Germany - William Freitas

Good evening, Europe (and ROTW!), Germany have chosen their representative for Eurovision 2018! Congratulations and best of luck to Michael Schulte who will be representing Germany in Lisbon with the song You Let Me Walk Alone.

I’ve become accustomed to national selections beginning with an opening number, but Germany switched it up this year. Their opening was the hosts talking, describing the forthcoming show and explaining the voting, etc. I missed having an opening number; it can be a great way to get the energy up quickly for the evening. The round stage looked great. The background was a row of tall curved pieces that gave a lot of places to shine different light colors. There was no video screen background, although some of the acts did have one on stage. For the national selection level, I think this was effective. The stage was small enough that it did not swallow up the artists and not having a video screen put the focus directly on the performance.

Let’s get to the entries!

Natia Todua – My Own Way

Natia started the evening for us. It’s clear that she has a powerful voice and the song was a good choice for her. She really connected with the audience, engaging both the live audience and the camera. She kept the energy up and used the whole stage, walking around throughout the performance. This was a solid middle entry. I don’t think the song itself was a unique standout, and it was a little reminiscent to me of last year’s German selection.

Ryk – You and I

Ryk performed a ballad for us, singing and playing the piano. In the beginning of the performance, I was worried he was not connecting with the audience. He mostly kept his eyes closed throughout. But he was able to bring the emotional aspect, and this brought the song to a new level. Visual interest was kept up with a dancer who used a spinning platform on the piano and there was a string quartet on stage that joined in the latter half of the song. Overall, this was one of the standout performances of the evening and one of my favorites for the night.

voXXclub – I mog Di so

This song was just plain fun. I was actually rooting for this one to get chosen. There is always room in the top 5 at Eurovision for a party song and this one had it all. It started off with some yodeling and had a good German schlager sound. The group had some fun dance moves and really brought the energy to the performance. They had a good audience connection and walked off the stage into the audience for the end of the song. This was my other favorite for the night.

Xavier Darcy – Jonah

Xavier brought us into the second half with his song. This was a good folk-rock song and he played the guitar while standing at the microphone. He definitely brought the energy to his performance, moving around a lot; at times I felt it was almost too much and a little distracting. But his vocals were a good fit for this song and he also had a good stage presence. The song was catchy, but I’m not sure if it will be memorable against other entries.

Ivy Quainoo – House on Fire

This was a standard mid-tempo ballad. The opening had me interested, but by the middle it felt like there was something missing. Ivy’s voice didn’t really shine until the higher notes towards the end of the song, maybe the rest was too low for her to really bring the power. There was, appropriately, a lot of fire around and on the stage. I wanted to like this one more, but for me this was at the bottom for the evening.

Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone

So now we are to the last (and winning) entry. Watching the performance, I wasn’t sure what to say about this one. The Ed Sheeran influence is obvious, but as I saw on another fan’s recap video, “Ed Sheeran didn’t invent pop rock.” He’s just he obvious connection since he’s one of the more popular contemporary artists. Michael had a good performance and the song has a chance to be successful at Eurovision. While not really my style, this should be a good entry.

Interval – Mike Singer – Déjà vu

And for the interval act, we had Mike Singer. This was a great contemporary-sounding song. I almost wanted it to be one of the entries for the night. It was quite different from the others that we had this evening.

Voting for Unser Lied was in a new format this year. There were 3 voting groups, the public, a one-hundred-member Eurovision panel, and an international expert jury panel. It was nice to see Margaret Berger (Norway 2013), Ruth Lorenzo (Spain 2014), and Tinkara Kovač (Slovenia 2014) among those on the expert panel. The final votes were presented round-robin style with each group giving their lowest score first. This may have been done to enhance the suspense, but ultimately, I think it had the opposite effect. Michael was the clear winner of the evening, getting 12 points from each of the groups.

Final scores

Michael Schulte – 36

Xavier Darcy – 25

Ryk – 23

Ivy Quainoo – 22

voXXclub – 21

Natia Todua – 17