Warning, contains politics.
I shall start by stating right of the bat that my viewing experience of watching Eurovision has been largely fueled by alcohol and snarky tweets along the lines of Graham Norton’s sarcasm. The past winners of Eurovision have done nothing extraordinary in terms of elevating pop music. Everyone knows that the Song Contest is primarily a political pissing competition among bordering nations and a chance to show off one’s loyalties via awarding points and generally deluding the audience into thinking their vote has any actual influence. All in all feeding into my regular daily cynicism. Though I must say that Lena from Germany who won the contest in 2010 did indeed present a pleasant catchy tune. This year marked surprising progress from Europe and viewers of Eurovision. Never before has a non-gender binary person won the Eurovision Song Contest. And not just any trans performer but one who proudly displays their intentional gender bending in both look and name.
A friend of mine contributed to the discussion by stating that Conchita Wurst won only due to her unique look and not actual talent. While that may apply in cases such as Lordi’s win of Eurovision 2006 where the freaks captured the audience’s attention, this is not a typical rule of thumb during Eurovision voting. If that had truly been the case then Ukraine would have won in 2007 with the most famous drag performer in Eastern Europe, Verka Serduchka. Or more recently, Romania could have won in 2013 with their goth Liberace look-alike.
It is exactly because of the negative comments that poured out all over the world, and especially from Russian critics, that makes Conchita’s win THAT much more important to progress in Europe and the whole world. It should also be noted how loudly the studio audience at Eurovision booo-d at the very mention of Russia.
Case in point:
While I may not usually care about who performs or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, Conchita’s win with her song “Rise like a Phoenix” brings LGBT issues to the forefront of political discussions and how one performer may be the catalyst for change. It particularly highlights Russia’s current oppressive political climate and the multitude of human rights violations that go unpunished.
Personally I think Conchita is the most deserving of the crown, not only for being a talented performer, but also being a humble, supportive human being, who is exactly the face of what the modern world should look like. All in all, representation of diversity on the Eurovision stage and on the world political stage.
Congratulations again Conchita Wurst!