Germany has selected their entry for Lisbon 2018. Trying to turn their luck around, Germany has changed their national selection format. By revamping the selection process, Germany is hoping to finally get onto the right side (meaning the left side) of the scoreboard.
A lot happened before the show on the 22nd of February. An international Jury (including 4 former ESC contestants: Iceland 1986, Norway 2013, Slovenia and Spain 2014,) searched for perfect candidates. And they came up with 6 artist. Those artist then went to “song boot camp” and the results were released on the 20th and now performed live on the 22nd.
I was in the Studio for the show. The hosts did a mediocre job, with jokes ranging from half-intelligent to really bad. The overall show wasn't really entertaining, but better than the last years. NDR, please check out how the Swedes are doing it… you might be able to learn some.
But the most important part is of course the music.
First of was Natia Todua. A Georgian singer, who failed to succeed in X-factor Georgia and Ukraine but went on to win the Voice of Germany 2017. Opening a show is always a tough job, and she did okay, but vocally I was not impressed. The song “my own way” about her struggles just did not translate well to the audience. The staging was also minimalistic and all in all quite forgettable. Most memorable was the white suit Natia decided to wear, whether that was a good thing or not, you need to decide for yourself.
Next off, Ryk performed his piece “You and I”. The singer from Hamburg sat at the piano with an acrobat dancing on the piano. The dark and partially moody song was sung well enough. However, due to the artsy style of the song it was difficult to connect and see this as an ESC song. Highlight was probably the dancer in this act, leaving the audience with little hope for the rest of the show.
Germany’s favourite was the third entry. VoxxClub is a Bavarian folk/rock band- the only band in the competition. Prior to the event a lot of people had their song “I mog di” as a favourite to win. But with a Bavarian German song and an international jury doubts about the success rose. The song had a "ballermann" vibe to it, that was a disappointing song choice and again the audience was let down by a mediocre performance (at least they danced a bit) and bad vocals. While VoxxClub definitely heated up the Studio, their vocals just did not match the hype.
Following this upbeat, fun number, was another Bavarian. Xavier Darcy, singer songwriter was born in Scotland but grew up in Bavaria. His song Jonah was the first song of the night that actually had some potential. However, the performance reminded of a Busker or Pub singer in the streets of the UK and again, one was left wondering, if this is really a good option to represent Germany. His voice, however, was really enjoyable for sure and I would not mind hearing some more of it in the charts.
Fifth entry was Ivy Quainoo, winner of the voice of Germany 2012. This entry finally provided some good quality. The staging was great (let’s not argue about the burning house – it did match the song) with some pyro to add to the dancing and the overall drama of the song. Vocally Ivy performed very well, unfortunately the song itself “House on fire” was not memorable enough to have a winning chance. Ivy, next time please choose a song, that matches your talent and does not leave us underwhelmed.
Last but not least was the performance by Michael Schulte. A German singer songwriter, who came in 3rd at the voice of Germany in 2012 (where Ivy won). Michael is a successful youtuber and performed a song about his dad who had passed away when Michael was younger. The song “you let me walk alone” has an Ed Sheeran vibe to it, but also so much emotion, that a few audience members were actually moved to tears. The staging was simple but effective with pictures of sons and dads as well as some of the lyrics. Before the start of the song I was worried that the smoke of Ivy's fire show, could potentially impact his vocals, but Michael was on point. By the audiences’ reaction, one could tell, this was now the favourite.
The voting could start. Interval act was Mike Singer, the poor German answer to Justin Bieber. Dear NDR, what were you thinking??? This was not a good choice, as Mike Singer usually has a much younger audience and was misplaced at the ESC event. I could see audience members looking at their neighbours with a plain WTF impression on their faces.
The time till the voting results was ill-filled and felt like forever.
This year the points given were split. 1/3 came from the international jury of experts, 1/3 were given by 100 selected Eurovision Fans and the last third came from the tele-voting. Each group gave 5,6,7,8,10,12 points. The tele-vote was presented by no other than our beloved Jon Ola Sand. He was briefly interviewed earlier during the show, about this opinion on the new format and even replied in German (well re read it off a promter, but still impressive) – which was one of my highlight of the show. One just has to love Mr. Sand.
The presentation of the votes ended up not beeing as interesting as the NDR would have liked. All three juries agreed, that Natias’ song was not good enough compared to the others. The Fan and Expert jury was pretty much aligned in their voting and so was the tele-vote. One (not surprising) exception was VoxxClub, who got 10 points from the tele-vote and only 5&6 points from the juries. But everyone agreed on the Winner of the evening. Michael Schulte got 12 points from everyone.
With this Germany now has a contestant for 2018 in Lisbon: Michael Schulte with a beautiful, sad ballad about his father. I like the song. In this selection it was by far the best option, but will it work at ESC? I am not sure. BUT even if we come in last again, I can still be proud of the song choice. With the songs choosen so far (we are number 14), I could see us getting some points. At this stage I would bet on 19th place.
What do you think of the song?
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