Germany’s choice for Eurovision is Andreas Kümmert. UH WAIT, HOLD EVERYTHING. Andreas Kümmert’s choice for Eurovision is Ann Sophie!
In one of the strangest plot twists you’ll ever see on live television, the publicly-voted-on winner of Unser Song für Österrich said, “I’m just a small singer… the runner up is a much more appropriate choice than me,” gave the second place finisher a hug, and walked off the stage.
And there you have it. Germany’s Song For Europe is Ann Sophie and “Black Smoke”:
“Black Smoke” is a mid-tempo, adult contemporary R&B ballad. It’s got a good hook and coherent lyrics (courtesy of British/Australian songwriters), and Ann Sophie punctuates the chorus with some big notes. It’s a cool song, we like it.
Ann Sophie was the wild card at Unser Song, the one spot reserved for an unsigned artist with public support, competing against a set of signed artists. She’s green and that inexperience betrayed itself in the super final, where she gave a somewhat ropey performance, seemingly overwhelmed by the wave of the competition. Add to the mix some unfortunate Lena-like English pronunciations and we started asking whether she knows who she is as an artist and worrying that she might crumble under the pressure of the big contest.
Our fears were somewhat allayed by what followed after. She handled the craziness of Andreas’ live announcement and the press conference that followed with class and poise. She’s also fluent in English. Ann will be a sympathetic figure to the Eurovision fanatics and we have no doubt she will be a favorite in the media center in Vienna.
But that won’t matter to the folks watching at home. Folks at home will see a cute girl with brown hair and brown eyes singing a not-bad-at-all song with some strange English affectations. She comes off kind of amateurish, running on adrenaline, with some awkward dance moves. It reminds us of that other girl who won a few years ago. Wasn’t she from Germany too?
STRAY OBSERVATIONS: The back story will weigh heaviest on Ann Sophie. Every artist battles the demons: Do I have talent? Do people like me? There’s a lot of rejection, and there’s always doubt. Self-confidence is a must. In the dark moments, she’ll always know that she came second. But being the wild card counts for something. Showing grace under pressure also counts for something. We hope she’ll be able to focus on the positives and make the absolute most of her experience in Vienna.