Sunday, May 11, 2014

UPDATE: Austria's Drag Queen Diva Wins!

Conchita Wurst (Thomas Neuwirth) has won Eurovision 2014 with Rise Like a Phoenix. It's the first time a drag queen (bearded too) has taken the title. The televised event was not without controversy. The political crisis in the Ukraine took the spotlight especially when the Russian contestants took the stage and were soundly booed.

Wurst also faced protests from groups, representing so-called "family" values, saying Wurst was an example "western style decadence." (Sounds like something from the USSR during the Cold War.) At public viewing events in Russia and other Eastern European countries, Wurst was jeered as she performed, and Belarus state television even considered editing out her performance. 

The rift in European attitudes was also apparent when the nations announced their scores with Eastern European countries generally ignoring or giving low points to Wurst. In contrast, the western nations gave the aspiring singer top marks.

After winning, Wurst said (with twinkle in her eye and bit reminiscent of what beauty contestants usually say) she "hoped for peace and love in Europe and around the world." When asked what she would tell Russian President Putin if he was watching the show, Wurst replied, "We're unstoppable." 

I have to admit, I was not particularly fond of Rise Like a Phoenix. It reminded me of a lackluster James Bond song. Nevertheless, Eurovision is more than just a song, it's the performance, the singer, and charisma. Wurst's win is also a win for tolerance and gay rights.

As an aside, France again refused to announce its scores in English, the official language of the show.

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