He’s one of the most prolific songwriters in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. And as he celebrates his 72nd birthday today — many happy returns — Ralph Siegel is back in the headlines. According to Dnevni Avazthe man behind a whooping 24 Eurovision entries was ready to both organise and bankroll a Bosnia and Herzegovina entry for Lisbon 2018. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

Reports suggest that the German songsmith had lined up Hanka Paldum to perform his song. When contacted by Dnevni Avaz, Paldum — a popular folk singer — confirmed that the story was true.

However, despite Siegel’s commitment to fund the project, BHRT turned down the offer. But it’s not a case of “Just Get Out of My Life”. The beleaguered TV network is in dire financial trouble. It owes massive debts, and as a result must endure punitive sanctions.

A trip to Lisbon might be out of the question, but Hanka Paldum isn’t giving up on her Eurovision ambitions just yet. She intends to continue a working relationship with Siegel and hopes to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina as soon as the national broadcaster’s monetary woes recede.

Ralph Siegel and Eurovision

Ralph Siegel’s 45 year love affair with Eurovision began in 1972 when he entered “Hallelujah Man” into the German national selection. Two years later he reached the actual contest for the first time when Luxembourg sent “Bye Bye I Love You”.

Since then he’s penned many iconic entries including “Dschinghis Khan” (Germany 1979), “Theater” (Germany 1980), “Papa Pingouin” (Luxembourg 1980), and “Johnny Blue” (Germany 1981). He won the contest outright in 1982 with “Ein bißchen Frieden”. Performed by Nicole, it was Germany’s first victory at Eurovision.

In recent times, he’s become synonymous with San Marino — the tiny microstate located on the Italian peninsula — overseeing their entry on five occasions since 2012.

Bosnia and Herzegovina at Eurovision

Earlier this month, BHRT confirmed that Bosnia and Herzegovina would not be involved in Lisbon. While the non-return was disappointing news to fans, it came as little surprise.

In August, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2016 singer Dalal posted a link to a wiwibloggs article about the likelihood of her country winning Eurovision. Dalal added the comment “Too bad we don’t have representatives in 2018”.

It is also known that broadcaster BHRT has been plagued by financial troubles that make Eurovision entry an extremely low priority. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s last entry — Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala with “Ljubav je” in 2016 — was entirely privately funded, through sponsorship and contributions from the artists themselves.

Last year, the broadcaster confirmed that they would not be able to participate in Eurovision 2017 due to its financial situation, including a €5.5 million debt to the EBU. A spokesperson said it would be “highly irresponsible” to enter “such an expensive project as Eurovision” when it could not afford to participate.

Bosnia and Herzegovina first entered Eurovision in 1993. Since the semi-finals were introduced, Bosnia and Herzegovina could always be counted on to quality for the grand final, until their entry in 2016 broke their lucky streak by only just missing out in 11th place.

Their best result was in 2006, when Hari Mata Hari placed third with the evocative Balkan ballad “Lejla”, written by 2004 runner-up Zeljko Joksimovic.

Bosnia and Herzegovina took a three-year break from Eurovision, from 2013 to 2015, before returning in 2016. And despite their absence this year and next year, fans are still hoping that Bosnia and Herzegovina will eventually return to Eurovision.

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26 Comments on "Thanks, but no thanks: Bosnia and Herzegovina reject Ralph Siegel’s Eurovision 2018 offer"

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CookyMonzta
Guest

@Azaad, Mako: You beat me to it! Good move, BHRT! Dignity comes first in this matter; and as respected as Ralph Siegel is for his PAST work, he has become a dinosaur TODAY. Bosnia recognizes that, had they accepted the offer, they would have been rolling loaded dice in their efforts to make the Grand Final.

@Ondine, Aria: Quite the possibility for San Marino to stay home in 2018. Unless either one or both of the kids from 2015 (Anita Simoncini and/or Michele Perniola) try again; this time, with something NOT involving Ralph Siegel.

Women, football and rock'n'roll
Guest
Women, football and rock'n'roll

I’m not a fan of Siegel in ESC. But I am a fan of the Bosnian entries. Usually they enter interesting songs, quite different music styles, and the songs mostly sound quite authentic. Let’s hope for a return in 2019 🙂

sorin
Guest

Can’t believe Bosnia and Herzegovina rejected this. Ralph Siegel wanted to give not only a song, but also money, and Siegel had good songs like Crisalide and Maybe. The only explanation is that BH knows that if it wants to participate, will be disqualified anyway by EBU because of debts, because otherwise, Siegel offer was super lucky for BH.

Mark
Guest

Any way to get maximum amount of participants is okay with me

Aria
Guest

So I’m guessing This doesn’t augur well for San Marino’s participation this year if Ralph Siegel is already looking at other options?

Ondine
Guest

This Siegel offer for B&H tells us that San Marino will not be in Lisbon?????

Julian
Guest

not with the Siegel

Richardinho
Guest

Sad to see all the usual Siegel haters out in force. Siegel deserves a lot more respect for what he’s done over the years and the series of songs he wrote for Valentina Monetta were masterpieces.

Women, football and rock'n'roll
Guest
Women, football and rock'n'roll
I kind of have respect for Siegel as a “historical icon” in ESC. But his heyday was the 70/80s. Whilst he still could make songs that became big hits in Germany / ESC-“classics” (subjectively speaking of course). However, his songs have become more and more cheesy, dated and generic over the years. Not very successful wither, for that matter. So I think he should realise that he has gone “over the hill” at this stage. I agree with what Alex said. Valentina Monetta from San Marino is actually a jazz singer. Sigel has penned several of her songs. None of… Read more »
Denis
Guest

The combination of those two make me chuckle
Hanka can better than Ralph, and has used much better writers in the past. What does Ralph know about sevdah? And Hanka about anything else?

Carol
Guest

nooooooooooo COME BACK

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

I can see why they’d rather pass than participate with a Ralph Siegel song.

Purple Mask
Guest

I knew you would say that. Haha. 🙂

Alex
Guest
This is a good decision on both financial and, sadly, musical grounds. Siegel’s recent record in Eurovision is not very impressive. He had four chances to enable Valentina to sing (and perhaps even co-write) a song in her true genre (jazz) for the contest and never did so, with the result of the single qualification. Chain of Hearts didn’t go anywhere either. I appreciate his prolific record in the contest, but there’s a reason Eurovision participations generally don’t go to the highest bidder. My main concern, as Milan has essentially said, is whether the singer’s style of music would be… Read more »
Women, football and rock'n'roll
Guest
Women, football and rock'n'roll

Yep – indeed she should have entered some “real” jazz. Her usual style.

Josh
Guest

Siegel has to be commended for his many many successful entries over the years (in fact some sort of lifetime achievement award would be fit!) but the issue is his recent entries still have that 70s/80s feel (not in a good way). Last year’s San Marino entry was a pure example of trying to make a cookie cutter modern(ish) song but it still didn’t work. In fairness if I had loads of money I’d keep trying with ‘Chopsticks’. I don’t think he will bring success again now.

Mako
Guest

Lol ^_^ Well done Bosnia

Purple Mask
Guest

I’m in the minority here, being a fan of Ralph Siegel’s work. Very sad about BHRT’s debts to the EBU. I hope they are able to work it out one day.

Graph
Guest
I have a lot of respect for Siegel because he has had a couple ESC entries that were outstanding (Journey to Jerusalem, Crisalide) and several others that were very good in their own way (Let’s Get Happy, Maybe, Chain of Lights). I also like the way he doesn’t give up his signature musical traits. That said, he’s also had quite a few entries that were average or below. I think a key aspect is how much time he has to work on an entry. I heard that he and Valentina spent almost a year on Crisalide. But if he has… Read more »
Azaad
Guest

Good on Bosnia and Herzegovina for having some dignity?

Azaad
Guest

*!

Milan
Guest

Well, Hanka Paldum at Eurovision would definitely be something worth watching. But *not* with a Siegel song. Frankly, the idea of her singing any of his songs seems preposterous.

Nickc
Guest

I guess BiH did not want to come last like San Marino. Btw, how come he has so much money, and why is he obsessed with eurovision?

Richardinho
Guest

Because he’s worked hard all his life and been very successful in his field. Where is the mystery?

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Yeah, why would anyone be totally obsessed with Eurovision? What a weirdo 😉

Carol
Guest

Who isn’t obsessed with eurovision?? ?jk