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Milestone Moments: 2014 - Conchita rises like a phoenix

01 October 2016 at 11:30 CEST
Conchita Wurst winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest on stage Thomas Hanses (EBU)
Austria has had mixed results in the Eurovision Song Contest over the years. The country has finished last on eight occasions and before 2014, Austria had not reached the top five since 1989. All that changed two years ago when Conchita Wurst scored a second victory for Austria with Rise Like A Phoenix. In the final part of our Milestone Moments series we look back that memorable night in Copenhagen in May 2014.

Following Emmelie de Forest's victory in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with Only Teardrops, the contest was held in Copenhagen, the third time that the city has hosted the event. The B&W Hallerne, a former industrial complex, provided a unique setting for the 59th competition. 37 countries competed for the trophy, including San Marino and Montenegro which both qualified to the Grand Final for the first time. The Netherlands achieved its best placing since 1975 with Calm After The Storm performed by The Common Linnets however the night belonged to the bearded lady from Austria, Conchita Wurst. 


Conchita took the trophy home for Austria finishing 52 points ahead of nearest rival the Netherlands. Upon accepting the trophy she dedicated her victory "to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom". Shortly after the Eurovision Song Contest Conchita performed at an anti-discrimination event at the European Parliament in Brussels and went on to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. 

Whilst there were some voices that were critical of the victory, Conchita went on to become a symbol of diversity and acceptance. Austria received points from all but four of the countries that participated in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest showing that people cannot be judged on the actions or policies of their respective governments.