Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst addresses a news conference after winning the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz
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Bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision contest early Sunday with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix", beating expectations that the eye-catching performance would be too controversial in socially conservative countries.The 25-year-old performer, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, took the Eurovision crown in Copenhagen with 290 points compared to 238 points for runner-up the Netherlands, in what Eurovision fans had anticipated would be a more closely fought race. Austria last won Eurovision back in 1966 with "Merci Cherie" by Udo Juergens, and news of the victory was well received by revellers in Vienna.Austria's colourful competitor didn't become one of the bookies' favourites until Thursday's semi-final, amid reports that the drag act had prompted shocked petitions in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.The growing popularity of Eurovision, and a desire by some countries to use it as a national showcase, have led to soaring costs, and DR's 190 million kroner (25.5 million euros, $35.4 million) budget was considered relatively modest.
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