Category Archives: Austria

A bold choice from Austria: Conchita Wurst

When it comes to their recent choices for Eurovision, the Austrians are often a somewhat unpredictable lot.  They might sent straightforward power-ballads (like Nadine Beiler’s entry from 2011), positive-messaged pop (like Natália Kelly this year or Eric Papilaya’s 2007 entry)…or they might go completely off-the-wall and send Alpine-Cuban fusion, popo-wokiing rap, or whatever it was that Alf Poier was doing.  So, after “Shine” failed to live up to its name during the First Semifinal, bringing the Austrians their second consecutive non-qualifier, one could imagine the folks at ORF shrugging their shoulders and saying “might as well try something different”!

And so they have. Read the rest of this entry

Natália Kelly to “Shine” for Austria

Friday, February 15th brought us “Österreich rockt den Song Contest”, as Austria selected the successor to the Trackshittaz.  With five singers performing two songs apiece (one Eurovision classic and their potential song for Malmö), the country gave fans plenty to mull over.

Taking the victory in Vienna was the contest’s youngest participant, 18-year-old Natália Kelly, with “Shine“:

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Preview: Österreich rockt den Song Contest

Choosing their singer for Malmö only a day after their neighbors in Germany, Austria will bear down and choose a successor for the popo-wokiing Trackshittaz.  “Österreich rockt den Song Contest” will air on ORF and this Friday, February 15th.  Read the rest of this entry

Austria has decided: it’s the Trackshittaz!

Austra held their National Final, “Österreich rockt den Song Contest”, this Friday, and ten songs fought it out for the right to represent the country in Baku this May.  Acts ranged from pop to rock to ballads to jazz, but, of course, only one could win out.

After a two-song Superfinal, Mühlviertel-based party-rap group Trackshittaz won the night with their ode to bootyshaking, “Woki mit deim Popo”: Read the rest of this entry

(Most of) Austria’s Songs Unveiled!

Austrian radio station Ö3, in conjunction with broadcaster ORF, have released the names and most of the tracks for this year’s national selection, “Österreich rockt den Song-Contest”.  (The two outliers, to be performed by Blockstars and Krautschädl, are still currently being produced and will be released to the public shortly.)

The songs are:

  • Blockstars – TBA
  • James Cottriall – “Stand Up”
  • !Deladap – “Crazy Swing”
  • Krautschädl – TBA
  • Mary Broadcast Band – “How Can You Ask Me”
  • Papermoon – “Vater, father, mon père”
  • Norbert Schneider – “Medicate My Blues Away”
  • Trackshittaz – “Woki mit deim Popo”
  • Valerie – “Comme ça”
  • Conchita Wurst – “That’s What I Am”

You can listen to the available songs here.  The Austrian final will be held on February 24th.

Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 1)

Like many Eurovision fans and fanatics (myself included), the period between the end of May and the beginning of December is often a melancholy bit of time while we wait for news on the next year’s edition and constantly re-hash the events of the past.  For me, this is the perfect time to look back on the songs that didn’t quite make it to Düsseldorf this year; some of these also-rans are just as entertaining or endearing as the tunes that made the journey to the main event.  Out of the forty-three nations that sent songs to Germany this year, thirty-four of them had national selections (and the rest, like France, Belarus, Turkey, et cetera, were internal selections made behind closed doors).  Needless to say, there’s a lot of ground to cover!  So, starting alphabetically…

Albania: For me, the Albanian Preselection (or Festivali i Këngës) is one of the more underrated events of the Eurovision year.  It occurs early in the ESC cycle (generally falling around Boxing Day), and it tends to involve both young, fresh faces as well as veteran performers.  This year’s FiK winner was Aurela Gaçe’s “Kënga Ime”, which eventually became the epic, aquiline “Feel the Passion“.  However, in second place this year was the lovely duet “Ende ka shpresë (There is Still Hope)”, written and performed by Alban Skenderaj and Miriam Cani.  

I don’t know if this song would have been translated into English (as so many other Albanian entries have been over the past few years), but if it had, it could have possibly given Azerbaijan’s Ell and Nikki a run for their money.  
(And, for the record, another personal favorite of mine was Kamela Islamaj’s “Jetova per te dy (I Lived for Us)”, which came in 10th place in the FiK.  While it might not have gone over as well in the ESC as “Ende ka shpresë”, I absolutely love Kamela’s soulful, bluesy, voice.)
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Nadine Beiler’s "The Secret is Love" for Austria!

…and another name is added to our ever-expanding list of participants!

Tonight, the second of our four returning nations revealed their song for Eurovision 2011 (we already know about Italy’s “Follia d’Amore“, and while we know that Senit will be representing San Marino, her song has yet to be officially announced.  As for the Hungarians, we’re still waiting!).  Since leaving the competition after a disappointing score in 2007, Austria has been biding its time on re-entering the ESC, citing a frustration over the bloc voting that helped Serbia, Russia, and Norway to victory, among other frustrations.  However, when Germany won a resounding victory last year, the Austrians had no reason to argue, and they rejoined the fray.

This year, Austria served up a pretty extensive National Selection, with thirty songs competing in an online component, fighting it out for ten spots in the televised final.  Making it to the final were local stars, including two winners from the talent show StarMania, the winner of “Germany’s Got Talent”, and even Joe Sumner, the son of British musical legend Sting.

After all of that, who gets to cross the border into Düsseldorf?

Nadine Beiler was the winner of the third season of StarMania (a season that also showcased Eric Papilaya, Austria’s 2007 ESC representative).  The 20-year-old singer has had a few Top-20 singles in her homeland, and her debut album cracked into the Top 5 (she is expected to release her follow-up album later this year).

Compared to the Lithuanian entry that we saw yesterday, this is a major improvement in the ballad department.  When I heard “C’est Ma Vie“, I thought of “Butterflies“, last year’s Belorussian representative.  “The Secret is Love”, however, reminds me more of “Há Dias Assim” from Portugal.  Instead of treacle, Nadine gives some measure of substance.  However, I have a feeling that detractors will claim that she’s trying too hard to be like certain American pop or R&B divas (Christina?  Beyoncé?), and I can definitely see where they’d be coming from.  I doubt that “The Secret is Love” is this year’s new front-runner, but it’s definitely a respectable return from a nation that we’ve missed in the competition.  Welcome back, Austria!

All the latest…

Well, we finally have an answer!  After months of speculation from fans and press alike, it seems that the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest will be held at the Esprit Arena in lovely Düsseldorf!  This will be the first German-hosted ESC since reunification of the former East and West, and the third overall (after Frankfurt in 1957 and Munich in 1983).  The arena will be able to hold about 24,000 spectators, which seems a bit strange, considering that there are only about 23,000 hotel beds in the city.  However, it seems that riverboats on the Rhine will be employed as floating hotels during ESC Week, and the city is a major air and rail hub for the area.  Knowing that Düsseldorf is a moderately quick train ride from Amsterdam, Cologne, and other cities in the region, I’m seriously pondering making my first official Eurovision pilgrimage!  (Readers from Germany…what do you think of the news?)

In other news, Cyprus has kicked off their ESC pre-game.  It had been decided that the winner of the “Idol”-like show “Performance” would represent the island nation in 2011 (although the song will be selected at a later time).  After all of the votes had been cast, the winner was announced as Christos Mylordos, a virtual unknown.  Here’s his winning cover of Robbie Williams’ “Supreme”:

Frankly, after Cyprus’s success with John Lilygreen and the Islanders this year, I’m somewhat disappointed in Christos.  Granted, he’s got until May to improve his stage presence, and he might be better served singing in his native Greek, so all is not lost!

Next topic: Austria is officially back in the game!  We haven’t seen participation from ORF since the 2007 Contest, where Eric Papilaya’s HIV-awareness-anthem “Get A Life/Get Alive” came in a painfully undervalued second-to-last place.  When they officially select their song, I’ll do a full report on their history.

And, continuing on the theme of nations entering or withdrawing, we had a close call for next year.  The 2011 Eurovision Song Contest’s dated have officially been set for May 10, 12, and 14.  However, there is a major Israeli holiday (Memorial Day) on May 9th and 10th, and performers would not be allowed to rehearse or perform on those days.  So, in a special exception, the EBU has decided to allow Israel to have a reserved spot in the Second Semifinal (May 12) in order to avoid any scheduling conflicts that would result in their withdrawal.

All in all, it seems that things are progressing nicely for 2011; Albania, Switzerland, and Romania will decide their entries by the end of the year, and more plans are being revealed by the day.  Record numbers of entries have been submitted in some of the public calls for songs…all in all, a good sign for what I’m sure will be a great year for Eurovision.