Ben Dolic will not be automatically selected to represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, but he will enter the selection process with another song penned by Borislav Milanov.
That’s according to the Eurovision chiefs in Germany, who have given an exclusive interview to our friends at German Eurovision web site ESC-Kompakt.
Head of Delegation Alexandra Wolfslast, ARD’s Eurovision kaiser Christian Blenker and NDR entertainment boss Thomas Schreiber had a lot to say. But we’ll be focusing on the Ben Dolic element below. Visit ESC-Kompakt to read more about their thoughts on the Eurovision movie, Germany’ s replacement programme and more.
Ben Dolic will enter Germany’s Eurovision 2021 selection
Looking ahead to Rotterdam, Germany’s top brass say they will once again use their internal selection format, which relies on two juries. The two jury panels are the Eurovision Panel — a group of specially selected Eurovision fans whose tastes are thought to be predictive of results — and a jury of 20 international experts who have previously represented their country on a Eurovision jury.
Automatically picking Ben for Eurovision 2021 was considered, HoD Alexandra tells ESC-Kompakt. But ultimately this wouldn’t have been true to the German selection method, which is all about pairing the singer and song. Their juries ultimately decide on a package, not just an individual artist.
“We discussed it really intensively,” she said. “But Ben was not only chosen by the jury because he is an outstanding singer. The jury was won over by the combination of song and singer. We agreed that Ben could also be included in the selection process for 2021 with a new song.”
One factor in all this is the fact the EBU won’t allow artists to re-use their songs from 2020 in 2021. Christian — ARD’s Eurovision boss — told the German web site that this encouraged them to “start another selection process with two independent juries for the coming year.”
“Ben and Boris want to submit a new song together. We are very happy about that. Because it should be clear to everyone that the two compete to win. But we also want to give new artists a chance to compete for Germany at ESC 2021.”
Although the German selection system uses anonymity — people aren’t told who they are evaluating — it’s likely that many will recognise the unique timbre of Ben’s voice, especially set against Borislav Milanov’s production. Assuming there is a degree of sympathy for the artist, who won over countless new fans in the past year before Covid-19 ripped his Eurovision dream from his young hands, it seems like he might have a slight and unavoidable edge. That said, Germans also play to win. I strongly suspect the juries will vote for the best package — regardless of their sentimentality for the “Violent Thing” hitmaker.
Ben Dolic’s live Eurovision performance in Hamburg
ESC-Kompakt also asked the executives about Ben Dolic’s live performance in Hamburg at Germany’s Eurovision replacement programme. It was meant to recreate, albeit with obvious limitations, his stage show in Rotterdam. A lot of fans were left unimpressed.
Thomas Schreiber — the über-boss of Eurovision in Germany — was asked whether it was a success.
“Ben and [the team] had very little time for the rehearsals,” he said. “Choreographer Marty Kudelka was not allowed to travel and had to stay in LA while Ben rehearsed the production here. This is, of course, challenging. And the stage in Hamburg is not comparable to that in Rotterdam. The technical possibilities were limited. We originally set up the LED wall only for Ben’s appearance. And of course it was much smaller than the planned LED wall in the Ahoy Arena. There were also corona-related requirements, for example the distance between Ben and the dancers.”
No matter. Ben, a performer of the first order, absolutely slayed his Wiwi Jam at Home performance of “Violent Thing”, which you can watch below.
Are you excited that Ben is teaming up with Borislav for the 2021 selection? Are you hopeful he’ll have an even more contemporary hit on his hands? Let us know in the comments box down below!