Maybe it’s because I’m a writer but, since I first heard about Conchita Wurst, I’ve noticed I’m not like many other people when it comes to her. I don’t shove her on a pedestal and call her ‘perfect’ (sorry, but I see the real person beneath all that exterior ‘stuff’).
And when it comes to seeing her on TV, I spend as much time analyzing her body language, and what she says, as I do watching her performance. After all, while she is as real as you and me, even though she has this ability to not physically exist, which I certainly don’t, she’s also an incredible work of art. That I admire more than anything.
So, I come to last night’s Die Jahresrückblickshow, an Austrian TV show that looks back on the most important events of 2014. A show for which, of course, Conchita Wurst winning Eurovision for Austria was one of its most important events.
Conchita herself was given a sizable segment of the show; a segment during which she sang two songs (‘Rise Like a Phoenix‘ and ‘Heroes‘), was surprised with a platinum disc for ‘Rise‘, (lovely that) and was interviewed briefly about her year.
But it was her song performances I was most struck by, and for a particular reason.
During concerts Conchita Wurst has given since Eurovision, one thing has always stuck out for me. Her tendency to be a little bit stiff on stage. A stiffness in the hips women rarely have, but something quite common with men. A stiffness she never had in interviews or other public appearances, but one that almost always appeared when she was performing.
From those two performances last night, plus Conchita’s performance of ‘Heroes‘ in Malta during their Eurovision national selection event, I see a remarkable change in her stage presence. And I put it down to Paris. Because, whereas before she moved self-consciously when up on stage, now, after Crazy Horse, she moves more like a dancer. And her hips? A beautiful fluidity she’s never had.
As for her actual performances at Die Jahresrückblickshow, I’ve rarely seen better.
In ‘Rise‘ she entered the stage as gorgeously as Pink from her 2010 Grammy performance, and as soon as she walked down those stairs, my first thought was “Girl’s got her Glitter on’.
And, yep, she was quite mesmerizing, with a stage presence that’s so settled in her she’s never going to lose it. It’s the difference between sitting on top of a performance and doing it justice, and inhabiting every single nuance of it. Conchita now does the latter.
As for ‘Heroes, her new single and a song I just love, from the minute you see her center herself before she starts to sing, she’s phenomenal.
Watch her facial expressions, and you know she’s feeling every emotion of that song. See how smoothly she now moves. No more slightly self-conscious arm movements. No more stiffly holding herself with her left hand like she always did.
Instead, everything flows from that signature hand on her abdomen, with a touch that seems so much lighter and less tense than before, to the most beautiful hand gestures (well, she has the most beautiful hands), and then on.
In just a few weeks, she’s gone from almost perfect performance if she could just get rid of that stiffness, to what she achieved back in Bad Mitterndorf during a soundcheck in front of a handful of people. A performance that is so incredibly genuine, you know she’s literally breathing that song.
As for her voice, it has matured to such an extent and she has such control over it, she might have been amazing at Eurovision but, honestly, nothing like this.
So I watched Conchita Wurst on Die Jahresrückblickshow, and I thought “Hard to see how she can get better than this”. The amazing thing is, though, she will.
Because even though she has literally become that diva she always wanted to be, I know she’ll spend the next few years out-diva-ing her own diva. She’s just that kind of person.
And that’s one of many reasons why I’m always going to be fascinated by Conchita Wurst, as few people like her exist. I wouldn’t have it any other way.