All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.
It’s 7 days to go until Junior Eurovision 2020, and we are counting down the 12 nations participating in this year’s remotely held and Warsaw, Poland hosted contest on Sunday, November 29, 2020.
Every day we will do an overview of a participating nation in alphabetical order, recapping how they got to Junior Eurovision, a brief history of the nation’s participation, a brief biography of the artist, and finally, our “expert” panel of editors give the entries a score out of 10 and a brief review.
Today we look at Germany, the last of the adult contest’s Big Five to make a debut at Junior Eurovision.
Germany’s history at Junior Eurovision:
November 21, 2002. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announces a new version of The Eurovision Song Contest. With Children! The EBU announced 15 broadcasters had signed up, including Germany’s ARD/ZDF, for Junior Eurovision 2003.
So did Germany’s representative that year give Dino Jelusic a run for his money as the first winner for Croatia? No. As you all recall, Germany pulled out (alongside Slovakia) from the debut contest. Germany planned an appearance at Eurovision 2004, but again… FAKE OUT! No appearance.
Since then, Germany’s KiKA Channel, the children’s television arm of ARD, sent delegations to Junior Eurovision over the years to observe, but it was only until this year that the Teutonic Teasing ended and they followed through with a national selection and are now a week away from making their official Junior Eurovision debut.
Before Junior Eurovision 2020:
Germany decided to have a national final of sorts in Dein Song für Warschau. Five kids, two songs, ten combinations for a jury composed of Germany’s Eurovision 2004 representative Max Mutzke (who came in 8th with “Can’t Wait Until Tonight”), the writer of the two songs Levent Geiger, Michele Huesmann and Martin Haas, to choose from.
Graduates from The Voice Kids in Susan Oseloff and Davit Nikalayan combated Leroy, Linnea May and Malaika, each taking turns performing “See You Later” and “Stronger With You.”
Susan Oseloff prevailed over the two night event, and it was decided she will perform “Stronger With You.”
13-year-old Susan Oseloff is not stranger to televised song contests, having been a contestant in… wait for it… The Voice Kids. At what point does Junior Eurovision become The Voice Kids: European All-Stars?
Anyway, the 13-year-old from Berlin told junioreurovision.tv that “Since I was little, it has always been my dream to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest. It is all the more exciting that I am now allowed to represent Germany at Junior Eurovision. I hope that I can make my country and the people who stand behind me proud.”
Germany took an admirable path in the selection of their songwriter. They could have hired an established German writer or producer, or they could have hired one of the Eurovision mercenary songwriters whose names will be familiar to those who watch Eastern European national selections.
So whatever the result, you have to tip the hat to Germany for taking a risk on 17-year-old Levent Geiger, a 17-year-old music prodigy who plays multiple instruments and already has racked up many years experience both in front of and behind the scenes in the German music industry. Geiger was also a finalist in the 2015 and 2019 KiKA competition Dein Song, and KiKA tasked him to write both a ballad and an up tempo dance song this time around.
Incidentally, this will be the German language’s debut at Junior Eurovision. Switzerland’s sole appearance at the contest in 2004 was in Italian.
Now with the introduction out of the way, what do we at ESC United think of this particular entry? Judging the JESC entries this year are ESC United Editor-in-Chief Sean Tarbuck, ESC United’s Instagram Account Manager Melanie Otto, writer and YouTuber Roy Postema, ESC United’s Twitter and Facebook Account Manager Connor Terry, and writers James Maude and Daniel Montoya.
Connor – 7 – “For a debut song this is a stellar entry, and Susan has pipes with that range! This is one has a pretty compelling storyline but I think the big issue is that I don’t really remember this entry in the full line-up. The melody and track are just a bit flat until you hit the bridge – I really wish that the main choruses included some of those improvised notes she sings because that would really improve the melodic line and structure. It’s a very good first direction and I know they’ll be a strong contender in the contest, but this might end up being a middle-of-the-pack-song.”
Daniel – 6 – “What a cute of song, it has a modern beat with a very 2000’s like pop vibe. I appreciate the German and English mix. I believe this song is missing a big wow element and it seems quite predictable. Towards the end it gets quite interesting with the high notes but it is quite a traditional composition. Great vocals throughout the song!”
James – 6 – “Lyrically, it’s a strange one. This is an entreaty to someone hurting our protagonist to stop and return to their supportive ways. It sets it apart from the usual “friends through eternity, loyalty, honesty, we’ll stick together through thick or thin” cliches we’re used to hearing at the contest. The lyrics are also unclear on who is at fault for the fall-out, giving it a bit of a twist. It’s possible the singer is an unreliable narrator who expects unconditional support and unknowingly burns bridges to get where she wants. It’s subtle, and maybe I am reading into the lyrics too much. Anyway, Susan was by far the best of the five national finalists, and on technique stacks up very well to her competitors. Sadly though, the composition is a little flat, taking quite a while to get going and not really blowing anyone away after the bridge and the latter verses.”
Melanie – 5.5 – “I think it’s always hard to be the first; “Stronger with You” was the first song that came out and Susan is the first representative of Germany. I’m really happy that we finally can hear some German in the contest! Susan is a really great artist, but I still think that “See You Later” really fitted her better. I have the feeling that she can’t show her full potential in “Stronger with You” and is holding back, while she really was shining on stage with “See You Later”. So, let’s hope that Susan gets another chance at an Eurovision stage with a song that fits her like a glove!”
Roy – 3.5 – “Susan is such a talented singer, her voice is really interesting and unique and you could have done so many interesting things with that. Germany had 2 songs as a way to select their artist. Meaning that they would have had to been singable by a lot of the junior hopefuls. If you then stick by that song, you are already 2-0 behind because you fully miss out on authenticity. This song feels like it is a wooden Christmas tree where they just tried to hang a few Christmas balls on it to make it look less like just wood. They could have and should have done so much more with Susan. Yes, use these 2 ‘basic’ songs as benchmark to select your artist, but then hop into the studio, start from scratch and work together to make 1 authentic piece that makes your country and the artist SHINE! But no, this isn’t it Germany, unfortunately.”
Sean – 6 – “My god, what is this strange language in a Eurovision song?? (Germany – it works in songs. You should try it in the adult contest sometime). The song itself is not really my cup of tea but it serves well as a ballad with an RnB feel and at least offers something a little different to the other paint-by-numbers identikit ballads we keep finding in the Eurovision world.”
Well you can blame the Dutch for this one! Melanie and Roy brought the average under 6 points, but most of our team found Susan Oseloff to be a top performer with an ill-fitting song, which Roy attributed more to a flawed national selection than the performer.
As such, Germany can’t top our first three countries, with Georgia maintaining the lead.
1.) GEORGIA – 50 points (Average = 8.33)
2.) BELARUS – 47.5 points (Average = 7.92)
3.) FRANCE – 40 points (Average = 6.67)
4.) GERMANY – 34 points (Average = 5.67)
Tomorrow, we head East to Kazakhstan, a still exotic entrant who have wowed Junior Eurovision juries and have their eye on a place at the senior contest.
What do #YOU think of “Stronger With You”? Do #YOU think Germany should have gone with “See You later,” or do #YOU think our editors are missing something and that this could be a strong contender for the title? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.