With his English-language song Hunter of Stars, Sebalter, a 28-year-old fiddler and singer-songwriter from Ticino, achieved the best Swiss result in the song competition since 2005.
Sebalter, whose real name is Sebastiano Pau-Lessi, surprised observers by becoming only the fourth Swiss artist to qualify for the Eurovision finals since 2004.
But the star of the night was Austria’s controversial singer Wurst, who ended up with 290 points after the voting by a jury and viewers, ahead of The Common Linnets from the Netherlands (238 points) in second place and Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen (218 points).
The trans-gender Wurst, a 25-year-old otherwise known as Thomas Neuwirth, triumphed with Rise Like a Phoenix, reminiscent of a James Bond theme song.
Wearing a gold gown and sporting a black beard, “the bearded lady” sparked controversy by entering the competition, with petitions from some eastern European countries calling for a boycott of Wurst’s video on the internet.
But Wurst was not the first transgender performer in the Eurovision contest, with that honour going to Israel’s “Dana” in 1998.