In 2002, Klaws was encouraged by his family and friends to audition for the debut season of the reality television series Deutschland sucht den Superstar. Although he was considered as one of the more inconspicuous top ten finalists at the very beginning of the show, he was able to boost his popularity constantly with standout performances of Robbie Williams' "Angels" or Michael Sembello's "Maniac". Klaws went on to win the competition on 8 March 2003, earning 70. 1% of the votes against runner-up Juliette Schoppmann and without being sent into the bottom three throughout the season. Immediately after winning DSDS, Klaws was signed to a record deal with SonyBMG, while jury member Dieter Bohlen was consulted to produce his debut album on the company. On 17 March 2003 his debut single, "Take Me Tonight" was released. The song was performed by Klaws during the season finale of DSDS. The song subsequently debuted at number 1 in Germany and Switzerland. It eventually went on to become the second best-selling single of 2002 behind "We Have a Dream" and was certified quintuple gold by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI). In May he followed-up with his debut album Take Your Chance, which saw similar success and spawned a second single "Stay with Me". At the end of a year he entered the top of the charts again with "Free Like the Wind", the soundtrack to the German TV movie Held der Gladiatoren.