Will Austria’s Conchita Wurst “Rise” above the Eurovision competition, or get caught by the online flames?
Song Title: “Rise Like a Phoenix”
Artist: Conchita Wurst
Semi-Final: Second, Position 6
Last year’s entry: “Shine” – Natalia Kelly (DNQ – 14th Place, SF2)
Austria’s performances since returning to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 have been a bit of a mixed bag. 2012’s “Woki Mit Dem Popo” was fun, but there was no way in hell Eurovision judges or voters were going to give its particular brand of hip-hop a ticket to the finals. Last year’s “Shine” was bland and forgettable. After these disappointments, it’s easy to see why Austria made an internal decision this year. Mike nailed it in his first listen when he said it sounded like a lot of care and thought had been put into the song. How does it fare post-official video?
Mike also nailed it when he called this song a “Bond theme”1. The string/horn instrumentation is strong and builds nicely through the song with Conchita’s voice, and from a performance standpoint, I can easily see this doing well with the juries (even if I do find the actual lyrics themselves a little weak if too closely analyzed).
Voting dynamics and positioning may determine how this song ultimately does. Austria’s neighbors in the lineup are Poland and Lithuania, two entries which are VERY different from the smoldering power ballad. Austria’s uniqueness in this run of three may help it stick out, but Conchita may also face some trouble from voters simply for pushing gender bounds. I think with the right performance, Conchita stands a chance of making it to the finals, assuming voters aren’t closed-minded.