German Idol contestants invade Bamboo Beach Club in Jamaica
From more than 30,000 entries, UFA Show and Factual, the organiser of Germany's top talent competition, 'Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar' (DSDS), whittled it down to 30 and flew them more than 5,000 miles to beautiful and sunny Jamaica.
The purpose was to film the final elimination round in a contest also known as the 'German Idol', a show that rivals 'American Idol' in terms of acceptance across Europe.
After having chosen Jamaica, the organisers then selected what is considered one of the finest beaches along Jamaica's north coast, the Bamboo Beach Club in Tower Isle, St Mary, for the final round.
After visiting several locations across the world, including Cuba, CuraÁao, Bangkok and The Maldives, editor at UFA Show and Factual, Julia Hammerschmidt, said that Jamaica could be considered among the best venues in the world.
"We came here because it's beautiful, nice people, nice beach," Hammerschmidt said in her limited command of the English language.
One member of the crew said they had a blast at Laughing Waters in St Ann and the stunning Frenchman's Cove in Portland. He said after the experience at these venues, contestants didn't expect that their time in Jamaica could have got any better. However, at Bamboo Beach Club, it was even more awesome, he said.
A competition it was, but for the onlooker, it was more of a huge party, with a colourful and sumptuous menu laced with Jamaican delicacies such as jerked chicken and pork.
Shaggy's version of Mungo Jerry's In The Summertime (with Rayvon) was the theme song of the day, and was played at the resumption after each break.
For a full six hours, the beach, ideally set between two cliffs and boasting pristine white sand, was transformed into a party venue as the contestants sang in both German and English.
The fact that only 10 contestants were selected for the TV round hardly mattered, the disappoint-ment of those eliminated being washed away by the carnival-like atmosphere, coupled with the warm hospitality of the staff at Bamboo Beach Club.
Hammerschmidt, herself, was greatly impressed and said that she will definitely be back to Jamaica for a vacation.
"Yes, it is really good in Jamaica, and I will be back, privately," she told The Sunday Gleaner.
The event was a huge boost for Bamboo Beach Club, with its international appeal no doubt being greatly enhanced.
"We at Bamboo Beach Club are very pleased to host this part of the competition," confirmed Ilan Erlich, manager of the property.
"What drew them to the property was the fact that the property is amazing, and also, they saw our operations as far as our entertainment and staff are concerned, and the way our staff interact with guests, and they wanted to create that atmosphere around their contestants. We have a very unique cultural entertainment package here and they were able to benefit from that uniqueness."
This was evident when contestants, at will, invited the company's local dancers on stage to be part of their performance, and it all went well.
Janice Allen, regional director for the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), hailed the presence of the Germans as a "tremendous opportunity" for the island's tourism product.
"The Jamaica Tourist Board is pleased to have collaborated with UFA Show and Factual on the filming of multiple episodes of DSDS in Jamaica," Allen said in response to queries by The Sunday Gleaner.
"The visibility which will be afforded to destination Jamaica is incredible - over four hours during prime time on one of the most popular TV shows in Germany."
Putting a value to it, Allen indicated that the benefit to the island would run into millions of Jamaican dollars, disclosing that "A 30-second spot in prime time on that station has a value of approximately €50,000 (J$6.2 million).
"Jamaica is presented as a dream destination to an audience of four to five million viewers. It is a tremendous opportunity and we have no doubt that arrivals from the German-speaking market will be impacted positively," Allen said.