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8 reasons why I love WURST even more than I loved Conchita Wurst

 

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A few months ago, Austrian singer Conchita Wurst switched from her Eurovision persona (well…plus the hairy chest, hairy legs, lack of dresses and less make-up than the Eurovision winning version of this talented artist) to a completely new one.

WURST — an electro pop singer songwriter that was obviously Conchita’s alter ego Tom Neuwirth finally back on stage.

But a larger than life Tom Neuwirth, re-imagined as a cutting-edge, latex-clad, artistically forward-thinking stage persona that was quite a shock to many in the Conchita fandom at the time.

For me, after my initial Hatred of All Things WURST, when I got over my disappointment that Conchita had disappeared, and looked properly at what this amazing Austrian artist was doing, I realized I actually love WURST even more than I loved Conchita.

Here are 8 reasons why:

1. He is much more honest

I like my artists honest.

In other words, if you are constantly talking about things I know you don’t believe, or are covering your real opinions in order to be ‘polite’, I can’t feel much of a connection to you. Because it’s not honest. It’s not real. And it tells me nothing about who you are as a human being.

From day 1, this was the only thing that bothered me about Conchita. I knew much of what she said was not Tom Neuwirth’s real opinion, and that she spent a lot of time covering her own opinions, anger, unwillingness to put up with stupid people, just because she wanted people to like her. So she tried to be ‘polite’. (As Conchita herself described it, “I was an insanely stiff president’s wife“).

WURST, aka Tom Neuwirth, does this far less.

He is more honest, he gives interviewers his opinions about things whether they are popular opinions or not, it’s obvious the way he acts and speaks he has much less time for people who he thinks are idiotic, and in many respects he is not trying to get you to like him.

He’s just on stage, doing his thing, singing his songs and having a good time. If you like him — awesome. If not — oh well, somebody else will.

2. He’s not trying to pretzel himself into a person he isn’t

As Conchita, Tom spent so much of his time trying to pretzel himself into someone he isn’t, it must have been exhausting.

Being a polite, uptight, extremely well-spoken, shell of a person who, while incredibly beautiful and lovely, when you got right down to it, didn’t have a helluva lot of substance.

Just from watching Conchita closely, though, I had already guessed he wasn’t like that.

I knew he wasn’t when I met Conchita for the first time and, after I spoke to her in a not-so-polite manner (I’d just flown from Bangkok to Vienna to meet her, so I was nervous!!), she immediately ‘manned up’ and responded in a manner I would describe as “Gay Boy on a Bike” — aka bitchy, arrogant, and a bit rude.

It was then I knew “Well, that trip from Bangkok to Vienna was worth it. Because I really really like this dude!”

And now, when I watch Tom Neuwirth as WURST, there is definitely part of Bike Boy in him. Because he is standing up for himself, still in a usually polite way, but with a bit of arrogance creeping in now and again, and most definitely not willing to pretzel himself into someone he isn’t just so you or I like him.

3. Oh honey, the shaving, the plucking, the taping of the penis!

A helluva lot of years of shaving every excess hair (and man, that boy has hairy legs!), of plucking his eyebrows, and of God only knows what uncomfortable gyrations he had to go through with his ‘man parts’ to make himself look like a woman as Conchita.

I can only imagine the hours of time spent getting ready, the agony, the even more hours of feeling so goddamn uncomfortable you could die!

With WURST, that’s all gone.

Because nowadays it’s all hair, penis and “Yep, I’m a dude. Deal with it!”

And for that alone, I love that we now have WURST. Because as much as I adored Conchita, I don’t want anyone I love this much to have to go through all of that, just so they can walk out on stage and sing.

4. From “oh my God my nipple was almost exposed” to Life Balls

Now this aspect of WURST makes me laugh in delight at just how comfortable Tom Neuwirth now feels.

Because instead of Conchita worrying about exposing a nipple on stage, nowadays we have WURST who is ecstatic to be able to show off his ‘Life Balls’ for everyone to see. (see photo above)

And you’ve gotta love that feeling of being so comfortable in who you now are, you’re just gonna put it all out there.

5. He seems happier

I spent two years worrying about Conchita and Tom Neuwirth. Because, watching her/him so closely for so long, it became obvious to me he was incredibly unhappy.

Of course, as a man, he was going to keep that unhappiness to himself and struggle through it (and for Fucks Sake, to all you men out there, would you PLEASE stop hiding your pain, and talk to someone about it. Because being ‘manly’ isn’t helping anyone, but it sure as shit isn’t helping you!)

Because too many people in the entertainment industry, and especially men, end up committing suicide, because they are so goddamn miserable and cannot see a way out.

Tom Neuwirth, on the other hand, did something about his intense pain and unhappiness.

He talked about it in interviews. He got therapy. He re-created his stage persona to be someone he was comfortable with.

And, I don’t know about you, but since WURST has appeared on stage, Tom Neuwirth seems a lot more comfortable in his skin and, most importantly, happy.

And my message to Tom Neuwirth on this is “Well done, you! And never ever ever think you have to be someone you don’t want to be just so people will love you. Because I can guarantee, the vast majority of people around the world who adore you and what you do will always be with you for the ride. Because, even if they didn’t initially realize it, it was never really the outer Conchita they loved, it was always that amazing human being you are inside”.

(**Watching this video at the time, he seemed to me as if he was just going through the motions while feeling absolutely dead inside. Nowadays, thankfully, I don’t see that in him).

6. His music

Once I got over the shock of the disappearance of Conchita and the appearance of WURST, I realized, I love WURST’s music.

In fact, with five songs out from his upcoming new album, I like this new music even more than Conchita’s older work (and I loved that!). Because, to me, it seems more personal.

Lyrics that, if you listen closely, are telling you who he really is and how he feels. And music that is closer to his heart than the pseudo-Celine Dion-esque stuff he used to think he wanted to perform.

7. His artistic vision

To change from a persona like Conchita to one like WURST, and to make it believable, takes a helluva lot of talent.

That Tom Neuwirth has more talent in his little finger than most of us have in our entire being is obvious when you see what he has done with WURST. And, not only that, but how WURST is still changing, growing and becoming even more believable every new time we see him in interview or on stage.

Since discovering Conchita back in 2014, I have always said Tom Neuwirth’s artistic vision is immense. Since WURST appeared, I am even more interested in following this incredible man for many years to come. Because I am fascinated to see what he comes up with next.

And to paraphrase Jacques Patriaque, who I had drinks with last week, and who obviously knows Tom Neuwirth far better than I ever will “He has only shown a quarter of what he is capable of. He is a genius in his artistry, so there is a lot more to come”.

Hallefuckinglujah! And I can’t wait.

8. “Same voice. Same brain. Same heart.” 

Finally, there’s this.

A WURST on stage telling his audience “”Even if I look a little different now, it’s still the same voice, the same brain and the same heart.” (see video below)

And this, it grabbed my heart.

Because look closely as he is speaking.

As, sure, he is trying to act nonchalant. As if he doesn’t care what you think about how he looks, and he’ll go on regardless anyway.

But watch his body language as he speaks. Then as he finishes speaking and bends forward to grab that bottle, and casually swig some water.

And I am telling you, he does care about being accepted for how he looks now and how he behaves. And he does want you to love him. It’s important to him.

Because, for the first time since he was 18, that is Tom Neuwirth up on stage as himself. Not armored up behind make-up, a wig, a corset, a dress and high heels.

Instead, that is Tom Neuwirth, still hiding behind dark glasses sure but, for the first time in years, stripped down, himself and absolutely exposed.

And that, it must be terrifying as hell.

Same voice. Same brain. Same heart.

Yep.

And the same incredibly talented human being who will always give his absolute best in every situation, and who will always work his ass off to get where he wants to get.

So yes, I loved and will always Conchita Wurst. But I love this honest, upfront, real, authentic dude a WHOLE helluva lot more!

Thanks to @Alex Badke for snipping this segment of a video for her Instagram account.

Michelle Topham

Founder/CEO at Leo Sigh
I am a music journalist, a former radio DJ, a left-wing human rights advocate and the founder of Leo Sigh. I am also an avid video game player.
Michelle Topham