At first sight, this is rather a blog posting for people outside Germany. At the time of reading, German residents will anyway already know who won the German edition of American Idol – or Deutschland sucht den Superstar (short: DSDS), how it is called here. I am not a TV blogger at all – but I felt to share the winner and some thoughts from my side as well. And it is likely the biggest story in the German week of music. But first, time to celebrate the winner:
Jan-Marten Block – The German Idol 2021
Jan-Marten Block does not feel like a superstar at first sight. The singer, who was born in 1995 and from there on lived in the very North of Germany, close to the Danish border, however, convinced with a dark, raspy rock voice. In a final show with four candidates, just 33.38 per cent of the public / phone votes were sufficient to become the German Superstar in 2021. I feel that a huge factor for this was his final song, which was the single any of the four candidates released the Friday before the final show (2nd April 2021). To me, Never Not Try was by far the best song in the final – vice versa, I felt that two candidates had no chance to win the show. A bit of proud to say that this track has a touch of a country rock song, doesn’t it.
Jan-Marten also was part of the (in my point of view) best performance of the whole 18th season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar, when he performed the German rock ballad Halt Dich an mir fest by Revolverheld feat. Marta Jandova in the recall at Mykonos, Greece, together with Pia-Sophie Remmel, who did not make it through the semifinals:
Jan-Marten’s victory has been a surprise to me before the final, but he did the best performance in this second live broadcasted episode of the German talent show. His other songs in this show were Bruises (Lewis Capaldi) and Human (Ran’N’Bone Man). Fun fact is that this was not his first appearance in a music talent show. Even though Universal is selling his single as a debut, he in fact was part of the German X-Factor finals in 2018. Below is his performance of Santuary by Welshly Arms:
DSDS 2020/21 – The Finalists
To me, the definite favorite before the live show was Karl Jeroboan. The artist passed some stages of the song as the golden record holder by Dieter Bohlen. He became second with 28.21 per cent of the votes. During the complete season of the 18th season, he continuously did great performance – and his single Where We Were is not that bad as well. I still feel that Never Not Try has been significantly better as a song.
Kevin Jenewein won the semifinal, but not the final
I feel, the most fooled artist in the final show was Kevin Jenewein. He has in fact been at DSDS for the third time, but did not make it to the live shows twice. He felt to have quite some support from social media as well as from the candidates not making it through the semis. Jenewein even won the semifinal with 23.32%, but could just add a small share of votes in the final (25.81%). One key factor for this to me is the super-thin pop song Hurricane, which can neither keep up with Where we were nor the winner’s song.
Last, but not least, there was Starian McCoy, who just passed the semifinal as fourth-placed artist and got the significantly lowest share of votes in the final (12.60%). I feel that his ballad Hold Me in the final was not that bad, but the mixing did not really reflect that he has such a great vocal potential.
Some other candidates of “DSDS 2021”
One of my favorites was Pia-Sophie Remmel – unfortunately, the show’s YouTube just shows her casting performance (Marathon by Helene Fischer). As the fifth-placed in the final, she barely missed the final showdown by some 0.5 per cent of the votes (you should also state that she just got 0.02% more votes than sixth placed Michelle Patz). In general, the boys felt to make this season – there were just two female artists in the semfinal.
Apart from that, two candidates of this season will stay in mind in Germany. One of them is Shada Ali, who somehow really felt to have learned to sing during the recall shows in Greece. Is voice is one of the most characteristic ones I ever listened to – which does not necessarily mean that it is a good one. Still, it was amazing to see that he grew during the show. Similarly, Claudia Haas, who clearly stated she is aiming for fame, developed during the show significantly, but did not even make it to the shows recorded on the islans.
The Strange Stories of DSDS 2021
First of all, I felt it is interesting to introduce my international audience to the German show. Secondly, the show was simply remarkable due to all the things happening. Nothing is more characteristic to this season that the cup given to Jan-Marten Block as a winner immediately broke at the winner’s ceremony. Did really nobody check the cup beforehand? One of many strange stories of this season:
- In fact, the auditions have been recorded in summer 2020. At that time, the jury consisted of four members. One of them, a German Schlager singer, compared Germany’s Covid-19 measures with Nazi time concentration camps. He was eliminated from the show – they even pixelized him in all the audition shows. He did not go on to Mykonos
- Shada Ali was a big topic. I really loved this guy – but you have to say that Dieter Bohlen was quite a visionary to push for him being in the show. Right at the point in time when you felt he could become a singer (i.e. before the live shows), the jury eliminated him. Have they been afraid of the public vote?
- Jury member Maite Kelly, who recently released her Schlager album Hello!, went through quite a lot of changes in the way the public saw her. Especially towards the end of the Mykonos, when one of the candidates, Katharina Eisenblut, who fell in love with another candidate, Marvin Ventura, during the show, named Kelly’s opinion “Bullshit” (no translation), the public reception of the US-Irish turned significantly from a caring “German Idol Mother” to a very negative image.
- Eisenblut is worth an own bullet point as well. She was frequently shown in tears and asking to leave the show in the recall recordings. In Instagram live sessions, she might be a bit of naive, but not that mentally weak. If she was really the way RTL presented her, it would have been scandalous not to take her out of the show for medical reasons.
- I better don’t comment on the fashion of the candidates, especially in the final show. Matter of taste, maybe… There were many complaints about the sound quality as well.
And then there is… Dieter Bohlen
There were a lot of these stories (apart from the normal candidates’ villa trouble) in that season. But one was especially strange – and inglorious for the show. Before the live shows, the broadcasting channel RTL announced that Dieter Bohlen, who was the head of the show since its beginning, will no longer be part of the jury in the following seasons. So far so good. Bohlen officially called to be ill for the semifinal and final live shows and has been replaced by Thomas Gottschalk, one of the most well-known show hosts in Germany. Furthermore, RTL replaced the host of these two shows: Alexander Klaws, winner of the very first Deutschland Sucht den Superstar season, was not able to present these two shows, in which Dieter Bohlen did not play a role at all. He did not even produce any of the candidate’s singles, which is really remarkable.
Even more, when 2020 season winner Roman Roselly right before the winning ceremony stated that Dieter Bohlen is missing and deserved to be here after 18 years, he was turned down by substitute TV host Oliver Geissen and Maite Kelly. German Idol / Deutschland sucht den Superstar and Das Supertalent, equiv. to Germany’s Got Talent, are two shows which Dieter Bohlen made huge in Germany. I feel the way the heart of the show has been kicked out is just tasteless. This will stay in my mind when I think of DSDS 2021.
Title Picture: Jan-Marten Block – Never Not Try – Single Cover.
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