Austria participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song "I Am Yours", written by Jimmy Harry and The Makemakes. The song was performed by the band The Makemakes. In addition to participating in the contest, the Austrian broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) was also the host of the Eurovision Song Contest after winning the competition in 2014 with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix" performed by Conchita Wurst. ORF organised the national final Wer singt für Österreich? in order to select the Austrian entry for the 2015 contest in Vienna. An initial sixteen artists competed over four shows. In the final show of the competition, "I Am Yours" performed by The Makemakes was selected as the winner after gaining 78% of the votes from a public televote.
As the host of the contest, Austria competed directly in the final on 23 May 2015 and did not have to qualify from one of two semi-finals held on 19 May and 21 May. However, Austria was obligated to vote in the first semi-final. In Austria's forty-eighth Eurovision appearance on 23 May, "I Am Yours" finished in twenty-sixth place out of 27 competing songs with zero points. This was the fourth time the nation received nul points at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Prior to the 2015 contest, Austria had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest forty-seven times since its first entry in 1957. 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. Following the introduction of semi-finals for the 2004 contest, Austria had featured in only three finals. Austria's least successful result has been last place, which they have achieved on eight occasions, most recently in the 2012 contest. Austria has also received nul points on three occasions; in 1962, 1988 and 1991.
The Austrian national broadcaster, Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), broadcasts the event within Austria and organises the selection process for the nation's entry. 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.
Wer singt für Österreich? (English: Who sings for Austria?) was the national final that selected Austria's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. The competition consisted of four shows that aired on ORF eins, hosted by Mirjam Weichselbraun. Only the final of the competition, which took place on 13 March 2015 in Vienna, was aired live; the previous three shows that aired on 20 February, 27 February and 6 March 2015 were pre-recorded.
On 30 September 2014, ORF announced that a national final consisting of four shows and would be held to select the Austrian entry for the 2015 contest. In the first show, a special expert panel decided which six acts from the sixteen candidates would proceed to the next phase. In the second show, the remaining six acts showcased their vocal skills and talent. In the third show, the six acts performed two candidate songs each, which were contributions by Austrian and international producers. Only six of these twelve songs, by one act each, proceeded to the final. In the final, the six acts performed their respective entry and the winner was decided over two rounds of voting: the first to select the top two acts by a combination of televoting (50%) and 10 international jury groups (50%) and the second to select the winning act through 100 percent public televoting.
In order to scout and select the sixteen competing acts, ORF enlisted the assistance of a team of music professionals, which included singer-songwriter Anna F. and manager and musician Alex Deutsch. On 2 December 2014, the sixteen acts selected to compete in the selection were announced. After six finalists were determined from the sixteen acts, each of the six acts would work with coaches and an international songwriting team to prepare two potential Eurovision songs. Among the songwriting team was Julie Frost (composer of the winning 2010 German entry "Satellite"), Jimmy Harry (producer of hits for Bruno Mars, Pink and Madonna) and artists from Austria including Lukas Hillebrand and Wolfgang Schlögel (I-Wolf das Projekt).
The first show of the competition aired on 20 February 2015 and featured the sixteen selected artists performing original songs or cover versions of hit international songs. The six qualifiers – The Makemakes, Dawa, Zoë, Folkshilfe, Celina Ann and Johann Sebastian Bass – were selected by the jury. The jury panel that evaluated the artists consisted of Dietmar Lienbacher, Diana Lueger, Andi Knoll, Eberhard Forcher, Dunja Stachl and others.
The second show of the competition aired on 27 February 2015 and featured the six remaining artists performing original songs or cover versions of hit international songs. All competing artists proceeded to the third show; no elimination took place during the second show, however, the viewers voted for their favourites. In the end of the show the Top 3 artists were announced. The jury panel that evaluated the artists consisted of Anna F. (singer-songwriter), Nazar (rapper) and two members of the German band The BossHoss, Alec Völkel and Sascha Vollmer.
"Just the Way You Are" (Bruno Mars)
/ "Let's Get Loud" (Jennifer Lopez)
/ "Hangover" (Taio Cruz feat. Flo Rida)
/ "Danza Kuduro" (Don Omar feat. Lucenzo)
/ "Monsta" (Culcha Candela)
/ "Sexy and I Know It" (LMFAO)
/ "Firework" (Katy Perry)
The third show of the competition aired on 3 March 2015 and featured the six remaining artists performing their two potential Eurovision entries. One song per artist, a total of six songs, qualified for the finals after the jury vote. The jury panel that evaluated the artists consisted of Anna F. (singer-songwriter), Nazar (rapper) and two members of the German band The BossHoss, Alec Völkel and Sascha Vollmer.
The final took place on 13 March 2015 and featured the six acts performing their Eurovision candidate song. The winner was selected in two rounds of voting. In the first round, votes from ten international jury groups and a public televote selected "I Am Yours" performed by The Makemakes and "Feel Alive" performed by Dawa to proceed to the second round of voting. In the second round of voting, a public televote selected "I Am Yours" performed by The Makemakes as the winner with 78% of the votes.
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. In the 2015 contest, Australia also competed directly in the final as an invited guest nation. As the host nation, Austria automatically qualified to compete in the final on 23 May 2015. In addition to their participation in the final, Austria was also required to broadcast and vote in one of the two semi-finals. During the semi-final allocation draw on 26 January 2015, Austria was assigned to broadcast and vote in the first semi-final on 19 May 2015.
All three shows were broadcast in Austria on ORF eins with commentary by Andi Knoll. The Austrian spokesperson, who announced the Austrian votes during the final, was Kati Bellowitsch.
The Makemakes took part in technical rehearsals on 17 and 20 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 22 and 23 May. This included the jury final where professional juries of each country, responsible for 50 percent of each country's vote, watched and voted on the competing entries. As the host nation, Austria's running order position in the final was decided through a random draw that took place during the Heads of Delegation meeting in Vienna on 16 March 2015. Austria was drawn to perform in position 14. Following the conclusion of each semi-final, a press conference was held where each qualifying nation took part in a draw to determine which half of the grand final they would subsequently participate in. The "Big 5" countries and special guest Australia took part in a similar draw during a press conference held on 20 May. Following the second semi-final, the shows' producers decided upon the running order of the final rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. While Austria had already been drawn to perform in position 14, it was determined that Austria would perform following Belgium and before the entry from Greece.
The stage show featured the members of the Makemakes in a band set-up: Dominic Muhrer, the lead vocalist, seated at a piano, guitarist Markus Christ and drummer Florian Meindl. The band was dressed in black and white outfits, while the stage atmosphere was dark for the majority of the performance with bronze lighting. One of the features of the performance was the piano being set on fire during the final chorus of the song. While the three members of the Makemakes were the only performers visible on stage, three off-stage backing vocalists were also part of the performance: Chris Coras, Harald Baumgartner and Regina Mallinger.
At the conclusion of the voting, Austria finished in twenty-sixth place, failing to score any points. The nation initially tied with Germany as both countries finished with zero points, however, due to a tiebreaker rule that favours the song performed earliest in the running order, Austria was placed twenty-sixth, while Germany, which performed in position 17 during the final, placed twenty-seventh. This marked the fourth time that Austria received nul points at the contest.
Voting during the three shows consisted of 50 percent public televoting and 50 percent from a jury deliberation. The jury consisted of five music industry professionals who were citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury was asked to judge each contestant based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song's composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act. In addition, no member of a national jury could 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 were released shortly after the grand final.
Following the release of the full split voting by the EBU after the conclusion of the competition, it was revealed that Austria had placed twenty-seventh (last) with the public televote and thirteenth with the jury vote. In the public vote, Austria scored 0 points and in the jury vote the nation scored 40 points.
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:
Austria did not receive any points at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.
The following five members comprised the Austrian jury:Gary Lux – Chairperson – producer, writer, composer, singer, musician, represented Austria in the 1983 contest as part of Westend, in the 1985 contest and in the 1987 contest
Manuel Ortega – singer-songwriter, represented Austria in the 2002 contest
Christian Deix – singer-songwriter, producer, arranger, actor, journalist
Vanessa Legenstein (Como) – singer-songwriter, composer, pianist, musician
Franziska Trost – music journalist