Cologne – It was a venture. The first casting show on PayTV. After six years, X Factor Germany returned 2018 to Sky1. In the studios of the Coloneum Cologne, the candidates struggled week after week for the grace of their mentors, later for the grace of the viewers at home. The Jury couldn’t be more different, colourful and interesting. Rap-legend Sido, the likable New Yorker Iggy Uriarte from Lions Head, power woman and lead singer of Jennifer Rostock, Jennifer Weist and finally of course Thomas Anders. The show was presented by Charlotte Würdig and Ben Istenes. Every jury member had his category. Thomas, being nearly 50 years part of the show business, stands for experience. “Uncle Thomas”, how the others called him fondly, was responsible for solo singers from 25 years of age. Sheila “Shylee” Rothmann, Manuel “Elto” El-Tohamy and Alexander Grant formed Team Thomas in this year of X Factor 2018. After some auditions and chair challenges as well as two live shows, that great final was taking place on the 19th of October 2018. Also live at the best broadcasting time. The final was built by Sheila “Shylee” Rothman from Team Thomas, Jan-Marten Block from Team Sido and by the bands “EES & the Yes-Ja! Band” and “Wait of the World” from Team Jennifer Weist.
Reason to drive to Cologne and take a seat in the three hour long live great final. The foyer was quite crowded, the security was busy with controlling the guests and taking off their jackets and bags. Two times, people had to go through a metal detector. The fear of terrorist attacks has arrived to television studios. But better being controlled one time too often than one time too less. Block by block people entered the studio after a five minute walk to that place where decision should be made today, very easy to identify by the big X. Warm-up entertainer René Travnicek was very demanding. Dancing, clapping, singing, the whole thing. Than a voice said: “60 seconds left”.
The opening was thrilling. Every jury member was singing one his most famous songs. The studio heated up. Sido made the beginning with “Bilder im Kopf”, Iggy Uriarte follows with “True Love”, Jennifer Weist owned the studio with her song “Hengstin” and Thomas built the final with “Cheri Cheri Lady”. What a powerful opening. The show runs. Two rounds of singing for everyone, in between the judgements of the jury. Four little advertisement breaks of four minutes each were made.
In the second round all candidates sang an own song, which was free to download and stream directly after the performance. Jan-Marten Block sang “Los”, Sheila “Shylee” Rothmann” presented “Bulletproof”, EES & the Yes-Ja! Band performed “Try, try, try” and Wait of the World rocked with “Glacier”. It was important that the musicians were able to write and sing their own song while the casting process. A big difference to other casting shows and for sure a big step to take. Alternative/Independent, Pop, Kwaito/Afro-Pop and Schlager (right Sido 😉). So many different music styles, a truly colourful final, the audience was spoilt for choice. Of course my heart beated for Sheila from Team Thomas, but in the end the winner was… EES & the Yes-Ja! Band, who spread good mood all over the audience with their own sound. EES, in Namibia a superstar, rocked with the Yes-Ja! Band the studio again and sank in a rain of glitter and applause by the audience. The Jury danced jolly. A truly great ending of the whole season of X Factor 2018 on Sky1. “Try, try, try”, Sky1, go for a second season in the next year.
Text and photos © Andreas Unterberg for Thomas-Anders-Online.com