Eurovision fever officially got underway on February 14 with the broadcast of "Our Song for Malmö." The program saw Germany select Eurodance trio Cascada to represent the country at this year’s song contest.
The two-hour show, broadcast live from the TUI Arena in Hanover, was structured like a mini Eurovision Song Contest and featured all the familiar elements; a wide range of songs, an interval act courtesy of Lena Meyer-Landrut and of course a nail-biting voting process.
Hosted by broadcaster Anke Engelke, who alongside Stefan Raab and Judith Rakers fronted the finale in Düsseldorf in 2011, the program opened with a surprise appearance from Swedish singer Loreen, performing a live version of "Euphoria," the song which won the contest last year in Baku.
Credible and Diverse
With the preliminaries concluded, it was straight into the music. Twelve artists appeared with eight singing in English, the remaining four in their native German. Continuing the trend for very credible tracks established in 2010, the audience had a wide range of different styles to choose from. From the clinical, 80s-era synth beats of Ben Ivory and Blitzkids mvt to Latin American-flavored big band sounds from LaBrassBanda to tongue-in-cheek bubblegum pop courtesy of Betty Dittrich, there was a barely a genre which wasn't referenced.
Three-Part Voting Process
After all the performances and the brief interval appearance by Lena performing her current single "Neon," voting got underway with the results of the regional radio audience vote, delivered by representatives from each of the nine youth radio stations of the ARD broadcasting network.
The scale was tilted in favor of LaBrassBanda as every single station awarded the Chiemsee-based band the maximum 12 points.
However it was all change when attention turned to the official jury made up of last year’s Germany entrant Roman Lob, current singing sensation Tim Bendzko, official Eurovision commentator Peter Urban, 1984 competitor Mary Roos and actress and singer Anna Loos. Their twelve points went to New Romantic duo Blitzkids mvt and "Heart on the Line."
But it was the all-important TV viewers' vote which tilted the balance in favor of Eurodance trio Cascada who ended up closing the contest in first place with their track "Glorious," winning with 30 points in total. Runners up in second place were LaBrassBanda and finishing third, 14-piece outfit Söhne Mannheims, who mixed rap, reggae and soul.
The Experts Agree
Paul Jordan, known within the fraternity as Dr. Eurovision due to his Eurovision-related Doctor of Philosophy, while acknowledging its similarity to last year’s "Euphoria," liked the winning track.
"I think this one is very instant, and if we think back to Loreen, she showed it's possible to win with a dance track," he told DW. "It's a good omen that it's in my head after just one listen."
Eurovision aficionado and broadcaster Dave Goodman, a regular reporter at the event, also liked Germany's choice, pointing out that so far it is one of the few up-tempo tracks to have been chosen in the national selections.
"It's all about quality and instant appeal. Dance songs haven't traditionally triumphed at Eurovision, last year being the exception that proves the rule," he said, speaking from Tel Aviv. "Cascada will no doubt have a big hit in many of the voting nations before the contest. This could mean they do well in the end but it doesn't necessarily mean they'll win."
Success in Malmö?
While countries periodically tend to re-jig the way in which their entry is selected, Dave Goodman says in the long-run how the song is chosen tends not to make a difference in the final.
"I think involving many people in a vote doesn't necessarily translate into success at the contest," he pointed out. "Often it's more useful for dragging out the national final to make it more exciting!"
How Germany will fare in the televized grand finale on May 18th is still unclear - and at this stage, with the majority of countries not yet having selected their entry, impossible to predict. One thing is clear to Dr. Eurovision Paul Jordan however: Germany is proving to be an engaging addition to the contest.
"I think the developments in Germany have been fascinating and have shown that it is totally possible to transform the fortunes of a country in Eurovision," he said. "Germany's songs have been so diverse, and I think that's to the credit of the organizers of the national final. A lot of countries should look to Germany as an example of best practice."
Not heard Germany's entry for Eurovision 2013 yet? Then stream "Glorious" from Cascada below!