‘Bearded Lady’ wins Eurovision amidst tensions between Russia and Ukraine (Video)

‘Bearded Lady’ wins Eurovision amidst tensions between Russia and Ukraine (Video)

Written by News 1st

11 May, 2014 | 7:20 pm

Russia and Ukraine faced off again Saturday, far from their volatile border region, on the glitzy stage of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Tensions between the neighbors gave an added piquancy to the competition’s grand final in Copenhagen, Denmark, in which both nations were fielding entries. Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in March and eastern Ukraine is currently roiled by pro-Russian separatist protests.

On the night, however, it was a much talked about 25-year-old from Austria who stole the show.

Conchita Wurst, the onstage drag persona of Thomas Neuwirth, was the runaway winner for a performance of the ballad Rise Like A Phoenix.

Wurst also refers to himself as “the bearded lady,” he says on his website. In his private life, he calls himself “Tom” and refers to himself as “he.”

Conchita Wurst

In the role of Conchita Wurst, who Neuwirth calls an “art figure,” the artist refers to “herself” as “she.”

Neuwirth created Wurst — which in German means sausage but can also mean ‘who cares?’ — in his teen years to cope with feeling discriminated against.

Performing in a skintight dress with long hair and a full beard, Wurst scored 290 points to become Austria’s first Eurovision winner since 1966.

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

Wurst’s presence in the competition had proved controversial in some countries. In Armenia, Belarus and Russia — where a law against “gay propaganda” was passed last year — petitions were circulated calling for the singer to be removed from the competition or edited out of the broadcast.

In Russia, Wurst’s win drew boos in some places where audiences had gathered to watch the contest.


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