A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Drama Made in Germany

I haven't been an altogether faithful follower of national finals this year and given all the negativity that had surrounded this year's German selection I didn't plan to watch it at all.

Anyhow I tuned in just in time for the second round, where the four finalists performed their second songs of the evening and thought to myself that this wasn't bad at all. Good songs and good performances - and when the two best ones out of the four I had heard in full length made it to the final knockout round I was rather pleased.

And then it happened, the tv event of the year. Clearly under pressure and not happy at all, winner Andreas Kümmert announces that he has no intention of going to Vienna and hands the victory over to runner-up Ann-Sophie. For a split second or two nobody on stage has any idea what to do while time is ticking, the show is ending and an acceptable ending must be improvised at once.

I can't help it but I love it when live television goes out of hand. When it suddenly turns real, when real emotion shines through, when it's not just a song contest anymore. The winner should smile and the loser should cry, not the other way around, and when the unexpected happens we feel that all the participants are real people, like the rest of us.

Many people have tried to explain why Kümmert stepped down like this - it has been suggested he has personal problems or were pressured by his record company to take part - but I prefer not to speculate. If he felt stepping down was the right thing to do, he is probably right in doing so.

The responsibility lies with the organising broadcaster, in this case NDR. They should of course make an effort to make sure every participant is prepared for the big occasion and understand that taking part in the national final also means you are obliged to go to the ESC in case you win. If they had doubts about a participant, they should pressure him or her before the show instead.

Apart from creating some unforgettable television drama, Kümmert has also possibly undermined Ann-Sophie quite a bit by his actions. But when a winner proves ineligible, you pick the runner-up instead. That's how the system works.

And even if the Germans did their best, nobody can still steal the award for Best Drama from this gem where the female half of Duett faints halfway through the song and gets fat-shamed by presenter Lizzi Engstler as she tries to keep the show going. Priceless.

Duett - Das Beste (Austria NF 1990)

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