By Jenni Zylka
Can Lena be copied? At just 19, Germany's raven-haired Lena Meyer-Landrut charmed European voters with her unusually simple performance of the cheerful pop tune "Satellite" at the 2010 Eurovision competition in Oslo. Her quirky, unvarnished style and endearing humility helped the Hanover native win by a landslide. Ecstatic over their first Eurovision victory since 1982, Germany made the controversial decision to enter the young vocalist, known simply as Lena, into the 2011 contest once again.
But she won't, it would seem, be the only "Lena" taking the stage in Düsseldorf on Saturday. Several other countries looked on with envy last year as Lena walked off with the top prize and rapidly became an idol in her home country. This year, Lena will be competing against several clones who are going to try to out-Lena Lena. SPIEGEL ONLINE takes a look at the line-up of wannabes.
Slovenian contestant Maja Keuc will likely be a serious challenger for Germany's favorite daughter. The pretty 19-year-old's performance of "No One" is backed by male dancers who move like Jacques Tati playing a lush. Meanwhile Lena has to sing her song "Taken by a Stranger" this week accompanied by dancers in silver fetish bodysuits. If she wins, it will be because the BDSM scene (as lovers of tight lycra catsuits) is much larger and more interested in the Song Contest than previously assumed.
Estonia's Getter Jaani, who turned 18 in February, also tosses dark, Lena-like hair extensions to her beat-driven "Rockefeller Street," in addition to wearing opaque black tights -- just like the German star who was constantly praised for her school-girl charm and called cute for her pigeon-toed dancing. Getter also speaks better English than many other contestants, often flashing her brilliant white teeth to emphasize the magic of her song about the "party Cinderellas."
Armenia also has the congenial combination of brown curls, doe-eyes and a short artist's name in their singer Emmy, who looks and moves like Lena, but sings like Shakira. Then again, Lena herself never sang like Lena, instead sounding like Kate Nash or Lily Allen. And Emmy's song is called "Boom Boom," a choice Lena would never make. No, her song "Taken By a Stranger" is much more subtle -- a title somewhere between that of a Rosamunde Pilcher title, the new Nick Hornby novel, and a Youporn film.
At the tender age of 19, Anastasiya Vinnikova of Belarus could be Lena's sister. But what is she singing? It's "I Love Belarus," a declaration of love for her homeland. Did she never listen to former German President Gustav Heinemann? No one wants state love, they want teen love. The title "I love Michail" would have at least been a more subtle declaration of love for Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich, and could have killed two birds with one stone. But subtlety wasn't on the breakfast menu for Vinnikova. Instead it was a few plates of borscht with vodka.
Meanwhile, Lithuania must be kidding with their candidate Evelina Sasenko. She apparently has Polish parents, but is singing an English song with a French refrain: "C'est ma vie." Here someone seems to have mistakenly oriented themselves on Germany's Esperanto-flavored 1982 winner, "A Little Peace," by Nicole Flieg -- instead of Lena's straight Cockney. Furthermore somebody painted the 23-year-old's face like a "Cats" actress who's been in the show since 1981. Ever heard of the natural look, Lithuania?
But real competition is coming out of Austria with 20-year-old law student Nadine Beiler with her dark hair, opaque tights and Mireille Mathieu look. She also wrote her song, "The Secret is Love," speaks German, Swahili and Javanese, can fly, do magic and repairs her motorcycles in her spare time. Well, maybe not all that. At any rate she shouldn't be underestimated. The Austrians always seem so harmless, and then turn out to be wily.
Poland's Magdalena Tul will be just as dangerous to Lena's chances. Typical to her origins, she too can do everything. She looks like a mixture of Posh Spice and Catherine Zeta-Jones, lets her hair blow around her face as the Eurotrash festival requires, and changes outfits four times in the first two minutes of her video for the song "Jestem." Furthermore Lady Tullo, as her friends call her, holds a Master's degree in pedagogy and psychology. But she is also quite old -- already 30. That is to say, with one (booted) leg in the retirement home.
One entry unlikely to be much competition for Lena will be Spain's Lucía Pérez, with her song "Que me quiten lo bailao," a nonsensical carnival dance hit during which a bagpipe suddenly plays several times. The package is completed with curly head shakes, Samba dancers and wiggling plumage on rear-ends. Not a chance. Not to mention that at 25, she is as old as Methuselah compared to Lena.
Then there is "Ding Dong" from Israel's Dana International. Despite her work for queer rights around the world, it could be that even gay men will one day stop voting for her. As a transsexual she may have been born in the wrong body, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with her sexual orientation. Dana is far too interesting to win the Song Contest for a second time -- the 39-year-old isn't suited to be that kind of vapid projection surface for millions of people.
Only for the sake of thoroughness should the strawberry-blonde Slovakian twins Daniela and Veronika -- who call themselves TWiiNS -- be included. In some photos they have dark Lena-like hair. But let's not kid, they are both an ancient 25-years-old and look like Lindsay Lohan after rehab. Besides, since the decline of the "Bros" twins and their hit "When Will I Be Famous," no one believes in the power of the Gemini constellation.
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