Victory for Austria's bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst at the Eurovision Song Contest prompted an outpouring of anti-gay anger from Russian politicians and stars.
Monday 12 May 2014

 

Victory for Austria's bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst at the Eurovision Song Contest prompted an outpouring of anti-gay anger from Russian politicians and stars on Sunday.
   
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Twitter that the Eurovision result "showed supporters of European integration their European future: a bearded girl."
   
"There's no limit to our outrage. It's the end of Europe. It has turned wild. They don't have men and women any more. They have 'it'," nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky told Rossiya-1 state television.
   
"Fifty years ago the Soviet army occupied Austria. We made a mistake in freeing Austria. We should have stayed," added the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, known for his outrageous statements.
   
Russia's entry, the Tolmachevy Sisters, came seventh.
   

Russia gave Austria five points -- one more than it awarded Ukraine as the ex-Soviet neighbours are locked in a deadly crisis.
   
Russia last year adopted a controversial law banning the "propaganda" of homosexuality to minors, prompting condemnation from Western leaders and rights activists. Russia has also banned adoption of Russian children by foreign gay couples.
   
Popular hip-hop star Timati wrote on his Instagram account that Wurst's victory was the result of a "mental illness of contemporary society".

Video: Austria's Eurovision-winning performance

 

"I wouldn't like one fine day to have to explain to my child why two guys are kissing or a woman is walking round with a dyed beard and that's supposed to be normal," he said.
   
But Ukrainian drag act Verka Serduchka, who came second at Eurovision in 2007, strongly backed Wurst.
   
"To be honest, at the start it did shock me a bit, but when I saw it, I thought: why not? A person wants to express himself," said Andriy Danilko, who performs as Serduchka.
   
"We need to be more compassionate. I hate when people are bullied," Danilko told Rossiya-1 television.
   
"She is kind. Don't be mean to her. She is an eccentric. An eccentric with a beard."
   
Flamboyant pop star Filipp Kirkorov, producer of Russia's Eurovision entry this year, even suggested Wurst's victory should make Russians reconsider homophobic views.
   
"Maybe this is a kind of protest against some of our views in Russia. Maybe we should have a think. Maybe we shouldn't have such a categorical attitude to people of different sexual orientations," he told Rossiya-1 television.
   
"In a way it probably is a challenge from Europe to us, but let's respect the winner. People don't judge a winner," Kirkorov said.

Obviously you can catch the Eurovision final on SBS ONE on Sunday night at 19:30.

But how's this - the second semi-final already attracted 1,028,000 to SBS - the highest ever audience for a Eurovision broadcast on SBS. Australians sure like their Eurovision!

The Twitter hashtag #SBSEurovision was also trending at number one in Australia, taking in more than 1,000 tweets per minute. Don't forget to use it on Sunday night for the final!

 

And the winner is....

 

Conchita Wurst of Austria wins Eurovision 2014 (Getty/AFP)

 

Austrian has won this year's Eurovision Song Contest early Sunday with "Rise Like a Phoenix" sung by bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst.
   
The 25-year-old performer, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, took the Eurovision crown in Copenhagen despite initial expectations that the eye-catching performance would be too controversial in socially conservative countries.
   
"We are unity, and we are unstoppable," she said after winning the glitzy competition with 290 points compared with 238 points for runner-up the Netherlands, in what Eurovision fans had anticipated would be a more closely fought race.
   
Since the contest was launched in 1956, voting has often been tied to politics and the 2014 event was no exception, with the audience jeering countries that announced giving points to Russia.
   
Azerbaijan and Belarus both gave top marks to Russian entry "Shine" by the Tolmachevy Sisters.
   
Austria's Wurst didn't become one of the bookies' top candidates until Thursday's semi-final, amid reports that the drag act had prompted shocked petitions in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
   
Even in Austria, the leader of the right-wing FPOe party had called the act "ridiculous".
   
"I have very thick skin. It never ceases to amaze me just how much fuss is made over a little facial hair," Wurst told AFP on Friday.
   
The Eurovision winner, who was visibly overcome by emotion after accepting the prize, secured most of her "douze points" from western European countries including Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Eurovision fans around the world have been cheering on their favourites as the second semi-final is decided in Copenhagen.

Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting a celebration for hundreds of Australians fans, including members of Australia's Danish community.

And the big drawcard is a performance by Jessica Mauboy.

Julia Calixto spoke to Greg Dyett ahead of Mauboy's performance.

Listen here.

Saturday 10 May 2014
Artists featuring in Eurovision insist it's all about the music in a show renowned for its kitsch.
A bearded drag queen who was initially written off as too provocative for some socially conservative countries is now a favourite to win Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest, tinged as always with regional politics.Since the first votes were cast in...
Friday 9 May 2014

 

Exhausted, emotional and a history-maker - Jessica Mauboy says she was 'blown away' by performing at the Eurovision Song Contest.
And there to see it all, our Europe Correspondent Brett Mason.