The Smartest German began in 2011 on Germany’s First channel and pitched itself as a talent show for intelligence. It’s actually all done and dusted in a week – two three-hour semi-finals (on a Saturday and Thursday) followed by a live grand final the following Saturday. The shows are lengthy, but it’s a well produced show that rarely feels dull. It has a far heavier use of talent show tropes than Britain’s Brightest did – the eventual winner is chosen by a telephone vote!
You may also feel like there are some similarities between this and BBC flop The People’s Quiz. As far as we know these are seperate and different shows. This is produced by I and U TV, Gunther Jauch’s production company (he’s the guy who hosts the German version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? amongst other things).
The following episode being discussed is the first semi-final of the 2012 series.
The show’s title logo, a lightbulb with a crown on it.
Popular German TV personality Kai Pflaume is your host for the evening.
And here’s the jury. That’s ex-Schlag den Raab host and popular TV and radio personality Matthias Opdenhövel, Journalist and co-host of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest Judith Rakers and journalist and TV host Frank Plasberg. Matthais and Judith were on the jury the previous year, Frank is a new member.
Their job is to determine which 16 people deserved to go through to the televised finals (after the national “jurycastings”), explain the games and what’s being tested, ask questions and most importantly decide which of the runners up gets to be put through to the grand final. They also sit on platform that moves around the studio where necessary.
And here’s the show’s resident professor Dr Martin Korte, the expert who explains the science behind the games.
Germany’s Smartest will win €100,000. But to determine who that is, a nationwide tour was conducted in the major cities in Germany – and some more out of the way places. These tests consisted of questionairres and computer tests. The best people from the tour were invited back for a second round of exams, and the best of those got to try and impress the jury at the jurycastings. The top 16 will battle it out across the week to determine Der Klügste Deutsche.
Eight will battle it out tonight, eight the next episode.
And their chances are reasonable. These four finalists seats will all need filling by the end of the night.
The eight are split into two groups of four. The winner of each group gets to go directly to the final. The bottom place in each group is immediately eliminated. After both groups have competed this leaves us with four contestants awaiting their fate – the audience will vote one through on keypads. The jury will save one of the remaining three.
Let’s begin with Group 1. Each contestant has a short film about their lives and their route to the finals.
Here this contestant is impressing at jurycastings – the object of this test is to rearrange constituent parts of words to make proper words.
And now here she is on stage. The first round is an individual round.
Simply it’s a quickfire general knowledge quiz. The jury take it in turn to fire off questions at the contestants for 90 seconds.
And we can see she’s scored 12 here. Not bad!
Everyone gets a go, and one has scored an outstanding 19 correct answers here.
The scoring system is pretty simple – 4, 3, 2, 1 points for first, second, third, fourth. Where there is a tie both people take the higher points. But if somebody scores zero in a round (possible on the buzzer rounds) then they score zero leaderboard points (called “final points” here).
Each group will play four games – Group one will play all their games first followed by Group two.
Between rounds there are bits filmed with the public. Neatly, the lightbulb turns green or red if members of the public give right or wrong responses to the questions asked.
The other three games are group games. They will either involve everybody typing their answers and trying to get as many of the puzzles right as possible, or they will be first on the buzzer affairs.
The next game involves the Cosmic Artists of Berlin. They are going to bounce on trmapolines, contestants should add 1 to the total for every bounce on the left and subtract one for every bounce on the right. They will type their answers in.
6-4 is 2. This played six times, it gets trickier each time.
They all got that one right.
Here are the final scores for the game. They guy with the general knowledge skills also has the mental agility skills, six out of six!
And here’s how that all converts into leaderboard points – Four points for the win, three points for the tied second place, one point for the person in fourth.
Here’s one of my favourite games, a word is broken down into consituent parts and they will fly off and zoom around the screen – the contestants get it on a blank background in front of them, us at home get it overlaid on the studio feed. The object, simply, is to work out what the word is. This is played on the buzzer.
Once correctly identified, the word falls into its correct place on the screen.
The next game is Spot the Difference with a difference. This game is on the buzzer. Contestants will see two different set-ups, twenty seconds to look at the one in the left window then twenty seconds to look at a different scene on the right.
The left curtain will then open again. The first person to buzz in and identify what one thing is different (here the lady on the right’s hat is missing) scores a point. Then the right curtain is opened and the same question asked. A wrong answer means you can’t buzz in again for that question. This game is repeated three more times, so there are eight questions total.
Unfortunately one contestant didn’t get any right, and zero points means zero leaderboard points. That was the last round before the cut.
Jochen is the clear winner with 14 leaderboard points and is straight through to the live final the next week. With only 5 points Regine has to leave the show. Christine and Michael will have to wait until later to find out their fate.
Group two will now begin their quest, once again beginning with the quickfire general knowledge round.
This is the Elektric Dance Theatre (my attempt as spelling) from Frankfurt. They come on and do a neat routine with a see-through screen that adds planes of depth. Their game involves maths though, they bring up a multi-part sum and the contestants have 10 seconds to type in their answer. It’s important to remember your BODMAS!
Obviously they get increasingly more difficult.
This is a terrific game. A picture is broken up into parts and layered in virtual 3D space. The virtual camera slowly makes its way into a position so that all the pieces are lined up to form a wireframe picture of an object. Can you work out what it is? This is played on the buzzer.
It’s an electric guitar!
Tonight’s final game concerns the return of the trampolining Cosmic Artists of Berlin. The performers are going to bounce in and out of windows, the contestants have to remember the order the performers land on a coloured window.
As ever this starts off fairly simple – just three things to remember.
But builds up into something condierably more difficult. Of note: the previous sequence seeds the next sequence, so whilst the trampolining gets more complex, if you can remember the colours of the previous question you need only tack the last colours onto the end. Of course this one here is already 15 steps long which is already difficult.
At the end of this round the leaderboard winner goes directly through to the final the next week, The bottom placed finisher is eliminiated. This leaves the two people in the middle to join the two people left from group one for the voting.
And here they are. Their quest to be crowned Germany’s Smartest is not over yet. First of all the audience will use their keypads to pick their favourite.
The results are in, or at least the percentages are.
And Frank is the audience champion! He will return for the live final. Viewers and contestants are not told who polled where in the other slots.
This leaves the final three. And now the jury will decide to put one of them through. After a lenghty deliberation process where they discuss the pros and cons of each person and why each should or should not go through to the final…
They give the nod to Christine, here.
And here are our finalists!
We’re not quite show how the final works, we believe the final eight were paired off and duelled to get to four, then some eliminations until the final two, then the general public picked up the phone and voted.