If someone was talking about countries switching songs post-national final last year, I would probably guess that they were talking about Ukraine or Belarus. This year it’s Germany.
After using the same selection format they had in the previous year (7 “well-known” acts and 1 “unknown” act picked from a club concert, each preparing 2 songs to the national final), the official winner was Andreas Kümmert with the song “Heart of Stone” with nearly 79% of the votes in the final round. However, right after winning, he claimed that he was not an appropriate choice for the contest and gave the golden ticket to second place Ann Sophie and her entry “Black Smoke.”
I’m not going to comment on what he should have done, though I probably would have been ticked off if all the televotes that I paid for went to an artist who quit his title. And it might have annoyed people even more had the Eesti Laul winners (who also won with 79% of the vote) gave up their title.
As someone who didn’t vote or even watch the competition, I will say that I prefer “Black Smoke” over “Heart of Stone.” Ann Sophie’s song appears to stand out more in the 40 songs this year since I don’t think there are other iamb-heavy, jazz-lounge-y songs. At the same time, the song seems a little small for an arena; rather it seems like it would fit a smaller club/bar stage, though it might be remedied with using smaller, tighter camera shots in Vienna.
On a completely separate note, Ann Sophie also looks and sounds a bit like Lena (who won in 2010) at first sight. Since she noted in an interview that her favourite ESC entry was “Satellite”, I wonder what she would sound like singing that song. Maybe some people might not be able to tell the two apart if it was audio only…