Thomas Schreiber Germany Eurovision Boss

As reported on Monday, broadcaster NDR has finally confirmed what many were suspecting — Gemany’s act for Eurovision 2020 will be internally selected. This is the first time that the country has foregone a national final since 2009.

German website dwdl.de, subsequently interviewed the network’s Head of Entertainment Thomas Schreiber, asking why the decision was taken to go internal.

Germany’s Internal Selection for Eurovision 2020: Thomas Schreiber explains

Schreiber says that it took a while to come to terms with the country’s poor result at Eurovision 2019. However, the German broadcaster had already started looking for its 2020 act back in March 2019.

“Sometimes, one year is going over way quicker than one needs to work on specific processes, for example good staging.”

The delegation looked for Eurovision experts who could give a prognoses on how all the countries would fare in Tel Aviv. The 100 people who were closest to the actual placing got a place on the Eurovision Panel.

No national final for Germany

Thomas Schreiber explains that the 2019 national final required a lot of effort which didn’t really pay off. When you have a look at the audience that voted in the national final, you can see that the average age was much older than the audience who voted for the actual contest in May. In addition, many of those who voted in the German selection didn’t even vote during Eurovision itself:

“To talk in absolute numbers, there were 163,102 people who voted 374,313 times overall at Unser Lied für Israel. From those, only 26,794 voted during the contest in May while altogether, 406,886 people voted for their favourite in Tel Aviv. […] In other words: 93.4% of all voters in Germany didn’t vote in the German final.”

The German final and the Eurovision Song Contest reach completely different people. However, to find a successful Eurovision act it is important that the same people who do vote in the big contest also decide which singer should represent a country. That’s the reason, why we then only let the Eurovision Panel together with the international jury decide on the German act.

Entry selected on 12 December

Both juries decided on the German representative for Rotterdam on 12 December 2019. From then on, the German broadcaster has entered negotiations and held meetings with international choreographers.

As a result, NDR can work on the staging much earlier than in previous years. Schreiber emphasises how important this extra time is.

“When you think of Måns Zelmerlöw, you see that staging can elevate a song even more. Also, there are so much different ways to stage a song, for example Loreen or Conchita.”

The German broadcaster will now upload one video per week with a detailed explanation on how the selection process worked. Thomas Schreiber says that he knows there are people who are very upset about the broadcaster’s silence up to now. But with these videos, NDR wants to show transparency retrospectively.

Both the singer and the song will be presented on 27th February during Unser Lied für Rotterdam.

Schreiber also hints that the broadcaster wants to promote the act internationally – most likely at events in Amsterdam, London and Madrid.

The German selection process for Eurovision 2020

The two jury panels are the Eurovision Panel — a group of specially selected Eurovision fans — and a jury of 20 international experts who have previously represented their country on a Eurovision jury.

The juries rated a number of artists and performers, which each jury group getting 50% of the overall vote. In the end, this led to one stand-out combination who will be Germany’s act for Rotterdam.

Are you excited Germany’s new process? Would you rather have had a national final instead? Let us know in the comments.

Follow all of our Germany Eurovision 2020 news.

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[…] The selection process itself was barely touched. Following several months of narrowing down the shortlist, the act was ultimately picked in December. […]

Ohi
Guest
Ohi

Because Aly Ryan got robbed and they don’t trust the public

gilpgilp
Guest
gilpgilp

Enough of the Big 5 automatic qualifying. “Sisters” from Germany should not have qualified in the final above other better acts that got left out. Does anyone know how much money the Big 5 actually pays to get into the final? I suspect it isn’t really that much.

Metalvision Song Contest
Guest
Metalvision Song Contest

If you want to involve the younger audience in the selection of the entry, this has never been easier. It’s 2020 – we’re living in the future. Just do the following: – Put up a video of every candidate on your broadcaster’s YouTube channel. All of these videos are uploaded together as “private” and then released by setting them to “public” on the exact same time of the exact same day. – The video is recorded under Eurovision performance conditions: All vocals must be live, no autotune etc., the instrumental must be pre-recorded, i.e. identical to the studio record. No… Read more »

Metalvision Song Contest
Guest
Metalvision Song Contest

Well, I appreciate the transparency by Mr Schreiber, even though providing these videos in hindsight makes it look like the NDR is still very convinced of what they’re doing (which, based on their previous track record, hardly seems justified), and therefore, they didn’t believe they needed the public’s input at all as they went through the process during the last couple of months. However, when it comes to the number of people voting in the national final last year, those low numbers are a symptom, not the root of the problem. The reason only so few people vote in our… Read more »

Max
Guest
Max

That‘s just not true.
Viewing figures were vastly higher than 3 million.

Metalvision Song Contest
Guest
Metalvision Song Contest

You are absolutely correct – I’m sorry, I confused the number of viewers from the last German national final (2.99 million) with those for the grand final itself (8.1 million). Sadly, I can’t edit my original post anymore now to fix that. :/ Still, that’s less than 10% of the entire population of Germany, which is 83 million. Compare that to Iceland, where a third of the population watches the contest, or to Sweden, where it’s 2.5 million people out of 10, i.e. a quarter of the population. In Norway and Denmark, it’s about a fifth each (1 million out… Read more »

E!ntertainment
Guest
E!ntertainment

You know nothing, Thomas Schreiber

No One
Guest
No One

“To find a successful Eurovision act it is important that the same people who do vote in the big contest also decide which singer should represent a country. ”

This @ rai. Wake up.

Noah
Guest
Noah

I hope that Germany does it right this year. they have so many talented producers, as well as artists. Germany could do very well if ARD wouldn’t mess it up year by year.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I’m more impressed that they got to work on this in March 2019.
This means, either the German broadcaster really had big plans for this year or (more likely), even they had given up on S!sters two months before Eurovision. 😉

Where I belong
Guest
Where I belong

How can you call this an internal selection when more than 100 people decided on the final entry ? It is a sort of public vote avoiding the bad taste of the TV viewers. And it is much cheaper than the selections before.

Timi
Guest
Timi

What I love about ESC it’s that it’s the most unpredictable contest ever. You never know what will happen on May. But I like to see people that are not underestimating the contest. You don’t need the best staging or best voice or best song… You just need to touch people in some way, with a catchy song, with an emotional performance, with a terrific staging, with a voice perfect for a song. Last year I was sure that Norway was the televote winner. People laugh at me at YouTube. XD Same with Salvador, Netta, Il Volo… I’m not an… Read more »

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

It seems like a smart selection process, from the jury panel of “Eurovision experts”, who more or less predicted the Eurovision 2019 edition result, to ditching the National Final or making two jury groups. They shouldn’t focused too much in numbers because Eurovision in general is kind of unpredictable when it comes to know which song will success. They seem to be searching for a formula.

jack
Guest
jack

Ever since Barbara is involved they almost come last every year, her clothings brings all the bad luck

Anita
Guest
Anita

@wiwibloggs I wrote a comment and it’s gone. What happened? Did I write anything that is not wanted here?

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

Was the comment long? If it is long, and you submit it, it won’t appear in the comment section

Pancake
Guest
Pancake

Aly Ryan: *somewhere between the lines of heavy breathing and triggered*

John
Guest
John

So older televoters voted for all those teenage girls? Creepy.

Gert
Guest
Gert

Why is nobody talking about automatically ‘qualifying’ by being one of The Big 5? Just because Germany pays more doesn’t make it deserve a place in the finals more. I wouldn’t ever vote for a big 5 because that inforces this old fashioned pay-to-win system

KESC
Guest
KESC

What’s surprising to see is that most of the Big 5 members usually don’t do well.
I think that they would have better chances, if they competed in the semi finals as well.

I know that Germany, the UK and France probably pay the most, but that shouln’t be a reason for them to compete directly in the final. Actually, no country should be pre-qualified for the final.
It would make the contest more exciting for sure.
In the end, it is kinda unfair towards most of the countries that 5 places are already taken in the final.

gilpgilp
Guest
gilpgilp

@KESC I agree! The only automatic qualifier should be the country that hosts and wont he prior year. The idea of the Big 5 countries paying to get into the final is ridiculous. In the case of the UK, they send terrible songs every year because they don’t feel like they need to do better.

Joey
Guest
Joey

The only Big 5 country that delivers every year is Italy…

NickC
Guest
NickC

France delivered non stop since 2016 for me.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

If the UK wasn’t in the final, virtually nobody in the UK would watch ESC so there would be a lot of money lost to the competition. Not sure if the same is true of the other big 5. I actually think being one of the Big 5 is a hindrance as a lot of people resent that the big countries get an automatic place.

gilpgilp
Guest
gilpgilp

@Kosey Enough with the threats from the UK. The UK doesn’t care about Eurovision to begin with and sends an awful act every year. Perhaps if it needed to EARN a place in the final it would send something better, which would cause more people to watch.

gilpgilp
Guest
gilpgilp

The UK, Germany, and Spain are the worst of the lot.

first row at ESC and JESC
Guest
first row at ESC and JESC

@Gert – it is not a pay to win System. The situation is more complex: 1. The Eurovision cost a huge amount of money ….and without the payments of the “Big 5” there would be no Eurovision anymore. 2. The “Big 5” countries have a big population (Germany has over 80 million people) and about 8,5 million are watching the ESC in May ….same is with Spain, UK etc. …and if those countries will be kicked out in the Semi Final that would cause a loss of viewers. That is the reason. I understand that you are pissed about the… Read more »

gilpgilp
Guest
gilpgilp

@first row – this is false propaganda. Do you know exactly how much they pay? It is actually not that much. It could easily be spread among the other countries. To your second point, Russia is a large country too, but somehow they are fine not being in the “Big 5” and the contest goes on. I think you are just afraid that your big 5 country will never qualify because it sends bad songs.

gilpgilp
Guest
gilpgilp

@Gert you are 100% correct. The only people that downvoted you are ones from the Big 5 who are afraid that their terrible entries would be left out of the final. But I think getting rid of the Big 5 would incentivize them to send better entries. Shouldn’t a Big 5 country want to be able to EARN their place in the final with a good song? How is it that countries with good acts get left out of the final in place of the crap that UK or Germany sends every year? How much more do they actually pay?… Read more »

James
Guest
James

The Big 5 form a good bulk of the contest’s viewing figures per annum.

L'oiseau
Guest
L'oiseau

Viel Glueck, Deutschland!

Alex
Guest
Alex

Just need to remember no country in Europe is close to Germans when it comes to voting/predicting the overall televoting winner at Eurovision. They almost always nailed it.
Germans gave 12 points to Conchita, Il Volo, Sergey, Salvador and Keiino. Netta got 10.

John the Go
Guest

Depends how you look at it really. Last year, the UK Jury gave 12 points to North Macedonia and the Televote 12 points to Norway… but neither of those countries actually won the contest in the end.
The last stat I saw on this said that over a 10-year period, Hungary gave the winner the most points on every each year, which is interesting considering its position in Central Europe and surrounded by Germanic, West Slavic, South Slavic, East Slavic and East Romance influences.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I’ve actually been paying attention to this stuff! By and large, there are a handful of countries with particularly strong track records in predicting the winner. The UK may not have given 12 points to the overall winner every time, but they’ve given 12 points to the jury vote winner almost every year since 2012 (with the exception of 2016 and 2014 if you’re just looking at their jury vote).

John the Go
Guest

One of my favourite moments ever was when the UK jury gave 12 points to Georgia out of literally nowhere!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Well deserved. The UK giving twelve to Georgia and ten to Ukraine was sick. Even the Georgian commentators were shocked.

JohntheGo
Guest

It was nice to see them completely break away from the “norm” and show we still love a bit of rock at heart. Still, also so proud the UK gave 12 points to Norway.

It's me boo
Guest
It's me boo

BUT
as said in the interview only 6% of those voters vote in the actual NF

AgnethaFrida
Guest
AgnethaFrida

Gemany didn’t gave 12 poins to Conchita. Sadly there were just 7, i think.

Joe
Guest
Joe

The televote gave Conchita 12 and the jury only put her 11th, so it averaged out to 7.

Paul
Guest
Paul

If it’s not Aly Ryan – why even bother

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

can we leave that joke act in the 2010s? she’s already proven she isn’t a good performer, germany is a huge country with lots of talented artists and she ain’t one of them.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Maybe it’s a good sign he’s talking about staging. I always wonder why some broadcasters go for internal selections and get to Eurovision without having an idea about how to stage. I mean, part of the benefit of going internal is that you can figure out the whole package while planning. On a different subject, it’s interesting that they got the differences between voting in the national final and in Eurovision itself. For some reason it seems many countries are having difficulties when trying to attract Eurovision habitual viewers to their selections. A winner for an audience made of bored… Read more »

Denis
Guest
Denis

In other words: People got it wrong last year so no we leave it to people who actually has taste and knows what works!

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

We’ll see about that. The expert jury also chose Sisters last year.

Hellohi
Guest
Hellohi

Well, actually that is not 100% right. If you were involved in the selection process you know what I mean^^

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

I wasn’t, so I don’t. Spill the beans, who did they choose then? And why did they announce Sisters as their winner on TV?

Marcel
Guest
Marcel

in combination with the panel, makeda would have win

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

That’s why I said: _The expert jury_ chose Sisters. In combination with no one. 😉

RoboESC
Guest
RoboESC

Sounds like a decent selection method. But it still totally depends on the quality of the submitted songs. Why isn’t NDR actively working with big record labels for instance.

John the Go
Guest

I think Germany probably needs a few consistently good years before they can start to attract stars or talent. But you’re right, it sounds like a very solid approach this year.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

If you care primarily about results, this may be smart, we’ll see about that on the 27th, at the moment, it’s a bit early to tell. An internal selection doesn’t guarantee a good result, does it? If you care primarily about music (and I do), then this approach bothers me. The problem that Eurovision national finals attract an older audience is not some brand-new insight. If you want to attract a younger demographic, change the format, change the way of adressing them. Excluding them from the selection process won’t solve any problem in the long run. And it’s not mentioned… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I notice a lack of long terms plans concerning most national finals. Of course, you won’t build a Sanremo or a Melfest from the ground, it will take decades. But if everytime a broadcaster doesn’t get the result it wants or face a problem (in this case, the fact an older demographic was answering for the televote) they get rid of it, how will you build something? France’s case is very emblematic to me. They had 2 good editions of Destination Eurovision and throwed everything away. And many fans applauded it, just because they didn’t like the winners (note: I… Read more »

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

That’s precisely the point. As I already said yesterday: You need to have a clear concept and then you need staying power. But if they treat it like a sports event, where the trainer is fired, if they don’t have immediate success, it will never work. I mean, we don’t even have to look to the cream of the crop like Melfest or Sanremo. Just look at what a small country like Estonia has achieved over the years. They’re single-handedly much more successful than Spain and Germany and France and the UK combined. And they always stuck with Eesti Laul.

NickC
Guest
NickC

My thoughts exactly. You are a wise woman, Sabrina.

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

You’re sweet, Nick. 🙂

Anita
Guest
Anita

Actually there seems to be a long term plan: changing the selection procedure every year.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

At least France did the same thing for a couple of years. All of us should be concerned about what’s going on in Armenia. I get the funny feeling they’re one more bad result away from permanently withdrawing.

John the Go
Guest

I think it’s interesting though how Germany has identified the different audiences – ultimately the way the national final was working wasn’t actually appealing to the wider ESC audience. Internal selection isn’t necessarily the answer, but I think it might be a good solution to try and change attitudes in the country to take it more seriously.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

It’s not really a secret that the younger demographic isn’t interested in Eurovision that much. I guess the same is true for the UK. Eurovision in Germany was for a long time ridiculed as a dusty schlager festival. That changed gradually, when Stefan Raab got involved around 2000 – which ultimately led to Lena’s victory in 2010. That would have been the moment to take it to the next level, and if you watched the German selections in the first half of the 2010’s, they were in fact musically much more interesting, but they changed the rules and the mode… Read more »

JohntheGo
Guest

To me, the sign of a successful pre-selection is one that acts want to return to. Melfest has managed it spectacularly – Ukraine and Lithuania also to a lesser extent. I would have loved the UK and France to develop something similar but the format just wasn’t really there (SuRie in particular would have been welcomed back with open arms), but if not winning is treated like some appalling failure, that won’t happen. But that is as much down to exposure and airplay on radio and TV as anything else. It’s not an easy fix.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

But isn’t that the point? If the result is the most important, then losing stigmatizes. If music is the focus, and you’re not winning, if the most important thing is that you have been invited to this prestigious festival, then you are going to want to return, even if you finished at the bottom of the scoreboard. It’s not an easy fix, you’re right, but it’s certainly nothing an internal selection will remedy.

Joe
Guest
Joe

It worked with the Netherlands. The poor options, often skewing toward older tastes (the Toppers, getting the songwriter from 1973 to write their entry for 2010, etc), alienated current artists and turned off younger viewers. Now they have actual contemporary acts that reflect modern Dutch music and most Dutch people seem horrified at the idea of going back to a public selection.

Anita
Guest
Anita

I hope some officials will read your high quality comments! And I hope Thomas Schreiber watches this interview with Paul Clarke. He could convince an artist like Didirri who normally would never go into competition… and more things to learn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k9DkDgQhtg

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

It’s interesting how Paul Clarke says, he’s not sure if iOTA liked to be judged, so he told him to look at it as if they were at the Grammies. And it’s true, being nominated but not winning the Grammies is no reason to be ashamed. Being invited and not winning at Sanremo isn’t a reason to be ashamed, either. Because it’s framed differently. Being part of both of these events is already an achievement in and of itself. In my opinion, that is the magic formula.

Anita
Guest
Anita

YES – I needed you to put it into the right words! 😀

Anita
Guest
Anita

This is a joke: Mr. Schreiber and the NDR were responsible that the S!ster Act was put together and entered the competition through the back entrance. Without there interference the show would have been different and the outcome too. Never believe statistics you haven’t manipulated yourself.
And it is also in the responsibility of the broadcaster which people are attracted by a show (how it’s done and how it is broadcasted etc.). Australia is very lucky to have such a clever director for Australia Decides – what’s his name again?

Anita
Guest
Anita

@wiwibloggs – thanks for the approval but it comes too late, so may I ask to delete the comment- thank you! You can also delete the question above where I asked about this comment.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I knew there was solid reasoning to all this. It really is something to consider with the televotes in national finals – they may skew much younger or older depending on the country and how big of an audience Eurovision has there. I think it’s a smart choice NDR made.

Duarte
Guest
Duarte

Can it be Aly Ryan? Please I would love to see her back.

MOMO
Guest
MOMO

I am sorry but we do not want an arrogant Woman to represent us! She talked badly About the Sisters. She is just so full of herself. It is just Right to not let her represent us.

jack
Guest
jack

Aly get a life you wont represent any country. Unless you pay san marino lol

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

LOL *going internal* Right on theme with OPEN UP

sangfreudx
Guest
sangfreudx

Smart approach. I work with statistics every day, and it’s nice to see Germany do their homework to understand how the Unser Lied voting audience compares to the Eurovision voting audience. After so many bottom scraping finishes, I was starting to think Germany had lost their competitive spirit. FALSCH! Good luck, Deutschland.