Conchita WurstRead my review of Conchita’s 2014 Eurovision entry ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ here.

Poor old Austria haven’t seen the top ten of the Eurovision scoreboard in over a decade, and after the failure of Natalia Kelly to qualify to the finals this year it seemed far from certain that they’d bother competing in the 2014 contest at all. However, not only has their national broadcaster ORF confirmed their appearance in Copenhagen, it seems they’re going in with real ambition – internally selecting Conchita Wurst over eight months in advance.

The 25 year old singer is certainly a newsworthy choice. He first came to national attention when he finished as runner up on the 2006 talent contest Starmania (the winner was Nadine Beiler, who took Austria to the Eurovision finals in 2011 with ‘The Secret Is Love‘). In 2011 he participated in another talent show Die große Chance, and entered the Austrian national selection for Eurovision 2012 – where his dance ballad ‘That’s What I Am‘ lost out to Trackshittaz with ‘Woki mit deim Popo‘. Oh, and he’s also a bearded transvestite with a strikingly androgynous voice.

It would of course be easy to take one look at Conchita – body like Rachel Bilson, face like Russell Brand – and assume that he’s a one-joke novelty act. But this would be a discredit to him, any of his TV performances demonstrate that he’s a very talented singer, and I suspect he’ll be going into this wholeheartedly.

With that being said, personally I found his 2012 effort to be a very generic Shirley Bassey pastiche, and I doubt he would have done much better than Trackshittaz in Baku (he could hardly have done worse…). He deserves a better song, and Austria have plenty of time to find him one. Here’s hoping they deliver.

Conchita Wurst is the third artist to be confirmed for Eurovision 2014, following Valentina Monetta for San Marino and Tijana Dapčević for FYR Macedonia.