1. Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth (6 November 1988) was born in Gmunden, Austria and is better known to us by his drag stage persona Conchita Wurst. He has adopted the name “Conchita” from a Cuban friend of his. In an interview he also explained that ‘Conchita’ is Spanish slang for vagina and ‘Wurst’ is German slang for penis.
2. Neuwirth is no stranger to a reality TV shows having started his singing career on season 3 of talent show Starmania in 2006/7 (basically the Austrian Pop Idol). He has also appeared as his drag alter ego Wurst in the ORF show The Hardest Jobs of Austria, working in a fish processing plant, and in Wild Girls, in which a group of candidates had to survive in the deserts of Namibia together with native tribes.
3. Conchita is not the only Starmania contestant to represent Austria at Eurovision. Former contestants Eric Papilaya and Nadine Beiler (winner of Season 3) also appeared at Eurovision making little impact failing to qualify from the Semi Final in 2007 and finishing in 18th 2011 respectively.
4. After Starmania Neuwirth (out of drag) formed a boy band called Jetzt Anders! (Now Different!) with other Starmania contestants Falco De Jong Luneau, Johnny Palmer, and Martin Zerza. The band split up after just two top 40 hits on the Austrian chart.
5. In 2011, Neuwirth began appearing as Wurst the female character noted for her beard and finished 6th in her attempt at being Austria’s Eurovision representative. In 2012 she did a bit better finishing second in Austrian National Final.
6. Two years later Conchita was chosen by Austria as their representative and in 2014 she won the contest with power ballad Rise Like a Phoenix.
7. Neuwirth clarified that he does not identify as transgender, but is instead a gay man and he also described himself as a drag queen. He uses female pronouns to describe his Wurst character, but male pronouns when referring to himself.
8. Neuwirth created a fictional back story for the Wurst character, claiming that she was born in the mountains of Colombia and is married to the French burlesque dancer Jacques Patriaque, a real individual who is a friend of Neuwirth’s.
9. Conchita Wurst’ hit single ‘Heroes’ deals mainly with war, self empowerment and love and the official music video which accompanies the song features strong images which labours this point and which you can view below.
10. Since winning Eurovision in May 2014, Wurst has been invited to perform at a number of Gay Pride concerts throughout Europe. Wurst has also appeared on a number of national selection live shows including Switzerland’s where she revealed that fans can expect a new album in time for this Eurovision’s final.
Is Conchita’s Rise Like a Phoenix your favourite Eurovision Song Ever? Then vote for it in Heat 2 of our poll here.