Britain's Eurovision Song Contest hopefully Molly Smitten-Downes could only reach a 17th place finish, with Austria's "bearded lady" Conchita Wurst finishing the clear winner.

Conchita elicited huge cheers from the crowd as she took the stage in a fitted gown, and her trademark facial hair, before delivering an accomplished performance of her song Rise Like A Phoenix.

Conchita Wurst, representing Austria, performs the song "Rise Like a Phoenix". Credit: REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

But it was not to be for the 27-year-old British singer-songwriter on the night.

The UK contestant Molly only managed a 17th place finish for her song, Children of the Universe:

Despite the loss, her performance will go some way to easing memories of Britain's poor run of form in the competition in recent years.

Watch: Conchita Wurst's winning song 'Rise like a Phoenix'

It is estimated the 2014 competition was watched by 180 million viewers across 45 countries.

After securing her victory, Conchita said:

This award is dedicated to everybody who believes in a world of peace and freedom. You know who you are - we are unity and we are unstoppable.

Conchita Wurst sings for Austria and claims the coveted prize. Credit: REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

She went on to secure her victory with three rounds to spare eventually accumulating 290 points.

Read more: Austria's Conchita Wurst wins the Eurovision song contest