I’ve mentioned the Melodifestivalen before so I will try to make this short and sweet. Last night was the big finale in Stockholm which determines which song will represent Sweden in the international Eurovision Song Contest in the end of May. The competition ran for five weeks which resulted in 10 competitors last night, I only recognized half of them since I’ve only seen two of the shows.
This finale is voted on very differently than all the previous weeks, where 100% of the votes came from the audience, this round was 50% audience and 50% international jury. The jury consisted of Belgium, Estonia, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Ukraine, Malta, Germany, Ireland, Norway. Each jury awarded 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10 or 12 points to their top 7 performances, which means that each juror gave zero their bottom three. With all the comedy acts in between and after performances when the jury started we didn’t know if it was real or not until half way through.
As you can see by this list only two out of the 10 songs in the finale are in Swedish. The two Swedish songs also got the worst voting from the international panel of jury, which makes sense because they cannot understand the lyrics as my husband pointed out but I disagree and think that the songs were just THAT bad. Songs should not only rely on the language of the lyrics, but should be enjoyable through the music as well.
However, one of the Swedish songs did get the THIRD best percentage of votes by the public (about 9%), bumping him up from 9th place to 8th place, which is something to walk away with.
Melodifestivalen is not only an annual tradition that Swedes enjoy to follow but it is also collects a huge amount of money for charity with every single vote. Each voter has a choice to donate 3.60 kr or 9.90 kr depending on which number they dial, that doesn’t mean that your vote means more but that you are donating more to charity. Throughout the weeks of Melodifestivalen over one million dollars was raised (9million kr +), just by people voting on their favorites – which makes this event not only popular and fun to watch but also raises money for a good cause which is pretty incredible.
Now to the show!
- The first act was suit and sneaker wearing David Lindgren who sang Shout it Out. This catchy song was a great opener with lots of energy, and is still stuck in my head. He has a great stage presence, dance moves, upbeat and feel good music with a good voice and he’s not so bad to look at. Hubby was not impressed until the end when he heard the recap of all the songs and was able to compare him to the rest of the competition, then determined he was one of the top. Came in rank #: 4
- The second song was a Swedish song called Jag Reser Mig Igen (I rise myself up again) , sung by Thorsten Flinck. Seemed to be an emotional song by the song title, but I didn’t feel that emotion in the music powerfully enough. This song is the one that got 9% local votes but almost no international votes. This act did not get into the finale right away but was pushed through as a “second chance.” He has a very raspy voice and a crazy look in his eyes.Came in rank #: 8
- Dead By April was an interesting band, in a not so good way. Their song Mystery was some sort of mix between pop singing and metal growling, which can work except that the singing was too puppy dog sweet-n-light while the growling was too severe. Came in rank #: 7
- Why Start a Fire A beautiful song by a beautiful face, sung by popular singer/songwriter Lisa Miskovsky. Unfortunately, like a lot of the other slower songs in the competition, while they sound great they don’t seem to be catchy or memorable enough for an international contest. Would listen to it on the radio, but it’s not powerful enough for Eurovision. Came in rank #: 9
- The old school rockabilly band, Top Cats, brought from the 50’s were also here on a “second chance” to sing Baby Doll. While one of my favorites, we thought it was a very fun song with great stage presence including a pianist playing with his feet and a cello player standing ON TOP of his cello, however our conclusion was that they are just too…American for a European contest. We were correct as the catchy tune just wasn’t enough to win the votes. Came in rank #: 6
- From the very beginning of the song Loreen singing Euphoria was my husbands favorite, which surprised him because it’s not really his type of music. I wasn’t a huge fan of it right away, but I might have been distracted by her strange dance moves and overgrown bangs. Was definitely in my top four favorites, but number two on who I thought would win. I was wrong – she was voted number one in both forms of voting, by a landslide: with 32% of the international jury votes and 268 out of 473 points from local voters. Came in rank #: 1 – WINNER
- The seventh act was by Ulrik Munther, an 18 year old with a surprisingly strong voice who plays the harmonica and guitar as part of his song, Soldiers. A young performer, it is apparent how he has already had some success and will continue doing so. Very powerful and emotional song, with two drum sets as his back up. Came in rank #: 3
- The most controversial performance of melodifestivalen is performed in half by the overly orange suntanned Björn Ranelid. This is a face we haven;t been able to avoid over the past few weeks in the papers, having been under a great deal of criticism. Many people were upset and surprised that this song was voted to finale. Mirikel was one of the two songs that was sung in Swedish, which he tried to change to English but was not allowed. It’s a half poem, half song about “love” which lyrics were under scrutiny. It is mostly spoken with some singing from his female partner, Sara Li. Came in rank #: 10
- Song number 9 was sung by Molly Sandén, it was a powerfully emotional ballad. Why Am I Crying fell in the same category as Why Start A Fire- Beautiful songs by beautiful women, but the slow pace makes for an easily over looked, under appreciated, unmemorable song in a competition this huge. Came in rank #: 5
- Last but certainly not least (unfortunately) was Danny Saucedo singing Amazing. While the song is catchy we agreed right away that the lyrics were pretty pathetic and could be written by a ten year old. Something so simple should not be thrown into an international competition. “I’m feeling great, I’m feeling awesome, let me explain its because you’re amazing” on repeat didn’t really do it for us. We couldn’t believe it and were very nervous when we saw he was a close second from the international Jury and also second from the voters. I would have been embarrassed if this song represented Sweden. He was voted #2 last year as well. Came in rank #: 5
And so in the end of May Sweden will be represented by this face:
This is her performance last night and what we have to expect in May:
Throughout the show there is some comic relief and skits that I never get to understand, but this time since hubby was (kind of) watching with me he translated anything he thought was worth while. At the end of the song list during each show every week there is this strange clip that “interrupts” the show. I was never really able to understand but hubby explained it to me that it’s kind of making fun of the show a bit, the fun part is that one of the hostess’s (who is an actress) plays all four parts:
Another clip was shown last night which was in English and was pretty funny, she was supposed to be from the UK and kept mixing up names and mispronouncing things and not knowing where countries were – most notably calling the Swedish people Swiss.
Well, that was not as short and sweet as I had hoped- sorry!! I don’t know about you but I am all Melodifestivalen’ed out! Looking forward to Eurovision but need this break!