Sunday, May 11, 2014
A Bearded Drag Queen Won The Eurovision Song Contest
Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst won the 59th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday. When, a few days earlier, it emerged that Russia and Ukraine both were in the finals, headlines on many media sites proclaimed that politics had come to Eurovision. Tensions between the neighbors gave an added piquancy to the competition's grand final in Copenhagen, Denmark. Wurst's presence in the competition had proved controversial in some countries. In Armenia, Belarus, and Russia -- where a law against "gay propaganda" was passed last year -- petitions were circulated calling for the singer to be removed from the competition or edited out of the broadcast. In Russia, Wurst's win drew boos in some places where audiences had gathered to watch the contest. The power ballad, "Rise Like a Phoenix", helped Wurst — the alter ego of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth — secure Austria's victory in the competition. Asked if she had anything to say to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who introduced a law last year prohibiting so-called gay "propaganda", Wurst said, "I don't know if he is watching this now, but if so, I'll say it: 'We're unstoppable'". Every time Russia got votes many in the audience of 10.000 booed, and when Moscow gave its respective eight, 10 and 12 points to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus — all former Soviet republics — more boos were heard. Many former Soviet republic countries gave their points to neighboring countries, except Ukraine, whose eight points to Austria were decisive for the Danish hosts to declare Wurst had won. A duo from the Netherlands finished in second place, with the Swedish entry coming in third. The geopolitics of Central and Eastern Europe were much in evidence. Belarus handed their maximum 12 points to Russia; Russia handed their 12 points to Belarus. The same Russia handed seven points to Ukraine, one less than the standard third-rate grade that countries may award. Ukraine handed eight points to Austria, contributing to the victory of the Androgynous Hirsute One, 10 to Armenia and 12 to Sweden. Well, all things considered, any votes on their part for Russia would have been improbable at best. The Baltic States’ example is best exemplified by Lithuania: Norway eight points, Austria 10 and the Netherlands 12. Could it be that the Baltic States do not want to dance to Moscow’s tune? Poland handed points neither to Russia nor Ukraine. Armenia gave Russia 10 points and none to Ukraine. Finland gave eight points to the Netherlands, 10 to Sweden, and 12 to Austria. Dana International was the first transgender singer to have won the Contest; Conchita Wurst with "Rise like a Phoenix" was the second in 2014. "Diva" was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 performed in Hebrew by Dana International representing Israel.