Austria’s premier drag queen act Conchita Wurst (aka Tom Neuwirth) was perhaps the most highly anticipated act for this year’s contest when she was announced as the country’s pick in October 2013. Since then her many fans expected her to stay true to form and select a high energy, up tempo pop anthem, but instead she opted for ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, a powerful ballad with trumpets that at times is not too unlike a Bond theme.
This is not Wurst’s first attempt to represent her country on the Eurovision stage. She narrowly missed out to Trackshittaz (who didn’t even manage to make it through the semi final stages) in 2012. Hopefully Conchita will fare a little better this year. Interestingly Conchita Wurst has a fashion degree and has appeared in various reality shows on Austrian TV.
The Voice of Austria I hear you ask? Austrian X-Factor? Actually no. Both of her Reality claims to fame are actually not singing competitions. Rather she has appeared on ‘The Hardest Jobs of Austria’ where she worked in a fish factory, and also a show called ‘Wild Girls’ where she and a group of other candidates had to survive living in Namibia’s deserts with a native tribe.
Wurst is an unusual drag queen in that, although she performs in lipstick, make up, evening gown dresses etc., she also adorns a stubbly beard. In her video she serves up (as queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race would say) bath-tub-of rose-petals-realness. And trills out the lyrics ‘Once I’m transformed. Once I’m reborn. I will rise like a phoenix.’ Perhaps a commentary on her adorning a drag persona?
Wurst’s song has already achieved over 1.4 million views on Youtube and is second most popular on the video sharing site out of this year’s field, beaten only by Armenia’s Aram MP3. This is interesting given the recent press attention the two have received following perceived homophobic comments that Aram MP3 made about Wurst’s act.
Have a listen to the song below and let us know what you think: