Russia was boycotted by most Western European juries. In the name of peace, though, Ukraine and Russia gave points to each other. And Austria’s victory was produced by Russia in the most political Song Contest ever.
I never predicted Austria as a winner, as I didn’t expect them to get points from Eastern Europe. From Western Europe, yes. But without several points from Eastern Europe, it would be difficult to win the Eurovision.
I totally underestimated human rights’ activists all across Europe. Not that I think that a man in women’s clothing is sensational any more or something we in Western Europe necessarily need to fight that hard for any longer, but it is obvious that there has been a lot of political voting this year, making it the most political Eurovision Song Contest ever.
I don’t believe that “Rise like a Phoenix” was the best song, and I think most people found other songs better too. On the other hand – if Barbra Streisand was the one performing it, “everybody” would agree it was a quality ballad. But in this case, I’m quite sure that Conchita’s looks was what made people notice and vote for this entry.
I was myself not pleased with the winner after the show, as I thought that Conchita got points mainly because of her extraordinary looks, and not the song – making Eurovision a freakshow. I found several other songs better. And honestly, I thought that gay rights activism on this level was by far passé and looked upon as a little dull in Western Europe. But considering the reactions seen on social media afterwards, I understand that there are still a lot of prejudice out there that shines through once in a while.
Maybe we actually need a Conchita Würst to cast out the demons. It was namely the demons that made people vote for Austria this year, but not the demons claimed by anti-gay fascists.
The current political situation between Ukraine and Russia made the last couple of years’ human rights situation in Russia extremely present. The audience expressed their opinion by booing against the 17 year old Russian twins, feedback which should have been complete silence instead. The Russians didn’t win, but I believe that the current political situation in Russia helped Austria to victory.
In the last few weeks before the Eurovision final, politicians from several Eastern European countries (primarily Russians) have tried to ban this year’s Song Contest from television, saying that Conchita Würst is spreading untraditional and unhealthy values.
What the anti-gay lobbyists have actually done, though, is making Conchita and her cause the main Eurovision topic in every country, and helped mobilizing the huge hordes of human rights supporters all across Europe – gay or not.
I think it’s fantastic that Conchita Würst got third place in the televoting in both Russia and Azerbaijan, she got fourth in Belarus and SECOND in Armenia and Georgia. As I see it, this shows that there is a strong opposition also in countries that do not allow alternative political opinions. And I don’t believe that all the votes came from gay people. I rather think that the majority came from people who wanted to send a message to the Russian authorities that we actually disagree with their policy. A message that we want freedom of speech and the possibility of living our lives without the constraining restrictions of the authorities.
This was a more political Eurovision Song Contest than we have ever had before, and I don’t think that Austria would have won if the human rights’ situation in Russia was not the way it is, and Conchita looking the way she did. Yes, in a way it was a freakshow – we loved it because of how different and alien she looked.
Conchita’s appearance made her the personification of the battle against repressive forces in this world. More than anything else, the result of Eurovision Song Contest 2014 was a strong petition that you do not fuck with human rights.