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Comment: Wait, what has Germany actually done?

by | Feb 23, 2019

Comment: Wait, what has Germany actually done?

by | Feb 23, 2019 | Eurovision, Featured |

As the German member of the escgo! team, I am the most obvious author to put together a post about the German final.

Except this year, after yesterday’s Unser Lied für Israel, my immediate feeling was: I can’t. I can’t write about it. And this time – shock – it’s not because I’m ashamed of our final. No, it’s because the negative reactions to the chosen song, “Sister” by S!sters, come as a complete surprise to me, to the point where I begin to question my own – or my friends’ – sanity.

So how, if at all, am I supposed to write this article? Should I write it from an apologetic/defensive angle? Should I try to jump on the bandwagon and be outraged that Germany chose this song? Should I simply state the pure and boring facts and figures?

Let me instead answer a question that is meant rhetorically: “What has Germany done?!” That line was heard a lot in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s final. And rhetorical or not, it’s a good question: What has Germany done?

Here’s how my 2019 German final experience went, from the start:

I didn’t follow any fan comments in advance of the German final, so all of the artists, and all of the songs, were completely new to me on the night. I had no idea who was being discussed as the favourite to win, so I went into the voting without any image in my mind about how it was “supposed” to end, other than my personal preferences. I televoted for three acts: Aly Ryan, Lilly Among Clouds, and S!sters. I liked them all at the same strong level and gave them the same number of calls.

Wear Your Lights

“Sister” not only won my heart, it also won the expert jury vote and the German televote, and got a good score in our #esc chat’s own voting. All good. Except the next things I read online were: “WTF!”, “FFS!”, “Bottom 3!”, “Germany, what have you done?”… and other similar expressions of shock. Quite unexpectedly, I found myself in the ridiculously small minority of those who actually love the song.

Woah! That’s a new one for me.

What’s new specifically, and the reason my defensive instinct kicked in after all, is that I am so far from understanding the negative reactions. Believe me, I have been the first one to criticise my home country’s Eurovision activities on countless occasions in the past – but this time, for once, my heart is touched by a German song and I find myself standing completely behind our entry.

Of course, I’m not here to persuade you that “Sister” is a catchy, powerful earworm of a ballad if you really don’t like it. It doesn’t work that way – you have your taste, I have mine, and on Germany 2019, our tastes take opposite routes. No problem.

Besides, in life I’ve found myself in the position of having to justify myself for my preferences on so many occasions, starting with my love for the Eurovision Song Contest. Or Roxette. Or theme parks. Or men. I am tired of coming up with excuses for my taste or preferences.

But I can’t deny that the level of outrage among the fan community came totally unexpectedly for me, not least since “Sister” really isn’t bad enough to justify such a shocked reaction from fans. Of course people get annoyed when their favourites don’t win, but this seemed to go way beyond that.

Lilly Among Dry Ice

So now what? To what possible climax could I lead this post?

Maybe I’m a hopeless case. Maybe I’ve lost it. Maybe I’ve taken leave of all my senses. Maybe I’ve lost my understanding of the Eurovision Song Contest – hey, maybe I’ll lose my last bit of credibility by even writing this.

But still, I can’t understand the outrage one tiny bit. It’s beyond me why it seems so obvious to some that Aly Ryan or Lilly Among Clouds were much better options for ESC than S!sters, at least based on the songs and the performances on the night.

That winning feeling

“Sister” is a beautiful, catchy song with a strong melody and a captivating staging. That’s how I feel about it. I haven’t loved a German song this much since 2006. And I would have said the same about “Wear Our Love” and “Surprise”.

Maybe that’s the real shock, and the reason for the fan reactions: When there’s more than one good option for ESC in a final, someone will always end up disappointed.

So I’ll be the one to say it: Well done, Germany. For once we had some great songs in our final, and one of them got chosen for Tel Aviv. That’s what Germany has actually done. And you can disagree or agree how ever you wish.

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