Germany to introduce international jury and “Europe Panel” for 2018 national selection

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That’s what you call a perfect… selection process. Or so Germany and its broadcaster NDR hoped on Friday as it announced their plans for the Eurovision 2018 national selection.

After three years of devastating results, NDR is ready to show that they are capable of climbing the scoreboard at Eurovision. They’ve kept their national selection concept, but they’re making it bigger and hopefully better with more international input.

Producers want to give international viewers a say. But instead of asking for their opinion only during the show, like in 2017, this time they will include them in the search right from the start.

A so-called Europe Panel will consist of 100 people representing the musical taste of Europe as a whole. It will be responsible for selecting the five candidates for the German final. They will evaluate every application and will judge all of the artists wishing to represent Germany. But that’s not all: the Europe Panel will also take part in the process of finding the potential Eurovision songs. And during the live show they will also have a say in the outcome.

So yes: there is probably a chance that YOU can be part of the Europe Panel! But don’t celebrate just yet. NDR explained that you cannot apply to become a member of the Europe Panel: “At least 10,000 people will be contacted through social networks. They have to go through surveys in a multi-staged selection process to have the chance of becoming a part of the Europe Panel.”

Digame mobile, an expert for app- and voting systems, will help NDR select the 100 most suitable people for the Europe Panel. The broadcaster will also receive support from other professionals for complex data models. Germany is stepping up the game, y’all!

International jury voting

The German national final will get even more of a European vibe. For many years, various countries have liked to hear the opinions of an international jury while choosing their acts. This has been proven to be a successful way of selecting. So Germany will follow the lead: during the national final, an international jury consisting of 20-25 members will also have their say. All of them have already been members of their country’s national jury at Eurovision in the past, so they know what to do.

Naturally German TV viewers will have the chance to vote for their favourite entry in the national final. The exact date is yet to be confirmed. Barbara Schöneberger will most likely host the national final again, as she has hosted the last four editions of Unser Song.

NDR/ARD will contact big record labels and producers and ask them to nominate their acts and songs. But you can also apply! The submission window for artists wishing to represent Germany at Eurovision is already open and will close on 6 November at 12pm. After that the Europe Panel and producers will go through all applications and start selecting.

Only 20 artists will get selected and will be invited to a music studio workshop. Together with music professionals, they will work on their voice, their singing style and general attitude. Based on those results the five lucky finalists will get selected by the Europe Panel. After that, the candidates will choose their own potential Eurovision song together with experts and producers.

Entertainment coordinator Thomas Schreiber is confident and he seems to be relieved to finally have found a promising method:

“We are very satisfied with our partners, who were there to help us developing a new concept. With the right mix of passion, sense and analysis we want to create a restart for Eurovision in Germany. Our goal is to keep the international opinion consistently in mind – from the first selection of candidates until the national final. […] We will promote this concept in front of the creative people in the music industry and in front of the fans – to fill the Eurovision-thrilled Germany with enthusiasm.”

Is this the right way to go for Germany? Will they finally be successful again after putting more effort into their selection? Or will Ann Sophie, Jamie-Lee and Levina soon be joined by a fourth failure? What do you think? Let us know below.

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