On the eve of heading off to Lisbon myself, we finally reach my number 1 and it’s a country that had seen little success since its first win in the late 1960s until Conchita wowed and charmed Europe in equal measure in 2014. Their artist this year is also charming and humble and is gifted with a beautiful voice. The gorgeous Cesár Sampson, representing Austria, is my number one for Eurovision 2018.
A former social worker, this is Cesár’s first lead solo song but he is far from inexperienced at Eurovision and he has been a backing singer for Bulgaria in both 2016 and 2017. He’s now representing his own country and as lead singer (a bit like SuRie for the UK!), but Symphonix International, a Bulgarian-Austrian musical production and events project, are also behind this entry, as well as Bulgaria’s entries in 2016, 2017 and this year. With a fourth place in 2016 and runners up last year, Symphonix already have a strong record of success.
Cesár is undoubtedly easy on the eye, but it’s his voice that has put him in my top slot, a smooth, rich, powerful voice that is ably accompanied by gospel choir backing singers. Some might find the track a bit unrooted in that any country could enter this, but it’s a song that just grown and grown with me – especially the bridge, and the soaring vocals in the chorus. With the strength of his vocals, it has the potential to be a huge “moment”.
Rehearsals have been going well and while Austria might benefit from perhaps taking an element out of the staging to make it less “kitchen sink”, it’s impressive and he is utterly solid vocally. It’s in the hard semi-final but I think jury votes should at the least see this through to the final. From there, who knows – a good running order spot and it could do very well – and obviously, I hope it does. Now… on to Lisbon!!
Official music video:
Live at Eurovision in Concert:
Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest:
First entered: 1957
Appearances (excluding this year): 50
Best result: Winner 1966 and 2014
Last year’s result: 16th