May 14, 2007 / 3:18 PM / 12 years ago

Germans blame Eurovision failure on bloc-voting

BERLIN (Reuters) - Disappointed Germans suspect the work of an eastern European “vote mafia” at the Eurovision Song Contest helped cause the country to finish in a miserable 19th place, Germany’s top selling Bild newspaper reported on Monday.

Ever since Germany’s first and only victory in the annual song contest in 1982, Europe’s most populous nation finds it difficult to get anywhere near the top.

The winner at this year’s showcase of ballads, ethnic rhythms and pop in Helsinki was Serbian singer Marija Serifovic.

“What a bitter disappointment!”, Bild newspaper declared about an outcome it says was utterly undeserved.

Citing “hundreds of letters from angry readers”, Bild pointed its finger at eastern Europe.

“It is obvious that eastern European countries engage in dirty trade with points every year,” the paper quotes German pop singer and one-time Eurovision winner Nicole as saying. “Germany should withdraw from the competition.”

Enraged Bild readers called for a new voting system to prevent countries like Serbia from racking up 300 points while Germany’s Roger Cicero are left with no more than 49 — despite a 1,400 euro outfit and lucky stone in his pocket.

It is not only tabloid-style Bild which has registered the increasing dominance of eastern European acts.

Daily Tagesspiegel wrote that “western Europeans are losing their enthusiasm for the Eurovision Song Contest because the East has become triumphant.”

And yet it is the western Europeans which foot the bill.

“Our money pays for a show in which western European artists apparently don’t stand a chance anymore,” Bild complained in its Sunday edition.

The four main sponsors of the event — Spain, France, Great Britain and Germany — were among those with the least votes.

But Tagesspiegel urged German fans not to be sore losers. The new EU members sent their best performers and can benefit from the spotlight and boost to their confidence.

The Serbian winner was not just a hit in the east. She got high marks across western Europe — including from Germany.

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