• Austria's news in English
 
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

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
New Ukraine agency slammed as 'PR ploy'
Dmitry Firtash. Photo: APA/epa

New Ukraine agency slammed as 'PR ploy'

Ukrainian politicians have criticised the new Agency for the Modernization of Ukraine (AMU), which was unveiled this week in Vienna with Austria’s former finance minister Michael Spindelegger at the helm. READ  

200,000 Austrians 'drink excessively'
Photo: dpa/Bildfunk

200,000 Austrians 'drink excessively'

When it comes to addiction, Austria’s number one drug of choice is alcohol, according to a new survey presented at a conference on addiction which is being held in Grundlsee, Styria this weekend. READ  

Austria to keep Nazi-looted Klimt masterpiece
The Beethoven Frieze in the Vienna Secession gallery. Photo: APA/Schlager

Austria to keep Nazi-looted Klimt masterpiece

A leading panel of experts recommended on Friday that Austria not return one of the country's most treasured artworks to the descendants of its Jewish former owners robbed by the Nazis. READ  

Austria faces loss of Klimt masterpiece
The Beethoven Frieze in the Vienna Secession gallery. Photo: APA/Schlager

Austria faces loss of Klimt masterpiece

Austria could find itself facing the loss of one of its most treasured artworks with an expert body due to make a recommendation on Friday on whether to return it to the descendants of its Jewish former owners. READ  

Police bust cigarette smuggling ring
Sniffer dogs helped find the cigarettes. File photo: APA/POLIZEI

Police bust cigarette smuggling ring

Customs officials in the city of Graz have arrested five cigarette smugglers responsible for smuggling about 1.3 million cigarettes from Serbia to Austria. READ  

Conchita to release debut album
Photo: EPA/SOEREN STACHE

Conchita to release debut album

Austria's bearded drag queen sensation Conchita Wurst, winner of last year's Eurovision Song Contest, said Thursday that her debut album would be released on May 13th. READ  

Man hurls toilet bowl at special forces police
Photo: APA

Man hurls toilet bowl at special forces police

Austrian special police commandos were called out to a village in Carinthia after a violent dispute between a local craftsman and a farmer got out of control - only to have a toilet bowl thrown at them. READ  

Austrian women earn 23 percent less than men
Photo: dpa/Bildfunk

Austrian women earn 23 percent less than men

Austria is one of the EU member states with the highest gender pay gap - which at 23 percent is considerably more than the EU average according to the latest figures from the European Union statistical office (Eurostat). READ  

Australia announces Eurovision singer
Photo: EPA/DEAN LEWINS

Australia announces Eurovision singer

Former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian has been named as Australia's entrant for this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. READ  

Austrian stabbed in Moscow over taxi fare
File photo: Shutterstock.

Austrian stabbed in Moscow over taxi fare

An Austrian man who was stabbed and died on Sunday evening in Moscow after an argument over a taxi fare was from Salzburg's Pinzgau region, according to an ORF report. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Why multicultural couples can combine the 'best of both worlds'
Society
Kampusch judge in perjury acquittal
Features
Help Me Helen: How to avoid saying things you'll later regret
National
Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Austria
Culture
Austrian gourmet cuisine proves to be a highlight in London
Culture
Pickled herring on Ash Wednesday - a culinary treat
Features
How superstitious are Austrians? The Local lists a few of the stranger ideas
Features
British musician Tall William on mapping Vienna's music scene
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Features
Nine things to know before dating an Austrian
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
National
Celebrating immigration with beautiful accessories
Gallery
Sponsored: Fun factory for the under-fives
Health
Help Me Helen: How to avoid invalidating others
International
How should Austria respond to Russia's new aggressive foreign policy?
Health
Expat Profile: Helen Rudinsky
Features
How Austria's music scene inspired the pioneer of Electro Swing
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Features
Bitcoins are growing in Austria - but what are they?
National
12,000 support IAmCharlie in Vienna
Health
Gender identity is all in your head.
Technology
How to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus
Gallery
Daniel Craig enjoys the view with Lea Seydoux and Dave Bautista
Culture
Celebrate an Austrian New Year with The Local
National
Top stories on The Local in 2014
Culture
Our pick of the best German language idioms
Travel & Tourism
The most common mistakes tourists make in Austria
Society
Afghan refugees get integration help
Society
Waiting to be smuggled into Austria after a tortuous journey
Culture
Facing up to death over coffee and cake
Gallery
What foods did Austrians search the most in 2014?
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Society
Vienna's Ring is about to celebrate its 150th birthday
Travel & Tourism
A slice of Austria in northern California
International
An Austrian surgeon is working to repair broken bodies in Ukraine
Travel & Tourism
Tales of Couchsurfing in Vienna
International
Nuclear incidents show dangers of weapons
Gallery
Ten things to know before you party with an Austrian
Society
The Congress of Vienna revisited
Society
New museum houses memories of Kindertransport children
International
Is Vienna at the heart of a possible new European war?
Gallery
Images from the ice storm which hit Lower Austria on the weekend
National
Returning home after 20 years away and starting a business
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

215
jobs available