Stefan Raab’s best ideas are born when he’s frustrated. In 2004 he produced “Can’t Wait Until Tonight,” Max Mutzke’s entry for Germany at that year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Although the song achieved eighth place he wasn’t satisfied. In his opinion the eastern European countries had a bad habit of bloc voting, which made it impossible for western countries to win.

Tim Bendzko won the 2011 Bundesvision Song Contest

“Fifty years ago the basic thought of the Eurovision Song Contest was actually that the western European countries compete with their modern pop music,” he said in 2005. “Now many eastern countries have joined the contest but these countries have nothing to do with the western pop music culture…and of course these Slavic nations stick together. We have seen that during the contest when, for example, the Russian presenter said: ‘Twelve points go to our Slavic friends from…'”

That compelled Raab to dream up his own contest called the Bundesvision Song Contest—a sort of mini-Eurovision where the 16 German states compete against one another. The rules are quite similar to rules of the ESC: each state sends a candidate who is chosen by a local radio station. The states award contestants 1 to 12 points. In contrast to the ESC the states are allowed to vote for themselves probably because the German broadcaster Pro7, which airs the contest, wants to increase the income generated by the number of telephone calls. In addition to this at least half of the lyrics of each song have to be German. Raab wants to encourage the artists to produce good German music.

Last year Tim Bendzko won the eighth Bundesvision Song Contest for Berlin, so this year the German capital will host the contest on September 28.

Here’s his winning his song “Wenn Worte meine Sprache wären” (If words were my language).

Pro7 recently published the list of this year’s entries. We’ll upload preview videos if and when they become available.

Federal State – Artist – Song
Baden-Württemberg – Xavas – Und ich schau nicht mehr zurück (And I don’t look back)
Bayern – Fiva & das Phantom Orchester – Die Stadt gehört wieder mir (This City belongs to me
Berlin – B-Tight – Drinne (slang: In)
Brandenburg – Mellow Mark feat. Nina Maleika – Bleib bei mir (Stay with me)
Bremen – Schné – Alles aus Liebe (Just for love)
Hamburg – Der König Tanzt – Häuserwand (Wall of Houses)
Hessen – Cris Cosmo – Herzschlag (Heartbeat)
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – The Love Bülow – Nie mehr (Never again)
Niedersachsen -Ich Kann Fliegen – Mich kann nur Liebe retten (Only love can save me)
Nordrhein-Westfalen – Luxuslärm – Liebt sie dich wie ich? (Does She Loves You the Way I Do?)
Rheinland-Pfalz – Pickers – 1000 Meilen (1000 Miles)
Saarland – Die Orsons feat. Cro – Horst und Monika (Horst and Monika)
Sachsen – Laing – Morgens immer müde (Tired Every Morning)
Sachsen-Anhalt – Johanna Zeul – Sandmann (Sandman)
Schleswig-Holstein – Vierkanttretlager – Fotoalbum (Photo Album)
Thüringen – Maras April – Himmel aus Eis (A Sky Made of Ice)