Lena Meyer-Landrut, the darling of the German nation immediately after last year’s Eurovision, is about to defend her title.
A little less than year ago, the entire German nation was in love with an 18-year-old schoolgirl. Fresh, clean, optimistic, cheeky, sassy – there weren’t enough affectionate adjectives to describe Lena Meyer-Landrut, the double-barrelled (h)it-girl who had just won the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Oslo.
Out of the blue, her slightly lippy manner, Joe Cocker dance style, and one-of-a-kind interpretation of ‘Satellite’ bowled over both young and old in the German sing-off and impressed the participating ESC-nations who voted her to the top. A phenomenon! A sensation! Lenamania!
She couldn’t really read notes and her singing abilities were limited but that hardly seemed to matter in the frenzy that followed. Life was one long whirl of Lenamania. A day after Oslo, she signed the Golden Book of her home town Hannover: “Wow! Verdammte Axt, ist das geil! Dankeschönst.” (Wow! Bloody hell, this is wicked! Thanks) and shot to No.1 in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany (again). Even Australia had her in the Top 40. Gigs in many European cities followed, along with interviews in all the big media, live performances on TV, advertising for the new Opel (Vauxhall) Corsa Satellite (named in honour of her victory), and even a Sesame Street Special. Lena was everywhere.
So punchdrunk was Stefan Raab – Lena’s mentor and Germany’s undisputed king of entertainment – with success that he persuaded the organising powers to change the selection rules for this year’s Eurovision. Only one singer (guess who!) was to present an array of 12 songs from which Germany could choose her song for Düsseldorf.
But it seems as if Germany has already had too much of a good thing. Almost overnight, the innocent, authentic novice has turned into the much less interesting defending champion, a little more media-savvy, no longer bright and naughty but nice, but a bit too confident, slightly impertinent, mocking her elders, no longer the princess of pop but a simple teenager with juvenile views. From underdog to overkill – CD sales ebbing away, tour venues less than full: Lena’s life is not so easy.
But fans are fickle. Love, hate and possibly love again – all seems possible when Lena enters the Düsseldorf stage with ‘Taken by a Stranger’ on Saturday. Maybe she’ll be the nation’s sweetheart again? Stranger things have happened!
Watch Lena’s performance at last year’s Eurovision