• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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
Austrian wins ten year court battle over €2.50
Photo: Creative Commons/JWPhotography2012

An Austrian has won a ten year court battle over an extra €2.50 he was asked to pay to get into a pool in Bavaria a decade ago.

Swapping Austrian Alps for the Hollywood Hills

Austrian Cornelia Miedler writes about experience of leaving Austria and embarking on a new life in sunny California.

New book raises suspicions over Kampusch case
The house where Natascha was held captive. Photo: Priwo/Wikimedia

A new book published on the 10th anniversary of the escape of Natascha Kampusch offers fresh evidence that the abduction was not the action of a single lone kidnapper.

Austrian pleads not guilty to carving swastikas onto body
The long-running dispute saw the victim's house get smeared with graffiti - apparently from neighbours - telling him to 'Move out'. Photo: Private

An Austrian who police say carved swastikas on to his own body as part of a bizarre neighbourly dispute has pleaded not guilty in court this week.

Drunk driver damages ten cars in 400 metres
Photo: LPD Wien

Drunk driver damages ten cars and injures bystander on one street in Vienna.

Rome wants to send its rubbish to Austria
Photo: Creative Commonss/rjp

Rome asks Austria for help dealing with an ongoing rubbish crisis.

Turkey escalates diplomatic row with recall
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey. Photo: Mohammad Hassanzadeh/Wikimedia

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Austria to review relations after a series of disputes with the European Union member state, the Turkish foreign minister said on Monday.

Sex cases likely to double since last year
Armed Austrian police officers. Photo: YouTube screenshot

The amount of criminal charges for sexual attacks in Austria is set to double compared to figures from previous years.

Austria considers stripping asylum from criminal refugees
Joe Gratz/Creative Commons

The majority of Austrians are in support of the proposal that refugees should lose their right to asylum if they break the law.

OAP kills room-mate in care home for being too loud
The attack was carried out using a glass bottle. Photo: Ricardo Bernardo/Creative Commons

An OAP has been arrested by police in Austria after attacking and killing her room-mate in an old people’s home because she was being too noisy.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Beware these passport scams
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Features
Refugees need practical help
2,565
jobs available