It was late November, and Eurovision fans found out the representative for Germany 2016. It was Xavier Naidoo, a famous but controversial act within Germany, however host broadcaster NDR did not realise just how polarising opinions would be once the announcement was made.
Instead of following the format used for a few years now, the German broadcaster decided to internally select their act, hoping that bringing a big name to the contest will better their results, which have been dropping, with the 2015 act Ann Sophie not receiving any points this year. Xavier Naidoo has had 20 years of experience, has won awards, and had albums at gold or platinum status.
The plan was to hold ‘Unser Song für Xavier’ – a show to showcase 6 songs, where the public would choose the song they thought fit the brief best, and bring back good results to Germany. In a couple of weeks, the process would have begun to find the song for Xavier, however only a matter of hours after the announcement, the Eurovision community and German public voiced their concerns.
According to these voices, Naidoo was claimed to be racist and homophobic. As a contest known for its love of culture and openness, many disagreed with the broadcaster’s choice to send Naidoo. Thomas Schreiber, coordinator from the German broadcasters ARD said that ‘Xavier Naidoo is a brilliant singer who is, according to my own opinion, neither racist nor homophobe’ however standing by their decision may have harmed the image of Eurovision in his opinion, meaning that the contractual agreement between broadcaster and artist was terminated.
With Naidoo out, and going by his Facebook, very disappointed, the German broadcaster is now left with the task to find an act for Stockholm next year who hopefully won’t divide opinions, but rather bring Germany together, and ultimately bring good results to the nation.
More news on Germany’s selection process will be released in due time.