Eurovision brings German joy amid euro doubts


19-year-old Lena Meyer-Landrut's victory in the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo on Saturday (29 May) brought some much-needed hope and joy to Germany at a time when Germans are fretting about the future of the euro, a fresh round of budget cuts and the cost of the Greek rescue.

Meyer-Landrut's song 'Satellite' beat 24 other acts from across Europe to romp home in first place.

Lena's 246 points were enough to secure Germany only its second-ever Eurovision title ahead of second-placed Turkish act maNga with 170 points, and Ovi & Paula Seling of Romania in third (162 points).

Pre-contest favourites Azerbaijan managed only fifth position, while this year's ranking was propped up by the United Kingdom with a measly 10 points.

This year's competition – which saw 39 countries take part in initial heats before being whittled down to 25 for Saturday's final – took place against a backdrop of political division and resentment in Europe, with voters in large eurozone member states like Germany growing increasingly bitter at having to bail out debt-ridden Greece.

Indeed, public anger over Angela Merkel's decision to aid Athens played a decisive role in her centre-right coalition's defeat in a key state vote earlier this month, which deprived the German chancellor of her majority in parliament's upper house (EURACTIV 10/05/10).

"Lena has, in her own special way, won over not only Germany but the whole of Europe," Lutz Marmov, director of German public broadcaster NDR, is quoted by the International Herald Tribune as saying.

The economic downturn even affected this year's Eurovision, with some countries – including regulars Hungary, Andorra, the Czech Republic and Montenegro – having to pull out of the event after the cost of participating proved prohibitive.

Christian Wulff, leader of Lower Saxony, was on hand in Lena's hometown of Hanover to give the teenager the red carpet treatment on her return, whisking her to the city's main square where she was feted by cheering crowds.

Her victory was watched by 18,000 spectators in Oslo's Telenor Arena and an audience of millions watching at home on TV and online. 

Asked how she felt about winning, 2010 Eurovision victor Lena Meyer-Landrut replied: "I am shocked, and I am very happy, it is so much to think about, I am so grateful in fact I am completely freaking out. Winning is a gut feeling, but it is not everything. It is awesome, but it is not life, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can".

Svante Stockselius, executive director of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), whose member countries all participate in Eurovision, paid tribute to host broadcaster NRK's production of the event.

"We are very pleased with the NRK production. The new ideas of the NRK team and the execution of those ideas really brought the Eurovision Song Contest to a new level. NRK produced three world-class entertainment shows, which shows how the Eurovision Song Contest sets new standards for live entertainment," Stockselius said.  

The Eurovision Song Contest, held annually among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956, making it one of the longest-running TV programmes in the world. 

The EBU serves 86 national media organisations from 56 countries in and around Europe.

It broadcasts news, sports, events and music – including the song contest final - to homes in Europe and beyond through its Eurovision and Euroradio networks.

This year's Eurovision Song Contest was held in Oslo following Norway's victory in the 2009 edition.

Winners were chosen by a mixture of national juries from each of the 39 participating countries (50%) and television viewers at home (50%).   

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