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Conchita Wurst

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Musician YouTuber

Conchita Wurst better known mononymously as Conchita is an Austrian pop recording artist, and drag queen portrayed by Thomas "Tom" Neuwirth (born on November 6, 1988). He came to international attention for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 with the song, "Rise Like A Phoenix". Neuwirth uses masculine pronouns when referring to himself but feminine pronouns to describe his character. Following her coronation in Eurovision, international media dubbed Conchita as the "Queen of Austria".

He has made several videos on YouTube under the username, Conchita Wurst, including vlogs, Q&As Google Hangouts, make-up tutorials, etc. She uses English and German languages in his videos. Some of her videos have the name #theunstoppables in the title.

Her Eurovision entry and victory spread wide controversy, as she is condemned by some of the Europe's social conservatives and right-wingers who saw her performance as a promotion of LGBT rights. Conversely, it brought her international attention and established her as a gay icon, resulting in invitations to perform at various pride parades, the European Parliament and the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria.

History

Conchita joined YouTube on September 29, 2011, in where she released her first video on the same day. Before even Conchita competed in Eurovision, she makes videos in her room, more likely, vlogs and make-up tutorials. She made appearances on some of the shows in Austria's public broadcaster, ORF, in which her very first television appearance was on the Austrian talent show, Die große Chance in which she is at 6th place. She also made a two-second cameo on YouTube Rewind 2014 as one of the gamers who are controlling SkyDoesMinecraft.

Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Conchita entered the finals of Austria's national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, with the song, "That's What I Am". She battled against other Austrian Eurovision hopefuls in the national final of Austria's selection process, in where she and hip-hop band, Trackshittaz, entered the super finals of the selection process. But unfortunately, she went second place after Trackshittaz took her opportunity, with 51% votes.

Eurovision Song Contest 2014

In 2014, she finally represented Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the song, "Rise Like A Phoenix", via internal selection by ORF, the official Austrian broadcaster of the contest. The network's decision arose some controversy in some parts of Europe, including Wurst's native.

Conchita took part in technical rehearsals on 30 April and 3 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 7 and 8 May. This included the jury final where professional juries of each country, responsible for 50 percent of each country's vote, watched and voted on the competing entries.

The stage show featured Wurst in a cream-covered mermaid-like dress standing on a pedestal in the middle of the stage. The stage appeared dark at the beginning of the song with minimal lighting, before the lighting rose towards the beginning of the first chorus. At the start of the song, the camera appeared at the back of the arena before swooping into centre stage to a close-up of Wurst, followed by it flying off again at the beginning of the chorus. The background LED screens featured at the first chorus flaming rain, followed by flames in the shape of wings, in reference to the phoenix in the title of the song. Pyrotechnic flames also featured at the finale of the song. Wind machines were also used to effect during the performance. At the end of the show, Austria was announced as having finished in the top 10 and qualifying for the grand final, the last country to be announced the hosts Pilou Asbæk and Nikolaj Koppel. It was later revealed that Austria had won the semi-final, receiving a total of 169 points. Shortly after the second semi-final, a winner's press conference was held for the ten qualifying countries. As part of this press conference, the qualifying artists took part in a draw to determine which half of the grand final they would subsequently participate in. This draw was done in the order the countries were announced during the semi-final. Austria was drawn to compete in the first half. Following this draw, the shows' producers decided upon the running order of the final, as they had done for the semi-finals. Austria was subsequently placed to perform in position 11, following the entry from Greece and before the entry from Germany.

On the day of the grand final, Austria was considered by bookmakers to be the second most likely to win the competition, placed only behind the entry from Sweden.

Conchita once again took part in dress rehearsals on 9 and 10 May before the final, including the jury final where the professional juries casted their final votes before the live show. Wurst performed a repeat of her semi-final performance during the final on 10 May. After a slow start, Austria eventually took the lead in the voting and eventually won the competition with 290 points, beating the Netherlands and Sweden into second and third place respectively. Austria received 12 points, the maximum number of points a country can give to another country, from thirteen countries.

Points awarded to Austria

Here are the points that Austria received during the second semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014.

12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Romania
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Georgia
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
Norway Belarus Macedonia
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
Germany

And now, here are the points Austria received during the grand finals of the contest.

12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Romania
  • Ukraine
  • Germany
  • Moldova
Latvia
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point
  • Albania
  • Russia
Estonia Macedonia Montenegro Azerbaijan

After Eurovision

After her victory in Copenhagen, Conchita was greeted by thousands of fans and hundreds of journalists at the Vienna International Airport, as they celebrate her victory. She met the Chancellor of Austria, Werner Faymann and the Minister of Arts, Culture, and Media, Josef Ostermeyer in an official reception on May 18, followed by a performance at Ballhausplatz. The concert was however criticised by the conservative Austrian People's Party, a member of the coalition government.

Her winning single became a hit in Europe, reaching the top 3 spot on the iTunes download charts in 14 countries, including the countries where she is courted with controversy, Belarus and Russia. The song also reached the top 10 charts in 12 countries, including number one in Austria and the UK Indie Chart. She received both praise and criticism following her victory. Many celebrities sent their greetings to Conchita via Twitter, and other means, including Elton John, Cher, Lady Gaga, Boy George, and Robbie Williams, as well as from fellow Eurovision winners such as Alexander Rybak, Emmelie de Forest, Lena Meyer-Landrut, and Charlotte Perrelli.

However, her victory met some controversy by some of the conservative sections of the Europe society, such as Turkey, who criticised her victory, which made the Prime Minister of Turkey vow to not let his country join Eurovision again. Church leaders in the Balkans blamed Conchita for the floods in Southeast Europe in May 2014, in which the patriarchs and spiritual leaders of the Serbian Eastern Orthrodox claimed that the flood is a warning to people to not join the wild side, a divine punishment for our sins, and a way for God to wash the sins of Serbia, for supporting Conchita. She had previously also been condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church. However, Tom Neuwirth's childhood Catholic priest condemed the homophobic backlash against him, and claimed that Tom is just happy for being happy.

During her continuous fame for winning, she has been invited to several TV programmes across Europe, such as The Graham Norton Show hosted by the Eurovision commentator for the UK, Graham Norton, The One Show, Newsnight, TV total hosted by Eurovision contestant, Stefan Raab, and Allsång på Skansen. She also headlined the Vienna Life Ball, Europe's most biggest charity event which supports people with HIV and AIDS. In October 2014, Wurst accepted an invitation by Ulrike Lunacek MEP, vice-president of the Austrian Greens, to perform in a special concert at the European Parliament. The concert was organised by MEPs from 5 different parliamentary groups, with the aim to support the adoption of a report against homophobia and sexual discrimination in February. This was followed in November 2014 by a performance at the United Nations Office at Vienna and a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. Ban hailed Wurst's win as a "powerful message", praising her promotion of respect for diversity, which he called a "core value" of the United Nations and that "discrimination has no place in the United Nations, nor in the world of the 21st century". She also extended her CV into voice acting, providing the voice of Eva in the German dub of the computer-animated film, and the spin-off of the Madagascar film franchise, Penguins of Madagascar. She also made a 2-second cameo on YouTube Rewind 2014.

Conchita was chosen as the host of the green room of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, which was held in Vienna, Austria.

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