You may have heard of Eurovision. Lena won.
If you don’t know what that is, allow me to enlighten you: the Eurovision song contest is a huge, well, song contest in which European countries each send a singer or group to compete in rounds. Winners are ultimately picked by people at home calling in and voting after seeing performances of each of the 30 or so acts that passed to the finals. The catch is that people can’t vote for the representative of their own country, which means that voting tends to be a little political along ethnic and social commonalities and certain amount of blandness is therefore necessary in order to please everyone and angle for as many votes as possible from nationally-sympathetic voters.
To that end, the music could generally be described as American 80’s- 90’s pop, with a few exceptions. High points for vaguely ethnic-looking (not TOO ethnic, though!) brunettes with extensions.
Germany usually places well in Eurovision but hasn’t won in a good long time; this year, perhaps, Deutschland had enough social capital that showing up with a self-aware, slightly awkward but accessibly cute 19-year old brunette with a strange accent with origins somewhere between Hannover, Johannesburg and Belfast pushed them over the edge to victory. Snatched from total obscurity three months ago (and not chosen, obviously, for her vocal prowess or stage deportment) and groomed by Stefan Raab in the intervening time to fulfill his dreams vicariously, Lena (whose grandfather was Estonian, btw) is a perfect avatar of the hopes and dreams of today where every single man, woman, and child with access to a reality casting call is owed their 15 minutes of fame at some point or other. Lena did what every average underachiever with hopes of grandeur sitting on a couch and eating chips (again) and smoking a fag somewhere in Europe or the US thinks they could do, too. Which is to say: not much.
Lena presented a catchy tune, and I liked it, actually.
But it is a little odd that the girl… who can’t sing, can’t dance, has no training and very little stage presence beyond her natural charm as a goofy self-aware teenager, didn’t appear with any sort of act or choreographed back up group or anything at all, and presented a song other people wrote and chose for her (and I’m not really sure she even knows what she’s really singing about, it’s so totally without irony)… won the biggest singing contest in Europe… I mean, isn’t it? Or am I being a party pooper?