Germany’s Lena Meyer-Landrut won the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday with "Satellite," an upbeat, catchy pop song, edging out Turkey and Romania.
Meyer-Landrut, who turned 19 during the competition in Norway, won 246 points in the voting by a panel of judges and telephone votes from fans in the 39 participating countries.
It was Germany’s second win in the songfest’s 55-year history, and the victory means it will host next year’s contest.
Meyer-Landrut had been second favorite among leading bookmakers, but first in a Google predictor program. Her victory marks the second year in a row that the Google program has correctly projected the winner of Eurovision, after predicting Norwegian fiddler Alexander Rybak’s win in Moscow last year.
Onstage after winning, Meyer-Landrut demanded a kiss on the cheek from Rybak.
"I’m so happy and so thankful and so grateful, and I never thought we could do this," she said, covering her face with a German flag and, looking bewildered, asked: "Do I have to sing now?"
Alone on stage, with her backup singers in shadow, and dressed in a black cocktail dress, black stockings and dark pumps, Meyer-Landrut sang "Satellite" again to cheers and applause.
Germany beat the Turkish entry by 76 points. Romania came in third.
Oil-rich Norway spent 200 million kroner ($31 million) to host the elaborate songfest, which led off with a performance by Rybak, who won the contest in Moscow in 2009.
This year several countries have pulled out of the extravaganza citing financial strains, including the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Andorra and Hungary.
Observers also feared that the voting for the winner — a political consideration even in the best of times — would be affected by the continent’s simmering financial tensions. The Greek government debt crisis and a subsequent European Union-led bailout has strained relations within the 27-nation bloc.
Germany’s supremacy didn’t inspire joy everywhere. On Russian state television, an announcer said, "Clearly everyone knows where to turn when they need money."
The contest is known for over-the-top exuberance in costumes, lighting and set design. One notable semifinal outfit — tight silver sparkly shorts — was worn by the male singers in Lithuania’s InCulto group, and contestants from Romania had plumes of fire in the background.
Earlier this week, 34 contestants were whittled down to 20 in two semifinals. They were competing in the final with five pre-qualified countries — last year’s winner, Norway, and the contest’s four perennials: Britain, Germany, France and Spain.
Politically motivated voting, as well as bloc voting, has been fairly common in Eurovision, and this year was no exception, with former Soviet bloc countries supporting each other, a trend that has helped the region win five of the last 10 contests.