“Amen” – Austria is hoping for divine assistance this year at the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, at least with the title of its contribution. With the power ballad of the same name, Vincent Bueno wants to hold up the red-white-red flag in May after his up-tempo number “Alive” in the previous year did not get the chance to cancel the ESC.
The song was presented on Tuesday, with the official world premiere taking place tomorrow, Wednesday at 7.40 in the “Ö3 Wecker”.
The 35-year-old Viennese will perform his song in the second semifinals on May 20th in the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam – and hope for a ticket to the final on May 22nd. “The song found me,” said Bueno with conviction. In contrast to his song planned for 2020, Bueno did not write “Amen” himself. Instead, with Tobias Carshey, Ashley Hicklin and Jonas Thander, there is a team behind the number that has already gained a wide range of song contest experience. For example, they were responsible for Luca Hänni’s “She got me”, with which the Swiss took 4th place in 2019.
In any case, Bueno was happy to work with the international team. “For the first time I was able to really let go,” said the Viennese, remembering the collaboration. It is no coincidence that things are getting quieter with a ballad: “I am known as the ORF’s spring girl. But one grows up.” “Amen” is about saying goodbye to a relationship, which is not just a love affair. “That can also be the death of your own dog”, Bueno wants to understand the text comprehensively.
As usual, ORF program director Kathrin Zechner was optimistic: “It’s an incredibly strong, spiritual song. And that suits Vincent perfectly.” “Amen” could be a sign of overcoming on the way to something new.
Who and how exactly Vincent Bueno will be able to touch is still open. As things stand, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), as the mother ship of the ESC, is planning to physically hold the mega-event in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from May 18th to 22nd – albeit under massive security precautions.
For example, the number of delegation members was reduced and that of reporting journalists was limited to 500 on site. For everyone from abroad, a five-day quarantine is recommended before entering the Netherlands. A negative test, which must not be older than 72 hours, is mandatory. The delegations of the field, which has shrunk to 40 participating countries after the cancellation of Armenia, are not allowed to leave the hotel when they arrive in Rotterdam, except when driving to the venue, the Ahoy Arena.
The ESC is also tested
Everyone who works in the arena – from artists to crew to press representatives – is regularly examined in a test street. Should someone test positive here, the “isolation protocol” would be used. If it hits one of the candidates, who is therefore unable to perform on stage, the previously recorded material will be broadcast during the show. The Austrian film for this will be recorded in the coming week.
It is currently still open whether there will also be an ESC with an audience on site. “The question of whether there can be spectators during the shows and which accompanying events there can be around the ESC in Rotterdam will be decided at a later point in time,” said the EBU last.
“To get such an event going under these conditions has to be done first,” said Austria delegation leader Stefan Zechner on Tuesday in front of the Dutch organizers. “The partying factor will not be there, but the joy outweighs the fact that we are there and can perform,” said Zechner, referring to the fact that the country representatives are not allowed to leave the hotel for two weeks.