By Maddy French
Conchita Wurst, Austria’s entry to the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, has announced what song she will be singing in the competition taking place in May.
Wurst has chosen to go down the ballad route with the song ‘Rise like a Phoenix’, a cinematic orchestral number in a style that differs to the pop songs that have seen wins for Denmark, Sweden and Germany in the past few years.
Conchita Wurst is a drag persona created by Tom Neuwirth, a 25-year-old Austrian who wanted to make a statement about gender, appearance and discrimination by creating a female character with a beard.
Although Neuwirth had previously been seen on screen when he took part in Austria’s starmania show, Wurst made her first public appearance in 2011 when she entered ORF competition ‘Die große Chance’ (‘the great chance’) and came second place in the preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.
Now Wurst is back and this time heading to the semi-finals of the Eurowide competition, with Austria keeping its fingers crossed that with ‘Rise like a Phoenix’ the country will reach the finals for the first time since 2011.
The last time Austria came in the top ten in the competition was when it placed 6th in the 2003 final with “Weil der Mensch zählt” by singer Alf Poier – but the best result for the country was in 1966 when Austria came first with singer Udo Jürgens’s “Merci, Chérie”.