By Johnny Cotton
PARIS (Reuters) - Bearded Eurovision queen Conchita Wurst, who found fame in the 2014 version of the singing competition, brings her distinctive brand of sexy to the famous Parisian cabaret club the Crazy Horse next month.
Alongside a bevy of topless burlesque dancers - sporting little more than fake beards in one number in Wurst's honor - the Austrian singer will perform for a week in the theater located on the posh Avenue George V off the Champs-Elysees.
On the playlist is her Eurovision-winning hit "Rise Like a Phoenix". In another, she belts out Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" while poured into a silver minidress designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, the dancers behind her wearing only shiny silver bell-bottoms and suspenders.
When first approached by the Crazy Horse, Wurst - whose real name is Tom Neuwirth - said the prospect sounded intimidating.
"I visited the show and I was like, 'I'm not good enough, I'm not sexy enough, I don't move that well, you know. I'm just a singer'," she told Reuters TV at a preview.
"And now ... it feels quite good. It's a match."
The cabaret founded in 1951 is renowned for its sexy shows and guest stars including burlesque star Dita Von Teese and TV star Pamela Anderson.
Each year, the club goes through 2,500 pairs of stockings, 500 liters of body makeup, and 300 red lipsticks, according to the management. The 255-seat theater is equipped with plush red velvet booths, each with its own illuminated champagne bucket.
"I love being a woman on stage, and I'm not a biological woman, so this is something special in the first place, that I'm the first 'special lady' in this show," said Wurst.
"I really feel comfortable being a lady on the stage, but ... this kind of sexiness is something different. I mean they're real women (on stage), you know what I mean? So I really have to find also this side of my female character."
Since winning Eurovision in Copenhagen in May, openly-gay Wurst has spoken on a number of gender and sexuality issues, performing at the European Parliament earlier in the month in support of an initiative to fight homophobia.
She is also set to meet U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and give a performance in Austria next week but plays down her high-profile political interventions.
"For me it would be great that people would just accept the way you are, you know? If they focus on your character and if they focus on what you do, that would be great," she said. "There are more 'different' people out there than you think."
(Writing by Alexandria Sage; editing by Mark John)