Euro’s New Vision: A Satellite of Love


This week, everyone in Germany is probably wearing new blue underwear; or at least, they are singing about it:

I went everywhere for you
I even did my hair for you
I bought new underwear they’re blue
and I wore ‘em them just the other day

This is the best news Angela Merkel has had in weeks: Germany won. Not only that, it took the granddaughter of a former West German ambassador to the Soviet Union to bring home a prize.

Lena Meyer-Landrut and her song, Satellite, has won the Eurovision Song Contest. The recently-turned nineteen year-old, Meyer-Landrut was in the middle of taking her high school exams when the contest began. Thirty-nine countries entered a song, twenty-five made the final round, ten million votes were cast, and one hundred and twenty-five million watched Germany come out on top.

The contest, which is usually completely over the top in costumes and imbecilic songs, was started in in 1956 by Marcel Bezencon, director of European Broadcasting Union, to unify European cultural fans around a common event. The first Eurovision contest took place in Lugano with seven nations competing. (Switzerland won with Refrain by Lys Assia.)

Often, the stranger the act and the weirder the song title, the better the chance to win. After all, who can forget Boom-Bang-a-Bang (Britain, 1969), DiggiLoo DiggiLey, (Sweden, 1984); A Ba Ni Bi, (Israel, 1978) and Ding a Dong, (Netherlands, 1975), or Germany’s big hit a decade ago (2000), Wadde Hadde Dudde Da? Satellite certainly not only sounds better, but is a lot less embarrassing.

For a Euro-pride event, strangely enough, songs sung in English have won twenty-three times. Volare, originally Domenico Modugno’s Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu, is the most covered song in Eurovision history. Still, ABBA’s 1974 winning Waterloo, with glittering costumes, did more than anything to make this contest the go-to smirk-and-fun event that it is today.

For the high-minded, there’s the Venn diagram analysis in a scholarly journal article, Comparison of Eurovision Song Contest Simulation with Actual Results Reveals Shifting Patterns of Collusive Voting Alliances; for the ironically-minded, there’s the Hell Has Frozen Over greeting to Finland’s victory by Finland’s own national newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat.

Still, at a time when many American sports team crown themselves “World Champions”, even if they have only played against teams from 34 states and a few cities in Canada, Eurovision gives us a Euro Champion taste of pan-European culture - for better or worse.

This year, Germany gives us all a little pop - to our playlist and to our step. Given the Euro-economy, a little pop and Satellite love is probably a good thing.

Maybe, Chancellor Merkel will be singing to Greece:

I went everywhere for you
I even did my hair for you
I bought new underwear they’re blue
and I wore ‘em them just the other day

Love you know I’d fight for you
I left on the porch light for you
Whether you are sweet or cruel
I’m gonna love you either way

Love, Oh love
I gotta tell you how I feel about you
Cause I, Oh I,
Can’t go a minute without your love.
Like a satellite I’m in an orbit all the way around you
And I would fall out into the night
Can’t go a minute without your love

- Bill Reichblum

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