Bearded Drag Queen Conchita Wurst Silences Critics with 'Eurovision 2014' Victory

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By Christine Jane Caparras | May 12, 2014 11:22 AM EST

The moment of vindication finally arrived for Austian Drag Queen Conchita Wurst as she was announced the winner of the "Eurovision Song Contest 2014." The bearded transvestite was the center of controversy as she faced online protests from nations like Russia, Belarus and Latvia. Her disqualification or editing out of her performance from the live coverage of the show was called for in certain countries whose anti-gay sentiments were thought would affect voting.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
Austria's Conchita Wurst poses with her trophy after a news conference in Vienna May 11, 2014. Wurst, popularly known as "the bearded lady," won the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday

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In the end, the rest of Europe showed overwhelming support for the drag queen which was evident even before the finals when there was chanting of her name before she was announced a winner in the semi-finals. On May 10, 2014, when the winners were announced at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark, Conchita Wurst found herself at the top of the competition scoring 290 points! The Netherlands ended up in second place with 238 points and Sweden came in third with 218 points.

"For me, my dream came true. But for society it showed me that people want to move on, to look to the future. We said something, we made a statement," said Wurst at the winner's press conference.

"Let's change the world and make it a little bit better. 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. We will see Song Contest in Vienna!" said René Berto, Wurst's' manager.

Austria has only won the contest once in all of its 59 years and that was way back in 1966. The "Eurovision Song Contest" returns to Austria for the first time in 48 years. Austrian public broadcaster ORF who will be in charge of the coverage for next year's contest shared this statement: "Austria has become more open tonight, and we are very glad that this openness has been seen and accepted by Europe".

Conchita Wurst is the second transvestite winner of the "Eurovision Song Contest" 16 years after Dana International, of Israel. Wurst addressed the anti-gay issues during her press conference: "I really dream of a world where you don't have to talk about your sexuality, where you are from. Tonight we really showed that we are all part of the same family, not of separate communities. I know it sounds cheesy but: we are one!"

Wurst's song "Rise like a Phoenix" is interpreted by many as a call for tolerance in modern society. Conchita Wurst is the alter-ego of Thomas Neuwirth who worked as a shop window decorator before pursuing singing and other showbiz endeavours. Neuwirth first came out in drag as Conchita Wurst in 2011.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger / )
Austria's Conchita Wurst poses with her trophy after a news conference in Vienna May 11, 2014. Wurst, popularly known as "the bearded lady," won the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday
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