This past weekend, the Eurovision Song Contest went down. For those unfamiliar with the glorious, willfully amateurish competition, it’s a storied talent show, started in 1956, in which European and Eurasian countries, plus Israel, face off to see who can put together the most joyously schlocky and sincere pop performance on the continent. (As a point of reference, ABBA won in 1974.) Watching Eurovision can be disorienting, like a kink in the space-time continuum has kicked loose some sequined detritus that has found its way onto televisions across Europe, where it pulses bravely over a backing keyboard, undermining the myth of the sophisticated European — and bolstering the one of the self-serious American — with its every bleat. This year's winner, a 19-year-old German named Lena, probably couldn't have made it very far on American Idol, but she seems orders of magnitude less anxious or worked up than anyone who could have. Watch her perform the winning, easy-listening "Satellite" and performances from the runners-up after the jump.
Turkey's maNga, winner of the Best European Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, came in second with rock anthem "We Could Be The Same," plus strobe lights.
Romania's Paula Seling and Ovi placed third with the sugar pop "Playing with Fire" and a see-through piano built for two.