So, another Eurovision has been and gone, and the doppelganger of Rylan Clark in a dress had an equally loquacious reaction to being told that her country Austria had won the crown. And so begins the rise of Conchita Wurst, the bearded lady. And in all the 45 countries the estimated 180 million viewers who watched the show were asking, ‘Who is Conchita Wurst?’ It was a fairytale ending to a very much fabricated story.
You couldn't make it up. Or could you? You see, Conchita Wurst is a fictional character – a stage presence if you will. A persona formed and created by Tom Neuwirth, a shop window decorator who after coming 6th in 2007 in a singing competition called Starmania, decided to reinvent himself and try for Eurovision. And this entailed having a unique look, and dressing as a woman. But a woman with a beard.
There is something very odd about a woman with facial hair –even if you know that she isn’t a woman. As Western women we spend so much time on epilating, waxing or shaving, or undergoing the more medical routes of electrolysis or hormone tablets, that we kind of feel cheated in seeing a woman sporting full facial hair and people love it.
By the same token, we would expect nothing less of the Eurovision song contest. It’s always had the oddballs, and we love it. In this year alone we had a human hamster wheel, the obligatory tornado that plays havoc with the contestants hairpieces, an ice rink, a trampoline, a whistling folk rock band and some rather eye catching outfits (some of which were barely there much to the joy of all the husbands who had been forced by their wives to sit through several hours of varying standards of pop songs).
And of course, the highlight of Eurovision has always been the voting. There we get to see the representatives of all of the participants, and predict who is going to vote for who (it never changes, and is more indicative of politics than any EU conference round up I have ever seen on the telly). And like any good TV talent show, it’s not necessarily about the best song, or the best act, or even the best singer. It’s about who appeals at the time.
Off the top of my head I can probably reel off five or six Eurovision winners. And their names. Other than that it’s just ‘Whatever happened to that bloke from Ireland that won it twice?’ Or ‘How old do you think the woman is now who sang ‘99 red balloons’?’
You see, the beauty of Eurovision is that it’s a moment in time in which this madness takes over – poor countries suddenly spring for expensive gowns and special effects, we are all Googling San Marino because no one knows where it is, beautiful presenters amaze us with their multilingual talents, Graham Norton’s narrating ramps and camps onwards and upwards to a crescendo, and a bearded lady sings.
So when Conchita Wurst said, on accepting her prize ‘We are unity… and we are unstoppable!’ it was pretty much spot on. Of the moment.
Until the next time.