Ten candidates and a variety of genres entered the fray at the German national finals for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. In the end, a 17-year-old singer styled in Japanese Manga came out on top.
The winner of the television singing contest "The Voice of Germany" took her song "Ghost" to the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) preliminaries in Cologne.
After learning of her victory, Jamie-Lee Kriewitz made a sign of the heart with her fingers - the signature gesture coined by 2010 Eurovision winner Lena Meyer-Landrut, another petite, dark-haired, school-age charmer from Germany.
In perfect control of her voice, Kriewitz gave her performance on a dreamlike set with an oversized moon. Her extravagant garb - a colorful dress and outlandish headdress complete with a bow tie, stuffed animal and extraterrestrial antennae - was reminiscent of a Japanese Manga comic figure: an appearance that was evidently equally popular with spectators. Interested in K-pop and South Korea, Kriewitz intends to pursue a degree in Korean studies.
Genuine ESC spirits
Die-hard ESC fans had lined up hours before the televised show. The mood in the hall was upbeat. Fan clubs and artists came in droves, many sporting ESC fan articles like scarves and flags.
Host Barbara Schöneberger began with an irreverent medley of earlier Eurovision songs, taking jabs at recent scandals plaguing Germany at the world's biggest music event: soul singer Xavier Naidoo being initially nominated for the current season, then withdrawn after his controversial political views came to light; and last year's default candidate Anne Sophie landing at the bottom of the heap with zero points - after national favorite Andreas Kümmert had declined the honor in the German preliminary.
Schöneberger therefore made it clear: whoever wins this year's national finals will unmistakably go on to the competition in Stockholm, Sweden, which concludes on May 14. There was no objection from Jamie-Lee Kriewitz, who said she would carefully prepare for the Eurovision finale.
After the ten acts had performed, three finalists were chosen by televoting, the other two being Alex Diehl - the corpulent guitarist and singer whose song "Nur ein Lied" ("Just one song") had been created and gone viral within hours after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 - and hard rockers Avantasia.
Solo female singers are a trend at this year's song competition in Stockholm, turning up frequently among the candidates from other countries that have been announced to date.