His deep voice belongs to the ESC like the Eurovision anthem: NDR veteran Peter Urban will moderate the Eurovision Song Contest for the last time this year. This was announced by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk on Wednesday. The man from Hamburg has been leading the European singing competition since 1997 – with a mixture of calm, wit, expertise and subtle irony. Now the 74-year-old wants to stop. The finale in Liverpool on May 13 will be the Hamburg journalist’s farewell to the international music show.

“I’ll be 75, it’s the 25th ESC and that’s a perfect time to stop. And it’s also in Liverpool, which is also a kind of personal cycle for me. In that sense it’s a good moment. And at some point it should have been anyway,” Urban told the German Press Agency in Hamburg. Even as a young man, Urban pursued his passion for music in many clubs and halls in England. He especially admired the Beatles.

ESC debut in Dublin 1997

Since his debut at the ESC in Dublin in 1997, Urban has commented on the musical spectacle for German television almost every year. He only had to sit out once due to illness.

Otherwise, the music expert traveled through Europe with the ESC circus and commented on the competition entries. As a rule, he only had the short breaks between the clips for the respective country and the performances of the ESC participants.

Not infrequently, the native of Lower Saxony spoke from the soul of the viewers or skilfully absorbed their thoughts. Whether clothes that were too short or brightly colored outfits, terrifying or wonderful singing, hair twirled by wind machines or impressive acrobatics – Urban always had a snappy saying ready.

For example, he commented on the performance of the Finnish hard rockers Lordi, who also won the ESC in 2006, with the following words: “Today is Saturday, TV day, dear parents, smaller children and delicate souls should perhaps better keep their eyes open for the next three minutes close or leave the room, because here comes Lordi, the horror shocker from Lapland.” And after the performance, Urban finally said: “Dear children, please don’t imitate it, your parents could be frightened.”

Own decision to stop

He himself describes his comments as follows: “Informative, factual, but also sometimes emotional and in any case a lot of loud or quiet irony.” He always held back with discussions or even justifications as to why Germany had a bad place at the ESC. “I’m not the one who’s supposed to judge anything here, I’m supposed to comment on it, and I can’t find explanations for everything,” he told dpa.

The decision to draw a line came from himself. “Let others do that now.” Norddeutscher Rundfunk wants to “announce in due course” who will succeed him.

According to NDR program director Frank Beckmann, Urban knows the ESC like no other. “His comments on the posts are insightful, knowledgeable, dry, to the point – and iconic.” He manages not to mince his words, but also to comment benevolently and respectfully. “His support over a whole generation has shaped the ESC. We will miss him!”

Am 13. Mai in Liverpool

This year, however, Urban wants to enjoy the ESC again. “I want to be there live again. I’ve been here in Hamburg for the last two years and that wasn’t a replacement,” Urban told dpa. Above all, he learned to appreciate the harmony and the great atmosphere of the connecting event. The ESC is simply an overall event. “There aren’t two of those in the world. You don’t have to like the music, like every song. There are funny or dramatic, bombastic productions. There’s definitely something to see and I wanted to convey that to people.”

The ESC is considered the largest television music event in the world, with around 200 million people tuning in every year in more than 40 countries. The 67th edition will be played in Liverpool on May 13th. The first of the ARD will be broadcast live. The Hamburg rock band Lord Of The Lost will represent Germany with the song “Blood