Germany's Eurovision entry was No Angels, but No Points would have been more accurate. After getting a goose-egg from 40 of 42 countries, Germans are asked why they can't do better at Europe's kitschy song contest.
Maybe Germany should try the Hell's Angels next year
Germany's third-from-last place finish with 14 points wasn't the worst-ever Eurovision showing. But disappointment was still huge since No Angels -- a girl group that emerged from a casting contest -- had landed a series of radio hits on Continental Europe.
But in the post-debacle fall-out, critics disagree as to why No Angels failed so miserably to attract votes.
"Are we too stupid to win or is it simply that we're not liked?" asked the Sunday edition of the Bild newspaper one day after the contest in Belgrade, Serbia.
Because Eurovision viewers are barred from voting for contestants from their own countries, title aspirants depend on the good will of foreigners -- especially from neighboring nations.
There has been repeated criticism in recent years that Eastern European countries trade votes.
"Russia only won thanks to considerable help form its neighbors," the daily newspaper Die Welt carped. "The Russian song wasn't bad, but it wasn't any better than the rest."
This year's winning song was "Believe" by Dima Bilan.
Sound or singing problems?
Crowds in Hamburg followed the missed notes and botched dance routines
Others sought musical explanations for the cold shoulder given to the Angels.
"In the Belgrade arena, their performance sounded great," said Ralf Quibeldey, Head of Entertainment at Northern German Radio, which organizes Germany's Eurovision entry.
"But what's decisive is TV, and there the sound quality wasn't as convincing as live," Quibeldey told dpa news agency.
No Angels singer Lucy Diakowska agreed.
"We delivered a great performance, but the viewers didn't recognize it," the Bulgarian-born singer told Reuters. Bulgaria gave Germany the maximum 12 points.
But in fact, the four singers were rarely on the same page harmonically during their three minute appearance -- a fact not lost on many German bloggers.
"Not that bad a song really, but the singing was crap," wrote one on youtube.
"As if they had never been on stage before," seconded another.
"We should tank Bulgaria for making this disaster seem a bit more respectable," opined a third.
Four-point plan for better kitsch
Greece's Kalomira showed more skin and came in third
Outsiders might be baffled at why a musical culture that gave the world Beethoven and Richard Strauss would get so worked up about an event whose popularity is based partly on the fact that most of the acts are so tasteless.
But the German pop music establishment is indeed incensed. Music producer and TV casting show host Dieter Bohlen has even come up with a four-point plan to improve Germany's results.
"We have to enter one individual performer," Bohlen told Bild. "That way there's less chance of mistakes."
Bohlen also said that the national preliminary should feature more than five songs, that national winners should be catchier and that as a large country Germany should lobby for more votes.
As a former member of the German soft-pop duo Modern Talking, who scored a handful of number-one hits in Germany in the 1980s, Bohlen knows a thing or two about melting sentimental hearts with musical treacle.
But whether that will help Germany avoid another disaster at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow is another matter entirely.