The Eurovision Song Contest is an extravagant, eclectic showcase/musical Olympics that pits Europe’s nations against each other in song. And this year’s winner – bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst – didn’t fail to bring both talent and theatrics.
The alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth, Wurst’s power ballad “Rise Like a Phoenix” helped secure the win. Take a look:
“This is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom,” Wurst said while accepting her trophy from Emmelie de Forrest of Denmark, who won last year’s contest. “We are unity.”
Neuwirth’s drag persona had been met with some protests before the 59th annual contest began, particularly in more conservative nations such as Russia, where President Vladimir Putin introduced a law last year prohibiting so-called gay “propaganda.”
After her win, Wurst said, “I don’t know if [Putin] is watching this now, but if so, I’ll say it: ‘We’re unstoppable.’”