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!