Germany will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. The German entry for the 2017 contest in Kiev, Ukraine will be selected through the national final Unser Song 2017, organised by the German broadcaster ARD in collaboration with Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR).
Unser Song 2017 will be the competition that will select Germany’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. The national final will take place on 9 February 2017 at the Köln-Mülheim Studios in Cologne, hosted by Barbara Schöneberger. The national final will be co-produced by the production company Raab TV. The final will feature five artists and two candidate songs especially written for Eurovision.
Interested novel artists were able to apply for the competition by either attending a live casting show or submitting an online application. Only solo artists were accepted to compete. After submitting an application, novel artists could present themselves and perform in front of a live camera at casting shows that were held in two German cities. The casting shows were held at the Köln-Mülheim Studios in Cologne on 5 November 2016 and at the Hamburg-Lokstedt Studios in Hamburg on 12 November 2016. Artists could also present themselves online between 14 September 2016 and 18 November 2016 by submitting and application form and uploading a performance clip of either a cover song or a self-created song via YouTube.
By the end of the process, it was announced that 2,493 candidates had applied for the competition. An expert panel consisting of representatives of NDR, ARD, and Raab TV, and musical director Wolfgang Dalheimer narrowed the total number of candidates to 33 artists, who went through a final casting round. One of them, Nathan Trent, was automatically eliminated from the selection since he was announced as the Austrian representative for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest on 19 December 2016 and, according to regulations by the European Broadcasting Union, a performer can not represent more than one country in the same year. In the final casting round, the expert panel selected five artists for the national final. The five selected finalists were announced on 6 January 2017: Axel Feige, Felicia Lu Kürbiß, Helene Nissen, Levina, Sadi. On 17 January 2017, it was announced that Sadi had withdrawn from the competition, and he was replaced by Yosefin Buohler.
The televised final will take place on 9 February 2017. The final will feature five artists and two candidate songs. The final will consist of four rounds. In the first round, the five competing artists will perform a cover of a song of their choice, and three will advance to the second round. In the second round, the three remaining artists will perform the first of the two songs bidding for Eurovision, and the top two artists will proceed to the third round. In the third round, the two qualifiers will perform the second of the two songs bidding for Eurovision. The audience will then vote for the two top combinations of artist and song from the two remaining artists. This could result in either one performance per artist, or one artist with both candidate songs. In the fourth round, the audience will decide the winner from the two remaining combinations of song and artist.
During the final, an expert panel will comment on the performances. The members of the expert panel will be: Lena – Singer-songwriter, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 for Germany, Tim Bendzko – Singer-songwriter, Florian Silbereisen – Singer and television presenter. International viewers will also be able to vote for their favourite performance via the app entitled Eurovision Vibes, and the results will be made known to the audience during the final; however, neither the expert panel nor the international viewers will influence the results directly. The winner will be determined solely by the votes from the German audience via SMS and app voting.
In addition to the performances by the competing artists, Nicole – winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1982 for Germany –, Ruslana – winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 for Ukraine –, and Conchita Wurst – winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 for Austria – will perform a medley of Eurovision winning songs; Matthias Schweighöfer and Tim Bendzko will also be guest performers, performing their latest singles “Supermann und seine Frau” and “Immer noch Mensch” respectively.
The five competing artists will perform a cover of a song of their choice. The three acts with the most votes from the German televote will proceed to the second round. The top three acts will each perform their version of “Wildfire”, the first of the two songs bidding for Eurovision, and the top two artists determined by the televote will proceed to the third round. The two qualifiers will each perform their version of “Perfect Life”, the second of the two songs bidding for Eurovision. The audience will vote for the top two combinations of artist and song from the two remaining acts. The audience will decide the winner between the top two combinations of artist and song.