Beating hearts and the curious case of Lena’s return

THE day we fans have been waiting for has arrived! Or arrived a little while ago/hasn’t arrived yet, depending on what part of the world you happen to be in. Anyway, the theme art and slogan of Düsseldorf 2011 is out and about thanks to NDR, for us all to judge mercilessly! Hooray!

Before I went and took a look, I had to remind myself that, much like many of the songs of 2010, the theme/slogan of last year made a less-than-impressive impression on me initially. But by May, I was sold. Luckily, I found myself loving this on sight:

Apparently it was inspired by Lena, and her totes Gen-Y expression of love for the voters in last year’s final (aka making a heart with her hands). It’s neon which makes it a little bit retro ‘80s, but it’s still a contemporary design, and will open up a huge amount of options for the postcards and other graphics. I am a bit disappointed with the black background, but only because the majority of DVD spines are black and a coloured one on my shelf would brighten things up a bit – so I think that may be a slightly pedantic flaw. And what colour background makes neon look better than black? Answer: none. Point of these last few sentences? None.

“Feel your heart beat!” is the slogan, which does complement the design, but also makes me a little nauseous from the amount of cliché it packs into just four words. I feel that this may be another one of those unnecessary slogans, much like “Confluence of sound” in 2008, which didn’t really feature in the show much, perhaps because it just wasn’t that great – whereas I think last year’s “Share the moment!” was a brilliant one that encapsulated what Eurovision is about. The ’09 contest (which featured one of my favourite ever designs) did not have a slogan, like many a contest before it, which I think would have worked here. The design is representative of enough that it could have stood on its on two (metaphorical) feet.

The presentation of the theme art is yet more evidence that the 56th Eurovision Song Contest will be epic: in addition, there are three more countries participating than last year; Italy, Hungary, Austria and San Marino are all returning to the fold after varying lengths of hiatus; the wonderful Stefan Raab is one of three hosts with the most; it’s taking place in Düsseldorf, a quirky and artsy city we’re all keen to familiarise ourselves with; and Dino Merlin is representing Bosnia (not only does he have an awesome surname, but he was responsible for one of my favourite entries of ’99 and I’m certain he’ll bring something great to the Guildo-green velvet-covered table).

But there is one aspect of the 2011 edition, another representative, in fact, that both pleases and irritates me, resulting in a severe case of curiosity as to why it is to be. I’m sure you’ll know by now from the title of this post that I am referring here to the aforementioned Lena Meyer-Landrut, reigning champion of the Eurovision world and a girl who makes me feel very inferior as a fellow nineteen-year-old. Though not to the extent of those darn Junior Eurovision children.

About two seconds after her fingers first made contact with the trophy, the announcement was made that she would once again represent Germany, on home soil the following year. This will make her the first winner to do so since the Dutch Corry Brokken defended her title in 1958 – only to end up equal last. There’s been many an artist return the year after their non-victorious participation to have another crack, but far fewer have attempted this. I suppose I should explain the reasons I’m in two minds about it.

I’m happy because:

–          The riotous applause received by the home country’s entrant every year is one of my favourite parts of Eurovision, and if that entrant happened to be the reason the contest was in that country…well, I’m guessing there’ll be hand burns aplenty in the final when Lena walks onstage, from the enthusiastic-ness of the clapping.

–          It will be interesting to see what song is picked for her to sing. I actually can’t imagine another song like Satellite that both suits Lena’s voice to a tee and is a worthy Eurovision song, but it’s possible.

I’m not so thrilled because:

–          This presents a problem where the traditional and much-loved reprise is concerned, another of my favourite parts. It would be extremely awkward for her to open the final, only to have to hurry backstage and make another appearance as a contestant. It would be totally weird, for her and for us viewers! But if there isn’t a reprise, I’ll be disappointed. I was thinking that the organisers could rope in some past German representatives (Nicole, Dschinghis Khan, Texas Lightning…the whole gang) to perform a version of the song. But once again, that would be slightly/totally weird. Even more so than Zeljko Joksimović’s double role in 2008 as co-host and songwriter.

–          I actually can’t imagine another song like Satellite that both suits Lena’s voice to a tee. Yes, this is what I said I was happy about, but what if it ISN’T possible? What if it’s a really dreadful song and their decision to send her again backfires? There’s no way the Germans want to win two years in a row – unless they actually have some of those elusive money trees handy – but nor do they want to be embarrassed by a bad showing in their moment of glory. If they bring a Satellite doppelganger or album filler, this could easily happen.

So I have my own pros and cons, but now I’d like to put it to you, my dear fans (Ha. Ha.). Take a look at this:

Auf wiedersehen.

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