It’s Goodnight Vienna For Eurovision

It appears that Austria doesn’t see the funny side of the Eurovision Song Contest and has pulled out of the 2008 competition because it’s fed up with the Eastern European nations ganging up and stuffing the ballot box.

The country believes that what could be called "bloc voting" by its Balkan neighbours led to Serbia’s Marija Serifovic winning Eurovision 2007.

It has withdrawn from this year’s contest, which will be staged in Belgrade.

Austria’s state broadcaster ORF, which decides who to send to Eurovision, won’t even bother to show the event.

"ORF is not prepared to send further talents to participate in a hopeless cause while the contest remains an arena for political manoeuvring," says network programming director Lorenz Schaerfer.

"So what?" wrote Caroline Sullivan in the U.K.’s Guardian, doubting if the Austrian entry will even be missed. "It may have given the world Mozart, Strauss and Mahler, but it’s never managed a decent pop."

Last year’s Austrian entry, "Get A Life, Get Alive" performed by Eric Papilaya, failed to make it past the semi-finals. The country hasn’t won the competition since world-famous crooner Udo Jürgens came first with "Merci Chérie" in 1966.