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GERMAN OF THE WEEK

TELEVISION

‘It’s the biggest brothel on German TV’

After being branded a "slut" by the host of Germany's answer to "Pop Idol" and outing the show's behind-the-scenes sex antics, singer Sarah Joelle Jahnel has raised enough eyebrows to be named The Local's German of the Week.

'It's the biggest brothel on German TV'
Photo: Facebook

Cologne-native Jahnel sung her way to a place in the final ten candidates on Deutschland Sucht den Superstar (DSDS) before being booted off on Saturday. Yet the recent Playboy model has refused to go quietly and turned to the country’s biggest tabloid Bild with a host of dirty backstage secrets.

“DSDS is the biggest brothel on German TV,” she claimed, adding that a more appropriate name would have been “Germany’s searching for super sex” instead of “Germany’s searching for a Superstar.”

While Jahnel was adamant that she was not a poor loser, she did say she was annoyed at the show’s host Dieter Bohlen, 58, for “making her out to be a slut” because of her skimpy outfits and nude photo-shoot for Playboy magazine.

She pointed to rampant bed-hopping and heady nights while the show was being filmed in the Caribbean. One candidate slunk into bed with two men from the production team like it “was the most normal thing in the world,” said Jahnel, adding that she tended to be tucked up in bed at 9pm.

In the intimate Playboy interview – which is to be published in April – she tells interviewers about having sex for the first time aged 14, and experimenting with other women.

Bohlen’s treatment of Jahnel during her time on the programme sparked an uproar in the German media and had the country talking about whether her choice to wear lots of make-up and little clothing warranted the presenter labelling her “the party slut from Cologne.”

Forgoing her name, Germany’s equivalent to Simon Cowell told the jury that “we have to take the slut with us,” when she went through to the next round.

Jahnel made clear that neither she nor her family found Bohlen’s comments funny. Why then, she went on to pose nude in Playboy, is not clear.

What is clear, however, is that the singer’s revelations to Bild mean millions of viewers tuning into RTL on Saturday will all know a little more about the contestants.

The Local/jcw

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MUSIC

Dancing like there’s no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig

For techno enthusiast Philipp Koegler, it almost felt like a normal Saturday night again as he joined 200 fellow revellers at "Distillery", the first German nightclub to reopen since the start of the pandemic.

Dancing like there's no Covid: first German nightclub reopens in Leipzig
A file photo of a disco ball in a night club. Photo: dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

“Tonight, there are no rules,” the almost 30-year-old told AFP, whipping off his mask on his way to the dance floor.

Despite more than a year of closures forced by the coronavirus, it didn’t take long for the thumping beats, low lights and buzzing crowds to reawaken the much-missed club atmosphere.

“It feels like I’ve come back after being away on vacation for a week,” Koegler beamed.

But of course there are some rules to restarting the party, even in Germany where coronavirus infections have declined steadily in recent weeks as the pace of vaccinations has picked up.

The Distillery club in the eastern city of Leipzig, which bills itself as the oldest techno venue in Germany’s former Communist east, is taking part in a pilot project supported by scientists from the Max Planck institute and the local university hospital.

Just 200 club-goers are allowed in instead of the usual 600 and each person must take two different kinds of coronavirus tests earlier in the day, with entry granted only if they test negative both times.

Once inside, the masks can come off and revellers don’t have to socially distance.

Each participant also agrees to being re-tested a week later, to uncover potential infections despite the precautions taken.

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Organisers hope the project can serve as a blueprint for further club re-openings to help the hard-hit sector back on its feet after a devastating year.

Although several venues in Germany experimented with open-air parties, club-goer Konny said it “just isn’t the same”.

“In the club, you’re in a different world,” she said.

Growing influence

Distillery manager Steffen Kache expressed pride at being the first club in the country to reopen indoors.

“Everyone is jealous,” he told AFP.

Kache said that if there has been an upside to the pandemic closures, it was that politicians had woken up to the social and economic importance of Germany’s vibrant club culture.

Lawmakers last month agreed to reclassify nightclubs as cultural institutions rather than entertainment venues, putting them on a par with
theatres and museums to provide more protection and tax benefits.

Germany’s nightlife capital Berlin alone – home to iconic clubs Berghain, KitKat and Tresor – usually attracts tens of thousands of foreign visitors each year who generate over a billion euros in revenues.   

Many observers fear that when the pandemic dust has settled, not all of Germany’s clubs will have survived the lengthy shutdowns.

The collaboration with local authorities that made Distillery’s pilot project possible was “unthinkable before the crisis”, Kache said, and evidence of a “reconciliation” between underground club culture and the political establishment.

He said he hoped the next step would be “the nationwide reopening of cultural spots and clubs, without Covid restrictions”.

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