Who are Teya & Salena, Austria’s edgy pop Eurovision entrants?
After months of planning, there is less than a week to go until the biggest night on the Europop calendar.
The semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest kicks off later today in Liverpool, with 15 countries competing for the top 10 spots in Saturday’s grand final.
Tuesday night’s show, hosted by Alesha Dixon, Hannah Waddingham, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina, will be broadcast live on BBC One from 8pm UK time.
With the hottest acts from the continent gearing up to show off their best tunes, choreography, and outfits, one act hoping to lift the trophy is Austrian duo Teya and Salena.
The edgy pop girls are no strangers to Eurovision, with Teya having competed in the competition in 2020 for Serbia.
The pair is hoping to find success this year with their song Who the Hell is Edgar?, a satirical take on sexism in the music industry.
Who are Teya & Salena?
Teya (Teodora ŠpiriÄ), 23, and 25-year-old Selena (Selina-Maria Edbauer) met while competing in the Austrian talent show Starmania 21, bonding over their shared love for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Both have loved music from a young age: Teya discovered her passion aged 12 and Salena began singing at the age of seven, also teaching herself to play the guitar.
Both artists have had brief brushes with Eurovision stardom before: Salena came second in Austria’s 2019 pre-selection, where PÆNDA beat her to the draw, and Teya had a similar experience, losing out to Vincent Bueno in 2020.
Salena also participated in the seventh season of The Voice of Germany in 2017.
After putting their heads together at a songwriting camp, they decided to enter the 2023 song contest together, and are hoping to deliver Austria’s first qualification from the semi-finals since Cesár Sampson in 2018.
“Already as a child, I wanted to go to the Eurovision Song Contest because it embodied the idea that even big dreams can come true, no matter who you are and where you come from,” Teya told contest organisers. “I can hardly wait to get on that stage! Only then the seven-year-old me will believe that all this is real.”
After it was revealed the pair would be representing Austria in the contest, they wrote on Instagram: “EUROVISION 2023 - we‘re coming!!! You may not know who the hell we are yet, but this has been a long time coming and we‘re so ready and incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Let‘s rock this together.”
Who the Hell is Edgar?
The duo will perform their song Who the Hell Is Edgar?, a title which they have said is a reference to American writer and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe.
According to the Eurovision website, the song draws on “their experiences as female songwriters in an industry that all too often doesn’t give women enough credit for their hard work and expertise”.
It also pays tribute to the author’s (spectral) influence on their work, with the somewhat surreal lines;
“There’s a ghost in my body and he is a lyricist
It is Edgar Allan Poe, and I think he can’t resist
Yeah, his brain is in my hand, and it’s moving really fast
Don’t know how he possessed me, but I’m happy that he did”.
For those wondering why a song that is ostensibly about the lack of recognition for women in the industry actually credits a famous dead man, Teya has the answer, “By presenting Edgar Allan Poe as the actual writer of the song, we want to draw attention to this part of the music business. It’s satire.”