German national selection
Unser Song has been tainted by poor audience reception and conceding winners in recent years but the host vowed to “make German national selection great again” in her opening and they certainly gave it a solid shot.
Over 2,000 hopefuls had auditioned in front of various panels to whittle the number down to 33 hopefuls. These then performed in front of the three judges who selected the top 5 to compete in the live show. From there it was all in the hands of the German people.
The show was full of clichés.
The three judges: the older Florian, a star in the bizarre world of German schlager and folk music offering friendly yet firm comments to each contestant. The female Lena (woo!) who was friendly and loved everyone but was the most qualified. And the tough love Tim, a successful platinum-winning German singer who looks about 16.
Then there were the contestants:
Helene, a small-town girl from Northern Germany who is tiny, adorably sweet and with a quirky fashion sense and big voice
Yosefin, the professional singer who has performed at big events with big expectations and attitude
Felicia, the music focused girl who has been dedicated to singing from a young age but is kinda average at it
Axel, the token male of the night who obviously had to be very male. His beard, man-bun, height and deep-voice fill this criterion
And then there is Levina, the sweet and unassuming beauty who was friendly and polite but with a sneaky amazing voice
Host Barbara Schöneberger again brought her huge personality and stage presence to the national selection, working overtime to make the contestants and judges talk and sound interesting.
Round 1 was a cover round voted on by text or phone:
Helene chose to do the most vocally elaborate and upbeat version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ complete with the occasional strum on her guitar. Quite unimpressive and strange but got her through to the next round.
Yosefin performed a very monotonic version of Beyonce’s ‘Love on Top’ – a song where the main feature is the progressive increasing of pitch. She was slaughtered for this by the judges and did not progress.
Felicia chose to do a cover of Robyn’s ‘Dancing on my own’ though she appeared unaware the Callum Scott was not the original. It was lethargic and she missed many notes. She was eliminated.
Axel, true to his allotted stereotype chose a James Bond theme song ‘You know my name’ by uber-man Chris Cornell who is famous for metal bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. It was the right genre for his husky deep singing voice and he progressed.
Levina chose to sing Adele’s ‘When we were young’ and absolutely killed it. From the first note she had won the competition and she was a pleasure to listen to.
Round 2 was singing a standard song “Wildfire”.
Helene chose to do an upbeat skip around the stage to a lighthearted melody. She missed a lot of notes and all the sweetness in the world couldn’t make up for her lacklustre performance. She was eliminated.
Axel was lambasted by the judges for choosing to sit down and sing peacefully in a song about fighting for life like a wildfire. Nevertheless, the audience loved his powerful voice and presence and he progressed.
Levine brought out the crowd favourite of the night with her version which was fierce and strong whilst being easy to listen to.
Round 3 was another standard song “Perfect Life”.
Axel seemingly didn’t know how to react to this concept and chose to sing in a style that did not suit him and looked awkward and sounded boring. Unfortunate given his talent.
Levine then came out with another stunner, with her version my favourite by far.
Axel and Levine’s versions of ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Perfect Life’ were then put to public vote with the top two songs out of the four progressing to the next round.
Levine’s songs took out both.
Round 5 was her singing one after another to get the final German verdict.
Whilst this was being deliberated Ruslana, Conchita and Nicole provided an …. Interesting intermission. Ruslana showed us what it’s like when ‘Euphoria’ is sung by someone with little mastery of English but still an amazing voice. Nicole came out with ‘Merci Cherie’ which even I didn’t know; so unless it has a cult following in Germany is a strange choice. Conchita then took ‘Satellite’ to a much more serious place, before being joined by Ruslana and Nicole. Lena loved every moment and ran up to hug them all before they left the stage
After an appropriately short amount of suspense ‘Perfect Life’ was chosen as the song for Kiev!
She is an absolute charmer who will resemble Lena a large amount in Kiev I suspect. I hope it does well.
The whole show (except the intermission) can be watched here.