Eurovision 2003: Austria’s Alf Poier in focus

He stood out in 2003, and today, 17 years later, Alf Poier still stands out. He finished 6th, but asking Eurovision fans, it’s clear that this song isn’t understood and appreciated that much now.

Looking at the 9 hopefuls Alf Poier was up against in 2003, his victory was not the most logical conclusion. We find no less then four former Eurovision participants among them. Or maybe one shouldn’t look too much into that, as none of them did particularly good when they represented Austria in 1994. Only Gary Lux (part of J.O.B.) managed to reach top 10 positions, both in 1983 and 1985 – though only a 20th in 1987.

Alf Poier managed to attract a lot of media attention towards his sarcastic bid for Eurovision securing him and his Weil Der Mensch Zählt the victory by SMS votes. The Austrian national final was hosted by DJ Ötzi.

After his win, Alf continued to draw the attention from the media, who were more than eager to hear what his song was actually about. The title translates to Man Is The Measure of All Things and lists a wide range of characteristics about various animals. According to one explanation the song should be considered a critique of how meaningless Eurovision can be. Another explanation has us consider the song as a reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around people alone.

The entertaining comedy song act was well appreciated across Europe, and reached a 6th place with 101 points, just behind Sweden’s Give Me Your Love.

Weil Der Mensch Zählt – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this Austrian entry from 2003, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

Alvaro S. – I feel… confused after I watched this performance. Is this supposed to be a joke act? But he does not seem to try to make us want to laugh. Actually it looks like if they picked a random guy to improvise. And the stage is so… cheap with these cardboard cutouts. And let’s not forget the “dance moves”. Alf go home you are drunk!

Wouter V. – This is honestly one of the Eurovision songs I enjoy the most. It might not be three minutes of the best quality of music, the lyrics might be silly and the dancing even more. But I love every second of it. In particular the message in it – which I choose to understand to be that we humans shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously, and show more respect to nature.

Michael O. – Did we really need this and to think it placed higher than the wonderful opening number from Iceland. As Terry Wogan said – a song for the lunatic fringe.

Ashleigh K. – Oh dear… I remember this entry.. I really don’t know what to say about it other than it looks and sounds like a drunk person has taken over the microphone at karaoke night and won’t let it go. I think Jemini were better to be honest.

Bernard D. – Okay, I have to admit that song saddens me. Nothing here pleases me: the music, the text, the vocals … I understand better why I have never listened to this one since 2003. Besides, I have already forgotten it.

Charlotte J. –  2003 was my first year with press accreditation. When I think back on the experiences, I got back then Alf Poier is a big part of that. The stunts he made, I can’t see being repeated by anyone else. He is crazy, yet likeable – and the same goes for the song. He might have given me nightmares that week in Riga as I felt like he was chasing me, but I can’t help smiling when hearing the song. If I hadn’t been in Riga and experienced what he pulled off, I would probably just have found the song weird though.

Amira M. – Honestly I am not a fan of this song because I don’t like heavy metal. Seeing the translated lyrics it was about how the procreation of humans is making animals disappear. I understand that the singer is a comedian in his country and he is using his comical nature to bring awareness which is what I like.

Liza P. – Oh no! This song is just weird and messy. I can’t believe that it is the same country that gave us The von Trapp family, Kaiserschmarrn and Swarovski. I actually prefer Trackshittaz (2012, Woki Mit Deim Popo) over this. Never thought, that I would say something like that.

On a positive note – this is not the ugliest that Eurovision has produced. Far from it. But at the moment I can only find disgust for it.

Steinar M. – This is one of those cases I don’t think politeness and diplomacy is the way to describe this. This is just HORRIBLE! An insult to good music, an insult to intelligence, and an insult to ESC. A childish, repulsive shitbag of a “song”. And the singer seems really unemphatic too!

Austria has had some great entries: 1972, 1979, 1986, 1995, 1999 etc. But also some of the worst entries ever: 1962, 1994, 2014 and this. This has NO talent, no quality, no redeeming features whatsoever. The sort of shit which makes people look down on ESC. Clearly the worst entry of 2003, along with Sweden.

Amir B. – Alf looks like a singing toy. The music assists to create a strange atmosphere around the performance. A strange performance by a strange performer. I didn’t liked the song well.

Enjoy Alf Poier’s performance from the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about him.

Alf Poier – a mini biography

Alf Poier was well known long before he first took part in the Austrian national Eurovision selection in 2003. He made his debut on stage in 1995 at the comedy competition Kleinkunstvogel in Graz, where he reached a second place. What followed were three shows, an appearance at Eurovision, more shows, a book, another shot at Eurovision in 2005, a few art exhibitions and a fair share of controversy.

His work is always thought provoking and filled with subtle, or not, references. For example, one of his shows is called Kill Eulenspiegel, in reference to both Kill Bill and Till Eulenspiegel. His first book is titled Mein K(r)ampf, obviously referencing Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The controversy eventually led his friend and longtime manager René Berto ending their professional connection. Alf Poier had called Conchita Wurst an “artificially bred monster” and said that “if someone doesn’t know whether they are a man or a woman, then they need a psychotherapist more than the Eurovision Song Contest”. Wurst is also a client of Berto’s.

Alf Poiner continues to perform.

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