Ten singers have been nominated for a televised casting show to select Germany's 2016 Eurovision Song Contest contestant. After achieving "zéro points" at last year's ESC, will Germany pick a winner?
Germany hasn't had much luck selecting its Eurovision candidates in recent years. In November 2015, broadcaster NDR appointed influential pop soul singer Xavier Naidoo to represent Germany at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm this May. But he was given the boot just days later following a public outcry over his politics, with critics citing ties to right-wing groups.
Last year, Germany had held a preliminary TV casting show to choose its candidate, but the overwhelming winner - Andreas Kümmert - withdrew immediately on live television, handing the opportunity over to runner-up Ann Sophie. She earned a total of zero points at the finale, tying with Austria for last place.
Now, after the Xavier Naidoo debacle, German broadcasters have decided to try a casting show again after all and rounded up 10 promising musicians to take part on February 25.
"I'm looking forward to the diversity and colorfulness of the Germany ESC preliminaries," said Thomas Schreiber, entertainment director for national German broadcaster ARD.
From metal to folk-pop
Among the nominees is Alex Diehl, a singer-songwriter from Bavaria who came into the limelight in the fall after his tribute to the victims of the November 13 Paris terror attacks went viral. He gave an exclusive performance of his song, "Nur ein Lied," in DW's television studios.
Jamie-Lee Kriewitz, the 17-year-old most recent winner of the casting show "The Voice of Germany" will compete with her new single, "Ghost." Successful pop-rock group Luxuslärm (pictured above), which has been nominated for an Echo, Germany's top music award, is also on board.
The contestants span a wide spectrum of genres, including Avantasia, the solo project of power-metal singer Tobias Sammet, folk-pop singer Ella Endlich, and chant cross-over choir Gregorian. Indie pop duo Joco, Australian-German folk pair Keøma, 19-year-old casting show veteran Laura Pinski, and pop band Woods of Birnam round out the preliminary show.
Some 150 suggestions were submitted to NDR from radio broadcasters, producers, record labels and artists. The final 10 were chosen by NDR, two youth radio shows, music labels, and the TV production company Brainpool.
Germany's most recent victory at the Eurovision Song Contest came in 2010 with Lena Meyer-Landrut, who has since launched a successful singing career. This year's finale takes place on May 14 in one of the world's most-watched television events.
kbm/eg (dpa, epd)