0 Points for Europe. How Political is the Eurovision Song Contest?

When? Wednesday, 20 May 2015 | 7 p.m.
Where? Diplomatic Academy of Vienna
| Favoritenstraße 15a | 1040 Vienna

The discussion is part of The European Match. Controversies and Encounters
A series of talks hosted by ERSTE Foundation

In May 2015 Austria will host the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC). The second debate of the series “The European Match” analyses an often neglected facet of this gigantic media event: its political dimensions and potentials. Founded in 1954 as a network of national TV stations organized in the European Broadcasting Union, Eurovision started as a cross-border experiment for live broadcasting. Nowadays, the term Eurovision has more or less lost its technical connotations and leads to rather political associations, such as a common transnational project for Europe. The Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision’s most popular event, was conceived from its very beginning in 1956 as a purely entertainment programme, even excluding political messages in its rules. However, the show has also staged critical issues. Some songs with political messages, such as Conchita Wurst’s “Rise Like a Phoenix” in 2014, have resonated with the ESC’s large pan-European audience and won the contest, but others have scored low.

This panel discussion brings together artists from Austria, the Czech Republic and Montenegro who have expressed political messages in their ESC performances.

Register here

The musicians will discuss with ESC expert Dean Vuletic why they saw the contest as an appropriate channel to tell their stories and if they think they succeeded or not. Can or should critical topics be addressed within this format? Was, for example, the victory of Conchita Wurst in 2014 a sign that European citizens are more open to diversity? Or was it, by contrary, a sign that glamour and styling rule over critical texts? When and how can political messages reach ’12 points’ in Europe’s biggest pan-continental event? And should they?
PanelKim Cooper and Tini Kainrath, representing Austria as ‘The Rounder Girls’ at the ESC 2000

Radek Banga, representing the Czech Republic with his band ‘Gypsy.cz’ at the ESC 2009

Rambo Amadeus, representing Montenegro at the ESC 2012

Dean Vuletic, ESC historian and Marie Skłodowska-Curie-Fellow at the University of Vienna

ModerationSibylle Hamann, freelance journalist
PerformanceEurovision Song by Rambo Amadeus „Euro Neuro“ (2012) performed as an aria;
Russi Nikoff – baritone
Jovana Besic – piano
Vedrana Kovac – soprano



Wednesday, 20 May 2015
7 p.m.


Diplomatic Academy
of Vienna

Favoritenstraße 15a
1040 Vienna