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Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest
|Member station||NDR (1996–) (ARD)|
|National selection events||
|Nul points||1964, 1965, 2015|
|Germany's page at Eurovision.tv|
| For the most recent participation see
Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021
Germany has officially participated in every Eurovision Song Contest since its beginning in 1956, except in 1996 when its entry did not qualify past the audio-only pre‐selection round, and consequently was not seen in the broadcast final and does not count as one of Germany's 63 appearances. No other country has been represented as many times. Along with France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, Germany is one of the "Big Five" countries that are automatically qualified to the final, due to being the largest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union. The final is broadcast in Germany on ARD flagship channel, Das Erste. Germany has won the contest twice, in 1982 and 2010.
Germany first won the contest at the 27th attempt in 1982 in Harrogate, when Nicole won with the song "Ein bisschen Frieden" (A Little Peace). The second German victory came 28 years later at the 2010 contest in Oslo, when Lena won with "Satellite". Katja Ebstein, who finished third in 1970 and 1971, then second in 1980, is the only performer to have made the top three on three occasions. Germany has a total of 11 top three placements, also finishing second with Lena Valaitis (1981) and twice with the group Wind (1985 and 1987), and finishing third with Mary Roos (1972), Mekado (1994) and Surpriz (1999). Germany has finished last on seven occasions, receiving nul points in 1964, 1965 and 2015.
Having not reached the top-ten in ten of the previous 13 contests (2005–17), Michael Schulte achieved Germany's second-best result of the 21st century, by finishing fourth at the 2018 contest. Although German contestants have had varied levels of success, public interest remains high and the contest is one of the most-watched events each year.
Since 1996, ARD consortium member Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) has been responsible for Germany's participation in the contest. The Eurovision Song Contest semi-final is broadcast on NDR Fernsehen (One and Phoenix in recent years), and the final is broadcast on Das Erste, the flagship channel of ARD.
The German representative in the contest is usually chosen during a national selection, broadcast on public television channel Das Erste, which is organized by one of the nine regional public broadcasting organizations of the ARD; from 1956 to 1978, Hessischer Rundfunk (HR); from 1979 to 1991 Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR); from 1992 to 1995, by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) and since 1996, by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR). Between 2010 and 2012, private broadcaster ProSieben worked in partnership with NDR.
Radio coverage has been provided, although not every year, by Deutschlandfunk (DLF) and Bayern 2 from 1970 to 1979, hr3 from 1980 to 1985, 1991–94, 2007 and 2011 (both stations in 1983), NDR Radio 2 from 1986 to 1990, 1995 to 2006 and 2008–13, and WDR1LIVE in 2011.
Since 2010 production company Brainpool, which also co-produced the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf and the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, have worked with NDR to co-produce the German national finals.
Germany has often changed the selection process used in order to find the country's entry for the contest, either a national final or internal selection (occasionally a combination of both formats) has been held by the broadcaster at the time.
The Federal Republic of Germany has participated in the contest since its inception in 1956. Germany participated in the first competition in 1956, but their placement in the contest is not recorded because only the first-place winner, Switzerland, was announced. Prior to the German reunification, the country was occasionally presented as "West Germany". The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) did not participate in the Eurovision Song Contest but instead took part in the Intervision Song Contest.
With one win (1982) and four second-place results (1980, 1981, 1985 and 1987), Germany is the second most successful country in the contest in the 1980s, behind Ireland, who had two wins in the decade.
Germany is one of the founding countries of the Eurovision song contest.
ARD had selected an artist and song to represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest 1996, to be held in Oslo, Norway. Due to the large number of countries wanting to compete at Eurovision, they determined that only 23 of the 30 countries could compete. Hosts Norway qualified automatically, the other 29 songs went into an audio-only pre-qualification round, with the top 22 going on to compete alongside Norway in Oslo. Unfortunately for Germany its entry, Leon with "Planet of Blue", failed to earn enough points to progress to the final, finishing 24th. ARD and the EBU were not happy with this, as Germany was the biggest financial contributor at the time. This is the only time that Germany has been absent from the contest.
In the 2000s, Germany has been notable for their adoption of musical styles which are not typical of Eurovision, such as country and western (Texas Lightning – "No No Never" in 2006) and swing (Roger Cicero – "Frauen regier'n die Welt" in 2007 and Alex Swings Oscar Sings – "Miss Kiss Kiss Bang" in 2009). Germany had some successes throughout the decade, Lou - "Let's Get Happy" came in 11th place out of 26 in the 2003 contest. Germany tied for last at the 2008 contest for points, but was awarded 23rd of 25 places when the results were posted. In 2009, ARD held an internal selection for the first time since 1995 due to lack of interest and viewing figures of the German national finals. Alex Christensen and Oscar Loya were selected to represent Germany at the 2009 contest, where they performed on stage with burlesque artist Dita von Teese. However they only managed to receive 35 points, placing 20th of 25 competing countries.
In 2010, ARD approached former entrant and songwriter Stefan Raab and private network ProSieben to co-operate in finding a winning entry for the country. It has been said that Raab was approached due to his good record at the contest, finishing 5th in 2000 as well as writing entries in 1998 and 2004, which finished 7th and 8th respectively. Raab agreed and conducted a TV casting show called Unser Star für Oslo (Our star for Oslo) which was broadcast on ARD and ProSieben. A winner arose in Lena Meyer-Landrut with "Satellite", who went on to win the contest. Two further collaborations with ProSieben provided the second and third top ten result in a row respectively in 2011 (Lena Meyer-Landrut with "Taken by a Stranger") and 2012 (Roman Lob with "Standing Still").
The streak of top 10 finishes was broken in the 2013 contest, when Cascada's song "Glorious" finished 21st with 18 points. The group Elaiza in 2014, Ann Sophie in 2015, Jamie-Lee and Levina finished in 18th, 27th (last), 26th (last) and 25th (second to last) place respectively. Ann Sophie became the country's third entry to finish with nul points, followed by Nora Nova in 1964 and Ulla Wiesner in 1965, and the first since the introduction of the current scoring system in 1975.
Germany's luck changed in 2018, when Michael Schulte brought them back to the top 5 for the first time since 2010 with "You Let Me Walk Alone," finishing in fourth place. This is the first time since 2012 that more than one country from the Big 5 has made the top ten (with Italy finishing fifth) and the second time (after 2002) that two Big 5 countries have made the top five since the establishment of the rule. The year after, the duo S!sters with the song "Sister" was not able to replicate the same success, receiving nul points from the televote to finish in 25th place overall with 24 points.
Germany and the "Big Five"
Since 2000, four particular countries have automatically qualified for the Eurovision final, regardless of their positions on the scoreboard in previous Contests. They earned this special status by being the four biggest financial contributors to the EBU. These countries are the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Due to their untouchable status in the Contest, these countries became known as the "Big Four". In 2009, it was reported that the Big Four could lose their status and have to compete in the semi-finals. However, this never progressed and the Big Four kept their status. Italy returned to the contest in 2011, thus becoming part of a "Big Five".
|Entry selected but did not compete|
Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest
|Artist||Language||Title||At Congratulations||At Eurovision|
|Nicole||German||"Ein bißchen Frieden"||Failed to qualify||7||106||1982||1||161|
|1957||Frankfurt am Main||Großer Sendesaal||Anaid Iplicjian|
|2011||Düsseldorf||Esprit Arena||Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers and Stefan Raab|
Barbara Dex Award
|1956||Fernando Paggi||N/A||Host conductor|||
|1958||Dolf van der Linden||N/A||Host conductor|
|1960||Franz Josef Breuer|
|1961||Franck Pourcel||Host conductor|
|1977||Ronnie Hazlehurst||Host conductor|
|1984||Pierre Cao||N/A||Host conductor|
Additionally, several German conductors have conducted for other countries (not counting instances where a German musical director had to step in for another country that didn't bring their own conductor), including:
|Klaus Munro||Luxembourg||1972||Winning conductor|
|Thilo Krasmann||Portugal||1976, 1978, 1979, 1994, 1995, 1997|
|Rolf Soja||Luxembourg||1978, 1986|
|Rolf Zuckowski||Switzerland||1979, 1981|
Heads of delegation
|Year||Head of delegation||Ref.|
Commentators and spokespersons
Over the years ARD commentary has been provided by several experienced radio and television presenters, including Ado Schlier, Thomas Gottschalk, Jan Hofer, Wolf Mittler, Fritz Egner and Werner Veigel. However Peter Urban provided ARD TV commentary every year since 1997, however due to his health issues in 2009 he was forced to step down as role as German commentator with HR disc jockey Tim Frühling filling in to commentate at Moscow. Urban returned to commentate for Germany in 2010. In 2020, Michael Schulte was set to commentate the contest together with Urban. Both of them commentated the replacement show Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light instead, as well as the show "Eurovision Song Contest 2020 - Das deutsche Finale" from the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
|1956||Wolf Mittler||No spokesperson|
|1959||Elena Gerhard||Hans-Joachim Rauschenbach|
|1962||Ruth Kappelsberger||Klaus Havenstein|
|1963||Hanns-Joachim Friedrichs||Werner Veigel|
|1964||Hermann Rockmann||Lia Wöhr|
|1966||Hans-Joachim Rauschenbach||Werner Veigel|
|1971||Hanns Verres||No spokesperson|
|1974||Werner Veigel||Hanns-Joachim Friedrichs|
|1979||Ado Schlier, Gabi Schnelle||Lotti Ohnesorge|
|1987||Christoph Deumling, Lotti Ohnesorge||Gabi Schnelle|
|1988||Nicole, Claus-Erich Boetzkes||Lotti Ohnesorge|
|1989||Thomas Gottschalk||Gabi Schnelle|
|1991||Max Schautzer||Christian Eckhardt|
|1992||Jan Hofer||Carmen Nebel|
|1996||Ulf Ansorge||Did not participate|
|1997||Peter Urban||Christina Mänz|
|2009||Tim Frühling||Thomas Anders|
|2010||Peter Urban||Hape Kerkeling|
|Not announced before cancellation|||
|Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light[j]||Peter Urban, Michael Schulte||Das Erste|
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