Conchita Wurst at Sanremo: Bigots, Divas, an Iron Will and a Stunning Dress (Video)


Special noteThe Rai video of Conchita Wurst performing at Sanremo, unfortunately, is set up by them to play automatically and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I recommend going to the bottom of the page and hitting ‘pause’ until you’ve had time to read the article. So sorry.

You know how, very occasionally, you start to watch a singer perform and within the first few seconds of the song your whole body tingles and every nerve is at its most heightened? That happened to me during Conchita Wurst’s performance of ‘Heroes‘, at Italy’s Sanremo festival last night.

Because, while I’ve been saying for weeks Conchita Wurst’s stage presence, once stiff and uncertain, has suddenly become mesmerizing, last night she outdid even herself. Again.

Which, in retrospect, could be thought of as surprising. After all, Conchita was the target of bigots over the last couple of weeks. Bigots who bombarded the Italian broadcaster, Rai, with messages saying they were “boycotting Sanremo” due to the invitation extended to Conchita to sing.

And, while Conchita reacted in her usual way, by not reacting at all (which shows how incredibly smart and savvy she really is), you can still imagine it must have been a bit nerve-wracking for her as she arrived at Sanremo yesterday.

Come on, you’d have to have nerves of steel not to be pushed even slightly off-kilter if you know people are so vocally against you, and are saying some truly terrible things.

Especially when you are as sensitive, sweet and innocent as Conchita Wurst is. (And, yes, as much as she’s gone through some pretty awful things in her life and so has had to ‘toughen up’, and as much as she comes off as oh so mature, she also has, at her core, an endearing childlike innocence you can see, if you look. It’s why so many people love her).

But this is what I love about Conchita Wurst, and what that spectacular performance at Sanremo yesterday was all about. That girl, she has an iron will. And no matter what happens to her, or what people do or say, she is completely focused on what is important to her. Singing, her career, and giving a stage performance people will adore.

But what is also mixed in there is a stubborness. And, oh yes, she’s one of the most stubborn people I’ve ever come across. Because, while that performance last night was spectacular, because that’s what a true artist like Conchita wants it to be, it was also spectacular because she was shoving herself right into the faces of all those Italian bigots. Telling them, “You can say whatever you want. But you’ll never stop me”. And I know that for a fact. Because it was coming off her in waves.

As for the performance. It’s in the video below, and this is what you are looking for.

Her eye contact with you, the viewer. It’s intense. It’s dramatic. And it takes your breath.

The way her body and her arms move. Like liquid.

The way she looks down, in a coy, shy way that makes you think “Awwwwww”, and then comes back at you with those dramatic eyes and that intense look that hits you in the heart.

Those incredible high notes she hits. And hits. And hits. And hits.

That almost religious way she flings both arms out to the side and then slowly raises them and lowers them. Like wings. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen her do on stage. And I watch it again and again.

And her body language. The most beautiful, most feminine woman you’ve ever seen. And the strongest, most powerful man. Truly extraordinary.

As for that stunning gown. It’s yet another from Austrian designer JCHOERL — who by now, is my favorite designer on the planet, and one whom Conchita wears often. That soft blue delicately patterned barely-there bodice matched with the long, flowing midnight blue skirt is nothing short of perfection. And she? She looks like the world’s most powerful diva in it.

To repeat the wonderful Andi Knoll’s Eurovision finals night comment about Conchita Wurst, “In your face, haters”.

Now, shoo. Go watch Conchita Wurst sing at Sanremo. Again and again and again. She really is that mesmerizing.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered anime, manga, K-drama and music news for over a decade.