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Culture

Will Gerhard Schröder Sing at Eurovision?

A young German satirist is making a bid to represent Germany in next year's Eurovision song contest by impersonating Gerhard Schröder.

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Elmar Brandt (not the puppet) wants to take Germany to Eurovision victory

With only 178 days to go until the 48th Eurovision Song Contest, Germany is gearing up for the competition that will decide on who will represent them in next year’s competition in Riga. And it looks like it could be Gerhard Schröder.

Well, almost.

German impersonator Elmar Brandt's latest piece of political satire mimicking the German chancellor is currently number one in the German charts. Brandt has said he wants to represent his country in the song contest that will take place in the Latvian capital on 24th May next year.

Brandt’s current hit, 'Der Steuersong' (The Tax Song) ridicules Chancellor Schröder for going back on promises he made during general elections in Germany. In the video to the song, a Schröder puppet sings about his plans to hike taxes on everything from alcohol to hair dye.

Brandt, 30, whose daily political satire program ‘Die Gerd Show’ (The Gerd Show) on German radio has over 9.5 million listeners, will battle it out with other German hopefuls in a live broadcast in Kiel on January 7th where viewers will be able to vote for their preferred Eurovision entrant.

No Tax Song

But under Eurovision rules, this song, which has already sold over 480,000 copies, is not eligible for entry into the Eurovision competition. All songs in the contest must be completely original and not previously released. ‘The Tax Song’ is set to the music of ‘The Ketchup Song’ – a recent international hit by Spanish girl group, ‘Las Ketchup’.

Brandt’s record company told DW-WORLD the 30-year-old impersonator was unavailable for interviews and would not reveal much about Brandt’s plans for his entry. “He hasn’t written it yet, but it will be a satirical statement,” said Markus Beele of Warner Music.

But Brandt has admitted having a working title for his Eurovision entry. Struck by the last German euro-ditty to win in 1982, ‘Ein Bisschen Frieden' (A little Peace), Brandt’s entry is currently called ‘Noch Mehr Frieden’ (Still More Peace).

Germany's Comic Charm

Brandt is the latest in a line of German comedy entertainers to attempt to bring home the Eurovision crown.

German comedian Stefan Raab achieved 5th place in 2000 with his song, ‘Wadde Hadde Dudde Da’. Raab also wrote the 1998 German entry for the rather eccentric musician Guildo Horn. Horn came in 7th place singing ‘Guildo hat euch Lieb’ (Guildo Loves You).

But last year’s entry, “I can’t live without music” by blind singer Corinna May, managed just 21st place. It was a shock for Germany and to the bookies which had predicted the song would bring home the first place trophy.

Too Close for Comfort

The German chancellor himself has refused to comment on Brandt’s antics. Even the opposition conservatives, the CDU, say they are unhappy about Brandt representing Germany on the Eurovision stage, where the contest is taken very seriously by most who take part. In a statement in the German tabloid newspaper Bild, CDU General Secretary Laurenz Meyer said Brandt was clearly expressing the feelings of millions of Germans, but “he is too near to the reality of the situation to represent Germany internationally.”

And they might well have reason to worry. If successful in his Eurovision bid, Brandt has revealed that his Gerhard puppet won’t be alone on stage. In an interview on his official website, he said a rubber Doris Schröder would also be on hand perform with her husband and that Gerhard would play a xylophone solo on her teeth.

Warren Lush, spokesman for Ladbrookes betting agents, told DW-WORLD it was too early to say what the odds on Germany winning were, but that “anyone who has already had a number one (song) has to be up there with the favourites”.

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