Germany’s Ann Sophie Sends Eurovision a “Black Smoke” Signal

Eurovision Song Contest 2015 (Logo: Eurovision)
Eurovision Song Contest 2015 (Logo: Eurovision)

Germany was thrown a curveball when the runner-up of its Eurovision selection process became the representative. Does “Black Smoke” by Ann Sophie stand a chance of winning?

Germany’s route to the Eurovision Song Contest hit a surprising bump last week. The finalists for Unser Star für Österreich (Our Star for Austria) were “Heart of Stone” by Andreas Kümmert and “Black Smoke” by Ann Sophie. The winner, determined by televote, was Kümmert by an almost 4-1 decision. However, Kümmert declined the invitation to Vienna, giving Sophie the win by default. Um, yay? Here’s the track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpccIK-o0N0

 

I don’t question Kümmert’s decision, but it may put Germany in an awkward position for the Contest. As a Big 5 participant, Germany doesn’t have to go through the semi-final vetting process. After winning the Contest in 2010, Deutschland scored two more top ten finishes but has since slid toward the bottom of the scoreboard. This is not due to low-quality songs—I thought last year’s entry should have done better—but without the fear of not qualifying for the Final, a country could become complacent.1 The selection process is the only audience vetting available, and “Black Smoke” did not pass that test.

But, this is the song we have, so let’s discuss it. To be clear, a song like “Black Smoke” is in my wheelhouse. Ann Sophie’s delivery reminds me of Paloma Faith with an ever so subtle hint of Stevie Nicks. Lyrically the song is okay, though I don’t think the central metaphor is explored as much as it could be. The tune is also okay, though there isn’t much of a hook in its current configuration.

Overall, this entry is okay…which is not even close to good enough. Looking at video of the performance and listening to the track a few more times, “Black Smoke” feels like it would be the second song performed at Ann Sophie’s concert—the comedown track following the song kicking off the festivities. There’s a reason why the 2-spot in any lineup is considered the spot of doom, and Germany could find itself assigned that spot in May unless the song goes through a major revamp.

  1. I will have TONS to say about this when I write about the United Kingdom’s entry later this week.  

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About Mike McComb 654 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv