Despite being the most represented nation in Eurovision history, as one of its founders, Germany has a rather complicated relationship with regard to its ranking in the competition.
With the exception of Michael Schulte who placed fifth in 2018, and Lena who won the contest with her song Satellite in 2010, in recent years Germany has faltered behind, placing last but one in this years’ contest with a mere three points. Still, three is better than the infamous 'nul points', right?
Germany seems to be entering dangerous territory in Eurovision. With a total of just sixty-six points from the last three competitions, Germany, along with Spain and the United Kingdom, is starting to make a habit of scoring low. As both a massive fan of Eurovision and Germany alike, I was hopeful that this year would be better, but it appears that this combination of interests is perhaps best left separated.
After taking an initial inspection of this years’ German entry Jendrik Sigwart, I painfully began to realise that 2021 was going to be no different, which provided a certain degree of irony, given that his self-composed entry is entitled ‘I Don’t Feel Hate’.
Jendrik Sigwart performs 'I Don't Feel Hate' at the Eurovision Grand Final in Rotterdam. Photo: Evrovizija.com via Facebook
It was catchy. Annoyingly catchy. If recorded in German, it could perhaps even have fitted the Schlager category - catchy, simplistic pop enjoyed by a plethora of German-speaking listeners in a self-confessed ironic way. Definitely an 'Ohrwurm' of a song however you look at it.
But still, there was hope – staging can quite often be the saving (or failing) grace of any Eurovision song, and once more I held on to the hope that things would improve. The press photos and preview clips released by Eurovision, and their respective press, gave the impression of a children’s presenter, with bright neon clothing worn against a simple black and white background, and a ukulele that is the embodiment of Sigwart's playful charm and character.
It was not until Sigwart’s performance at the final, that my opinions began to really change for the better. Although, in hindsight, this change of heart might have just been the result of a number of months spent avidly refreshing Eurovision's official platforms, in the hope of new content to fuel my ‘Eurofan’ obsession. At this point, it is hard to say for certain.
Sigwart's personality contrastingly began to sparkle brightly on stage, and he looked in his element, dancing alongside a woman in a hand costume, presenting a bizarre concoction of a peace sign and middle finger – left ambiguous to appease the politically correct nature of the contest’s producers, of course. It had ‘classic Eurovision’ written all over it and was exactly the kind of entry missing so far from the 2021 contest. For a mere moment, I was left wondering if Germany could finally move away from the single figures seen for the most part of the twenty-first century in the voting.
Performing fifteenth after two rather slow and uninviting songs also really gave Sigwart and his backing dancers an advantage, and when watched live, it felt as though the entry came at the right time to bring some light-hearted fun to the contest.
Regardless of the overarching result, the song entailed a poignant, universal message: to not respond to hate with hate. The lyrics aimed to combat any resentment felt towards artists - and people in general - who are, just like the singer himself, trying their best in this world. It is near impossible to watch or listen to it without being put in a positive mood afterwards, irrespective of your overall opinion.
Above all else, I loved the comradery Sigwart personified when supporting other entries, and his smiley personality which shined strongly both on and off stage. He was simply a self-stated Eurovision fan, fulfilling an opportunity that fellow Eurovision enthusiasts could only dream of. The song will undeniably go down in history as one of those pinch-yourself-entries, that you return to time and time again to question whether it really happened or not – but at least that makes it memorable.
Germany may not have won the contest this time – or got even remotely close – but I like the direction they are taking. Who knows? Maybe, we will be returning to Düsseldorf sooner than expected.
Watch the full Grand Final performance of 'I Don't Feel Hate' below: