Conchita Wurst, Bearded Drag Queen, Wins Eurovision Song Contest

Image: Conchita Wurst, Bearded Drag Queen, Wins Eurovision Song Contest

Monday, 12 May 2014 02:49 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Conchita Wurst, a bearded drag queen from Austria, dominated the competition to win victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen this year, earning the title despite criticism from parts of eastern Europe.

Despite criticism and protests over Wurst, the alter ego of Thomas Neuwirth, 25, the singer said she even got contest points from Russia, proving “you can’t reduce a country to its tolerance or intolerance,” CBS News quoted her as saying at a new conference.

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Austrian President Heinz Fischer told the Austria Press Agency that Wurst’s winning was “not just a victory for Austria, but above all for diversity and tolerance in Europe,” CBS said.

Although many offered their congratulations to the victorious singer, the country’s right-wing Freedom Party did not.

Wurst sang “Rise Like a Phoenix” in the competition, which CBS referred to as a “James Bond-inspired entry.”

CNN reported that countries like Russia, Armenia, and Belarus had petitions circulating calling for Wurst to be barred from performing.

Neuwirth refers to his Wurst role as an “art figure,” CNN said, and uses a feminine pronoun when referring to herself in that role. But in his private life, CNN said, he calls himself a “he” and goes by Tom.

“For me, my dream came true," Wurst said after winning, according to CNN. "But for society it showed me that people want to move on, to look to the future. We said something, we made a statement."

Rene Berto, who manages Wurst’s career, said the fact that his client won is a sign of tolerance.

"Let's change the world and make it a little bit better," Berto told CNN. "Conchita always says: 'Wish for the moon and you'll reach at least the stars,' but now we just landed on the moon. Let's change our way of thinking — Conchita is just a woman with a beard."

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