Germans Fret No One Likes Them

ReutersGermany's entry, No Angels, performing the song "Disappear" at Eurovision.
BERLIN — 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 favored 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 that 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 U.K.," he said during the show.

Germany's No Angels — four women in skimpy dresses who sold more than 5 million albums in the past eight years — went into the contest in Belgrade with hopes of giving their country a 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 — Germany got only two points from Switzerland to end up sharing last with Britain and Poland.

"We delivered a great performance, but the viewers didn't recognize 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" was the most successful girl group in continental Europe in 2003.

"Other countries got support from their neighbors. Germany didn't get any support at all from its neighbors."

Die Welt online bluntly blamed the voting system.

"As in past years, the 'East European mafia' at the song contest is stirring our blood," Die Welt wrote. "Russia won thanks to considerable help from its neighbors. 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 II, there is a lingering sense that Germans are still being penalized.