The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have come together to marvel at the glorious “Rise Like a Phoenix” by Austria’s Conchita Wurst. With fiery winged staging and a Bond-esque ballad to boot, it was always going to be one to remember. Pair that with an iconic performer and you have Eurovision wrapped up.

In 2014, we had the year of the surprise. Armenia were odds on to take it all, with huge promise showing for Sweden, Hungary and even host nation Denmark. But the top three looked nothing like this. Sure we had Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen taking third spot, but two entries that were languishing with the bookies stole the show at their respective semi-finals. The Netherlands’ Common Linnets and the epic queen from Austria, Conchita Wurst. “Rise Like a Phoenix” is an anthem of hope, where one can rise from the ashes after adversity.

Conchita took it all in a time where the continent needed uniting — the whole reason the contest was founded back in the 1950s. The bearded diva was a game-changer presented at exactly the right time, and the audience felt the message. She is still one of the most famous performers at the contest to date, but do our Jury still get those tingles half a decade later?

Conchita Wurst – “Rise Like a Phoenix”

“Rise Like a Phoenix” reviews

Robyn: Conchita had a lot of strong competition in 2014 — any of the top three could have won and it wouldn’t have felt like a robbery. But that night in Copenhagen belonged to Tom Neuwirth’s glamorous alter ego. Conchita elevated “Rise Like a Phoenix” from a Bond theme to a stand-out performance with particular resonance for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s an entry that I keep coming back to, with the performance standing up as a masterwork of Eurovision excellence. If the 2010s should be remembered for one Eurovision performance, it should be “Rise Like a Phoenix”.

Score: 10/10

Lucy: “Rise Like A Phoenix” is about rising from the ashes after adversity and not letting anyone tear you down. Never has the continent needed an anthem like this more than in 2014, and Conchita’s talent and message was a no-brainer on the night. Simple, classy and powerful. This will be one of those performances even non-Eurofans will always remember.  I do personally prefer other songs from that year, but when it comes to overall package on the night, it had to be Conchita didn’t it?

Score: 7.5/10

Deban: My love for “Rise Like a Phoenix” hasn’t dimmed. Conchita’s evolution and lately tumultuous road to self-discovery has added value to the message of the song. In three minutes, Conchita made it permissible to hybrid strong elements of femininity and masculinity, whilst her message of tolerance took Europe by storm.  She was crowned the people’s Queen of Austria and her victory remains one of the highlights of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Score: 9/10

Oliver: On May 10th 2014, the whole of Europe stood to watch one of the most prolific moments in Eurovision history and will remain as such for many years to come.  Watching Conchita rise through the competition, going in as an outsider and leaving as a victor is something inspirational and gives great meaning to her “We are unstoppable” speech after being crowned winner.  “Rise Like a Phoenix” has this powerful, uplifting aura around it and being coupled with a clear message that everyone can relate to make it a timeless classic that will be remembered forever.

Score: 8/10

Barnabas: “Rise Like a Phoenix” is one of the most memorable songs and performances in the history of the contest, and, it has also become a song for those who have to overcome big obstacles in life. A great effort both musically and staging wise, and also a worthy winner.

Score: 8/10

Florian: Conchita is one of the most iconic contestants in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. And while many only consider that due to her appearance, most of all the performance and thus the song are behind the tremendous success story. Unlike any other song before (and ever since), it really touches upon a personal subject but relates to so many others having the same issues to stand up against. And sonically, “Rise Like a Phoenix” had it from the beginning given the respectable effort behind the composition.

Score: 9.5/10

In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:

William: 9/10

Antranig: 9/10

Pablo: 8/10

Angus: 5/10

Sebastian: 8/10

Jonathan: 9.5/10

Bernardo: 7.5/10

Calvin: 10/10

Luis: 9/10

Kristin: 8/10

Edd: 9/10

Lukas: 7/10

Steinunn: 9/10

Natalie: 7.5/10

Julian: 9/10

Katie: 10/10

Tom: 8.5/10

Charlotte: 7/10

We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 5 and a high of 10.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 8.5/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all of our Wiwi Jury of the 2010s rankings here

71 Comments
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Saney
Saney
1 year ago

I really don’t get that score. It’s god, but it only won because of his/her beard. Everyone knows that. Hungary or The Netherlands should have won

Carol LaBadie Lesmeister
Carol LaBadie Lesmeister
1 year ago
Reply to  Saney

I think Conchita is one of the best singers I have ever heard. She sings with such passion! I can’t stop listening to her.

FYROM
FYROM
1 year ago

is that a man or a woman

khan
khan
1 year ago
Reply to  FYROM

a non binary person

Peters
Peters
1 year ago

Conchita was amazing but the song was not.

Carol LaBadie Lesmeister
Carol LaBadie Lesmeister
1 year ago
Reply to  Peters

I think it was a fantastic song and she looked so beautiful! I have listened to that song every single day since I first became aware of Conchita this past April.

oli
oli
1 year ago

I remember I was excited about Conchita finally going to Eurovision, after she was robbed in the Austrian national final the year before, but when the song came out …. I honestly thought it was outdated and cheesy (the somehow tacky video didn’t help either). but Conchita’s performance elevated this song to Adele’s level. it was that good. and the staging was also super on point. So yes, I give the credit to Conchita and her team, but the song itself is rather meh.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  oli

Rise Like A Phoenix is so much better than That’s What I Am, though…no way would Austria have won in 2012 with that song, maybe not even qualified.

oli
oli
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Sure, That’s What I Am wasn’t a winner song, but still it was much better than Woki mit deim Popo …

Gillian
Gillian
1 year ago

Conchita will always be my favourite
winner of all time. Talented, kind, positive and a true star. Still making amazing music today.
10/10 from me guys.
WiWi Team – Thank you to u all for all ur hard work you do for us all .

Martin in New York
Martin in New York
1 year ago

FYROM below = your comment is juvenile and not helpful. That said, I had been following Conchita since the attempt two years earlier to represent Austria in Azerbaijan. Conchita would probably not have beaten “Euphoria”, but would have surely been top three with the song “That’s What I Am”. So to dismiss Conchita’s 2014 entry as a throwaway gimmick is patently ridiculous, when Conchita in 2014 was an even more refined, genuine and capable version of the 2012 model. A winning Eurovision song is usually something which has the full package of song, voice, presentation, props and authenticity/credibility. Conchita had… Read more »

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

They had a perfectly good Conchita song and went with Woki mit deim Popo instead. I’ll never understand that. Defies logic.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

That’s What I Am is nothing compared to Rise Like A Phoenix. If she had represented Austria in 2012, she probably would have had the same fate as Trackshittaz. I disagree with Martin, I find it highly unlikely that it would have finished Top 3. It really is a very mediocre and clichéd song. We probably never would have had the 2014 victory either, so let’s all be thankful it worked out the way it did.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

Both entries were perfectly abysmal.

Carol LaBadie Lesmeister
Carol LaBadie Lesmeister
1 year ago

I agree with everything you said. You were very lucky to be able to be there. I haven’t been able to stop listening to Conchita since I became aware of her. I listen to my Conchita YouTube playlists that I made every single day. She seems so sweet and talented and has the best voice ever!

PP77
PP77
1 year ago

Best song won in 2014
My TOP 5 in 2014
1.Austria
2.Israel
3.Ukraine
4.The Netherlands
5.San Marino

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

Love the performance, the song not as much. More importantly though, it is the only Eurovision song that I can think of that simply wouldn’t feel right being anything other than a winner. RLAP as a 2nd place or 3rd place song just doesn’t work and that says something about a quality it has that I can’t get down in words.

CRAIG
CRAIG
1 year ago

One of the most iconic moments in Eurovision history.

Veta
Veta
1 year ago

For me this is the best Eurovision winner of all time! My2d in 2014!

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

My top ten of 2014:
1. Netherlands
2. Austria
3. United Kingdom
4. Finland
5. Hungary
6. Denmark
7. Iceland
8. Montenegro
9. San Marino (YYYEEEESSSSS!!!)
10. Switzerland

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

I’ll say it again, Joe: “Three chords.” 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

Sure, some people voted for it because of the beard or for its “pièce de résistance” aspect (very elegantly done, by the way). But this is a damn good entry and even if I was rooting for the Netherlands, I think it’s undeniably one of the most iconic winners ever. I’m suspect, because I love a good Bond theme, but its “constantly building up” structure really pleases me. Conchita (or Tom, which you prefer) brought great vocals and tons of charisma (those bright eyes!). On the top of that, an eye catching dress and some outstanding camerawork.

Bart
Bart
1 year ago

All I have to say that indeed the Wiwjury has no real taste in music, is always blined by side effects and pseudo-messages and Antranig is the worst of the bunch.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Bart

How constructive of you.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago

Nice song, great vocals. I prefer The N’lands tho.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
1 year ago

Many people are talking about this entry focusing on the performer’s appearance and the message Conchita presented to Europe that Saturday night, which is perfectly reasonable. But I have an impression, that the song itself is being pushed to the background in the process, in my opinion totally unfairly. “Rise Like A Phoenix” is a powerful, gripping and thrilling piece accompanied by a stunning staging and strong vocals. It’s has an old school quality, yet it stays relevant and doesn’t feel out of place in 2014 (also, just imagine how grand and epic it would have been with a live… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Skiwalko

It would have been great if Conchita had performed the song with the Wiener Philharmoniker during the 2015 show. An opportunity missed…

Darren
Darren
1 year ago

Austria was in my top 10 this year for me, based on song alone, not the character of Conchita. In fact when I heard the song first, it was before I even heard of Conchita and generally just assumed she was a female. When I saw the character and heard the story I was like wow. Tom has got the notes! A classy song and not rude or in your face along the lines of other drag acts, this was just quite artistic. RLAP was number 7 in my top 10, I had Hungary tipped for the top spot if… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

I think it is absolutely a deserving winner. It got votes because of the act and what it represented, sure, but without the song, it would have flopped. Other drag acts like Denmark 2007 failed and are generally forgotten – and that’s because they had nothing else but the drag. Conchita was so much more. Nobody begrudges other acts their selling points – would Abba have won dressed in drab everyday clothing? Would Buck’s Fizz have won without the skirt-ripping? Would Lordi have won without the masks? Would Alexander have won without the violin?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yes, they would have.
Yes, they would have.
Not sure, maybe not.
Probably not, but playing the violin and composing your own song is an actual talent.

Qaso
Qaso
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Abba , Bucks Fizz, Lordi and Alexander had catchy songs.
Abba changed the way of Eurovision songs to more pop direction. More mainstream. Lordi brought something different, because there hasn’t been many rock songs in ESC.

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Qaso

Oh yes, the main difference that Lordi brought was the song being (kind of) rock…

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

When I first heard this song it touched me, mainly because of the musical cues taken from John Barry, one of the main composers of music for the James Bond films. The song is beautifully sad, being set in a minor key throughout, but it has an uplifting message in the lyrics. Conchita performed it very strongly and really made it all work so well in the final. As many have already said, this song had genuine competition that year and was not a clear musical winner, but it was a landmark winner for other reasons. I watched the 2014… Read more »

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

Anybody who acts like this is only a victory based on politics or gimmicks is seriously devaluing how good Conchita and this song are. The way it builds and swells, Conchita completely holding the audience’s attention with minimal staging and graphics but an incredible vocal performance (him and Jamala go toe-to-toe for the best winning vocal performance this decade). It doesn’t just work as an anthem for being true to yourself and not hiding who you really are, it’s also just an amazing breakup song about leaving the people behind who would take you for granted. Take away the beard… Read more »

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

I honestly cannot understand why so many people complain about the lyrics in “Rise Like A Phoenix” as well as in “Sound Of Silence”? 😀 These two are power ballads and the lyrics behind them are as they should be. “Once I’m transformed, once I’m reborn…” = the rise of self-confidence against homophobia. “Walking over glass”, “Act as if you are free”… this is what I love about Eurovision – epic and glamorous messages, self-confidence, attitude, passion (and a pinch of glitter 😉 ) Again a total slayage and a 10/10!!!

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  ESCFan2009

Sound of silence somehow won that award for best songwriting, even with those cringey lyrics. Rise like a Phoenix is just fine.

Gigii
Gigii
1 year ago

What songs are left to be reviewed?

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Gigii

Loreen Euphoria, maybe?

Joe
Joe
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

We still need to get to We Could Be the Same, Euphoria, Fuego, and Arcade.

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

And Soldi. 🙂

Joe
Joe
1 year ago
Reply to  Tibor

*clap-clap*

Sam
Sam
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe

Looking forward to their reviews!! Btw 2019 brought two great songs to this list (even if it’s maybe too soon to review them)

Azaad
Azaad
1 year ago

It’s sad to see this dismissed as a mere gimmick. The song itself is genuinely great and manages to balance technical merit with emotional resonance, like all good ballads should. A well deserved winner

Thunder and lightning it's getting exciting
Thunder and lightning it's getting exciting
1 year ago

Just one of the best voices in Eurovision…I like the song so much…real winner 🙂 …he would win even without beard

FYROM
FYROM
1 year ago

A woman with a beard???? Wtf????

cassius
cassius
1 year ago

The ultimate gimmick.

Kris
Kris
1 year ago

Unfortunately I have to completely disagree with this review
I definitely think this was one of the most underserved victories in 2010s
In my opinion People chose to vote for the personality and the story they represented rather than the song which I don’t think was as strong as Netherlands , Sweden or Armenia were this year.
One of the losses in a SONG contest . It’s not a song I would dislike had it not won over much better songs . But since it did , I do dislike it.
A 6/10.

Dawid
Dawid
1 year ago
Reply to  Kris

Agree and disagree. It was good. Top 10 easily, but people voting for message instead of song is what ruining this content for me.

Milan
Milan
1 year ago

I think the question everybody seems to avoid asking is – “would it have won without the beard?” I think not, but it would have definitely been high up the left side of the scoreboard (and well deserved).

Alex
Alex
1 year ago
Reply to  Milan

We never know. Conchita was like that before ESC. All artists have their own identity. Beard or her charcter was not something just made or manufacture for ESC.
Same case for Poland that same year for example. Concept was already in the videoclip months before and never calculated for Eurovision.
People will not connect to something fake

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex

Yes, this is a big plus for the artistic integrity. However, I disagree with your point that people won’t connect to something fake – we, humans, do that all the time. Even if the identity was made for ESC, a large majority of viewers/voters would have been unaware of that. We can only argue whether the authenticity of the identity contributed to the quality of the performance – most likely it did. But was it the best song – for me, far from it. And again, we come to the unpleasant conclusion that there are some years when artists without… Read more »

Dawid
Dawid
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex

Yet Poland got hate for something Maruv is adored now.

Roy Moreno
Roy Moreno
1 year ago

His winning speech was as iconic as the performance and entry were <3

Alex
Alex
1 year ago

Iconic and big win. It was Austria’s year.
A trully winning performance that we don’t see that often. (Top 3 performances of the decade along with Salvador and Il Volo)
I’m honest and I didn’t really care about this song until I saw the SF performance. I just got real goosebumps and that never happened to me watching ESC before. Then I knew Conchita was gonna win even tho CATS was my favourite song by far but Conchita gave such a powerful performance and everything just worked and felt right.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago

There’ll always be CATS, a song that still exists today. Thank god for music. Music never dies, even when it gets out-trashed sometimes.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

What’s trash about Rise Like A Phoenix?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

About the song, nothing. About the act, everything.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

Could you elaborate, please? I don’t understand why somebody in a pretty dress singing their heart out is trash. Does this apply to Sanna or any other number of acts?

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

Bean, you are from Austria, right? I noticed that you don’t like Paenda and I can at least understand that you are sad about not-qualifiying. But Conchita WON for your country. Aren’t you at least a little bit happy about that? 🙂

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  ESCFan2009

No. If my country had won with a song like CATS, performed by good artists like Ilse and Waylon, I would be happy about that victory. But why be happy about an act you completely dislike winning? It has nothing to do with me, just because the tv station of my country decided to send it. And no, why would I be sad about my country’s act this year not qualifying? It was very poorly performed and deserved to stay in the semi final. This might be rather unbelievable in your universe, but my happiness does not depend on anybody’s… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

Do you like the studio version of Rise Like A Phoenix? On that, there is no “Conchita” or dresses or beards, it’s just Tom and his voice.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

Actually, no. I can’t stand his voice, either. So annoying and overdramatic to my ears long before he decided to dress up because he was unsuccessful being his plain self. I think the song is really good, I can totally relate to the lyrics (no idea what the people claiming they make no sense are talking about, they make perfect sense) and I wish someone like Kelly Clarkson had sung it, so I could enjoy this song on my playlist. Honestly, this would have been my favorite winning song since 2007.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

Sarah McTernan does a good job with it.

https://twitter.com/louise_esc/status/1169705116372525060

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
1 year ago

very powerful song given to the correct performer, my only complaint is the nonsensical lyrics

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

Which specific lyrics do not make sense?
(The lyrics make perfect sense to me.)

ChristinaJ
ChristinaJ
1 year ago

10/10
Amazing song wit an amazing artist that evolving overand over again!
5 years later he sings this song like it was the first time and gives 200 %of himself so that the goose bumps just keep rising like in 2014!

Dani
Dani
1 year ago

One of the best 2010s winners.

Preuss
Preuss
1 year ago

Iconic.

Helmi
Helmi
1 year ago

Best winner of 2010’s. Conchita changed Eurovision with her performance. Her voice is unique and powerful. The song is also really powerful and empowering. The performance was simple and classy. Thank you Queen Conchita. <3

Tibor
Tibor
1 year ago

This is a very special case. I voted for Conchita in the semi-final of 2014 although I never liked the song. What I couldn’t stand was the conservative backlash surrounding this (as we all know, it has only gotten worse over the years), so I decided, this mustn’t be swallowed up by narrowmindedness and stay in the semis. Additionally, I was always very impressed, that despite his stage persona he never came across as the freak, the bearded woman, when he spoke, he always seemed very composed, calm and level-headed. Tom sung this well, yet, musically, I always felt this… Read more »

Kosey
Kosey
1 year ago

I have to disaggregate this act into two parts:

First, the song, it just doesn’t do it for me – I find it old fashioned and the lyrics don’t make any sense.

Second, the artist, a complete breath of fresh air, a dazzling and magical performance and definitely a stand-out performance that will live long in the memory.