IT’S official: Conchita Wurst, the Queen of Austria (and probably Europe), is finally coming to Sydney for Mardi Gras.
For a once-off performance at the Sydney Opera House in March next year, Conchita will take to the stage with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and fellow drag icons, Courtney Act and Trevor Ashley as well as cabaret legend Paul Capsis.
To be invited back to Australia is a huge deal for the world’s most famous bearded drag queen and Eurovision 2014 winner.
“It’s beautiful, I love being here so much. For a European it’s a big deal to not only visit but be invited to Oz and I love that you refer to your country as ‘Oz’,” Conchita told the Star Observer.
“I realised that we in Austria could do the same but seeing as though we don’t say our the country using the English word, maybe we’ll just let you guys have it.”
Conchita has been in Australia for the past few days as part of Adelaide’s Feast Festival — the biggest the city has ever seen.
“Adelaide was amazing and so pretty. We had such an incredible festival opening night show for the Night of Drag where it was just wall to wall drag and I was so impressed by Australian drag queens,” she said.
“Not just because I love meeting other queens but also I’m very nosey because I like to inspect the lashes, check the weaves, examine the dresses, etc.
“I was really impressed by Adelaide especially by the landscape and scenery… every day I got some booze and I tried not to have too much. The wine was so delicious, though.”
She even engaged in the obligatory celebrity hug-a-koala photo op. However, she may have some second thoughts about it.
“I got to cuddle a koala but here, listen, I am one of those people who enjoy wildlife from a safe distance,” she said.
“I’m good with dogs and cats but that’s it. So after some convincing by my friends back home I agreed to hold one and Stephen — the koala — was really nice but was heavy, I have to admit.
“Then he kissed me on the cheek which I found was so cute and everyone was laughing so I asked them why.
“’Oh, they have chlamydia.’ someone said. I thought ‘well, I guess he was still cute’ but I’m good, I’m fine.”
Conchita said she continued to be blown away by the calibre of the Australian drag community.
“I don’t want to upset any of my friends in Europe but Australian queens have the best wigs in the entire world and only one person is responsible for that: Vanity Faire,” Conchita said.
“I unfortunately haven’t met Vanity yet but Courtney Act has been promising me some of her wigs for years and I ain’t seen any on my head ever so something has to be done about that. We will make it happen.”
To finally be able to perform not only during the festival but at the Opera House were two things off her bucket list.
“A venue like the Opera House is the pinnacle venue for a musician and a singer, you just have to be there,” she said.
“Even when I’m 80 and no one cares about me anymore, I’ll still be telling anyone who listens ‘I sung at the Opera House. How dare you not remember me’.”
The Star Observer asked what she thought about the news this week that Australia has been invited back to compete at Eurovision in Stockholm next year.
“Isn’t that just so beautiful and incredible? I love it, I love it, I love it,” Conchita said.
“I was rooting for Australia all the time this year and I was just so excited to hear that the EBU let you guys compete again.
“I really had a feeling you’d be back after seeing how well Guy [Sebastian] did and how much Europe loved you.”
The head of Australia’s delegation this year, Paul Clarke, reportedly wants to go for an even bigger name next year than Guy Sebastian. However, Conchita believes otherwise.
“Now everyone’s coming up with ideas about who it should be and suggestions and I’ve heard some say ‘oh we should send Kylie Minogue’. I’m like ‘uh-uh, I don’t think so’,” she said.
“I know some people have suggested Sia and I just think ‘okay sure, do that, we’ll just get Madonna’. You can’t just get a super megastar like that, it’s not what Eurovision is about.
“I mean it would be amazing to see Sia perform but let’s be honest and judge me if you want but I don’t think that would be a fair competition. She’s just too well known but that’s just my opinion.
“In Europe most of our competing countries hold national competitions to see who they should send. I think it would be great for Australia to think about doing that for next year and please, please invite me over for it and help out. I will be very disappointed if I don’t get an invitation.
“But it’ll be amazing to see what you guys do with your selection process and I’m sure you’ll send someone equally as good as, if not better than Guy. But that’s going to be hard.”