Germany's Eurovision Song Contest candidate is making headlines for more than just her singing talents. A controversial topless video has marred her wholesome image, but it hasn't hurt sales of her singles.
Lena Meyer-Landrut's singles have skyrocketed in the charts
Lena Meyer-Landrut is considered by many to represent Germany's first real chance in decades at winning Eurovision, the continent's cheesy and beloved singing battle.
It is hoped that the 18-year-old's naive charm and catchy song, called "Satellite," will finally capture the imagination and votes of Eurovision watchers, and give Germany a shot at the top prize on May 29.
It's been a long dry spell for Germany when it comes to Eurovision. While Germany has participated in all but one of the campy singing extravaganzas since 1956, it has only won once. Recent years have been disastrous. Germany was awarded 23rd out of 25 places in 2008 and in 2009 only saw a slight improvement, coming in at number 20.
Her wholesome image has won her points
Meyer-Landrut was meant to change all that, perhaps helped by a wholesome image that harkens back to Nicole, the angelic-looking teenager who won for Germany in 1982. But in the midst of Meyer-Landrut's high school final exams this month, a video surfaced showing her frolicking topless in a swimming pool with a young man. It has raised eyebrows and marred her teeny-bopper allure.
"I just did the thing - I think it's fine," the teenager said in an interview with the dpa press agency about the scenes that were recorded last year for a TV show, but only recently made public.
"It wasn't pornography or anything," she said, tapping into German tolerance when it comes to nudity on television.
Photos of the topless scenes have topped the tabloids and other media, although the singer appears unconcerned about possible damage to her image.
"Tell me why that should be a problem. At home, my family always used to say: 'Today's newspaper is tomorrow's fish wrap,'" she told dpa.
As another saying goes, "bad publicity is good publicity," and sales of Lena's first album, "My Cassette Player" appear not to have been hurt by the video, which came out just days before the album's release. The title track refers to the quirky starlet's penchant for kids' stories on cassette tapes.
But some commentators have said that, unlike children's imaginations, the album lacks creativity and merely features imitations of everyone from Bjoerk to Kate Nash, with less interesting lyrics.
Well-crafted or not, fans have been eating up several of its tracks. Her first three singles "Satellite," "Bee" and "Love Me" charted in the top five during the first week of their release at the end of March. Eurovision entry "Satellite" went to number one.
Lena was the youngest contestant on the German casting show, and aims to win in Norway
Meyer-Landrut is the only daughter of a single mother and a granddaughter of a diplomat. She grabbed her ticket to this year's Eurovision, hosted by Norway, at the German casting show "Unser Star fuer Oslo" ("Our Star for Oslo").
She's long wanted a career in the spotlight, having started dancing lessons at age five, and forming a musical duo with a friend several years ago. She's getting that chance now, and on May 29 an estimated 125 million people will watch her perform.
"When I read about myself in the newspaper or see myself on TV, it still seems very unreal," she told Deutsche Welle in an interview. "It's pretty hardcore when people come up to you on the street…but usually, I enjoy it. I don't mind giving autographs and letting them take pictures. I think it's really cute."
Author: Louisa Schaefer
Editor: Kyle James