Austria won the Eurovision Song Contest last in 1996. This year it secured a landslide victory, with Wurst's song Rise Like a Phoenix receiving the top 12 points from nearly half of the voting countries for a total of 290 points. The Netherlands came in second with 238 points, and Sweden took third place with 218.
Finland just missed a spot in the top ten, receiving points from 16 different countries. Norway gave Finland’s performance the most votes, awarding seven. Softengine’s song Something Better, took in a total of 72 points.
This was enough to give Finland 11th place, its best placement since Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah won the contest in 2006.
“Gaining 11th place is a victory for us! Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and support. It was an awesome gig, we gave it our all and it felt great. Now starts the real work, we have a tough line-up of gigs through the summer and we will release a second single soon,” said the group’s singer Topi Latukka.
The 2014 competition took place in Copenhagen, with Ukraine’s representative Maria Yaremchuck putting in the first performance. Finland’s song was 18th on the roster and viewers and critics agree that it went off well. After all 26 songs were presented the voting began, ending at around 12:30 in the morning Finnish time.
Wurst has thick skin
The winner, Conchita Wurst, real name Tom Neuwirth, dedicated the night to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. Many people were critical of Wurst’s involvement in the contest and opponents in Russia, Belarus and Armenia petitioned their country’s media to not show Wurst’s performance in the TV broadcast. Wurst said that the win was also a win for tolerance and a slap in the face for Europe’s homophobes.
“I’ve got thick skin. Funny that a little hair on my face can cause so much excitement,” said Wurst. “I don’t know if he [Putin] is watching this now, but if so, I’ll say it: ‘We’re unstoppable.”
Points awarded to and by Russia were booed by the crowd throughout the night. Finland’s top points, announced by the Finnish rapper Lasse Mellberg aka Redrama, went to Austria.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been arranged annually since 1956. Over 180 million people from 45 countries watched the 2014 broadcast last night.