Peter Urban says goodbye to the ESC

Status: 03/22/2023 10:00 a.m

Peter Urban – the German voice of the ESC – is commenting on the Eurovision Song Contest for the 25th time this year. With the finale on May 13th in Liverpool, he says goodbye to the world’s largest music competition.

The 74-year-old NDR journalist, radio and TV presenter has accompanied the Eurovision Song Contest since it was held in Dublin in 1997. Although went Peter Urban officially retired in 2013, but he remained loyal to the ESC as a commentator.

“Since 1997 I have experienced how much the ESC has gained in importance, topicality, diversity and quality, I have tried to bring the change from the traditional Grand Prix to the world’s top event on the international music scene to the German viewers, sometimes informatively and Factual, sometimes emotional and with quieter or louder irony. I hope that even in the years with weaker German results I have helped with my comments to keep up the interest in this fascinating, unique event that is unparalleled in the world. Me Thank you for the trust and loyalty over many years, it was an honor and a great pleasure!”
Peter Urban

Even if it occasionally makes the rounds: Peter Urban is not the longest-serving ESC commentator. “This crown belongs to the Swiss Jean-Marc Richard, who has been commentating for French-language radio and TV since 1991,” explains Urban modestly.

Peter Urban’s personal ESC highlights

  • 1998 in Birmingham: With his spectacular performance, Guildo Horn caused a stir even in the motherland of modern pop music.
  • 2000 in Stockholm: The Danish Olsen Brothers showed with an honest, beautiful love song that you don’t need costumes, dancers or fireworks to create an ESC classic.
  • 2003 in Riga: The exuberant jubilation of the Turkish singer Sertab Erener and her friends. Her ESC victory was also a triumph over traditional rules.
  • 2004 in Istanbul: The quiet but musically brilliant performance by Max Mutzke and a great eighth place.
  • 2006 in Athens: The first victory for Finland and with Lordi the first victory of a hard rock band.
  • 2010 in Oslo: Lena’s triumph and then a memorable interview on the international ESC stage with the winner.
  • 2011 in Düsseldorf: A terrific opening number with a drumming Stefan Raab, a rocking Anke Engelke and forty Lenas including the real ones. Then Italy’s sensational return to the ESC with the jazzy one Raphael Gualazzi.
  • 2012 in Baku: “Euphoria” by Loreen was the perfect ESC winning song in terms of melody, groove, performance and drama.
  • 2014 in Copenhagen: In addition to the triumph of Conchita the intimate exciting and cool charisma of the Common Linnets from the Netherlands.
  • 2016 in Stockholm: In my favorite arena, the Globen, the moving performance of Jamala from Ukraine.
  • 2017 in Kiev: The sensational and musically fascinatingly delicate victory of the Portuguese jazz singer Salvador Sobral.
  • 2018 in Lisbon: The great fourth place forMichael Schulte’s touching song and his ingenious staging, which also greatly impressed BBC commentator Graham Norton.
  • 2021 in Rotterdam: The start of the world career of the Italian rock band Måneskin and a top ten that testified to the new variety of ESC songs.

When asked what he associates with the ESC, Peter Urban answers:

“What I love about the ESC is the excitement, the competition, the drama, the surprises, diversity and tolerance, the mutual understanding of many nations, the shared experience of fun, emotions, frustration or joy, meeting fellow commentators and spending time together with our team.”
Peter Urban

Peter Urban’s 25 legendary ESC years

On May 12, at 8.15 p.m., the evening before the final in Great Britain, NDR television honored him with the 90-minute portrait “Lena, Stefan Raab and Co. – Peter Urban’s 25 legendary ESC years”. In it, Peter Urban remembers his greatest and most moving ESC moments – and how he experienced these moments then and sees them today.

“I am a big Peter Urban fan and I would like to thank him on behalf of the entire NDR for his outstanding commitment to the Eurovision Song Contest,” says NDR program director Frank Beckmann. “He knows the competition like hardly anyone else. His comments on the entries are insightful, knowledgeable, dry, to the point – and cult. He manages not to mince his words and at the same time to comment benevolently and respectfully. His Accompaniment over a whole generation has shaped the ESC. We will miss it!”

life for the music

Peter Urban has met countless musicians in the course of his career. Rod Stewart was a frequent guest on his shows in the ’90s.

Peter Urban, born in Bramsche in 1948, studied English and history in Hamburg before earning his doctorate in 1977. His topic: the lyrics of Anglo-American popular music. His dissertation was published under the title “Rolling Words – The Poetry of Rock”. He began working for Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg while he was still studying. From 1974 he was an author and moderator for “Music for Young People” and also for the legendary program “Der Club” in the NDR 2 studio. Urban, who grew up in Quakenbrück in Lower Saxony, has been part of the music department at Popwelle since 1988. At NDR Info, he was also responsible for the programs “Nachtclub” and “Nightlounge” as an editor and continued to present music specials on NDR 2. Since retiring in 2013, he has continued to be on NDR 2 alongside the ESC with the “Peter Urban Show” and his to listen to the successful music podcast “Urban Pop”.

On April 14, Peter Urban celebrates his 75th birthday. His memoirs were published in the same month – memories of his path to music, radio and television, of experiences such as Jimi Hendrix’s first appearance in 1966, of exciting times as a musician at Hamburg’s Onkel Pö, of his encounters with world stars such as Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Elton John, Joni Mitchell or Keith Richards and of course the many years at the world’s largest music competition.

Further information

Peter Urban laughs at the camera.  © NDR/Claudia Timmann Photo: Claudia Timmann

Commentator Peter Urban is the song contest veteran, also known as the “voice of the ESC”. In a short interview, he answers very personal questions. more

Eurovision commentator Peter Urban with NDR 2 presenter Thomas Mohr © NDR Photo: Patricia Batlle

Speedsters on stage, loss of sound and a failed German performance – Peter Urban talks about his 16-year career as a Grand Prix commentator. more

This topic in the program:

NDR Television | 05/12/2023 | 8:15 p.m

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