Ever since their 1957 debut, when their western influenced ode to a pony ended in last place, Austrian television has had a rather ambivalent relation to Eurovision.
Sometimes they have tried to raise the intellectual level on the show (very much like Sam, the American Eagle, tried to do on The Muppet Show). Sometimes they have entered songs possibly only Austrians can understand. Sometimes they have seriously been trying to achieve good scores, usually with moderate success.
Sometimes they have just been gone, withdrawn but secretly watching from the sidelines.
After their 2007 entry ended second last in the semi final in Helsinki, they have stayed at home in anger, giving one reason sillier than the other why they won't take part.
But now they are back, and again they want to make an impression and leave a positive mark on the ESC. It could be that this is their time lucky. The ten finalists, selected by an expert jury and the radio listeners of Ö3, is a lively and varied selection, which should include something for most people.
After hearing snippets of all ten songs, I can clearly conclude that the Austrian selection contains more edge, variety and profile than most others.
That does not necessarily mean success. A strong final won't take you far unless there is a real gem that could also impress the european audience. Austria has had a hard time breaking through, with only three top five scores since their 1966 victory in Luxembourg.
I would be very happy for them if they would leave Düsseldorf with a good score in May. Listen to the ten candidates on their official page here .