59º Eurovision Song Contest
Rise Like a Phoenix (Conchita Wurst) - Austria
The 59th Eurovision Song Contest took place at the B&W Hallserne in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the 6th, 8th and 10th of May 2014 after Emmelie Forest winning the previous contest with her song "Only Teardrops". This was the third time for Denmark to host the contest. The previous ones were in 1964 and in 2001 in Copenhagen too. The song Rise Like a Phoenix, sung by Conchita Wurst, made Austria win the Eurovision Song Contest 48 years after their first and only victory back in 1966. The world has changed a lot since then and the Eurovision Song Contest with it, and nothing perhaps could be more illuminating than watching the videos of Austria's both victories now. Conchita Wurst, the hirsute alter ego of 26 year old Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, took Copenhagen and European audiences by storm with her powerful emotional performance in the second semifinal on Thursday right after which the Eurovision odds changed so dramatically that she jumped from being just little more than this edition's eccentricity always outside the top 20 all the way up to number one favorite. Her James Bond like song, Rise Like a Phoenix, is a very good tune, slow and subdued enough not to be a clichéd Eurovision power ballad, but what really makes it work is to see it performed by a bearded drag queen.
Conchita did not win the festival in Twitter, press media or YouTube, she did on stage and that makes her winning more praise worthy. The Netherlands came second probably with the most beautiful song of the evening and they would have probably won had not hurricane Conchita being in their way. Sweden was third. Austria's victory is special in many a way. They should be a classic, as they joined the contest as early as in its second edition in 1957, but for one reason or another they have been in and out of it since then having missed a total 11 contests to date. They have come dead last seven times, three of which with "0" points. They were relegated from participating in 1998 and 2001 because of the bad results in previous years and since there are semifinals they had only qualified for the final twice, and they ended 21st and 23rd.
The 59th edition saw the return of Portugal and Poland after just one year absence and the withdrawal of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Serbia, that left a total of 37 countries, two less than the previous year and the smallest number since 2004. Montenegro and San Marino qualified to the final for the first time since their debuts in 2007 and 2008. Sammarinese singer, Valentina Monetta, represented her country for the third time in a row making her the fourth singer to compete in three consecutive years after Lys Assia (first Eurovision winner) and Corry Brokken who both competed in the 1956, 1957 and 1958 editions and Austrian Udo Jürgens, precisely, who competed in 1964, 1965 and 1966.