Day 249 — Sweden picks a winner

Tonight was the last show of the Melodifestival and  they picked the winning song to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Festival that happens next month. Most of the songs were pretty bad, but you can tell that the performers, the hosts, the audience and the production people are really, really into it and one has to admire their enthusiasm and energy if nothing else. 

Since this was the finals, half the final scores were determined by juries in other European countries and the other half from Swedish public voting by SMS. For the previous weeks it was all Swedish voters. There was a thing going with the voting where someone sending a text had the option of authorizing a 10 kronor contribution (about a dollar and fifty cents) to go to African children and the festival raised well over one million dollars (more than nine million kronor). So no matter what, the festival served a good purpose. 

I think at one time I thought this would be the Swedish version of American Idol but it is much different from that. The performances are really, really fully produced production numbers and the performers and dancers really get into it as do the lighting people, pyrotechnicians and, of course, the audience. There is a certain wild but innocent enthusiasm that seems to exist in this country that I have not observed in the U.S., not ever I don’t think. 

Okay, enough editorializing, let’s look at the performers in the finals.

The three hostesses of the show. The one on the left is middle aged and the one on the right is overweight. You would never see this in the U.S.

Big production number to open the show. “New York, New York” changed to, as near as I could tell to “Stockholm” which is where the show came from.

This first guy was good. Super high energy and a nice break dance sequence in the middle of his number. This was Mariette’s favorite.

This guy did a song about rising up from oppression, which plays well in Sweden. The juries from the other countries voted him either last or next to last but the Swedes voted him third.

The third band was all tattoos and mohawks. They did a combo pop song and death metal number which did not seem to resonate with too many folks.

Fourth act: pretty girl, forgettable song.

These were the 50s rock and roll band. I started to get tired of them by this time, though the lead singer looks a lot like my brother at a younger age. Striking resemblance, actually.

This is the girl who won. I thought it was the best song, “Euphoria,” which one can find on YouTube. Anyway, she also got the biggest cheer at the beginning of the show when they introduced the contestants, so they could just as well have dispensed with the voting because the performers who got the biggest cheers right out of the box also got the most votes. She now represents Sweden in the Eurovision contest. 

These two did a song called Miracle, about the miracle of love, that was half poem and half song and they sewed up a richly deserved last place out of 10 acts. The guy is a well known author here. Lucky for him.

This girl was as beautiful as her song was unmemorable. Very. Blue eyes and dark hair is an unusual combination.

The main thing this last act had going for it is that his and his dancers’ costumes lit up pretty cool. He finished second last year and defended his bridesmaid title this year. He did not hide his disappointment too well when they announced Loreen as the winner. He obviously needs more practice at being a gracious runner up. 

After the performers did their thing, the juries from around Europe then ranked the performers giving 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10 and 12 points to the top 7 performers in their country. Juries were from all over the place: UK, Belgium, Ukraine, Ireland, Norway, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Cyprus, Belgium, France and a couple others. The totals of these non-Sweden juries totaled half the contestants scores. 

Then the other half of the scores came from voting public from Sweden. 

And there you have the biggest competition of the year in Sweden. More than 100,000,000 people watch the Eurovision festival so you will probably be hearing about that here soon.

Reading is a big, big deal here. Each year there is a book sale, which I don’t really grasp the total significance of but we happened by it this afternoon while in town. 

The former location of the big hardware store in town was the location of this years Bok Rea (book sale). Many, many, many books are put on sale super cheap. We happened by near the end, I am thinking, but the sale had shrunk to half the available space and there were not that many books on sale.

Tulip and daffodil season, however, is in full swing and we have some of each adorning our living room as I write. 

All for today.




4 thoughts on “Day 249 — Sweden picks a winner

  1. Thank you Dan. I really enjoyed your natter about the performers you didn’t approve of, as well as the ones you did approve of but didn’t like their material. Keep up the blog, it great getting your viewpoint. It’s just too bad that Mariette didn’t do a blog too so we could get the view of a Swede coming home as well. Anyway hug a tulip and sniff a daffodil for me – we just got about 3 inches of snow and -11C.

    • Peter, our snow is finito for the season. We got plus 6 today and sun. And similar songs from the rest of Europe to look forward to. I guess my “favorite” of all the performances I saw was this comedian Sean Banan, who nobody seems to like, not Swedes and not sfi students either, but probably for opposite reasons. Immigrants think he is poking fun at them and Swedes think he is threatening them. So, I guess my musical sensibilities lie with the kids who are rebelling against their parents and teachers. But we knew that already.

  2. Dan, it’s so strange seeing photos on Halmstad by other bloggers- haha. I was at Stora Torg on Saturday and I looked for myself in those photos 🙂 Glad you got to catch the bokrea, I’m curious what store will go where the Clas Ohlsons was now that Bokrea is over.
    As happy as I am that “Euphoria” made it to Eurovision I still think that all girl band with the accordion, violen, and flute would have done great!

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