Autriche 2016

Austria participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song « Loin d’ici » written by Zoë Straub and Christof Straub. The song was performed by Zoë. The Austrian broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) organised the national final Wer singt für Österreich? in order to select the Austrian entry for the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden. Ten songs competed in a televised show where a jury panel and a public vote first selected the top two entries to proceed to a second round of voting. In the second round, a public vote exclusively selected « Loin d’ici » performed by Zoë as the winner. This was the first time that the Austrian song was performed entirely in the French language at the Eurovision Song Contest. The Austrian song was also the only entry performed in the final entirely in a language other than English.

Austria was drawn to compete in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place on 10 May 2016. Performing during the show in position 12, « Loin d’ici » was announced among the top 10 entries of the first semi-final and therefore qualified to compete in the final on 14 May. It was later revealed that Austria placed seventh out of the 18 participating countries in the semi-final with 170 points. In the final, Austria performed in position 24 and placed thirteenth out of the 26 participating countries, scoring 151 points.

Background

Prior to the 2016 contest, Austria had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest forty-eight times since its first entry in 1957.[1] The nation had won the contest on two occasions: in 1966 with the song « Merci, Chérie » performed by Udo Jürgens and in 2014 with the song « Rise Like a Phoenix » performed by Conchita Wurst.[2][3] Following the introduction of semi-finals for the 2004 contest, Austria had featured in only four finals. Austria’s least successful result has been last place, which they have achieved on eight occasions, most recently in the 2012 contest.[4] Austria has also received nul points on four occasions; in 1962, 1988, 1991 and 2015.[5]

The Austrian national broadcaster, Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), broadcasts the event within Austria and organises the selection process for the nation’s entry. ORF confirmed their intentions to participate at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest on 14 September 2015.[6] From 2011 to 2013, ORF had set up national finals with several artists to choose both the song and performer to compete at Eurovision for Austria, with both the public and a panel of jury members involved in the selection. For the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, ORF held an internal selection to choose the artist and song to represent Austria at the contest. In 2015, the broadcaster returned to selecting the Austrian entry through a national final. Along with their participation confirmation, the broadcaster also announced that the Austrian entry for the 2016 contest would be selected through a national final.[6]

Before Eurovision

Wer singt für Österreich?

Zoë backstage during Wer singt für Österreich?

Wer singt für Österreich? (English: Who sings for Austria?) was the national final that selected Austria’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. The competition took place on 12 February 2016 at the ORF Center in Vienna, hosted by Andi Knoll and Alice Tumler and broadcast on ORF eins as well as streamed online via ORF’s official website and the official Eurovision Song Contest website eurovision.tv.[7][8][9]

Format

Ten songs competed in the competition where the winner was selected over two rounds of voting. In the first round, public voting and an expert jury panel consisting of three individual members and a fourth aggregate press vote selected the top two entries to advance to the second round. Following the performances of each competing entry, each juror assigned a score up to 10 points. The sum of all the jury scores created an overall ranking from which points from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) were distributed. Viewers were able to vote via telephone or SMS and the overall ranking of the entries was also assigned scores from 1 to 10. After the combination of the jury and public votes, the top two entries proceeded to the second round where the winner was selected exclusively by public voting.[10]

The members of the expert panel were:

Competing entries

Nine of the ten artists were nominated by music expert Eberhard Forcher, who collaborated with the ORF Eurovision Song Contest Team, led by ORF chief editor Stefan Zechner, in order to make the selections.[7] The nine artists selected to compete in the national final were revealed on 11 January 2016.[8] The tenth act was chosen through a Facebook-based online wildcard selection.[11]

Artist Song (English Translation) Composer(s)
AzRaH « The One » Azra Halilović
Bella Wagner « Weapons Down » Bella Wagner, Masta Huda, Hovannes Djibian
Céline Roscheck & Farina Miss « Sky is the Limit » Farina Miss, Peter Kreuzer
Elly V « I’ll Be Around (Bounce) » Robert Pfluger, Eleonora Vardanian, Alexander Kahr
Lia « Runaway » Lukas Hillebrand
LiZZA « Psycho » Anja Steinlechner Hubalek, Peter Wennerberg, Emil Vaker
Orry Jackson « Pieces in a Puzzle » Anna Molander, Hubert Molander
Sankil Jones « One More Sound » Sankil Jones, Philipp Van Het Veld, Christian Satter
Vincent Bueno « All We Need Is that Love » Vincent Bueno, Philipp Van Het Veld
Zoë « Loin d’ici » (Far from here) Zoë Straub, Christof Straub
Wildcard selection

For the wildcard selection, ORF invited all interested artists to submit their entries to the broadcaster between 17 November 2015 and 11 December 2015.[7] All submissions were reviewed by the ORF Eurovision Song Contest Team and posted on their Facebook page. At the close of the deadline, the broadcaster received 37 submissions.[12] ORF shortlisted five entries from these submissions based on editorial considerations and viewer response.[8] The shortlisted entries took part in a 24-hour online voting period that commenced on 14 January 2016. The entry that received the most Facebook likes was selected to compete in the national final.[7] Following an analysis of the votes due to irregularities involving a disproportionate rise in the number of Facebook likes some of the candidates received, « The One » performed by AzRaH was the winner of the wildcard with 7,168 valid Facebook likes.[11]

Facebook Wildcard Selection Finalists
Artist Song Composer(s)
AzRaH « The One » Azra Halilović
David Siedl feat. Madelene & MC Vio « Wah Wah Whine » David Siedl, MC Vio
Laura Kamhuber « Stay Tonight » Ylva Persson, Linda Persson
Ola Egbowon « Addicted » Ola Egbowon
Sara Koell « Closer To The Sun » Philipp van het Veld, Sara Koell

Final

The televised final took place on 12 February 2016. Ten songs competed in the first round where the top two were selected by the combination of votes from a jury panel and a public vote to proceed to the second round. The top two were « Loin d’ici » performed by Zoë and « I’ll Be Around (Bounce) » performed by Elly V. « Weapons Down » performed by Bella Wagner was announced as having placed third. In the second round, public televoting selected « Loin d’ici » performed by Zoë as the winner.[13] The song became Austria’s first entry in the contest to be performed entirely in the French language. In addition to the performances of the competing entries, Conchita Wurst performed a new version of her 2012 Austrian national final song « That’s What I Am« .[14]

Final: First Round – 12 February 2016
Draw Artist Song Jury Vote Place Result
Jury Total Points
1 Vincent Bueno « All We Need Is that Love » 25 6 Eliminated
2 LiZZA « Psycho » 32 8 Eliminated
3 Orry Jackson « Pieces in a Puzzle » 19 5 Eliminated
4 Elly V « I’ll Be Around (Bounce) » 37 10 1/2 Advanced
5 Lia « Runaway » 18 4 Eliminated
6 Céline Roscheck & Farina Miss « Sky is the Limit » 10 2 Eliminated
7 AzRaH « The One » 16 3 Eliminated
8 Sankil Jones « One More Sound » 28 7 Eliminated
9 Bella Wagner « Weapons Down » 36 9 3 Eliminated
10 Zoë « Loin d’ici«  28 7 1/2 Advanced
Final: Second Round – 12 February 2016
Draw Artist Song Result
1 Elly V « I’ll Be Around (Bounce) » Runner-up
2 Zoë « Loin d’ici«  Winner

Preparation

In March 2016, Zoë filmed the official music video for « Loin d’ici », which was directed by Ramon Rigoni. The video, which featured a 2D look with watercolour images, was released to the public on 15 March.[15]

Promotion

Zoë made several appearances across Europe to specifically promote « Loin d’ici » as the Austrian Eurovision entry. On 9 April, Zoë performed during the Eurovision in Concert event which was held at the Melkweg venue in Amsterdam, Netherlands and hosted by Cornald Maas and Hera Björk.[16] Between 11 and 13 April, Zoë took part in promotional activities in Tel Aviv, Israel and performed during the Israel Calling event held at the Ha’teatron venue.[17] On 17 April, Zoë performed during the London Eurovision Party, which was held at the Café de Paris venue in London, United Kingdom and hosted by Nicki French and Paddy O’Connell.[18]

In addition to her international appearances, Zoë performed « Loin d’ici » during the ATV broadcast of the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards, which took place at the Volkstheater in Vienna on 3 April and she performed as a musical guest during the ORF eins programme Dancing Stars on 15 April.[19][20] Zoë also performed during the ORF 2 programme Guten Morgen Österreich on 15 April and performed during the Starnacht am Neusiedler See event in Podersdorf am See on 29 April which was broadcast on MDR in Germany on 30 April and on ORF 2 in Austria on 7 May.[21] On 27 April, a farewell party was held for Zoë before she travelled to Stockholm for the contest, which was hosted by Riem Hagazi.[22]

At Eurovision

Zoë during a press meet and greet

According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the « Big 5 » (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into six different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot.[23] On 25 January 2016, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Austria was placed into the first semi-final, to be held on 10 May 2016, and was scheduled to perform in the second half of the show.[24]

Once all the competing songs for the 2016 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows’ producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Austria was set to perform in position 12, following the entry from Cyprus and before the entry from Estonia.[25]

The two semi-finals and the final were broadcast in Austria on ORF eins with commentary by Andi Knoll.[26]ORF2 also broadcast the final interpreted in international sign language for the hearing impaired.[27] The Austrian spokesperson, who announced the top 12-point score awarded by the Austrian jury during the final, was Kati Bellowitsch.[26]

Semi-final

Zoë during a rehearsal before the first semi-final

Zoë took part in technical rehearsals on 3 and 6 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 9 and 10 May.[28] This included the jury show on 9 May where the professional juries of each country watched and voted on the competing entries.[29]

The Austrian performance featured Zoë performing on stage in a peach coloured gown with images of flowers, butterflies, meadows and rainbows appearing on the LED screens.[30][31] During the performance, Zoë walked down a yellow-pink brick road that appeared on the LED stage floor accompanied by a wind machine effect.[32] Zoë was joined by three backing vocalists: Christian Knollmüller, Sandra Þórðardóttir and Alexandra Moqvist.[33]

At the end of the show, Austria was announced as having finished in the top 10 and subsequently qualifying for the grand final.[34] It was later revealed that Austria placed seventh in the semi-final, receiving a total of 170 points: 133 points from the televoting and 37 points from the juries.[35]

Final

Shortly after the first semi-final, a winners’ press conference was held for the ten qualifying countries. As part of this press conference, the qualifying artists took part in a draw to determine which half of the grand final they would subsequently participate in. This draw was done in the order the countries appeared in the semi-final running order. Austria was drawn to compete in the second half.[36] Following this draw, the shows’ producers decided upon the running order of the final, as they had done for the semi-finals. Austria was subsequently placed to perform in position 24, following the entry from Georgia and before the entry from United Kingdom.[37]

Zoë once again took part in dress rehearsals on 13 and 14 May before the final, including the jury final where the professional juries cast their final votes before the live show.[38] Zoë performed a repeat of her semi-final performance during the final on 14 May. Austria placed thirteenth in the final, scoring 151 points: 120 points from the televoting and 31 points from the juries.[39]

Voting

Voting during the three shows was conducted under a new system that involved each country now awarding two sets of points from 1-8, 10 and 12: one from their professional jury and the other from televoting. Each nation’s jury consisted of five music industry professionals who are citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury judged each entry based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song’s composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act.[40] In addition, no member of a national jury was permitted to be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member as well as the nation’s televoting results were released shortly after the grand final.[41]

Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Austria and awarded by Austria in the first semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:[35][42][43][44]

Points awarded to Austria

Points awarded by Austria

Split voting results

The following five members comprised the Austrian jury:[40]

  • Sankil Jones (Daniel Harb) – Chairperson – singer, songwriter, performer
  • Dorothee Freiberger – music producer, sound engineer, composer
  • Lukas Hillebrand – musician, producer
  • Peter Pansky – music management, booking & PR, musician
  • Franz Pleterski – marketing director

References

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  2. ^ « Eurovision Song Contest 1966 ». eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
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  4. ^ « Eurovision Song Contest 2012 Semi-Final (1) ». eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  5. ^ « History by Country – Austria ». eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Jiandani, Sanjay (14 September 2015). « Austria: ORF confirms participation in Eurovision 2016 ». esctoday.com. Retrieved 19 December 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Brey, Marco (17 November 2015). « Austria: National final on February 12th ». eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c Steiner, Bernhard (11 January 2016). « Eurovision Song Contest 2016: Der ORF hat sich über Conchitas Erbe beraten! ». tv-media.at (in German). TV-Media. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
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  27. ^ « „Eurovision Song Contest »: ZOE glänzt in mintgrüner Traumrobe am Roten Teppich ». ots.at (in German). Austria Press Agency. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  28. ^ « Media Activities » (PDF). eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
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  39. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (14 May 2016). « Ukraine wins 2016 Eurovision Song Contest ». eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
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External links