By: Vickie J. Rubinson
Germany's Lena Meyer-Landrut won the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest with the catchy pop song "Satellite," edging out Turkey and Romania as the continent put aside its financial woes for a night of musical exuberance.
It was Germany's second win in the songfest's 55-year history and the victory means it will host next year's contest.
Meyer-Landrut, who turned 19 during the competition in Norway, won 246 points in the voting Saturday by a panel of judges and telephone votes from fans in the 39 participating countries.
With her laid-back and self-effacing style, the young singer has attained huge popularity in Germany. Her winning song debuted at Number One in the German charts and became the country's fastest-selling digital release.
Thousands of Germans gathered to watch the event broadcast on video screens in town squares or at special Lena parties across the country.
"I had never been very interested in the Eurovision Song Contest, but with lovely Lena, things have changed," said 18-year-old Simon Zeler who started an Internet-based Lena fan club earlier this year. More than 2,000 fans have joined Zeler's internet chat forum since it was launched in February, with nearly 30,000 comments posted about the singer.
"I was surprised by the interest in Lena and totally overwhelmed by her win on Saturday," Zeler added.
"I'm so happy and so thankful and so grateful and I never thought we could do this," Lena said, covering her face with a German flag and looking bewildered, asked: "Do I have to sing now?"
The contest is known for over-the-top costumes, lighting and set designs. One notable semitfinal outfit--tight silver sparkly shorts--was worn by the male singers in Lithuania's InCulto group and contestants from Romania had plumes of fire in the backround of their set.
For many Germans, Lena's win was an opportunity to celebrate a modern form of national pride.
"National identity has lost its...threatening component, it can now be articulated in a more stressless manner," said Tilman Alert, a professor at the University of Frankfurt. "For a long time, the display of a national identity was accompanied by shame in Germany. Maybe other countries will now say: You don't have to fear Germany any longer."