Eurovision’s Greatest Hits takes place in London on 31 March. The one-off concert will see a host of past Eurovision stars take to the stage to mark 60 years of the contest. While the show itself will be purely celebratory, we’ve decided to add a little competition to proceedings by ranking and reviewing all 19 Eurovision entries sung by the 15 confirmed acts. Today the Wiwi Jury— our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — hops aboard the time-machine for their penultimate journey. It’s a short trip to Copenhagen 2014, where a bearded drag queen called Conchita Wurst moved Europe with her ballad “Rise Like A Phoenix”, snagging a rare victory for Austria. She preached a message of acceptance and unity but do we still accept her win almost a year on? Read on to find out…
Anthony: Some say Conchita’s success is all down to the bearded-lady-in-a-dress gimmick, others claim it’s an excuse to laugh in the face of political correctness. All we know is she nailed it vocally on the night. With no fancy props to distract the viewers, all the attention was focused on Conchita herself. The performance started off dark with minimal lighting, before gradually brightening, before the fiery backdrop kicks in to make it really stand out.
Josh: All hail the bearded queen! I absolutely adore Conchita Wurst and “Rise Like A Phoenix”. I love how at the last minute, the song became a huge favourite and Conchita brought it, y’all! Vocals – on point. Costume – on point. Staging – on point. Love love love.
Angus: This is the most draggedy-winner ever. The only shortcoming, if any, is that “Rise Like A Phoenix” makes like no sense, whatsoever. Fortunately Conchita’s personality, electric performance, nuanced vocal delivery, intimacy in close-ups and soaring cinematic song glossed over the lyrical problems. A song only a drag queen could ever do justice.
Kristín: Until the night of the second semi finals in Copenhagen, I was sure that we would go back to Sweden in 2015. But then Conchita entered the stage and blew us all away. That moment was unforgettable! She wasn’t my all time favourite last year, but she surely deserved every single point she got. End of story. Conchita rocked this Bond-esque power ballad and she truly is unstoppable.
Chris: It’s very difficult to objectively judge “Rise Like a Phoenix”, because as a song it is highly lacking and it is fairly dated for Eurovision. It’s more Bond theme than an Adele ballad. But whereas with the likes of Dima Balan, the song and performer are both found to be lacking, Conchita manages to completely overturn the song’s faults and make it her own. Is it the perfect winner with the perfect song? No, it isn’t – but sometimes, I don’t think it has to be.
Mikhail: You may say that Conchita won because of the beard, but it would have never happened if she hadn’t had such an amazing song! “Rise like a Phoenix” has everything. The chorus is stunning and the refrain is really charming. Think about it – Conchita sang with male voice, like a female, which is extremely hard, but she did it amazingly well. And of course the performance was incredible. Those golden wings are fantastic! The song is the bomb!
James: It probably wasn’t my winner. But God, was it an important win for Austria and also for the LGBT community. It hasn’t solved world hunger, but it did get everyone’s attention on the night. Hats off to Conchita. I love instrumental ballads in general and the Bond-esque theme really works with her voice. So I can’t really say much more – it has the wonderful song, the beautiful singer and the terrific message. Just great. Great great great.
Padraig: The song was pedestrian at best. But the performance – wow! The lighting, the camera angles, the dress, THE BEARD! Everything worked together to create an absolutely unforgettable moment. And of course Conchita’s showmanship helped too! Truly magical. An amazing atmosphere that could even be felt by viewers at home. Even watching on Youtube months later, I still get tingles. But sadly, the song has little impact without the visuals. I always skip when it pops up in shuffle.
Patrick: I’m a massive fan. It’s not just because Conchita represented my country, the song itself is a masterpiece. When I listen to “Rise Like A Phoenix”, Conchita takes me to another world – full of glitter, sunshine and of course open-mindness. I really think that we have to accept that there are people out there who are different – and that’s good, because when we all open our minds and come together, we’re a big family. That’s why I love Eurovision – everyone has the chance to be themselves. And she rose like a phoenix – that’s for sure. Conchita, we’re proud of you!
All 17 members of our jury rate each song. However, we don’t have room to share written reviews from everyone. Here are the remaining eight scores.
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 4.5 and a high of 10.