• Austria edition
 
Eurovision 2014 Review
A victory for bearded men in dresses
Conchita Wurst celebrates victory for Austria. Photo: DPA

A victory for bearded men in dresses

Published: 11 May 2014 11:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 May 2014 11:33 GMT+02:00

Sometimes they use these mad props – a fire extinguisher, for example – for literally no discernible reason. Samuel Johnson said a man who is tired of London is tired of life – well, a person who is sick of Eurovision is either lying to themselves, or in the midst of some kind of nervous breakdown.

Speaking of people who don't like Eurovision: apparently the neo-Nazis hate it, my German friend told me so. And you can kind of see why, I thought, as I watched the winner of last night's show singing away.

Nobody who loves Conchita Wurst – and Europe really loves Conchita Wurst – could hate black people, or Turkish people, or gays or anyone else the neo-Nazis want us to hate.

I don't think this is specifically to do with Conchita being a beautiful skinny man in a glorious dress with a huge beard and skinny men in dresses with beards being something which requires a lot of tolerance, although that surely plays a role.

But there was an even greater, almost spiritual vulnerability about Conchita, I thought. You couldn't really hate anything or anyone while Conchita was singing.

This year was actually, for Eurovision standards, surprisingly non-camp. First up were Ukraine, with a cheerful song called Tick-Tock, followed by Belarus with Cheesecake.

Eurovision really does have educational benefits too – if it weren't for the song contest, I'm sure most people would never have realized that Azerbaijan, who were represented by Dilara Kazimova singing a slow number and had a person wriggling about on a trapeze in the background, is (kind of) in Europe.

Iceland came on with a jolly, rocky little song with a nice anti-prejudice message. And then Norway went for melancholy and moving – Carl Espen, a former UN soldier in Kosovo who works as a doorman at a heavy metal disco and was incredibly sexy sang “Silent Storm”, a song that had been written especially for him, apparently.

It was a bit depressing, violins and sadness are usually a bad combination. They could've done with a few props, I felt, to liven things up a bit, distract us somewhat. Maybe someone in a tiger costume on a fire extinguisher or something?

Romania sent Paula and Ovi, who, by the way, came third the year Lena won for Germany in 2010. All the Germans who were so snide about sending Lena twice, take note.

The duo's song was called Miracle, and it kind of sounded like a Tampon advert soundtrack, although my best friend and viewing companion claimed that tampon ads sound catchier.

Armenia's was a bit boring, Montenegro had ice-skating. But I was just starting to think that this year's Eurovision was the least camp, the least gimmicky, the least fabulous of all the years I'd ever seen when along came Poland.

Their song was in Polish but the title was “We are Slavic!” It was a rumptious, bombastic number involving very beautiful women with gorgeous figures doing housework chores in an almost painfully arousing way.

It was brilliant. They used props. They used props very well. They had old-fashioned washing implements and everything. It was everything your heart could ever desire.

Next up was Greece, with Freaky Fortune performing Rise Up, featuring a rapper from London. I thought this was genuinely quite good, almost like a normal song, possibly just the London connection shining through though.

Austria's Conchita Wurst performed Rise Like A Phoenix and the whole of Europe fell in collective love. Germany followed Austria with a nice enough song from a nice enough girl – not the worst thing anyone has ever sung, but nothing special.

Sweden were my favourites to win with their generic love song and Celine Dionny vocals. I bet my son ten cents they'd win. France's song was – yay! In French! Almost absolutely everyone else sang in English.

“Is it racist that the only black guy is half-naked and has tribal stripes on his face?” The best friend asked. I chewed thoughtfully on my lip. “Surely not?” I said. “Maybe it's meant to be sending up racism in French society!” The best friend said generously.

Russia sent along two ridiculously tall 17-year-old identical twins who did a mirror-performance and had their hair stuck together. It was fairly high on the fabulous-o-meter. Also at one point it sounded like they sang “Shine into my tardis!” This is exactly what it sounded like, and probably the first Doctor Who reference in Eurovision history.

Italy's entry was fairly boring, she had an incredibly short skirt on, though. Slovenia's was barely worth mentioning. Spain sang in Spanish – a soaring ballad. Switzerland performed a cheerful, bouncy number – Hungary, though, offered up a sad song called “Running”, telling the tale of an abused child. The lyrics were depressingly detailed, I quite liked it though.

Malta's entry wasn't very catchy or interesting – but next up was Denmark, my favourites of the night. I bet my son 20 cents they'd win and stood up to dance to their Cliché Love Song – the only song I stood up to dance to, by the way.

The Netherlands followed with a duo on guitars, singing a country ballad and staring lovingly into each others' eyes. I was majorly bored but the German commentator really, really loved this song, he was a huge fan.

Eurovision's educational benefits continued when San Marino performed. “I have literally never heard of this country,” I told my best friend. “I have,” she said, knowledgeably. “It's in Italy. It's about the size of Neukölln in Berlin.” Geographical discoveries led to me not taking any notice of the song whatsoever, but they ended up coming third, so looks like Europe agreed with me.

And last but not least: the United Kingdom. I really think they don't want to win. Every year they send the worst song of the night, or thereabouts: Children of the Universe. A total embarrassment. Even more embarrassing: I voted for it twice, purely on patriotic grounds.

The voting was totally exciting, because although Austria zoomed into the lead, it was pretty close almost all the way through.

Lots of booing for Russia – I was a bit surprised at that. Was there booing in the 90s during the Yugoslav Wars? I'm too young, I can't remember.

The Netherlands came second and Sweden, my second favourites to win, came third. France came last – maybe they'll sing in English next year? Germany came in at Number 18 – one place behind the UK. Not bad.

Austria won, and they deserved to, too – it was a victory for vulnerability, emotional songs and also for the right of men in beards to wear dresses if they want to.

By Jacinta Nandi

SEE ALSO: Relive Eurovision with The Local's live blog

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Health
Austrians still love to smoke
File photo: APA

Austrians still love to smoke

Austrians loathe giving up cigarettes and the statistics prove this out. According to Mr. Zoltán Massay-Kosubek, the Policy Coordinator at the European Public Health Alliance, Austrians are smoking more than ever before, an increase driven mainly by younger smokers entering the market. READ  

Hunter mauled by his own dog
Cujo, the rabid St. Bernard. Not the dog in the story. Photo: Warner Brothers

Hunter mauled by his own dog

A hunter in the Burgenland village of Mariadorf was seriously hurt on Monday after being bitten by his own dog. READ  

Criticism of poaching murder report
Annaberg. File photo: APA

Criticism of poaching murder report

Exactly one year ago today, on September 17, 2013, poacher Alois Huber shot and killed two police officers, a paramedic and a member of Austria's counter terrorism special operations unit in the Lower Austrian town of Annaberg. READ  

Austria offers aid to Ukrainian IDPs
PHOTO: APA/FOREIGN MINISTRY/DRAGAN TATIC

Austria offers aid to Ukrainian IDPs

Austria has offered a total of €700,000 to assist Ukrainians internally displaced by conflict within their war-torn country. READ  

Viennese 'jihadist' teen girls alive in Syria
Photo: APA/Interpol

Viennese 'jihadist' teen girls alive in Syria

One of two Viennese teenagers rumoured to have been killed in Syria has confirmed she is alive, and said the other girl is too. READ  

People smuggler trial continues
Photo © APA

People smuggler trial continues

A trial of eight men accused of smuggling asylum seekers from Asia continued into its 23rd day at the Regional Court in Wiener Neustadt on Monday. READ  

Argument leads cops to pot plantation
Some of the 25 plants -- without an irrigation system. Photo: Police

Argument leads cops to pot plantation

Two brothers were arguing so loudly in the courtyard of their apartment building that neighbours called the police, who found the subject for the argument to be of legal interest -- it was a debate about a new irrigation system for their cannabis plantation. READ  

Austria boosts anti-terrorism measures
PHOTO: APA/HERBERT NEUBAUER

Austria boosts anti-terrorism measures

The Austrian government plans to step up its fight against Islamic terrorist organizations such as Isis, by extending laws against sedition. READ  

Fertility problems hit one in five Austrian couples
Photo: APA/dpa/Ralf Hirschberger

Fertility problems hit one in five Austrian couples

The number of couples using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in Salzburg has doubled since 2006, an increase well above the national average. READ  

Stephansplatz mock execution stuns public
Photo: APA

Stephansplatz mock execution stuns public

Visitors to Vienna's Stephansplatz on Sunday were shocked to witness a group of hooded militants carry out a mock execution, in a stunt which resembled a propaganda video for the terrorist militia group, Isis. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Health
Austrians can't stop smoking
Culture
Why Austria wants a divorce from Germany
Culture
Open House Wien: Explore some of Vienna's most interesting buildings
Features
'A love of learning was vital'
National
The Vienna solar power plant that is also a nature reserve
National
Vienna exhibition on 50 years of Turkish guest workers
Politics
The unpopular finance minister defeated by tax reform
Features
'Suddenly you're just trying to get a sentence out'
Health
Key to happiness is 'making the right choices'
National
The Austrian office with a climbing wall and swimming pool
National
Six top tips to get a job in Austria
National
Danielle Spera on the mission of the Jewish Museum Vienna
National
Why Vienna is a 'hub for European jihadists'
Gallery
Horses rescued from burning barn
National
Why beggars are a problem for Vienna's street paper Augustin
Culture
'No one speak English to him!'
National
The grassroots group working to unite Muslims and Jews
Society
Pink Lake festival attracts LGBT visitors
Gallery
Weirdest spa treatments: Fancy a session of full-body cryotherapy?
Society
The question of begging in Austria
National
Naked cyclist faces charges and told to wear clothes
International
Cop surrounded; busts a few moves
Society
Church porn star faces charges
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

266
jobs available