BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans fretted about being unloved in Europe on Sunday after their most popular band of the last decade got zero points from 40 of 42 countries in the Eurovision Song Contest and they ended up sharing last place.
“Why doesn’t anyone like us?” asked Bild am Sonntag newspaper after Germany had yet another horrendous showing in the annual contest watched by more than 100 million viewers.
“Are we too stupid to win or is it simply we’re not liked?” the Sunday newspaper said. “The fact is Germany’s top recording artists have failed spectacularly in this contest. Do our singers simply have no chance abroad?”
Britain’s veteran Eurovision presenter Terry Wogan questioned whether the contest favoured Eastern European countries after Britain’s highly touted entry came last with Germany and Poland.
“It’s no longer a music contest,” Wogan said, adding he was not sure he would bother going to Eurovision anymore. “Indeed, western European participants have to decide whether they want to take part from here on in because their prospects are poor.”
“I’m afraid nobody loves the UK,” he broadcasted during the show.
The “No Angels”, four women in skimpy dresses who sold more than 5 million albums in the last eight years, went into the contest in Belgrade with hopes of giving Germany their second victory, in the 53-year-old contest. Germany last won in 1982.
The Eurovision Song Contest might be dismissed as tacky and kitsch in some countries — as witnessed by novelty acts such as singing pirates from Latvia and writhing devils from Azerbaijan. But it is serious stuff in Germany, where 6.5 million watched.
Aside from the highest-possible 12 points from Bulgaria — one of “No Angels” emigrated from that country and now hosts a pop song contest in Bulgaria — the Swiss gave two points.
“We delivered a great performance but the viewers didn’t recognise it,” said Bulgarian-born German singer Lucy Diakowska.
“It was the insult at Belgrade — what a disaster,” said Thomas Hermanns, who hosted a German after-show fest in Hamburg.
“It’s just unbelievable and so, so, so stupid,” said NDR television’s Eurovision analyst Jan Feddersen. “No Angels” were the most successful girl group in continental Europe in 2003.
“Other countries got support from their neighbours. Germany didn’t get any support at all from its neighbours.”
Die Welt agreed with Wogan and blamed the voting system.
“As in past years the ‘eastern European Mafia’ at the Song Contest is stirring our blood,” Die Welt wrote. “Russia won thanks to considerable help from its neighbours. The Russian song wasn’t bad but it wasn’t any better than the rest.”
Even though Germany shares borders with nine countries, it has a turbulent past — having invaded most of these nations. Six decades after World War Two, there is a lingering sense that Germans are still being penalised.
They regularly encounter resentment across Europe. In Austria, they are referred to derogatorily as “Piefke”, in Britain, they’re known as “Krauts” and parts of Spain have been turned into virtual German colonies by tourists. In Poland, which lost a fifth of its population during the war, historic enmity is never far below the surface.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Hill in London; Editing by Matthew Jones