Monday, May 31, 2010

Deutschland liebt Lena

[ Germany loves Lena ]

I haven't really covered anything about German television this year - there is probably a reason. Actually I barely watch any of it, and when I do... well it isn't that great. I have watched the news with Inge and Andreas, or watched an occasional episode of the never ending Krimi [ Crime drama ] Tatort on a Sunday night with Andreas, but I never really watch anything by myself. [ Anything considered "good" on German television is a dubbed American show...]

One show that I have seen some of was the incredibly lame, but guilty pleasure of "Deutschland sucht ein Superstar" along with Hans and friends this past winter when I lived with his family for a few weeks. It was everything bad about American Idol, but the show, translated to "Germany searches for a Superstar" was terrible, and seemed to have no shame in showcasing it [ bad costumes, terrible singing, back up dancers, one guy singing the YMCA in total seriousness in the semi finals... ]

There was another singing show that was on TV that I began to notice in magazines around town. This was for "Unser star für Oslo" [ Our star for Oslo ] which was a talent search to find the next German vocal talent to represent the country in Oslo, Norway for the Eurovision contest.

Now, most Americans have never heard of the Eurovision contest, and a few might vaguely remember it from my blog in Finland. That is where I learned about the contest, since the band Lordi claimed its fame from this competition, thus bringing the contest to Helsinki the following year. The concept of the contest is simple. Each country in Europe [ and it reaches out to far east Europe and even Baltic states - and Isreal ] sends an act to perform in the contest. Normally the songs are very pop or dance oriented, and largely sung in English and French [ and rarely, but often to my enjoyment, in the native language]. The contest has gone on for decades now, meant initially to reunite Europe in a singing contest, but now the show is a big cheezy glitz show, which is also why many still love it.

The acts are over the top, with dancers and flashing lights, and often the songs are terrible. Here is the catch however. Callers to vote cannot vote for their own country. This results in countries sending their "points" out for other nation's performers. It is almost political in the way the commentators analyze how different countries vote to delegate their points. The winning country is not only the star of Europe for the year in the pop scene, but they also bring the contest to their home country the next year [ thus meaning that Norway won last year, which is why it is in Oslo now - the tourism bonus of this contest is now very apparent ].

Anyways, I have not been following TV that much, including the lackluster German pop scene, but I began to notice this one innocent-enough German girl popping up all over the place. Lena Meyer-Landrut is a German singer that won "Unser star für Oslo" with a catchy love song sung with a unique British English accent. She ultimately became Germany's sweethart, coming from Hanover, and now representing the country as a symbol for the generation.

The other night I was at a house party along with Moritz, mingling with the crowd, and on every television in the house was this Eurovision contest. I guess it is a pretty big event here. Every country performed, some with over the top smiles and costumes, and others belting out ballads. Lena proved to be a continental favorite, since her votes from other countries flowed into a landslide victory. I guess I - in a way - just witnessed a small part of German pop history. The young singer won the contest, and will bring the festivities to Germany next year [ which will most definitely be a hugely publicized event in some German city known for their huge parties and festivities that I will be missing out on this time next year ].

The song is nothing spectacular, but has already flooded the airwaves. I have caught up with the excitement in the news the past few days, and this girl really is beloved by her country. A little innocent, a little sassy with a tattoo on her arm, simple beauty with her brown hair and eyes, Germany is declaring her a symbol of the nation and generation and even the top newspapers have evaluated her as an important figure for the German pop scene. After all, 20 years after the fall of the wall [ I know I mention it a lot on this blog, but that is only because you read about it all the time here in Germany - it is an event that is a reference almost always ] and this girl represents a generation that is just of age after this landmark event for Germany. It is so interesting that I figured it was worth writing about, since defining where Germany stands as a culture - especially a youth culture - is still an on going search, and Lena may be a new poster child for the movement.