• 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
Teenager (15) convicted of Nazi offences
Courts of Justice. Photo: APA/Pfarrhofer

Teenager (15) convicted of Nazi offences

A 15-year-old boy from Salzburg has been convicted of Nazi offences, libel, and attempted coercion. The judge gave him a ten month sentence, and said he must serve two months of that in prison. READ  

Emergency landing for Eurofighter at Innsbruck
Eurofighter jet. Photo: APA/Neubauer

Emergency landing for Eurofighter at Innsbruck

One of Austria’s troubled Eurofighter jets has had to make an emergency landing at Innsbruck airport. READ  

New Law on Islam prohibits foreign funding
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. Photo: APA/Neubauer

New Law on Islam prohibits foreign funding

Austria’s new Law on Islam will prohibit Muslim organisations receiving funding from abroad. This will also affect imams who work in Austria but are financially supported by Turkey. READ  

Pensioner receives mystery drug package
Austrian Post van. Photo: APA

Pensioner receives mystery drug package

The post has something for everybody, according to an Austrian Post slogan, but one pensioner received slightly more than she bargained for when she discovered she’d been sent a package of hashish from Holland. READ  

Former brothel to house asylum seekers
The homepage of Studio 6 has a note saying that it is moving to a new location.

Former brothel to house asylum seekers

A former brothel in Styria, which closed just last week, has been made into temporary accommodation for asylum seekers. READ  

Doctors: 'E-cigarettes could be harmful'
A woman smoking an e-cigarette. Photo: EPA/SEBASTIEN NOGIER

Doctors: 'E-cigarettes could be harmful'

E-cigarettes should not be marketed as the "healthier alternative" to traditional cigarettes, experts at the annual meeting of the Austrian Society of Pneumology (ÖPG) in Salzburg have warned. READ  

Pensioner turns on police with chainsaw
Police car. File photo: APA/BARBARA GINDL

Pensioner turns on police with chainsaw

A 60-year-old man in Burgenland tried to attack two policemen with a chainsaw on Tuesday evening after they admonished him for blocking off part of a country road whilst he was sawing wood. No one was injured. READ  

Fifth of DACH region have food intolerances
Photo: APA (epa)

Fifth of DACH region have food intolerances

According to a recent poll, nearly one fifth of those living in Austria, Southern Germany and German-speaking Switzerland suffer from some form of food intolerance or allergy. READ  

High CO2 levels in 'every third office'
Photo: APA

High CO2 levels in 'every third office'

Suffering from headaches and tiredness in the afternoon? If you work in an office carbon dioxide levels could be to blame, as new research suggests that one in three Austrian offices have high levels of CO2 and are too dry. READ  

Old masters up for auction at Dorotheum
Frans Verbeeck (1510 - 1570) The Mocking of Human Follies

Old masters up for auction at Dorotheum

Vienna’s Dorotheum, one of the world’s oldest auction houses, is holding an auction week of old master and 19th century paintings. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Health
Doctors launch campaign to challenge smoker's paradise
Culture
Happy Birthday, Udo Jürgens
Culture
Get inspired at Vienna Design Week
Culture
Test your German skills with the odd word out quiz
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
National
Graz designer creates Dirndl and Lederhosen with a twist
Health
Sigmund Freud: 75 years after his death
Society
Coming home after 75 years with the Jewish Welcome Service
Health
Austrians can't stop smoking
Culture
Why Austria wants a divorce from Germany
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!'
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

242
jobs available