ESC 2010 Reviews: Germany
Ok, remember what I said a few entries back about Finland being the country that would try anything once, even if their adventurous song choices didn’t normally translate to success on the scoreboard? Well, they might have been taking their lessons from Germany. Despite a total of 53 entries since 1956, they’ve only chalked up a single victory, in 1982. While many of their entries have tended towards traditional “schlager“-pop (with composer Ralph Siegel behind the helm of 14 entries between 1974 and 2003), Germany has occasionally veered towards the offbeat, unexpected, and even hilarious (even if the hilarity wasn’t quite intended).
Possibly the most famous of these ESC-based German Freak-Outs was “Dschingis Khan“, served up back in 1979. Believe it or not, this actually made it to 4th place in Jerusalem, and the band (conveniently also named “Dschingis Khan”) lives on in internet-based infamy. Check out their song “Moskau”, especially with misheard lyrics (not quite safe for work or children, depending on how sensitive they are…). The weirdness continued the next year with Katja Ebstein’s “Theater“, with its heavy use of singing mimes (although, isn’t that a bit of a contradiction?). Odder still, ESC voters lapped it up, and “Theater” came in second place that year.
After putting the offbeat on hiatus for a few years, Germany sent Guildo Horn and the Orthopedic Stockings to the 1998 Contest with “Guildo Hat Euch Lieb (Guildo Loves You All)“. The performance somehow incorporated cowbells, turquoise velvet clothing, and vague molestation of the viewers sitting in the first two rows…and it placed a more than respectable 7th place! Two years later, German television personality Stefan Raab, who had written “Guildo Hat Euch Lieb”, decided to strike out on his own with “Wadde Hadde Dudde Da?”, which is sort of a nonsensical, baby-talk way to say “Whaddaya Got There?”. Raab, like Guildo before him, embraced the lunacy of the situation with both arms (and a pair of badass platform boots), and ended up with a 5th place finish, their most recent top-5 placing, in fact.
After Guildo and Stefan, Germany decided to cool it with the outright comedy for a while, but they still experimented with unexpected genres. In 2006, they selected Australian-born singer Jane Comerford and her band Texas Lightning to bring country music to the Eurovision stage for the first time with their song “No No Never”, coming in 14th place. They tried Rat-Pack-inspired big band the next year with Roger Cicero’s “Frauen Regier’n Die Welt (Women Rule The World)“, but their scores dipped even lower, coming in 19th. Last year, Germany decided to blend swing with burlesque and came up with “Miss Kiss Kiss Bang“, a song that was only redeemed by the sporadic appearance of Dita von Teese and her impossibly tiny waist. Not even a semi-celebrity in a corset could save “Miss Kiss”, and they stayed in 20th place.
So, what do you do when you find yourself languishing in the bottom half of the scoreboard for longer than is comfortable? Well, Germany called Stefan Raab again, of course! He helped set up a national preselection process and sat as head of the jury. After weeks of competition, who got the golden ticket to Oslo?
At first, I wondered what was up with Lena Meyer-Landrut’s accent while she was singing “Satellite”. After years of listening to German singers in the ESC singing in English, nobody has had an affectation quite like Lena’s. Then, after hearing the song through, I realized that she was mimicking the sort of British accent you hear from singers like Kate Nash or Lily Allen. It’s a bit odd to hear Mockney coming out of a girl from Hanover, but Lena pulls it off with such an endearingly adorable awkwardness that it’s hard not to fall for her. Unlike other recent ESC submissions from Germany, “Satellite” has actually made it to the pop charts in her native country, smashing records for digital downloads. Within a week of the song’s release, it was certified gold, and made platinum only three weeks later. She’s also hit #2 in Switzerland and Austria (which is even more impressive considering that Austria isn’t even competing in this year’s Eurovision), and has even cracked the Top 10 on the European Hot 100 Singles charts, which covers 15 nations all over the continent. On the official Eurovision page on Youtube, Lena leads all of the other ESC preview videos in terms of view count, with over 3.4 million views as of last count. (In contrast, Serbia’s video, which is in 2nd place, only has about 600,000.)
Keep in mind that before February 2, nobody knew this girl’s name.
As a writer, even as a complete amateur who’s only really writing this blog for her own enjoyment, I feel it’s my duty to stay impartial and unbiased. That being said, “Satellite” is a fun, catchy, upbeat, simply adorable number that has obviously made a massive impact on the European market already. Considering that Germany (like France, the UK, Spain, and Norway) already has a pass to the Finals, and that Lena will be performing close to the end of the roster, this might be the one to beat in Oslo.
I don’t know about you all, but I’m probably going to have this stuck in my head for a while.