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