back to top

Everything You Need To Know About Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst

...and let's not forget Thomas Neuwirth.

Posted on

Thomas Neuwirth's first brush with fame came as a teenager in 2006, on the Austrian talent show Starmania.

View this video on YouTube

His voice was pretty impressive even back then.

Tom made it all the way through to the final of the competition... but in the end, came second.

View this video on YouTube

But not before getting to do this fairly amazing Shirley Bassey number.

View this video on YouTube

This song, "Dieser Moment", got to number 7 in the Austrian chart.

View this video on YouTube

But it was to be their biggest (and virtually only) hit. Jetzt Anders! disbanded in the same year they formed, and Neuwirth disappeared from Austrian TV screens for several years.


That's from her version of "My Heart Will Go On", which is POWERFUL.

View this video on YouTube

From there, in 2012 Conchita made her first attempt to become Austria's Eurovision entry.

View this video on YouTube

(In the meantime, Conchita found time to share helpful makeup tips.)

View this video on YouTube

She also appeared in two reality TV shows - one where she worked in a fish factory, and another on German TV called "Wild Girls", in which a group of women had to survive in the Namibian desert.

Finally, in September 2013, Wurst was selected by ORF, the Austrian public service broadcaster, to represent Austria in the following year's Eurovision - this time, without a public vote.

This led to a major backlash - with a Facebook group, "No to Conchita Wurst at the Song Contest", getting tens of thousands of likes.

Facebook: NEIN-zu-Conchita-Wurst-beim-Song-Contest

While the group ostensibly claimed they were opposed to the lack of a public vote, comments on the group included many homophobic statements. Wurst responded with a statement of her own, calling for tolerance – and pointed out that there'd been no such backlash in 2007, when ORF also chose a performer, Eric Papilaya, without a public vote.

And there were petitions in both Russia and Belarus calling for a boycott of Eurovision as a result of Wursts's inclusion.

The Associated Press

One Russian lawmaker was moved to describe Eurovision as a “pan-European gay pride parade.” Which... well, it kinda is, but that's not the point.


In an interview with BILD, Conchita said: "To make it clear: I am not transsexual, but a man, and will remain that way... I'm planning no sex reassignment. I just like to wear women's clothes, that's all."

Monika Fellner / Getty Images

In another interview with Kurier, Neuwirth said: "Conchita is a fictional character, Tom Neuwirth's alter ego."

And Neuwirth wants people to take Conchita seriously - he prefers people to use feminine pronouns when discussing his appearances in her persona.

ORF/Thomas Ramstorfer / Via

Conchita – and her bearded appearance – are a "statement and provocative at the same time", she told BILD. "The beard is a means for me to polarize, to draw attention to myself," Neuwirth told Kurier.


But Neuwirth also says that Conchita has been a part of his personality for a long time.

Leonhard Foeger / Reuters

In the BILD interview, Conchita described a having "parallel puberty" and trying on dresses for the first time at the age of 14; saying that "Frau Wurst was always there." In the Kurier interview, Neuwirth says that "two hearts beat in my chest".

In the end, with 290 points, Wurst's "Rise Like A Phoenix" didn't just win Eurovision 2014 - it was one of the most popular acts in the contest's history.

View this video on YouTube

And it surprised many observers by getting points from across the continent - even from countries in Eastern Europe that some felt wouldn't be keen on awarding points to a gay man in drag. Even Russia gave it five points.

In Wurst's acceptance speech, she made another plea for tolerance, saying: "This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. You know who you are. We are unity. And we are unstoppable."