Over the past few weeks broadcasters from Sweden to Australia have staged various Eurovision replacement shows. And so it went in Germany, where Eurovision legend Stefan Raab developed a new format: the Free European Song Contest. The inaugural show took place on Saturday — the night of the ESC grand final — and Nico Santos won the competition for Spain with his rock-tinged pop number “Like I Love You”.

The contest was first announced back in late March. A total of fifteen countries competed with several known names among the acts. Dutch Eurovision 2014 entrant Ilse DeLange (from The Common Linnets) competed for the Netherlands, while Germany’s own Max Mutze (8th in 2004 with “Can’t Wait Until Tonight”) took part as an invented country, representing the moon.

Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita and Steven Gätjen, a well-known German TV host, led the viewers at home throughout the show. The contest itself was produced live at the Pro Sieben studios in Cologne. Other stars in the line-up included the Heavytones, Stefan Raab’s own live band, who also appeared as the Eurovision 2011 opening act in the Grand Final.

These are the 15 acts that competed at this year’s Free ESC

Among the competing acts was German-Danish singer Kate Hall, who competed at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with “I’m Not Alone”. Other known singers included Stefanie Heinzmann, Glasperlenspiel, Vanessa Mai and Mike Singer  — they’ve all had successful hit songs and albums across Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.

  • Austria: Josh. – “Wo bist du”
  • Bulgaria: Oonagh – “Du bist genug”
  • Croatia: Vanessa Mai – “Highlight (Ti si moja snaga)”
  • Denmark: Kate Hall – “Reset”
  • Germany: Helge Schneider – “forever at home”
  • Ireland: Sion Hill – “Speak Up”
  • Israel: Gil Ofarim – “Alles auf Hoffnung”
  • Italy: Sarah Lombardi – “Te Amo Mi Amor”
  • Kazakhstan: Mike Singer – “Paranoid”
  • Poland: Glasperlenspiel – “Immer da”
  • Spain: Nico Santos – “Like I Love You”
  • Switzerland: Stefanie Heinzmann – “All We Need Is Love”
  • The Moon: Der Astronaut (Max Mutzke) – “Back to the Moon”
  • The Netherlands: Ilse DeLange – “Changes”
  • Turkey: Eko Fresh ft. Umut Timur – “Günyadin”
  • United Kingdom: Kelvin Jones – “Friends”

In a tense voting segment, Spain’s Nico Santos won the day with his song “Like I Love You”. Following right behind in second position was The Netherlands’ Ilse DeLange — apparently second place is her thing in these Eurovision competitions! And rounding out the Top 3 in what must surely be a first across all song competitions, the representative from The Moon — Max Mutze (as Der Astronaut) — took bronze.

The contest was first announced as “an opportunity to live and celebrate Europe in these times with a new music competition.” Throughout the show, Conchita and Steven Gätjen also announced that the show isn’t a one-off special. Instead, the Free European Song Contest will be back next year.

What do you think about this year’s Free European Song Contest? Do you like Nico Santos’ winning song “Like I Love You”? And could he score a good result for Germany at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments section down below!

Read more Germany Eurovision news here

 

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Joe
Joe
2 months ago

It was cute that Oonagh was tearing up at the support from the Bulgarian spokespeople. I’m sure the reps were missing their homelands now more than ever.

noone
noone
2 months ago

What about the fact that the Croatian song was miles better than anything they’ve actually sent the last few years? Croatia should really internally select Vanessa Mai or invite her to Dora. Her Croatian accent was maybe a bit weird in the beginning, but overall she did a good job.

noone
noone
2 months ago
Reply to  noone

And the Irish song was also better than what Ireland has been sending the last 10 years or so.

Andi
Andi
2 months ago

You should mention that all countries where the viewers voted, that is Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, gave their 12p to the true winner, the Moon. It was by far the best song. Max was insanely good.

Joe
Joe
2 months ago

Bring back Bundesvision! This was fun, but Bundesvision was cool, unique, and unlike similar ventures (looking right at you, Turkvision) actually well-organized and varied. Even if the rules seemed dicey. (One contestant literally covered one of the first ever German entries, “So geht das jede Nacht”).

noone
noone
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe

Yes, Bundesvision was amazing. I’ve discovered many great bands thanks to it, like Mia., Klee, Chapeau Claque. And it helped to establish or propel the careers of big names like Juli, Bosse, Mark Forster, Peter Fox, Clueso etc.

Joe
Joe
2 months ago
Reply to  noone

I wish they’d used Bundesvision as an independent thing but with a Sanremo-like “first refusal” deal. Offer the winner the chance to do Eurovision, and pick another act if they say no. It started right around when Germany hit their lowest point at Eurovision. Imagine how many bad results they could’ve avoided if they did that. (It might’ve robbed us of Lena, though, another gift of Stefan Raab’s).

Héctor
Héctor
2 months ago

Oh, ok thanks!! Could we win the actual Eurovision, though? Nico’s song sounds good yet I think it would have placed top 10 at best. Nonetheless Spanish HoD should take a look to this.

Leenchen
Leenchen
2 months ago

I loved the show! It was a very good idea. Especially, because Bundesvision Song Contest doesn’t exist anymore, I think FreeESC is a very good alternative for BuViSoCo

Friedenau
Friedenau
2 months ago

I really loved the show! It wasn’t perfect but it made me feel a bit as if I was watching Eurovision! (In my mind, I was). The voting was also exciting, although Spain (for once) was leading for most of the time. Next year another one, please!

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
2 months ago

Is it bad that I like “Back to the Moon” more than a lot of the ESC songs this year?

Alex
Alex
2 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Same. I’m sure I like it way more than the German entry.

Sara
Sara
2 months ago

Why do I feel like non-Europeans unfamiliar with ESC think ESC is like this

Paul
Paul
2 months ago

This all seems very Wiwivision… except Wiwivision was better!

Alex
Alex
2 months ago

My favourites were Turkey and The Moon.
Gotta love Max as the Astronaut. Song, staging, atmosphere. Everything. It really works. No wonder why he won televoting

KESC
KESC
2 months ago

The Turkish song is trending in the German trends btw and has the most views. In fact, it’s a really good song and deserved a higher ranking imo. Nevertheless, they made us really proud.
Also congrats to the winner!

Whisker
Whisker
2 months ago

It’s a good song.

Kuhkatz
Kuhkatz
2 months ago

I did watch it until Europe Shine A Light started, unfortunately I wasn‘t that impressed as I thought I would be.

In the end, I‘m glad that I changed my mind in the last minute and gave Europe Shine A Light a chance, it was a well produced and entertaining show to honor this years participant and it gives hope that we ESC will be back stronger in 2021.

Liam Lindsay
Liam Lindsay
2 months ago

I honestly think that a version of this could work as a National Final for Germany in the future.