One in the Eye for the Haters

Austria’s win at last night’s Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen was basically assured as soon as their act walked off the stage. Conchita Wurst delivered a confident, assured and spectacular performance of “Rise like a Phoenix” and votes came pouring in from across Europe as a result.

Conchita won due to a great song and a professional performance. A stunning performance. Conchita didn’t win because there’s a crazy liberal conspiracy to “undermine society” and “promote alternative lifestyles” as the right wing would have it.

Eurovision has always been – and will always be – immensely camp. Conchita is just one more example of this tradition. But rather than being some sort of gimmick, what we had was a talented artist with a beard delivering a powerful song with gusto – while just happening to wear a dress and heels.

What struck me most about Conchita’s performance was how effortless it seemed. This is not someone who is all about the wigs and dresses. This is a talented singer (who also looks great in wigs and dresses!).

I’d hate for people to be left with the impression that Conchita got “sympathy” or “joke” votes last night. All three of the top songs last night were great – and I’d have happily seen the Netherlands of Sweden win. Each were lovely songs in their own way.

But Conchita’s “Rise Like a Phoenix” was head and shoulders above them, both in content and delivery. She truly deserved to win. And did so with votes from across Europe, not just relying on the “West”.

Russian and Belarussian appeals to have Conchita barred from the contest due to her “unnatural” status fell on deaf ears. The rest of Europe has moved on, while Russia seems determined to move backwards and wallow in aggressive dictatorship. This spectacular win is one in the eye for the haters that tried to prevent this success.

 

Well done Conchita, well done Europe. And here’s to next year in Vienna!

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