With Eurovision 2020 having been cancelled, broadcasters around Europe are looking for alternate content to screen on 16 May. In Germany, broadcaster Stefan Raab has confirmed he will be producing a show to screen on 16 May — the Free European Song Contest.
The show will screen on the ProSieben network. This isn’t Germany’s Eurovision broadcaster, so the show can’t be thought of as Germany’s official replacement for Eurovision 2020. But with the show helmed by Stefan Raab, it’s sure to have solid Eurovision credentials.
An acclaimed broadcaster and television producer, Raab has been involved with five German Eurovision entries, all finishing in the top ten. This includes Lena’s 2010 victory with “Satellite” and Raab’s role co-hosting Eurovision 2011. Later in 2011, he announced he was ending his Eurovision career, but with this new show, it appears Raab may be returning to his old turf.
Few details of the show have been confirmed, but Stefan Raab is excited by it. In a statement, he said, “Music connects many people to one another, especially in difficult times. This marks the birth of a new, free European song competition. That is the birth of the Free European Song Contest.”
ProSieben’s managing director Daniel Rosemann shared Raab’s enthusiasm, saying, “Stefan Raab loves music. Stefan Raab loves the European idea. We are excited about the great opportunity to live and celebrate Europe in these times with a new music competition.”
Stefan Raab’s other Eurovision proposal
German media has revealed that Stefan Raab had also pitched an official Eurovision replacement show to the EBU. The show proposal was presented by Raab and ARD entertainment coordinator Thomas Schreiber.
Schreiber described their proposed show as involving the 41 countries of Eurovision giving live performances. The show would be held in keeping with different countries’ Covid-19 regulations, which could require the artist to be on lockdown in their own home.
Schreiber explained, “Wherever it would have been possible — it could have been a TV studio, it could just have been an artist behind a piano who connects via Skype, Zoom or Facetime. The main thing is that it is sung live. Everyone implements it as sympathetically as possible and the most expensive solution does not have to be the most likeable.”
However, the EBU rejected the idea and are going with the Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light show.
Schreiber is fully supporting the EBU’s offering, saying, “I would find it difficult if Germany, as one of the large countries in Europe, would evade a European idea, which is why we are there and support it now […] But in these times it is important to stick together.”
Schreiber also says that Saab’s show is a “nice idea” but says he’s hosting it on “the wrong day” as it will be on at the same time as Europe Shine a Light.
What do you think? Should the EBU have picked Raab’s concept? Which show will you be watching? Tell us your thoughts below!