Eurovision 2023 top 37 countdown: #2 AUSTRIA – Teya and Salena – Who the Hell is Edgar?

Austria topped my countdown in 2018 with Cesár Sampson and “Nobody but You” which went on to win the jury vote and this year’s Austrian entry has come close to being my top choice again. I’d also add Conchita Wurst would have been my number 1 in 2014, had I been doing my countdown back then. However, that jury win and overall third place at the 2018 contest was the last time Austria qualified. Last year’s entry was a big fan favourite, like this year as well, but poor live vocals and lack of stage experience meant no grand final. Can Teya and Salena get Austria back to the final by posing the question “Who the Hell is Edgar?”

Austria has not held a national final since 2016, and this year was no exception. Teodora Špirić (Teya) and Selina-Maria Edbauer (Salena) have both had experience of various music talent shows such as The Voice of Germany, Starmania (Austrian show) and Teya has entered the Serbian national final in the past (her parents are Serbian). “Who the Hell is Edgar” is a high tempo dance pop track with an extremely catchy chorus and on the face of it, feels like a very frothy, fun entry. Well, it’s certainly fun, but it’s far from frothy – it’s a clever and humorous critique of the music industry, covering such topics as how little artists get from a Spotify stream (the 0.003), how ghost writers (hence the Edgar Allen Poe reference – he’s a ghost) get little credit or earnings, and the music video makes it clear about issues of gender bias for female songwriters.

I watched the debut of the song and music video on YouTube at 6am or so in the morning and I do remember wondering what on earth I had just experienced. This is a really excellent entry – it’s witty, clever, super catchy and bold and brave. It’s not a safe entry by any means. There is so much to unpack in the lyrics, and understand what they mean, but at same time it’s so easy to enjoy it as a great dance pop track at the same time. That “Poe Poe Poe” is just perfect for both audience support and also is great in a club environment. The girls can actually sing as well and have great charisma – it’s a superb entry from Austria and one that will be long remembered in the fandom.

So, the question is, is it a contender to win? Well, firstly, I think it is safe to qualify – for Austria’s first qualification since 2018. Staging is looking good, live vocals are sounding good, so I think it will have no trouble in qualifying – could even win its semi-final. Harder to say how it will do in the grand final. It’s not obviously jury friendly, though juries should really reward inventiveness, and the cleverness of the lyrics (even if this may be critical of some jurors as they may be senior figures in the music industry). Yet I don’t think this will flop either with them – at least I hope not. Televote is of course where this should pick up a lot of votes – IF it’s not a eurofan bubble song (like “Fulenn” turned out to be). Top 10 is definitely possible and well deserved – hopefully it could finish higher.

Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest

First entered: 1957

Appearances (excluding this year): 53

Best result: Winner 1966 and 2014

Last year’s result: 12th in semi-final (did not qualify)

Flag of Austria

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