Conchita Wurst: One Centimeter Away From Bassey

conchita wurst believe


I’m obsessing about Shirley Bassey. Or more to the point, about Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst and how she is one centimeter away from being just as good as that famous British diva. And all because of a video I ‘gave’ Conchita this morning of a performance and a song I think is beautiful.

So, where is my head going today, as I try to get my mind around the endless fascination that is Conchita Wurst?

Today it’s all about stage presence and how, if she could just relax a little more and push herself past her need to be perfect on stage, she really would be magic. As good as Bassey, you ask? There’s no doubt in my mind.

Nervous? Who, me?

Of course, when you ask Conchita Wurst if she’s ever nervous on stage, you’ll get back the ‘acceptable’ reply:

“I used to be pretty excited and nervous until I realized this was rather fear… and that’s not so great. That’s why I taught myself to be focused and concentrated on what I know and what I can do well and walk through schedules etc. If you’d like to put this on a level with being in a dither… well, no I actually I am not. I am focused!” (video here – and ignore the fact she sounds like she’s never going to be able to breath again – she had a cold).

At which point my Bullshit Meter (apologies, Conchita) is ringing so loud, it’s about to wake the neighbors. After all, there’s a huge difference between ‘focused’ and ‘nervous’ and — she’s not stupid, she knows it.

Of course, she’s focused. That’s one of the things I love about her. But nervous? Yes. She absolutely is —  as is every other person who ever walks out on a stage.

But the difference between Conchita Wurst and someone like my other obsession — Pink? Pink lets her fear spur her to greater heights (see video here). Conchita Wurst sometimes lets hers knock her off balance. (But not always, and less frequently now as before, because at Landler Kirtag (video) and at Trachtenpärchenball (video) she was fabulous).

Then when you throw in a crowd who so obviously adores her they’re figuratively lying prostrate at her feet, she sometimes seems to have a hard time keeping her emotions together enough to be able to get through her song.

Look at Manchester Pride (video below). An event that was probably one of the ones where, after Eurovision, she received the most love. That love seemed to knock her off kilter so much, her voice wavered at the beginning of the song and, at one point, it appeared she had to turn her back on the audience in an attempt to compose herself.

To be as relaxed and sublime as Bassey on stage and, therefore, just as good (because she already has the voice for it), that’s what she has to get over. The need to always be perfect, as her emotions get the best of her the minute she’s not. And, of course, the ability to be able to accept the love.

And now I jump in with both feet

So, being the one with the big mouth who loves her, imperfections and all, I’m forcing myself to say this.

Conchita, that perfection you always seem to be striving for and are beating yourself up about when you don’t get it —  it doesn’t exist. Besides, if it did, none of us would really want it. We just want real.

As for that love everyone is throwing at you, because we adore you so much – well, it’s supposed to lift you up —  and not demolish you.

That love is supposed to make you feel like you can do anything — because you can. That love is supposed to make you believe you’re a person who is worth something (you always were and you know that). And that love is supposed to push you over the edge, and away from nerves, and make you feel like you can fly (and, no, I’m not doing that crap phoenix reference again).

So the next time you’re up on that stage, remember what I’m telling you.

Perfect? We don’t want it. We just want you up there happy, relaxed, having fun and enjoying the moment. And —  to accept the love. Because……that’s when you’ll hit Bassey.


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.