Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — took a train to Hamburg and visited the even smaller trains on the model railways at Miniatur Wunderland. Afterwards we sat down and reviewed Germany’s Eurovision 2015 singer Ann Sophie and her song “Black Smoke”. Did the song have us choking? Or was it a breath of fresh air? Read on to find out…

Germany’s Eurovision 2015 song

Reviews: Ann Sophie with “Black Smoke”

Padraig: Co-written by English chart topper Ella Eyre, “Black Smoke” would have been the perfect UK entry for the likes of Duffy or The Noisettes. Britain’s loss is Germany’s gain. After last year’s misfire, the land of Lena has upped its game with this sassy stomper of a tune. Retro without feeling dated, it injects some much needed attitude into the 2015 contest. In retrospect the country should be thankful for the twist of fate which sent Ann Sophie to Vienna.

Score: 8/10

Germany, Ann Sophie, 7Luis: Ann Sophie is amongst the finest performers of this year. Her attitude and confidence on stage remind me of Kaliopi. Like the Macedonian diva, Ann Sophie knows she can rock the stadium and she proves it, y’all! The only drawback is that, even though her vocals are on point throughout the song, they don’t really stand out, so the whole package lacks something in the end. I’d say Germany is one to watch this year, as “Black Smoke” is very jury-friendly, and Ann Sophie’s charisma can appeal to a big part of the audience. I’d be more than happy if that happens.

Score 9.5/10

Angus: “Black Smoke” was my favourite at the German national selection. It has the kind of swagger Lena had second time around and the credibility German songs have lacked since “Taken By A Stranger”. Equal parts jaunty and jazzy, Ann Sophie dazzles at the centre of the performance. The song is classy, her vocal stellar and the emotion palpable.

Score: 8.5/10

William: Ann Sophie tells us two hearts say three words, and I’m assuming they are “I hate this”. Sophie’s voice is nasally and grating, and the melody relies on her shouting and dropping faux sass. She’s trying to give us attitude but I’m just not buying it. I don’t understand all the praise y’all are throwing at her. Perhaps all that black smoke has blocked your ear canals.

Score: 4/10

Deban: Had “Black Smoke” been assigned to a different singer, it may have taken flight. However, Ann Sophie’s voice lacks the fullness and required temperature necessary to cook this track right. Furthermore, she is rather wooden, thus marking another nail in the coffin. She should simply treat Vienna as a holiday.

Score: 3.5/10

Germany, Ann Sophie, 7Chris: In amongst all the drama of the national final, Ann Sophie has steadily worked her way up my list to being one of my favourites of the year. I really like “Black Smoke” as a song and Ann Sophie’s stage presence is on point, judging by the national final performance. The Lena comparisons certainly seem to be swirling around, though I can’t see this as a winner – but Germany should certainly be fighting for the top ten.

Score: 8.5/10

Robyn: There’s some black smoke in the shape of Andreas Kümmert hanging over this song, but it’s still one of my favourites. The chorus is super catchy and Ann Sophie is a bold, confident performer. She has a background in theatrical performance and sometimes her interpretation of “Black Smoke” comes across as a bit cabaret, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a lot of spirit here. I hope the song does better than the current odds are predicting.

Score: 7/10

First reaction – drama at the German national final

Ramadan: Looks like Lena has returned to the competition, and I’m loving it. Ann Sophie has charisma and she definitely knows how to perform. Though she needs to ditch those backing vocalists from the national final and get the singers that Juliana Pasha had in 2010. It’s a nice, groovy song that I’m sure many people will enjoy listening to.

Score: 8/10

Bogdan: Ann Sophie’s song wasn’t my first choice in the German national selection (no prizes for whoever guesses which one was it), but “Black Smoke” has grown on me. It sounds like a vintage (in a good way) affirming anthem and I simply love the piano bits!  Ann Sophie herself is charismatic and carries her song very well, commanding the stage. The backing singers, who are essential to this song, are also very good.

Score: 7.5/10

Judit: At first I thought Germany sent Lena 2.0 this year, but the truth is that Ann Sophie is much better than the winner of 2010. I love her voice, and the song describes my feelings right now. Perfect – it’s not too much and not too little. Black Smoke is in my top five and I’m so glad she got the chance to represent Germany.

Score: 8/10 

Our jury consists of 29 people, but we only have room for 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining 19 scores. 

Anthony: 8/10

Denise: 7/10

Francheska: 5.5/10

Josh: 7/10

Kristin: 7/10

Liam: 9.5/10

Marek: 9/10

Mario: 6/10

Max: 6.5/10

Mike: 8/10

Mikhail: 9.5/10

Patrick: 6/10

Renske: 7.5/10

Rezo: 6.5/10

Sami: 10/10

Sinan: 5.5/10

Sopon: 8/10

William C: 6/10

Zach: 8.5/10

To reduce potential bias, we drop the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. We removed a low of 3.5 and a high of 10.

WIWI JURY AVERAGE: 7.41/10

SEE OUR CURRENT EUROVISION 2015 REVIEWS AND RANKINGS

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Leon
Guest
Leon

Somehow the combination of song, singers and production doesn’t work or feel true. Just another song with the spark missing. 3/10

TeleRoger
Guest
TeleRoger

I have to admit I quite like the song
Anne ‘s voice kinda reminds me a little of Paloma Faith.
I don’t think its the winner but Left side of the scoreboard for Germany I think

Francisco
Guest
Francisco

This song has an amazing intro and yes, her voice is nasal, but it is also full of character, the music and the intonation remind me of Kurt Weill. I am impressed and I truly hope it does well because it deserves so

Darren
Guest
Darren

Definitely one of my favorite entries this year, it will surely liven up the stadhalle after those boring, yet screechy ballads and disney songs have put everyone to sleep, it will surely stand out I dont know if it it will win, I certainly hope it does…it definitely deserves top 10. I would love to see Berlin 2016, although, if Ann Sophie fails, Im sure Germany’s second entry this year…Australia will help them out. 10/10 for sure!

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I LOVE THIS!! 8.5/10.

EF0912
Guest
EF0912

I am glad that the original winner withdrew. Ann Sophie has brilliant stage presence, brilliant vocals and a brilliant song. In one word: Brilliant!

8/10

WTF
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WTF

@Nicky1991: Because Iceland is, as far as i know, still 1st in their rankings, placed above hugely superior entries like Germany’s, Romania’s or Greece’s.

Kjetil
Guest
Kjetil

I’m from Germany but i don’t love this song because I live here.
I love it because it’s a great song!
Elaiza were ok but Ann Sophie slays!
I hope she will come to the Top 10 🙂

Otna
Guest
Otna

I LOVE YOU, ANN SOPHIE <3

This is one of my favourite Eurovision entries of all time, and definitely my #1 for this year (although Albania is a really close 2nd rn!) so best of luck Ann Sophie <3

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

Ann Sophie nailed it in Vienna, I think she is gonna do a lot better than what everyone else thinks she is …. I have plenty of faith in her vocal abilities and the energy she possesses … She is gonna rock it out for Germany !!!! Good luck
and a 9/10 from me !!!!!!

ct
Guest
ct

The germans seem to be making the wrong choice every year. Andreas Kummert would be wrong and so is “Black smoke”. At least, “Jump the gun”, while not as good as Laing or Fahrenheidt, had a contemporary New-Yorkish feeling to it reminiscent of Keisha.

My guess is that Germany will be bottom of the big-5 this year…

lollalo
Guest
lollalo

Very bad song, nobody like it, Germans hate it, everyone wanted Andreas Kümmert or Laing and it will finish 20th – 25th place.

2015
Guest
2015

Best big 5 entry this year! (Spain is good too)

Great tune, you can do alot on stage with a song like this.

ESCaddict
Guest
ESCaddict

9 out of 10 from me.
It is not too hard to say three words. I love it.

Nicky1991
Guest
Nicky1991

@Mario, yes it’s an ok song, but we’re looking at a big 7 act. i think it’s too bland and forgetful for the final. if you compare this to Spain or Italy.

Just Mario ~ My Vision of Gay Love..
Guest
Just Mario ~ My Vision of Gay Love..

I don’t really like the German entry….It is just an ok song but nothing really good…
Her singing does not look really appealing to me..
Its my 35th / 40..
My prediction 4 Germany in the final is : 18 – 27..

Timselvision
Guest
Timselvision

I don’t like it very much… But who knows how it’ll do xD 4/10 from me.

Nicky1991
Guest
Nicky1991

@WTF, why talk about Iceland. this article is about Germany.

Nicky1991
Guest
Nicky1991

she really looks like Lena.

Alex
Guest
Alex

It’s alright.

Frank21
Guest
Frank21

The song really is bad , boring and without personality , not in my top 10

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I like this song a lot but maybe because Ella Eyre wrote it because I’m a huge fan of hers…. 8/10

Deniz
Guest
Deniz

8/10

I like the stage performance and was really happy when she “won”. She looks very cool and is really nice. I have always liked the song too, very German kind of rythm too.

EUROFAN MEXICO
Guest

NO PUEDO CREERLO EUROPA LAVADO DEL COCO DE NUEVO POR UNA CHICA ALEMANA DESPREOCUPADA, POR DIOS ES UN CONCURSO DE MUSICA

rob
Guest

Go Ann Sophie! We love you!! I’m so proud!!!!!

fikri
Guest
fikri

this is a kind of sound that i’d have in my ipod but would skip everytime it nears the chorus.

Mar
Guest
Mar

Love this song, it has lots of character, and so does she. Thank whichever god made Andreas loose his mind and give up the win. If she can pull of the vocals like she did in Amsterdam I can see her making it top 10-15.

Graph
Guest

5 / 10
This is the kind of song you would hear on a video game like Need for Speed or Midtown Madness.

George
Guest

Well, she’s definitely out of tune and screaming instead of singing. I like the song very much but not the person singing it.

Steven
Guest
Steven

Still going to stand by saying that Andreas’ song was 10 times better (as the German results nearly reflected). I feel like this is going to just be a filler song that no one is really going to care about. I like it but it doesn’t really go much further than being there.. Probably 15-20 in the final!

Franco
Guest
Franco

My favourite since she appeared at the Clubkonzert (I loved Jump the gun, but then I loved Black smoke, too).
Luis’ analogy with Kaliopi is spot on!
Germany will have my votes in May.

Adam
Guest
Adam

it’s definitely a grower, I first I didn’t care about it but now its in my top 10!! I just love it so much, but with sooo much competition this year I don’t have hopes of it doing well. If this reaches the top 10 in the Grand Final then i’ll be super happy 🙂

WTF
Guest
WTF

Come on, still below that Disney shit that Iceland sent? Goddamn, I just want to throw up realizing that that will probably make the final…

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Germany returns after last year’s disaster! I really like this song. Lots of attitude, style and Ann Sophie does not try to do anything that her voice is not capable of doing. It is not a potential winner but should be on the left side of the board.
7.5/10

Jerome
Guest
Jerome

6.5/10
The score is likely to improve since Black Smoke is growing on me. At first it didn’t have my attention. I thought that it was just a dated song that wasn’t gonna do well in Vienna. But now I see that it just has a cool retro feel with good vocals from Ann Sophie to match. Even though she wasn’t the first choice for Germany, I think she will give them a result to be proud of.

Eugene ESC UK
Guest

Oh dear what’s going on with these scores then? 2nd best in Germany and not the song she got into the Final with, bit of a mess really!! If her vocals are like the National Final she really could end up bottom 5. She can work the stage though and is very likeable; I can’t say that for this song though. Very strangely co-written by 2 Brits and an Australian, the better known one is Ella McMahon (stage name Ella Eyre, well known in the UK.) Was this a UK reject? I think I prefer “Still in love with you”.… Read more »

R
Guest
R

Germany always stands out in their song choices, they’re always something different. In a completely different setting it would do well, but in Eurovision where pop and overstaging rules, it might get lost…

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Well, well, well…I’m shocked. The Wiwi jury actually LIKES this song! The music is reminiscent of the hip-hop soul that has been around for 2 decades. Here in NYC, never would I have expected something like this from GERMANY!

She needs a music video, fast. Right now she’s a toss-up to finish in my top 20 overall. A video could change all that when I evaluate these 40 songs for the 3rd and final time in May.

Zac
Guest
Zac

10/10 literally amazing

Allen
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Allen

I agree this time with almost everything “juries” said. She seems very cool and also she is quite charismatic on stage and finally-she can sing. I believe this is a song for a decent result. Not the top 5, but she can be a pleasant surpise. Since 2010 Germany has shown that every country can make good results and this is a message for countries like the UK, Ireland, France or Portugal. Lena’s performance in Dusseldorf is among the best acts I have ever seen in Eurovision (and I watch it since 1999). Hot, sexy, dark and authentic. The way… Read more »

Easpag
Guest
Easpag

Black Smoke is a great addition to this years lineup. Ann Sophie’s voice suit the song perfectly, and if her vocals are a little bit more controlled and less shouty than in USFÖ, this will hopefully be challenging for the top 10, or thereabouts. 8/10

Maltish
Guest
Maltish

Well I think I’ve lost faith in this jury. A 7.41 seriously. It’s a middle of the road song similar to what Germany sent last year, yet this gets a seven and almost a half. It’s not a bad song, but you’re usually a jury whose harsh and a good song tends to get a 6 and over, it seems as if even average songs are getting a 7 with you guys this year.

Ian
Guest
Ian

This song is very middle of the road. By no means bad, but by no means interesting either.