the bullet of their life back in 2018

NickC
NickC
13 days ago

Act 1 seems to be HVOB. Act 4 sounds like Parov Stelar.
I think “Amen” should have qualified, it was robbed, alongside “Lucky one”- despite I know most of you disagree.

Last edited 13 days ago by NickC
Polegend Godgarina
13 days ago

80 million spotify followers or streams ? because the only person with more than 80 million followers is ed sheeran lmao

Rebeccalibur
Rebeccalibur
12 days ago

Isn’t Justin Bieber the one with the most streams?

roxy
roxy
12 days ago

I think he mixed it up, It is 8 mio followers.

Alex
Alex
10 days ago

yes i think he messed it up