The Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf

When I was studying in Birmingham, there was always a rumour going around that if the UK ever won the Eurovision Song Contest, the city would be the host for the following year.

Of course, the UK never did win during those years, but I had hardly moved to Germany when Katrina and the Waves did indeed bring the contest to Birmingham, and I had to watch it with a German commentary.

So when Germany won the contest last year I was rather hoping that Frankfurt would get be on the shortlist of contenders for the 2011 competition. As we now know, the final is being held tomorrow in Düsseldorf and I will not be there for a couple of reasons, one of which being that the tickets sold out within hours of going on sale.  With a previously agreed appointment on the same day, I didn’t stand a chance.

Which does not mean, that I will not be following the event on the television and making up my mind who I would like to win, but whereas until a few years ago I would listen to the songs in advance and get to know them, now I watch and listen to them on the night for the first time before making my decision.

Of course, the German song is usually played on the radio during the weeks leading up to the concert and the artist is on a a variety of chat shows.  Some of these are more memorable than others, with “Guido hat euch lieb” (1998) and “Wadda hadda dudda da” (2000) being two that I remember particularly well.  By coincidence the writer of both those songs is Stefan Raab, one of this year’s hosts.

Yet unless I’ve missed something, the hype around Eurovision (also called the “Grand Prix” in Germany) has just not been there this year.  Admittedly I am not in Düsseldorf, but other than conversations about whether people I know will  be watching and what we’ve heard about the linguistic capabilities of the hosts, I can’t say that it’s been a major topic.

I always got the impression, then when the Song Contest came to town, the whole country got excited, a bit like a major sporting event.  But it hasn’t been that way in my opinion.  Maybe we’re too tied up with preparations for the Hessentag here and have other things on our minds, but I think the hype was bigger last year when Lena actually won.

And since Germany has only won twice in the entire history of the contest, I guess I may have to wait for it to happen again and a chance to see the final live.

Tomorrow I shall be watching it with millions of others on the television, but at least I won’t need to look for a parking space.



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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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