Shutdown instead of “Open up”: The Eurovision Song Contest 2024 has failed, but ARD and ProSieben held their own competitions where the audience could choose their favorites.

“Open up” should have been the motto of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, but the corona pandemic, the shutdown and everything else came. ARD and ProSieben broadcast competing replacement competitions for German TV audiences on Saturday evening.

"Litauen" und "Spanien" gewinnen ESC-Ersatzshows

The Roop. Photo: Jurga Urbonaite

That was the ESC evening

Lithuania won the first with the minimalist electro-pop song “On fire” by the band The Roop in the program “Eurovision Song Contest 2024 – the German finale live from the Elbphilharmonie”. At ProSieben, Nico Santos won the “Free European Song Contest” for Spain with the new song “Like i love you”. Old master Stefan Raab produced this new alternative competition with his own musical contributions.

In the first one, after the German ESC final, a two-hour international substitute show of Dutch television ran after a delay, but there was no voting.

For this purpose, this program, which was presented from Hilversum near Amsterdam, contained excerpts from all of the contributions planned for the ESC in Rotterdam. At the end of the Europe-connecting show, which was broadcast by broadcasters in 45 countries, the nominated artists sang together – albeit corona-related from home – “Love Shine a Light”, the ESC 1997 winner from Katrina and the Waves.

Based on the hit and the crisis, the title of the show was “Europe Shine a Light”. In a record, Björn Ulvaeus (75), member of the most famous ESC winning band ABBA from 1974: “Long live the Eurovision Song Contest.” Ulvaeus praised the ESC as “incredibly beautiful European” and promised that the music show would return in the usual way. It was also officially announced in the show from Holland that Rotterdam would come into play in 2024 and that the show could be held.

Raab’s show with a gigantic stage – without an audience

Singer Ben Dolic previously gave ARD moderator Barbara Schöneberger an idea of what the German contribution to the finalshow in Rotterdam would have been like in the German ARD ESC final. With four dancers and in front of a big screen, the 23-year-old sang “Violent Thing” in the empty Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

The “Free European Song Contest” invented by Raab also had 16 participants at the same time, including the guest country “The Moon” – alluding to the fact that Australia, outside of Europe, has been participating in the real ESC for years.

"Litauen" und "Spanien" gewinnen ESC-Ersatzshows

Nico Santos. Photo: ProSieben / Willi Weber

Old master Stefan Raab, who retired from the TV stage in 2015, surprised himself with a parody at the beginning of his 4-hour ESC copy. In a video he imitated Nicole with her winning song “A Little Peace” from 1982.

Right from the start, Schöneberger gave the competition a swipe in a medley she sang. To do this, she tried an ABBA hit: “The winner takes it all, the Raab is standing small, we are the original, the ESC is brilliant.”

"Litauen" und "Spanien" gewinnen ESC-Ersatzshows

Photo: ProSieben

Voting like the real ESC

At the end of the show, moderated by Steven Gätjen and ESC 2014 winner Conchita Wurst, various representatives of the participating countries were switched to collect points. For which country the German viewers cast the most votes, announced from Los Angeles model Heidi Klum (46) and husband Tom Kaulitz (30). It was “the moon” that Max Mutzke is said to have been behind in the “Masked Singer” astronaut costume. However, he hadn’t revealed himself.

"Litauen" und "Spanien" gewinnen ESC-Ersatzshows

Helge Schneider. Photo: ProSieben / Willi Weber

The artist who competed for Germany was surprising: the musician and comedian Helge Schneider (“Katzenklo”). The song of the 64-year-old revolved around staying at home in keeping with the corona pandemic (“Forever at home, forever alone, forever in the house”). But that was not enough for the victory.

ProSieben had previously kept Schneider’s participation a secret. It was therefore speculated that Showmaster retiree Raab could even race for Germany.

"Litauen" und "Spanien" gewinnen ESC-Ersatzshows

Heidi Klum & Tom Kaulitz. Photo: Willi Weber / ProSieben

Top quotas for ProSieben

Traditionally, the finale of the Eurovision Song Contest is the most successful entertainment show of the year. Last year, seven and a half million watched the first. In 2024, the millions should have been distributed across the replacement shows at ARD and ProSieben.

About the ratings: ProSieben had 2.57 million viewers, which was a total of 9.6 percent of the total audience.

"Litauen" und "Spanien" gewinnen ESC-Ersatzshows

Photo: Willi Weber / ProSieben

However, the “ESC” replacement program with Barbara Schöneberger from the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg was ahead. There were 2.98 million viewers. After 10:15 p.m. 1.64 million viewers saw “Europe Shine a Light”. (dpa / KT)


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