On the night before Michael Schulte’s first rehearsal, Brandon McCann explains his personal feelings towards the German Eurovision song. He’s convinced Germany is underrated at this year’s competition. “They could go all the way.”
“I believe this may be Germany’s year to win Eurovision regardless of the fact that it is not a current favourite to win in terms of betting odds. Which currently place the entry between 50/1 to 100/1 depending on the betting site.
My main basis for my judgement is the emotional connectivity of a performance during Eurovision. The past two winners were unlikely contenders until their rehearsals were on-screen in Stockholm and Kiev respectively. The authenticity of Jamala as she screamed in agony for the massacre of her people was heart-wrenching and ultimately was enough to unite Europe behind her message which was delivered beautifully and poignantly on-stage. Salvador was another entry which united nostalgia with true, unique charm. There was no need for ‘pizzazz’ and ‘beautiful, state-of-the-art embellishments or staging’.
The true selling point of the song was the song itself alongside its performer.
Another aspect that aided Salvador’s win was the tragic mass-publication of his health issues regarding his heart which in my opinion allowed his unique stage presence resonate with voters across Europe & Australia. Ultimately, the song had ‘soul’, it wasn’t trying to be something it’s not; both in song and performance which to me, is the true mark of a Eurovision potential winner.
So what gives Michael Schulte the potential to stand the test of times like Jamala & Salvador have done in recent editions? He is a superb singer, with a likeable personality and a message of true importance – “inspiring his own life through the death of his father and birth of his son“, which similar to Jamala & Salvador can be interpreted within the performance itself. It’s a story of trial and tribulations; the Circle of Life. Honouring the life of his father by learning by example how to raise his own first-born child.
Michael having already been dubbed the German ‘Ed Sheeran’ is an interesting comparison, given that Michael and Ed performed together during The Voice Germany’s final. The relatability to a simple young man singing from the soul is an incredible comparison. And due to Ed Sheeran’s popularity, this can only benefit Germany’s exposure.
Lyrically, the entry has what can be considered the “Charlie McGettigan effect“, in reference to the 1994 Irish entry “Rock ‘n Roll Kids” sung by the aforementioned alongside Paul Harrington through just a piano and a guitar, no use of the orchestra. The song is a lament to the youth that they have lost which coincides with Michael’s entry. He too wishes to do good for the future (his son) as he looks to the past (his father). Back in 1994, it worked and I can see it working again in Lisbon for Germany.
In overall context when looking at the competiting entries of this year’s song contest. There is a far higher ratio of mid-tempo and upbeat entries than ballads this year and it’s highly possible we will have less than 40% of ballads in the Grand Final, in which case – a ballad is more than likely going to win. If that is the case, I can only see one true ballad contender since Bulgaria’s performance needs further work.
Make or break
The performance for Germany will be the make-or-break moment regarding whether it will be a potential winner or not. Visuals must support the singer & song, not distract. I recommend they replicate their music video and utilise in numerous intervals the use of steady-cam to encircle Michael. It provides the audience with the ability to see the emotion he brings on-stage and keeps the moment intimate. That’s necessary for the song to connect across the world. The use of visuals to represent the lyrics utilised within the national final will also support his overall message.
Overall, this year features some incredible, yet diverse entries and it means it just takes an entry sending a simple song where the connection is all that matters. Many entries may be performing on their own this year. However, I still have hope that some-to-most will filter out from the semi-finals. That would leave Germany a moderately easy path to victory.”