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Culture

Germany Finds its "Superstar"

The "German Robbie Williams" wins Germany's version of the ultra-successful British and US superstar competition, "Pop Idol." Almost 13 million viewers voted for 19-year-old Alex Klaws.

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Due to storm the charts, or look good trying

Weeks of gaudy showmanship, suspect singing and nail-biting ended Saturday as German television viewers chose 19-year-old Alex Klaws as the country's next "superstar."

Around 12.8 million viewers tuned in to watch Klaws and Juliette Schoppmann, a 22-year-old singer from the town of Stad near Hamburg, duel it out on the final episode of the ratings-topping show. "Deutschland Sucht den Superstar" (DSDS), the German version of the successful British creation "Pop Idol," prompted the creation of mighty fan blocs around the 10 finalists culled from nearly 10,000 applicants.

As the contestants were narrowed down over a two-month period, the blocs seemed to consolidate behind Klaws, who was the bookie's bet to win the final.

Juliette Schoppmann Deutschland sucht den Superstar

Juliette

The fresh-faced, sugary Klaws, billed alternately as the "housewife's choice," and Germany's answer to British pop star Robbie Williams, sang Williams' "She's the One" and pranced about the stage to "Maniac" from the movie "Flashdance." Schoppmann (photo) countered with Mariah Carey's "Through the Rain" and the Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men."

Both closed with "Take Me Tonight" written by DSDS jury member and "Modern Talking" star Dieter Bohlen. The song, due to saturate German radio and music television in the coming weeks, sealed the victory for Klaws. At 12:42 a.m., the hosts announced Klaws received 70.1 percent of the call-in vote.

Video shoot begins Tuesday

"Alexander is absolutely teenie-suitable," said Bohlen following the show. "He fits in perfectly with young target-groups and belongs on the cover of every magazine."

Hundreds in Klaws' native town of Sendenhorst (population 13,000) following the final episode on a big screen erupted in cheers at the announcement. An already heady few months for the clean-cut student are due to get even crazier. For his victory, Klaws received a €250,000 ($276,000) advance on his record contract. On Tuesday, he flies off to Prague to shoot the video to "Take Me Tonight." His album is due out within a month.

The clear winner in all of this was German TV channel RTL. Europe's largest broaadcasting company replicated the success enjoyed by "Pop Idol" in Great Britain and the U.S.

Watching their every move

An average of 10 million viewers tuned in every Saturday since the show began in January. The 10 finalists' every move in their fenced-off "Superstars" house in Cologne was splashed across Germany's mass-circulating Bild tabloid.

For the final episode, show producers were able to pack 18 minutes of advertising time worth 2.3 million euro, into the four-hour show. "Superstar" extended coverage following the show kept viewers awake into the wee hours of the morning. Plans are already in full swing for the next edition of "Superstar," due to begin filming in the fall.

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