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Lena faces uphill battle to defend Eurovision title

The Local · 9 May 2011, 11:28

Published: 09 May 2011 11:28 GMT+02:00

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Just 12 months ago, a 19-year-old named Lena became the nation’s darling.

After her surprise first-place finish in the kitschy song contest, Lena Meyer-Landrut was even dubbed "the new face" of Germany. She was praised for her natural and unpretentious manner, supposedly representing a young, relaxed and optimistic generation.

But a year later, Lena-mania has yielded to at least partial disillusionment. She failed to fill most of the concert halls booked for her first national tour and the ratings for the show to pick her song for her second Eurovision appearance were mediocre.

It seems many Germans now find Lena's attempt to defend her title calculating and insincere. But few could have foreseen the adversity the teen currently faces during her meteoric rise in 2010.


As an 18-year-old high school student, Lena auditioned for German entertainer Stefan Raab’s casting show to determine the country’s candidate for Eurovision 2010. She immediately captivated one of the judges on the show, ageing rocker Marius Müller-Westernhagen.

“You have star appeal,” he told Lena then. “The people will love you.”

He was right. Television viewers fell for the bubbly girl from Hannover, and Lena was a Eurovision favourite the moment she set foot in Norway's capital Oslo.

When Lena strode onto the Eurovision stage wearing a simple black dress with dark-red lipstick, the decisive moment came. Her dancing appeared somewhat stiff and uncoordinated, but her voice and girlish smile were enough to win her the hearts and votes of millions. The contest was hers.

Toting a German flag, the singer trotted back onto the stage, speechless, holding her head in disbelief. “This is not real,” she uttered into the microphone, voice trembling.

Back then, at the peak of her popularity, she could do no wrong. Fans worshipped her. President Christian Wulff insisted on greeting her at the airport on her return to Germany. Her single “Satellite” shot to the top of the European charts.

Over the course of the next year, Lena raked in music awards and even ventured into film by voicing a character in an animated film.

But Raab’s hasty declaration in the afterglow of Lena’s victory in Oslo that she would defend her title when Germany hosted the competition in 2011 had a boomerang-like effect. Heavily criticized in some quarters, Lena appeared unfazed at first, but is now just hoping not to be embarrassed.

“I try not to think about it,” she recently said when asked about her chances of repeating her Eurovision victory on May 14 in Düsseldorf.

Story continues below…

Of course, if she leaves the stage a two-time contest winner, she will silence her critics forever. But if she falters, as many seem to think she will, her image could suffer a fatal blow as the magic of Oslo is irrevocably lost.

Still, she hadn't entirely lost her plucky nature after practising her new number “Taken by a Stranger” on Saturday.

“I think it will be a great performance,” she said.

DAPD/The Local/adn

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Your comments about this article

14:32 May 9, 2011 by iseedaftpeople
well I have found Lena annoying from day one. With her silly song "Satellite", sung in her unique... ahem... eclectic accent...

I'm not surprised her concerts have failed to draw sizeable crowds...
14:54 May 9, 2011 by MrJones321
"Her dancing appeared somewhat stiff and uncoordinated" -- and still does, music videos can't even fix it. She has nothing to say and little good material to sing. So why would someone go to a concert? Raab never backed anybody interesting, just what serves hype that's a hint already.
14:59 May 9, 2011 by MrBowlocks
She should try not being rubbish. It will enable her to stand out from the crowd, but is probably against the rules of the contest.
22:37 May 9, 2011 by dcgi
Most know that you either love or loathe Lena, but for my money it's a pretty nigh on impossible task to win 2 years on the trot, so I don't expect she will, but I'm sure she'll do Germany proud with a respectable result (the song could be a lot worse).

What you can't deny though is that she's found a niche and made good on it, while also being quite down to earth and not turning into one of these fame obsessed ego-manics labels like to cookie cut these days.

The other question as well being, does Germany even want to win? If so it's a bunch of money to have to pump into the hosting the event next year :-S
11:49 May 10, 2011 by ame64
Her song last year was ok even tough the british accent was totally over done. Her song this year would be great if you wanted to sell sleeping tablets.

Last year there was a Lena hype, this year she will go down in flames.
15:42 May 10, 2011 by Lisa Rusbridge
From the standpoint of music and lyrics I can't imagine this type of music having much more appeal than to a 'tween' or teen age group at the latest. It may appeal to someone in the college-age category, but even then I can't really see that.

Her voice as well as accent is odd. It's sort of a German-British staccato clicking style that's hard to listen to for very long. Her pronunciation is also strange, too. One strong example of it is the word "can't. -- I wasn't sure what was happening there. If she wants to perform in English why can't she use her natural German accent? I think it would sound better than the accent alphabet soup she has going on now.
22:21 May 10, 2011 by charlenej
No one outside of Germany has any idea who Lena or Stefan Raab are. That about sums it up.
09:44 May 11, 2011 by Ami-In-DE
I also find her accent odd, unique, yet kind of cute. Most Germans are taught 'Oxford English' in school. But Lena's is some sort of warped Cockney accent...strange. She's a cute girl, with a nice down-to-earth personality. So since she's not Lady Gaga-esque eccentric and can't sing and can't dance...she will crash and burn eventually. And she'll survive after her '15 minutes of fame'.
17:05 May 11, 2011 by Gwaptiva
Small correction: IIRC, she was greeted at the airport by Christian Wulf, the prime minister of Niedersachsen (her home state) and not by Christan Wulf, the German President...
12:30 May 12, 2011 by AlanDEUS
I don't expect her to cruise to victory either - not with that song they're making her sing. It sounds like she is whispering the introduction to a song, but it never takes off! She never gets loud, the tempo never picks up, and where is the catchy tune? That's what you'll hear in the top half of the entries. I'm afraid Lena's song won't be found there. Too bad though; she's got a cute personality otherwise and maybe one day she really might sing on-key.
17:47 May 13, 2011 by Leo Danial
Hi dear new friends in Germany

Lena is one of the worst singers ever!

Her charisma & stage presence is almost zero or null!

I don't know how she won last year ... even me, I was admiring her like the rest of the fools in the EU.

She is uncomparable to Alezander Raybak at all!

How can Germany let her be its representative for the second year in a row ... Maybe this can explain why the Germans elected Adolf Hitler in the first place!

This year Lena's song is unbelievably bad compared to last year's song ... were the audience hypnotized or drunk?

This is one of the best ESC in many years with many lovely songs from different countries ... a great nation like Germany should have done better in finding a better talent than acting lazy and repeating last year experience!

But maybe after all I should believe my German friend when he says ... German songs suck big time!

Auf Wiedersehen meine lieben Freunde in Deutschland

03:45 May 15, 2011 by FredFinger
Since when did the art of music become an olympic sport? Eurovision song contests are the very definition of silly and trite. Talk about appealing to the lowest common denominator...
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