Lena Meyer-Landrut is on track to be more than just a Eurovision star
With its dubious novelty hits, bizarre titles and singers who sink without trace after amassing ‘nul points’ – and that’s just the British entrants – the Eurovision Song Contest is not noted for its enduring contributions to pop.
There are exceptions, of course. Abba launched a glittering career after winning with Waterloo in 1974, and Celine Dion (a French-Canadian singing for Switzerland) warbled her way to victory and global super-stardom in 1988.
Finnish hard rockers Lordi added something different four years ago with monster masks and pyrotechnics.
Now there is Lena Meyer-Landrut, an insouciant 19-year-old German who emerged as an emphatic winner – as the Germans are tending to do this summer – at this year’s contest in Oslo.
A Hanover student who was still doing the equivalent of her A-levels in April, Lena triumphed five weeks ago with Satellite, a raucous pop track sung in heavily accented English.
Performing in front of a TV audience of 124 million, her charisma and easy charm provided a welcome relief from her well-drilled rivals.
‘ I used to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, but I wasn’t a fan,’ she admits. ‘The show wasn’t liked in Germany. It was seen as old-fashioned – something for grandma and grandpa.
‘When they chose me to sing, they were trying to make it more fun for young people. But I didn’t use pyrotechnics or dancers. I didn’t even take it too seriously. I just enjoyed myself.’
In tight jeans and a casual top, dark-haired Lena doesn’t draw as much as a second glance from passersby when we meet for a coffee in London’s Holland Park.
If a similar scene were being played out in Berlin or Cologne, the reaction would be different . A national heroine in her homeland, Lena was greeted with street parties, fireworks and 40,000 fans when she returned home to Hanover as the country’s first Eurovision winner in 28 years.
Now she is aiming to make an impact in the UK with a debut album, My Cassette Player, which earmarks her as a Teutonic equivalent of British singers such as Kate Nash and Adele.
Speaking In perfect English, she says: ‘When I was auditioning for Eurovision, I sang Kate Nash’s Foundations and Mouth Wash. I also did an Adele song. I can sing those songs, as I’m the same age as those girls.’
Like her female idols, the sweet yet quietly determined Lena is no media-trained pop puppet, despite her Eurovision springboard.