Austria's popular bearded lady, Conchita Wurst, won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night in a result that promises to reinforce the tolerant tone the event has sought to strike in recent years.

The victory came following a gradual snowballing of support for the drag queen in the days leading up to the final in Denmark. A polarizing figure, Ms. Wurst attracted a flood of respect for her views on gender and sexuality, but she also became the target of criticism, including from a prominent Russian politician known for holding antigay views.

Following the win, Ms. Wurst said 

"this night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom...we are unity and we are unstoppable."

Ms. Wurst wasn't the only subject of controversy at the 59th Eurovision contest. At many points in the evening, particularly during the voting session that follows official performances, Russia received a chorus of boos, forcing organizers to remind the audience that the event is about love and respect, not politics.


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