Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst wins Eurovision Song Contest

Singer won competition in Copenhagen with song called 'Rise Like A Phoenix'

Austrian drag act Conchita Wurst was crowned winner of the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest last night (May 10).

The singer won the competition in Denmark capital Copenhagen with the song Rise Like a Phoenix, collecting 290 points. The Netherlands finished second with 238 points, with Sweden in third place with 218 points.

The UK’s Molly Smitten-Downes came 17th, with 40 points for her song ‘Children Of The Universe’. It’s the first time Austria has won the contest since 1966, and only the second time the country has competed in the final in the past 10 years as it either did not participate or qualify.

Wurst was second-favourite to win behind Sweden going in to the competition, with many predicting the act could be too divisive among voters. However she was the clear winner, with her victory announced after 34 of the 37 countries had submitted their scores.

Collecting her trophy, the singer said: “This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. You know who you are – we are unity and we are unstoppable,” later adding she felt Europe had taken a stand by voting her the winner. “I dream of a world where we don’t have to talk about unnecessary things like sexuality, who you love,” she said. “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance”.

British entry Smitten-Downes had been tipped to score highly with bookmakers placing her in the top five but received points from only nine countries: San Marino, Denmark, Malta, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Belgium and Georgia. Her result was still better than the UK’s entry last year, when Bonnie Tyler finished 19th on the final scoreboard with 23 points.