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Austria's Conchita Wurst wins Eurovision Song Contest



By Teis Jensen and Annabella Nielsen

(Reuters) - Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst, popularly known as "the bearded lady," won the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday with the James Bond-theme-like ballad "Rise Like a Phoenix", before a global TV audience of about 180 million people in 45 countries.

Wurst, sporting high heels, butterfly eyelashes and a full beard, topped the Netherlands' modern-country duo the Common Linnets, who sang "Calm After The Storm". Sweden's Sanna Nielsen came in third with her new-age pop song "Undo".

"For me, my dream came true," Wurst, 25, whose birth name is Tom Neuwirth, told a news conference after the win. "But for our society, it just showed me that there are people out there who want to go into the future and go on, you know, not stepping back or thinking in the past."

Wurst, Austria's first Eurovision winner since 1966, received the biggest cheers from the audience but also stirred controversy in some countries. Online petitions were started in Belarus, Armenia and Russia - whose government passed a law last year banning "gay propaganda" among minors - to have Wurst removed or edited out of broadcasts in their countries. "We did it. It is the most amazing thing. But I knew she would win. I just knew it," Austrian fan Damel Saric told Reuters. "I have travelled to Copenhagen just for this moment".

The Eurovision competition, which has been held annually since 1956, was created to help foster unity after World War Two and is meant to be non-political. But political strife slipped between the cracks at this year's contest. Many in the audience booed when the Russian contestants, the 17-year-old Tolmachevy twin sisters, were presented at Saturday's opening ceremony and again when they were awarded points from other, mostly neighbouring, nations. It was widely speculated that Russia's entry could suffer for the country's annexation of Crimea in March and the government's intransigence on gay rights. Eurovision is hugely popular in the gay community. "The two Russian girls are sweet, and it is not their fault. But this is a party for everybody. Russia doesn't get that," said one of the booing spectators, a gay Dutch fan who identified himself as Xander.

(Reporting by Teis Jensen and Annabella Nielsen; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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itsjustme1947 May 11 2014 at 8:33 AM

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW........HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED.......HE STOOD UP....AND U ALL NOTICED......AND HIS VOICE WAS HEARD..........GREAT JOB.....MISSION ACCOMPLISHED......NOW ALL OF U SIT DOWN AND ENJOY.......

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1 reply
truthhurts4urgood itsjustme1947 May 26 2014 at 7:10 PM

Only reason anyone notices, is because it's human nature to be curious about those who are abnormal, whether mentally or physically. This 'person? is 'Nothing' but a freak show, and freak shows have always done very well.

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jdbcfc May 11 2014 at 9:54 AM

Sweet Jesus....

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aquietmind May 11 2014 at 10:00 AM

Very cool....

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Diana May 11 2014 at 10:05 AM

If you are over 80 be glad, you won't live to see the world go to hell in a handbasket!!!

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4 replies
rude May 11 2014 at 10:19 AM

When does Conchita's CD come out? I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Move over Shirley Bassey!!

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1 reply
truthhurts4urgood rude May 26 2014 at 7:11 PM

Perhaps should join this freak show act as well.

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Dick Clark May 11 2014 at 10:19 AM

Why is this crap even news? I don't want to see or hear this garbage.

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4 replies
SPACCEJUMP May 11 2014 at 10:29 AM

Actually, this is really nothing unusual or new..... Most Circuses always had a Bearded Lady in The Freak Show!

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ccforty May 11 2014 at 10:32 AM

will be on The VOICE next year LOL

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camsond May 11 2014 at 10:38 AM

Sad to read all the negativity. Conchita Wurst isn't harming anyone. She is making music She is enjoying what it is to be a young, energetic, talented, free spirited human being. To anyone who spoke ill of her here - recognize that you are fearful. Your mean spirit isn't who you are - it is only who you are when you are afraid. The source of your fear is yours to figure out and heal. Be glad that she brought it to your attention. get to work on yourself. You'll be better for it.

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1 reply
truthhurts4urgood camsond May 26 2014 at 7:35 PM

It's people? like you who throw you hatred at others because they don't want to be a part of your perversity, your brainwashed mentality that forces good, decent and normal people to suffer this sick minded crap. You want everyone to kiss your dirty filthy asses and say, oh yeah, you're normal, you're not a pervert, you're not sick in the head, you're not a freakin nutcase that needs mental attention, and we don't mind if you spread your disease all over the world. Hell freaking NO WAY are we, the majority going to tell you that you're OK! Nutcase! get some help!

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coopdabomb May 11 2014 at 10:48 AM

What a story to run on mothers day. This is a disgrace to all mothers and humanity..

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4 replies
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