I think it’s something we all do: discuss who we’d like to see in Eurovision some time. I’ve been a Helene Fischer-fan for quite some time, but it’s only since her latest album that I believe in the combination of Helene and Eurovision. Why? Oh, there are so many reasons!
Helene Fischer. Germany’s schlager queen. And as we talk about that, we need to look at Helene’s career. She has been a huge name in Germany since 2005/2006, when she had her first TV performances. She kept the same, decent style until 2011/2012. She belonged to the group of German schlager singers. The group that doesn’t have much to do with what we know as the typical Melodifestivalen schlager. Her image was that of the sweet girl next door.
She did everything right for her audience at the time. But that audience was not the young audience you would get for the Eurovision Song Contest. I never thought that the Helene Fischer from these years was a good candidate for Eurovision. Her singles were sweet, but it never made a big impact. The impact came when she released a best of album. Best of Helene Fischer was released on 4 June 2010. And it still has not left the Album Top 100 in Germany. It’s stayed there for about 200 weeks in a row. It is one of the best selling albums of all time in Germany with almost 1.5 million sold copies.
So where was the need to change something? I don’t know why they did it, but I am thankful that they did. The sweet girl got rid of the flower costumes (as you can see on the picture from 2009) and the Sieneke outfits and came up with a new image and a new album: Farbenspiel. She promised a new sound. She lived up to that expectation: her music became modern, contemporary, grown up and most of all, incredibly catchy. Every single one of those songs on the album is a tune that you could release as a single. She premiered the first single of the album, Fehlerfrei, on the biggest Saturday night show of ZDF. That performance just screams Eurovision. It just ticks all the boxes: catchy tune, good looking singer, spot on choreography (a group of male dancers lifting her, a floor routine and a chorus routine). This is when I, and I believe many Eurovision fans with me, got the idea that ARD really had to have a talk with Helene and her people…
Farbenspiel became another hit album for Helene. Between November 2013 and May 2014, the album had topped the chart for 11 weeks and it still sells. But that’s mostly thanks to the second single of the album: Atemlos Durch Die Nacht. Now, there’s a more than likely chance that you’ve heard this song or at least heard of the song. This song was another hit of incredible proportions. It was turned into the inofficial anthem for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and just became a standard tune on all parties and radio stations. In Germany alone, 600.000 copies were sold. Once again, like with Fehlerfrei, the boxes get ticked, as you can see on the performance she did at a music award show.
After these examples we can safely say that Helene Fischer changed her image. The cute little girl turned into a grown up woman who knows what she’s doing. So her music is suitable for Eurovision, but there are so many other factors why an artist should or should not do Eurovision: reputation, popularity and most of all: does the artist have any connection to Eurovision?
Starting with the last point, I can give you all a very clear yes on that. Not only was Helene the German spokesperson this year, she has also included Wild Dances in her shows for years. She then always performs the original version: Dyki Tantsi. Helene, born in Russia, loves Russia and Ukraine in Eurovision. During her annual Christmas show (Die Helene Fischer Show, a three hour show on ZDF on 25 December every year) in 2012, she invited the Buranovskiye Babushki to sing with her. How lovely that was.
Ok, so Helene at least has a link to the Eurovision Song Contest in more ways than one. But what in the most unfortunate case that Europe would not see perfection and Helene would finish… outside the top 15? Or possibly not even win the national final? Truth be told, that does happen in Germany. Unheilig are massive and they didn’t win. But it hasn’t harmed their career either. So there’s nothing to lose in Eurovision for Helene. One could safely say that she is too popular to be harmed by a bad result. Her name is too big to be harmed by most things and that’s what her record label should see. Besides, perhaps Eurovision is her chance to get her music to be bigger in the rest of Europe. Atemlos durch die Nacht charted in many countries, not in the highest regions, but Germany’s neighbours (other than Austria and Switzerland), like The Netherlands sort of picked up on it.
That pretty much sums up why Helene Fischer should do Eurovision. But in this piece I’ve completely ignored one rather big party when it comes to Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest: the broadcaster. Why should ARD let Helene Fischer go to Eurovision? After all, her reputation can’t be hurt, but Eurovision in Germany? Now that’s an interesting case. You’d expect a country that won just four years ago to be rather enthusiastic about the contest. Well… no. The country has almost 82 million inhabitants. Unser Song für Dänemark this year was watched by the disappointing number of not even 4 million. The actual contest final in May was then watched by almost 9 million, which is a lot better than in 2013, but there’s still room for improvement. To make this story short: Helene Fischer could give the contest the boost it needs. People will tune in. People will be excited. Viewing figures can’t get much lower than in the past years. In the unlikely event that Helene Fischer would fail to make an impact, I’d assume her fans and the Germans would rather blame ‘Europe’s taste’ than ‘our dear Helene’.
I hope to have summed up enough reasons for Helene Fischer to give the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 a go. She has nothing to lose and Germany has so much to win. In the case that she actually goes to Eurovision, I will know where my twenty votes will go.