Andreas Kuemmert got handed what many musicians would consider a dream ticket, winning the popular vote to represent Germany at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.
But to the shock of his fans, the 28-year-old rock and blues singer passed up the chance to sing for his country at the Vienna finals in May.
The annual competition regularly draws more than 100 million viewers with its mix of glitz and kitsch.
Kuemmert, whose voice had wowed national audiences, told German television viewers that "I'm overwhelmed by your affection", before adding: "I'm not really in the right state to accept this."
Instead, he handed the title to 24-year-old runner-up Ann Sophie, who tearfully accepted.
Kuemmert was suffering from high fever during Thursday's national final. The singer has not commented further on his decision.