EUROVISION Song Contest 2014 (part 3) – The WINNER : CONCHITA WURST – Rise Like A Phoenix (Austria)

Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth (born 6 November 1988), better known as the drag persona Conchita Wurst, is an Austrian singer.

Wurst represented Austria and won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The singer uses female pronouns for self description when in the role of Wurst.

Neuwirth was born in Gmunden, Austria, in 1988.

In 2007, Neuwirth reached the final of the 2007 Austrian casting show Starmania, and returned to television in 2011 in drag as the character “Conchita Wurst“, a persona he created in response to earlier experiences, and said, “This is about an important message, it’s a call for tolerance for everything that seems different.”

While in German, Wurst means “sausage”, the performer compares the choice of last name to the common German expression “Das ist mir doch alles Wurst“, which translates as “it’s all the same to me”, and “I don’t care”,

stating that the name emerged from the first meaning of the expression and added, “It doesn’t really matter where one comes from, and what one looks like.” In the same interview the performer stated that the first name was from a Cuban friend.

The character, Conchita Wurst, has participated in the ORF production The Hardest Jobs of Austria, working in a fish processing plant, and in Wild Girls, in which a group of candidates had to survive in the deserts of Namibia together with native tribes.

Neuwirth graduated from the Graz School of Fashion in 2011, and has lived in various locations in Vienna.

2006–07: Starmania & Jetzt Anders!

In 2006, Neuwirth took part in the third edition of the Austrian TV show Starmania, finishing in second place (Nadine Beiler placed first). One year later, Neuwirth founded the boyband Jetzt Anders! that disbanded the same year.

2011–12: Die große Chance & Eurovision 2012

In 2011 Neuwirth introduced the persona Conchita Wurst, in the ORF‘s show Die große Chance. She came second in the Austrian preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

2013–14: Eurovision Song Contest 2014

On 10 September 2013, it was announced that Wurst would represent Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, after being selected by the Austrian national broadcaster ORF.

Wurst’s selection sparked controversy in Austria. Four days after ORF announced its decision, more than 31,000 people liked an “Anti-Wurst” Facebook page.

In October, the Ministry of Information in Belarus received a petition calling on BTRC, Belarus‘s state broadcaster, to edit Wurst’s performance out of its Eurovision broadcast. The petition claimed that the performance would turn Eurovision “into a hotbed of sodomy”.

In December, a similar petition surfaced in Russia. In March 2014, Wurst’s song was revealed as “Rise Like a Phoenix“.

At the second semi-final on 8 May, Wurst qualified for the final on 10 May.

At the finals held in Copenhagen on 10 May 2014, she won the competition with 290 points. This was Austria’s first Eurovision win since Eurovision 1966.

More on page 2


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