Austria has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 47 times since its debut in 1957. The country has won twice, in 1966, with the song "Merci Chérie" by Udo Jürgens, and in 2014, with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix" by Conchita Wurst. Austria currently holds the record for longest gap between wins, with forty-eight years between victories.
Austria finished last at its first attempt in the contest in 1957, before Liane Augustin gave the country its first top five result in 1958, with fifth. Having finished sixth in 1964 and fourth in 1965, Udo Jürgens won the contest at his third attempt in 1966. This would be Austria's only top three result of 20th century. The country's best result over the next forty-six years (1967–2013) would be fifth place, which it achieved with Milestones in 1972, Waterloo & Robinson in 1976 and Thomas Forstner in 1989. Austria has finished last in the final a total of eight times, in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1979, 1984, 1988, 1991 and 2015. The country also finished last in the semi-final in 2012.
After a three-year absence, ORF announced on 28 July 2010 that Austria would return to the contest in 2011. Austria's previous best result of the 21st century was sixth, achieved by Alf Poier in 2003, until the 2014 contest in Copenhagen where Austria achieved its second victory in the contest, with Conchita Wurst placing first with 290 points. In a complete reversal of fortunes from 2014, following a tie-break rule Austria was placed 26th and scored nul points along with Germany (27th), they became the first countries since the United Kingdom in 2003 to score nul points at the final. Because of this, Austria became the first host country to receive nul points.
Austria has opted out of participation in several Contests. The first of these was the 1969 Contest, which was staged in Madrid. As Spain was ruled at that time by Francisco Franco, Austria chose to boycott the Contest. Contest historian John Kennedy O'Connor points out, however, that Austria had given Spain two points in the previous event and since Spain only won by one point, the political protest was perhaps disingenuous.
The following year, Austria was again absent. This was due to the unprecedented result in 1969 in which four songs tied for first place, a result which prompted several other countries to opt out as well.
From 1973 to 1975, Austria stayed away as well. The exact reason for this is unclear, however the scoring system in use at one of these Contests - allowing all entrants a guaranteed number of points - may have been a factor.
The country was ineligible to compete in 1998 and 2001, as it had not achieved sufficiently high placings in the five previous years.
Prior to the 2006 contest, Austria announced that they would not enter a performer in protest at their poor results in previous years, arguing that the musical talent of the performers was no longer the determining factor in Contest success. They returned for the 2007 contest in Helsinki, but came second to last in the semi-final. National broadcaster ORF cited the 2007 result, as well as declining interest in the Contest among Austrian viewers, as the reason Austria would not return to the contest in 2008. ORF programme director Wolfgang Lorenz also hinted that Austria may withdraw from the contest indefinitely, stating "ORF has no desire to send more talent out of Austria to a competition where they have no chances...Should the situation change, we'll be happy to take part again".  Despite withdrawing, the final of the 2008 contest was screened on ORF.
However, Edgar Böhm, director of entertainment for ORF, said that the semi-final format "still incorporates a mix of countries who will be politically favoured in the voting process" and "that, unless a clear guideline as to how the semifinals are organised is made by the EBU, Austria will not be taking part in Moscow 2009". ORF decided not to participate in the 2009 contest, but did broadcast the final as in 2008. The EBU announced that they would work harder to bring Austria back to the contest in 2010, along with former participants Monaco and Italy. It was, however, confirmed that Austria would not participate in the 2010 Contest in Oslo. In July 2010, the chairman of ORF, Alexander Wrabetz, stated that Austria would return for the 2011 contest, due to it being held in its neighbour Germany. In 2011, Austria reached the final for the first time since 2004.
3. If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition, back in 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.
Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l'Eurovision (more commonly known as OGAE) is an international organisation that was founded in 1984 in Savonlinna, Finland by Jari-Pekka Koikkalainen. The organisation consists of a network of 40 Eurovision Song Contest fan clubs across Europe and beyond, and is a non-governmental, non-political, and non-profit company.
Between the 1970 Contest and the 1998 Contest every contest was commentated by Austrian radio journalist and actor Ernst Grissemann, with the exception of the 1979 Contest and the 1990 Contest. Grissemann admitted to future German commentator Peter Urban in 1995 that he only stayed for the dress rehearsal and then provided the Austrian commentary live from the ORF studios. After 1998 Grissemann stepped down from the commentary and was replaced by Andi Knoll. Austria has also broadcast the contests where it was not competing, except for the 2010 contest.