Despite winning Eurovision back in 2014, Austria have been very hit or miss at the contest in recent years. In 2018, Austria finished in 3rd place with the song Nobody But You, however in the year after, failed to qualify. You never really know what you’re going to get with Austria, but hoping to bring success to the nation this year is Vincent Bueno and his song, Amen.
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
Vincent Bueno was set to represent Austria last year with the song Alive, an upbeat number which had elements reminiscent of classic Bruno Mars songs. This year, we will see a different side to Vincent as he will perform a ballad instead. If you’re a frequent visitor of our reviews, you will know that I’m picky when it comes to ballads. It takes something really special to impress me…
…and this doesn’t impress me. The song opens in a striking way, with a piano backing Vincent, but very quickly the song falls flat. The choruses are powerful, but it’s Vincent’s voice carrying the song with no support of a strong backing track. I feel like this song needs a stronger strings section to give a bit more substance. The song feels a bit more whole during and after the bridge, but it still doesn’t make a huge impact. Lyrically the song is touching, but I wish that the music supported the message.
This is the type of song that needs live vocals to make it come alive, pun intended. Think ‘Sound of Silence’, the studio version was underwhelming, but the live performance elevated the song immensely. Considering there are a lot of upbeat pop numbers, this could stand out, but it needs a strong vocal performance, which I would expect from Vincent.
Performance and Act
I can see Austria opting for a staging similar to the music video, which shows the journey of being trapped in a small space, and finally finding the door to freedom. Close camera shots and dark, moody lighting feel appropriate, with a ‘break free’ moment during the bridge of the song. This has the potential to look good on camera, but I think it’s important that viewers are able to connect with Vincent and his message. Without that, I think Austria will remain in the semi-final.
Unfortunately I don’t love the Austrian entry this year, and if we compare Alive and Amen, I’ll take Alive. There’s definitely a possibility that we will see Austria in the final this year, based on being one of the only ballad style songs, but is that really enough? I personally don’t think so.
Song and Vocals
Vincent Bueno changed his game plan for 2021 and traded in the funky style of ‘Alive’ for a mid-tempo ballad ‘Amen’. The song is about the end of a relationship and based on the lyrics, it was not Vincent who made that call. Despite the title of the song, it’s not really a gospel song. Except for the choir joining Vincent for the finale. The live vocals will probably not be a problem, since it is not a very difficult song to sing.
Performance and Act
I expect a small, intimate staging for the Austrian act in 2021. In the video clip, we see Vincent is being trapped in a small space, with the walls closing in on him. It’s a strong visual story, which would be interesting if they copied it to the stage in Rotterdam. The emphasis needs to lie on Vincent and his emotions to come across to the viewer at home.
Austria has a much better chance to reach the final in 2021 then they did in 2020. The song is more interesting and sparks more emotion than the last one did. However, Vincent Bueno is no more than a borderline qualifier at this stage, and his visual presentation in May needs to be top, to be able to actually qualify for the final. The first step, a better song, has been taken. Now it’s time to make all the other pieces fit together as well.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.5/10