Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest
|National selection events|
|Appearances||52 (47 finals)|
|Best result||1st: 1966, 2014|
|Worst result||Last: 1957, 1961, 1962, 1979, 1984, 1988, 1991, 2012 SF|
|Nul points||1962, 1988, 1991, 2015|
|Austria's page at Eurovision.tv|
| For the most recent participation see|
Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020
Austria has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 52 times since its debut in 1957. The country has won twice, in 1966 and 2014, and currently holds the record for the longest gap between wins, with 48 years between victories. The contest is broadcast in Austria by ORF. Vienna was the host city on both of the occasions that the contest was held in Austria, in 1967 and 2015.
Having finished sixth at the 1964 contest and fourth in 1965, Udo Jurgens won at his third attempt in 1966 with the song "Merci Chérie". This was Austria's only top three result of the 20th century. Austria won again in 2014, with Conchita Wurst and "Rise Like a Phoenix". Austria has finished last in the contest final seven times (1957, 1961, 1962, 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991) and finished last in the semifinal in 2012. Cesár Sampson achieved Austria's eighth top five result and second-best result of the 21st century at the 2018 contest, finishing third with the song "Nobody But You".
Austria finished last at its first attempt in the contest in 1957, before Liane Augustin gave the country the first of its eight top five results 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 46 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 seven times, in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1979, 1984, 1988, 1991. The country also finished last in the semi-final in 2012. Austria's best result of the 1990s was four tenth-place finishes, in 1990, 1992, 1996 and 1999. Austria's best result of the 2000s was Alf Poier's sixth-place in 2003, which was Austria's best placement since 1989.
Austria achieved its second victory in the contest at the 2014 contest, with Conchita Wurst winning with 290 points. In a complete reversal of fortunes in 2015, 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 qualified for the final for the next three years, finishing 13th in 2016, 16th in 2017 and 3rd in 2018, until 2019 where they placed 17th in the second semifinal. Austria's third Top 3 result came in 2018, with "Nobody but You" by Cesár Sampson finishing third in Lisbon, the country's third-best result in the history of the contest.
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.
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.
In 2008, the EBU introduced two semi-finals to the contest, hoping that spreading countries out by random draw would prevent the kind of bloc voting that had warded Austria off. Additionally, they reintroduced juries to determine 50% of each country's result in 2009 (albeit not in the semi-finals, in which all but one of the qualifiers were decided entirely by televote). 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 Bærum. 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.
|1967||Vienna||Großer Festsaal der Wiener Hofburg||Erica Vaal|
|2015||Vienna||Wiener Stadthalle||Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer|
Marcel Bezençon Awards
|2014||Press Award||"Rise Like a Phoenix"||Conchita Wurst||Charley Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski, Julian Maas||Copenhagen|
Heads of delegation
|Year||Head of delegation||Ref.|
Commentators and spokespersons
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Between the 1970 and 1998 contests, every contest was commentated by Austrian radio journalist and actor Ernst Grissemann, with the exception of the 1979 and 1990 contests. 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 which it did not compete in, except for the 2010 contest.
|Year||Television commentator||Radio commentator||Spokesperson||Ref.|
|1957||Commentary via ARD Germany||No radio broadcast||Karl Bruck|
|1964||Willy Kralik||Walter Richard Langer|
|1969||Did not participate|
|1971||Hubert Gaisbauer||No spokesperson|
|1973||No radio broadcast||Did not participate|
|1976||Hubert Gaisbauer||Jenny Pippal|
|1978||Walter Richard Langer|
|1984||No radio broadcast|
|1985||Walter Richard Langer||Chris Lohner|
|1986||Hans Leitinger||Tilia Herold|
|1990||Barbara Stöckl||Walter Richard Langer|
|1991||Herbert Dobrovolny||Gabriele Haring|
|1992||Ernst Grissemann||Martin Blumenau||Andy Lee|
|1995||Stermann & Grissemann|
|1998||Did not participate|
|1999||Andi Knoll||Dodo Roščić|
|2001||Did not participate|
|2006||No radio broadcast||Did not participate|
|2008||Did not participate|
|2011||Andi Knoll||Martin Blumenau & Benny Hörtnagl||Kati Bellowitsch|
|2012||Stermann & Grissemann|
|2013||No radio broadcast|
All conductors are Austrian except those marked with a flag.
- Carl de Groof (1957)
- Willy Fantel (1958)
- Franck Pourcel (1959, 1961)
- Robert Stolz (1960)
- Bruno Uher (1962)
- Erwin Halletz (1963)
- Johannes Fehring (1964, 1967) (musical director in 1967)
- Gianni Ferrio (1965)
- Hans Hammerschmid (1966)
- Robert Opratko (1968, 1971)
- Erich Kleinschuster (1972, 1976)
- Christian Kolonovits (1977, 1993)
- Richard Österreicher (1978–1987, 1990–1991)
- Harald Neuwirth (1988)
- Leon Ives (1992)
- Hermann Weindorf (1994)
- Michael F. Kienzl (1995)
- Mischa W. Krausz (1996)
Prior to 1999, the Austrian entry was performed without orchestral accompaniment in 1989 and 1997.
- Austria in Eurovision Choir – A competition organised by the EBU for non-professional choirs.
- Austria in the Eurovision Dance Contest – Dance version of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Austria in the Eurovision Young Dancers – A competition organised by the EBU for younger dancers aged between 16 and 21.
- Austria in the Eurovision Young Musicians – A competition organised by the EBU for musicians aged 18 years and younger.
Notes and references
- Specifically Styrian, a Southern Bavarian dialect spoken in Styria.
- According to the then-Eurovision rules, the top ten non-Big Four countries from the previous year along with the Big Four automatically qualified for the Grand Final without having to compete in semi-finals. For example, if Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the 11th and 12th spots were advanced to next year's Grand Final along with all countries ranked in the top ten.
- Specifically Mühlviertlerisch, a Central Bavarian dialect spoken in Upper Austria.
- While Austria and Germany both finished with no points, Austria is listed as finishing ahead of Germany due to the tiebreaker rule that favours the song performed earliest in the running order. Therefore, Germany finished in 27th (last) place, with Austria in 26th.
- If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year.
- Klier, Marcus (27 July 2010). "Austria will return to Eurovision in 2011". ESCToday. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- "Song Contest: Österreich tritt 2011 wieder an" (in German). ORF. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- "Austria wins Eurovision Song Contest". BBC News. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
- O'Connor, John Kennedy (2005). The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History.
- Philips, Roel (18 June 2005). "Austria withdraws from 2006 Eurovision Song Contest". Retrieved 10 December 2006.
- Philips, Roel (20 June 2005). "Austrian Broadcaster explains withdrawal". Retrieved 12 December 2006.
- Holyer, Steve (20 November 2007). "Austria will not go to Belgrade". Retrieved 20 November 2007.
- Klier, Marcus (2 January 2008). "ORF likely to broadcast Eurovision Song Contest 2008". Retrieved 1 March 2008.
- Kuipers, Michael (3 June 2008). "Austria: ORF will decide in the Autumn". ESCToday. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- Klier, Marcus (18 September 2008). "Austria: No return to Eurovision in 2009". ESCToday. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
- Floras, Stella (13 January 2009). "EBU working for Eurovision full house in 2010". ESCToday. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
- Klier, Marcus (22 September 2009). "Confirmed: Austria will not take part in 2010". ESCToday. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
- Wrabetz, Alexander (2010-05-31). "Wrabetz will ORF-Antreten "sicher überdenken"". derstandard.at (in German). Archived from the original on 5 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- "Rules for the Eurovision Song Contest 2009" (PDF). European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
- "Winners of the Marcel Bezençon Awards". eurovision.tv. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- McCaig, Ewan (24 April 2019). "Austria: Vienna Hosts Eurovision Farewell Party For PÆNDA". eurovoix.com. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- "Begegnung in der Box | Das Erste: Eurovision Song Contest - News - Mein Grand Prix". Eurovision.de. 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- "Andi Knoll outet sich: „Ich bin seit 18 Jahren mit einem Mann zusammen"". kosmo.at (in German). 29 April 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
- "Eurovision 2019 Spokespersons – Who will announce the points?". eurovisionworld.com. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
- "And the conductor is..." andtheconductoris.eu. Retrieved 4 January 2020.