Routinely, the Eurovision Song Contest’s winner gets at least a few weeks of exposure and a major hit across the charts of Europe before fading back into silence, perhaps until the next year’s contest or the release of their post-Eurovision album. Granted, in the last few years the winner has gained more and more exposure as the contest’s popularity increases and winners like Loreen and Lena in recent years have been able to carve moderately successful careers out of their victory. It has seemed for years however that the winner of Eurovision would never truly be another global star, and that, with the difficulty of breaking through international markets and the digital age, we wouldn’t be seeing another ABBA or Celine Dion case.
But it was a fateful night in Copenhagen – the final of the 2014 edition of the contest – that may have set the wheels in motion on a special journey, the likes of which we as Eurovision fans haven’t really been able to experience for years. The result, I am sure you are familiar with. Conchita Wurst, the bearded lady from Austria, shone through with her powerful ballad and natural charisma and won the contest. But the shockwaves from that victory are still being felt months later.
And Conchita has not exactly had the usual post-Eurovision dip that other winners have had, especially in her home country. The media are still infatuated with the bearded diva and her career looks to be going from strength to strength.
Is she on the road to celebrity status and super stardom? Time will only tell of course, but I can’t remember a time when Eurovision gathered so much attention, even over in America. Her Eurovision performances have racked up tens of millions of views already. She caught the attention of Russell Brand, Cher, Lady Gaga and countless celebrities across the world. She’s appeared on the Graham Norton Show and continues to do media appearances. Only this week, she headlined the London Pride parade and was introduced by Sir Ian McKellen, and will go on to headline more huge events. Hell, even the paparazzi and tabloids write stories about the dresses she wears like they would about the red carpet alumni!
Perhaps she is just riding a huge tidal wave of attention based on her controversy; if you get debated heavily in parliaments across Europe there must be some kind of gravitas surrounding you. And yes, she probably wouldn’t be getting as much attention without the visual gimmick she has. But no doubt there is a star quality about Conchita that draw people in, and she’s just so damn likeable. Even some of my Facebook friends follow her every move, and one has seen her live – and considering that demographic consists mostly of 18-22 year old Brits that is impressive enough for me.
The next moves from Conchita will truly decide whether she deserves the stardom of course. The debut album will be crucial, but for the first time it feels that the entire continent, not just Eurovision fans, are waiting with baited breath to hear what she does next.