Throwback to Vienna: Eurovision 2015

Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest always was a big mission for both the hosting country and the national broadcaster as it’s a large scale production with a lot of arrangements surrounding it. Some cities such as Dublin hosted the contest not less than six times with three of them in a row. This is the highest number of times a city hosted the contest in the contest’s history. Most cities who did host the contest more than once did after many years after the first time. In the case of Vienna, it took the city 48 years to bring the contest back after its first hosting in 1967. This contest was also a symbolic one as it was the 60th Eurovision Song Contest.

Six cities placed bids to host the contest in 2015: Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Oberwart, Wels and the capital city Vienna placed bids with Vienna offering seven venues to host the contest. National broadcaster ORF chose the Hall D of the Wiener Stadhale in Vienna as the official venue.

The slogan for that year was “Building Bridges”. The Director-General of ORF, Alexander Wrabetz comment concerning the logo was: “With the song contest in Vienna, we want music to build bridges across borders, cultures and languages. In light of the unifying power of this great common European event, we invite all to build bridges and to join hands.” The logo of the contest for that year consisted of a wave made out of many spheres which symbolize diversity and the bridging people experience on a constant basis.

Four female hosts were chosen: Arabella Kiesbauer, Mirjam Weichselbraun and Alice Tumler were chosen to host the shows, whilst the previous year’s winner Conchita Wurst was chosen to host the Green Room. Conchita would also open the first Semi-Final with “Rise Like A Phoenix”, the winning entry of 2014 and would also be a part of the opening act and the interval act in the Grand Final. This was the first time in the contest’s history that the hosting team consisted of four female hosts. The second time was in 2018 in Lisbon.

40 countries competed in the contest that year with Cyprus and Serbia returning after one year of absence. The Czech Republic made its comeback after its last appearance in 2009. On the other hand, Ukraine took a one year break from the contest due to financial reasons. A surprising debut was the one of Australia which was invited as a “one off” special guest to compete in this edition. It automatically qualified to the Grand Final and later became a yearly participant in the contest.

This edition of the contest saw multiple artists from both Eurovision and Junior Eurovision returning to the contest: Inga Arshakyan who formerly represented Armenia in 2009 along with her sister Anush came back as part of “Genealogy”. Amber Bondin who represented Malta came back after being the backing vocalist for Kurt Calleja in 2012 when he represented the Mediterranean archipelago in Baku, Azerbaijan. Another artist who served as backing vocalist prior to his participation that year was Uzari from Belarus who was a backing vocalist for Belarus in 2011. The debut entrant of Azerbaijan Elnur Husseynov who formerly represented the land of fire in 2008 as a part of the duo Elnur and Samir came back as a solo performer. Slovenian artist Raay who performed as a part of duo Maaraya that year was a backing vocalist for Slovenia the previous year. Icelandic representative of 2010, Hera Bjork came back as a backing vocalist for Maria Olafs who represented Iceland that year. Nicolas Dorian who was a part of Witloof Bay which represented Belgium in 2011, was part of the backing vocalists of Loic Nottet. San Marinese representatives Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini both represented the country in the junior edition in 2013 and 2014 accordingly.

The shows were set to take place between the 19th and the 23rd of May with the Semi-Finals set for the 19th and the 21st and the Grand Final set for the 23rd of May. 16 countries competed in the first Semi-Final and 17 competed in the second. Ten countries qualified from each of the Semi-Finals. All former Yugoslav countries qualified except for the then Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which finished 15th in the Semi-Final with 28 points. The block of Former Soviet countries lacked 2 countries in the Grand Final as Moldova and Belarus failed to qualify ranking 11th and 12th accordingly. The Scandinavian block had only Norway and Sweden qualifying to the Final. Both countries will end up highly ranked with Norway in 8th position and with Sweden winning the contest.
A notable moment during the announcement of the qualifiers was when Israel was announced as a qualifier. It was announced as the tenth qualifier of the second Semi-Final. This meant it was the last country to qualify for that year. The excitement in the Stadium as well as in Israel was remarkable with the Israeli press announcing the qualification on all media platforms as it was the first qualification for the country since 2010. An exceptional moment was recorded when the whole Israeli delegation decided to go on stage following the announcement. This comes in opposition with the norms as it is for the on-stage performers to go on stage when announced as qualifiers.

With 7 automatic qualifiers due to the automatic qualification of Austria as host country as well as the “Big 5” and of the special guest Australia, the Grand Final in Vienna holds the record for the longest running order with 27 songs competing in the Grand Final. This was at the time the longest Grand Final. The song which performed 27th that year was the Italian entry “Grande Amore” which was performed by the opera trio “Il Volo”. The song also got a high rank as it finished third with 292 points. Special guest Australia finished 5th with 196 points.

The contest was won by Sweden which was represented by Mans Zelmerlow and his song “Heroes”. Although coming third in the televote and first in the jury voting, Sweden managed to win the contest with 365 points in total out of which 12 votes were 12 points. Runner up Russia ended up with 303 points out of which 5 votes were 12 points. Mans not only won the contest but would also be one of the hosts in 2016 as the contest took place in Sweden. On the other hand, both host country Austria as well as “Big 5” member Germany finished last with 0 points. This is the worst record for Germany since coming last with 4 points in 2005. The country got 0 points twice before in 1964 and 1965. The result was the worst Austria result since coming last with 0 points in 1991. Out of the 5 members of the “Big 5”, 4 didn’t manage to rank in the top 20 with Spain in 21st position, France and the United Kingdom in the 24th and 25th accordingly and Germany in the 27th position. Yet, Italy managed to stand out and finished 3rd. Most of the countries gave their votes based on a combination of jury and televoting. Yet, Montenegro and the then Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia gave their Grand Final results based on televoting only as their juries got disqualified. On the other hand San Marino used its jury only to gather their votes.

Watch the Grand Final here:

Watch the voting session as well as the winning performance here:

Which memories do you have from Vienna? Share them with us in the comment section!

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