Debut – 1957
Current Broadcaster – ORF
Best Result – Winner (1966, 2014)
Highest Score – 290 points (2014)
Worst Result – 27th in Semi-final (2007 – 4 points)
Austria first participated in Eurovision in 1957, and have participated since with the exceptions of 1969 (boycott against the Contest being hosted in Francoist Spain), 1970, between 1973-1975 (apparently due to being unhappy with the voting system), 1998, 2001 (both due to relegation), 2006 and between 2008-2010 (the latter two due to an objection towards so-called ‘political voting’). They have won the Contest once, but have also come last seven times.
1950’s and 1960’s
Austria’s debut entry in 1957 was Bob Martin performing “Wohin, kleines Pony?”, however it was a very unsuccessful debut as it finished last with only 3 points. The rest of the decade they lingered around the lower half of the scoreboard, with their highest result being 5th place in 1958.
The 1960’s started badly for Austria as they scored two consecutive last place results in 1961 and 1962 (the latter scoring ‘nul points’). A few years later in 1966 however, they had a reason to celebrate when Udo Jürgens brought Austria their first (and so far only) victory with his third consecutive Eurovision attempt “Merci, Chérie”.
The ’70s were mostly not kind to Austria, ending on a low point in 1979 by coming last, and the decade also saw their first spells of absence from the Contest.
Despite the bad luck, they did manage to score two top 5 results: in 1972 with “Falter im Wind” (performed by Milestones), and in 1976 with “My Little World” (performed by Waterloo & Robinson), both of which came 5th.
The 1980s fared slightly better, although Austria did have to suffer two more last place results in 1984 and 1988 (the latter scoring ‘nul points’).
They did score a handful of top 10 results in the decade: in 1980 with “Du bist Musik” (performed by Blue Danube) finishing 8th, in 1982 with “Sonntag” (performed by Mess) finishing 9th as well as in 1983 with “Hurricane” (performed by Westend). Then again in 1985 with “Kinder dieser Welt” (performed by Gary Lux) finishing 8th, before ending the decade on a high note in 1989 with “Nur ein Lied” (performed by Thomas Forstner) finishing 5th.
Austria scored a mainly middling set of results throughout the ’90s, despite an early set back in 1991 where they scored the infamous ‘nul points’.
They also scored a few 10th place results: in 1990 with “Keine Mauern mehr” (performed by Simone), 1992 with “Zusammen geh’n” (performed by Tony Wegas), 1996 with “Weil’s dr guat got” (performed by George Nussbaumer) and in 1999 with “Reflection” (performed by Bobbie Singer).
Since the turn of the century, results haven’t been to kind to Austria, with their only top 10 result in the 2000’s being in 2003 with comedian Alf Poier finishing 6th with “Weil der Mensch zählt”, a novelty song about farm animals.
The 2000s also saw Austria have a hiatus from the contest, with ORF claiming that so-called ‘political voting’ had left the country with little chance of doing well. After three years they eventually returned in 2011, when they qualified from the Semi-finals for the first time with the ballad “The Secret Is Love” (performed by Nadine Beiler).
Within hours of Austria’s performance in the second semi-final of 2014, they suddenly found themselves rocketing up to favourite status to win the whole contest. And indeed Conchita Wurst grabbed the attention and the hearts of the whole of Europe with her ballad “Rise Like a Phoenix” in the final, and emerged victorious, even becoming one of the ten most searched subjects on Google that year and having a huge billboard on New York’s Time Square! It’s fair to say that this winner was a memorable one.