• 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

The Local · 11 May 2014, 11:33

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
Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants
erzdioezese-wien.at

Cardinal calls for Church to house migrants

10 hours ago

Thousands more accommodation places for migrants and refugees arriving to Austria could be found in parishes around the country, according to the Archdiocese of Vienna.

Third of young people are regular smokers
Paul Gillingwater

Third of young people are regular smokers

12 hours ago

Every third young person aged between 12 and 16-years-old in Lower Austria smokes regularly, according to latest research into young people's smoking habits.

Thousands offer time and money to help refugees
Caritas Wien

Thousands offer time and money to help refugees

13 hours ago

The city of Vienna says it has been flooded with offers from members of the public to help donate time and money in support of refugees.

Migrant crisis
Refugees barred from Hungarian rail hub
Syrian refugees waiting outside Budapest's main railway station. Photo: Youtube video screenshot

Refugees barred from Hungarian rail hub

15 hours ago

Hundreds of migrants were left stranded outside Budapest's main railway station on Wednesday after being barred from travelling to Germany by police, as new figures highlighted the massive scale of Europe's refugee crisis.

Sexy time couple forced to swim from Merc
Photo: Police LPD Tirol

Sexy time couple forced to swim from Merc

1 day ago

In an incident that left a German couple red-faced with embarrassment, the pair were frolicking in the back seat of their Mercedes SUV on Saturday when its parking brake failed, rolling backwards into Lake Plansee in Tyrol.

Migrant crisis
Riot police evacuate Hungarian rail hub
Photo: LPD Burgenland

Riot police evacuate Hungarian rail hub

1 day ago

Hungarian police evacuated Budapest's main international rail station on Tuesday as hundreds of migrants tried to board trains to western Europe, as the continent struggles with its biggest movement of people since World War II.

Stenzel defects to FPÖ for Vienna election
Michael Kranewitter/Wikipedia

Stenzel defects to FPÖ for Vienna election

1 day ago

Long time ÖVP politician and district chairwoman for Vienna's first district Ursula Stenzel will stand in the upcoming Vienna elections as an independent candidate with the right-wing party FPÖ party, she announced this morning.

Solidarity not one way street says Faymann
Johannes Zinner/Wikipedia

Solidarity not one way street says Faymann

1 day ago

Building border fences like those erected by the Hungarian government will not prevent smugglers or solve the asylum crisis, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Monday.

Migrant crisis
3,650 migrants arrive on trains in one day
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

3,650 migrants arrive on trains in one day

1 day ago

A total of 3,650 migrants reached Vienna by train Monday, this year's biggest daily number, Austrian police said, after Hungarian authorities allowed people stuck in makeshift refugee camps to leave Budapest despite many not having EU visas.

Satellite photos of Earth on show in Linz
Kompsat-2, KARI/ESA

Satellite photos of Earth on show in Linz

1 day ago

Extraordinary pictures of Earth taken from satellites by the European Space Agency (ESA) to try and understand the planet have been put on show at an exhibition in Linz.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Why Austria isn't perfect for expats
Features
Why relationships can benefit from a vision statement
National
Eight breathtaking places to see in Austria
National
Six Austrian landmarks that will blow your mind
Features
How to avoid the dance of the 'pursuer distancer'
National
Austria has some truly strange museums you shouldn't miss
National
The best places in Vienna to escape the heatwave
National
Seven places to inspire budding writers in Vienna
National
A helping hand for Vienna's expat community
Features
Iran deal: A peek inside the UN's nuclear watchdog
National
Fancy a swim? We show the best outdoor spots in Austria
National
Take a ride on Vienna's new metro -- coming soon
Features
A taste of Afghan culture and food in Vienna
National
Green Austria on warpath against nuclear power
National
How to keep cool during a heatwave
Gallery
Highlights from Austria's World Bodypainting Festival
Features
Setting boundaries: Why 'good fences make good neighbours'
Features
Using Montessori methods to unlock children's potential
National
Ever tried these bizarre health tips that Austrians swear by?
Features
Nine spectacular rides in Austria you have to cycle
Features
Insider tips for great day or weekend trips outside of Vienna
Features
Fabulous gourmet restaurants to splash out on in Vienna
Travel
The best bars and hotels in Vienna for breathtaking views
Features
How couples counselling can revolutionize your relationship
Gallery
Vienna's 2015 Life Ball Gallery
Features
How Hitler's birth house haunts a small Austrian town
Features
The lowdown on GIS - Austria's TV and radio license
Features
Got friends? Helping expat parents find buddies for their kids.
Features
Insider Tips: Five lesser known gems to discover in Vienna
National
Ten 'false friends' to watch out for when learning German
Five unusual cafes we recommend visiting in Vienna
National
Vienna museum showcases city's shocking 'Actionist' art movement
Features
The woman behind Gymboree Vienna - helping young children learn as they play
Features
The 'world's most beautiful boulevard' turns 150
Features
Why the ghost of Jörg Haider haunts Austria's finances
National
Vienna: 'Best city in the world'
Features
Why multicultural couples can combine the 'best of both worlds'
National
Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Austria
Features
How superstitious are Austrians? The Local lists a few of the stranger ideas
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

2,540
jobs available