Self-professed Queen of Eurovision Conchita Wurst, a drag act “who takes it seriously”, took the Eurovision 2014 title for Austria with her power ballad Rise Like a Phoenix, scoring 290 points.
The Netherlands came second, with 238 points and Sweden were third, with 218 points.
United Kingdom’s Molly came 17th with 40 points.
Conchita got a standing ovation from the 11,000-strong audience in Copenhagen’s arena after she had performed and, as the votes came in, it quickly became clear that viewers all over Europe loved Conchita, too.
“If tabloid inches were votes she would win by a clear mile,” said the UK’s commentator Graham Norton, when Conchita first sang. “It’s a drag act but Conchita takes it seriously.”
Born Tom Neuwirth in Austria on November 6, 1988, he performed for the first time as Conchita in a talent show in 2011.
Since then, Conchita has been a symbol for tolerance and artistic freedom in Austria and beyond. Her motto is: “Be the best version of yourself rather than a bad copy of someone else.”
And the crowd clearly loved Conchita’s version of herself. As their applause subsided, Graham added: “It felt like in that moment Eurovision had done something that mattered a little bit.”
It was something that mattered a lot to Conchita, who was overcome with emotion as one country after another scored her the full 12 points.
“First they laughed and then she just…broke people’s hearts,” said Graham.
“This is a resounding victory for Conchita. I did think the juries would resist her and just think she was a novelty act,” he continued. “But she has touched the hearts of Europe. What an amazing moment for Conchita Wurst.”
It was the first time in 49 years that Austria has won the contest.
Back on stage, Conchita was handed the trophy by Emmilie de Forest, Denmark’s 2013 winner.
“This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom,” Conchita told the audience. “You know who you are. We are a unity and we are unstoppable!”
“She’s not wrong,” said Graham. “The future seems a little bit brighter when Eurovision can crown Conchita Wurst its very popular winner this year.”
And then, as the crowd chanted her name, the stage was Conchita’s again.
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