The Swedes recently honored Loreen by installing her photo at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport. Now it’s our turn. Mariyan Georgiev, our newest blogger in Bulgaria, unearths videos of Loreen before she became Queen of Eurovision.

A true star shines even before winning a contest like Eurovision. That was certainly the case with Lorén Talhaoui. Eight years ago, long before she was doing kung fu on a platform in Baku, she was already radiating star quality on Swedish Idol. Throughout her appearance on Idol, Loreen—then 20 years old—focused on artistry. But don’t just let me blow hot hair. Let me show you some of Loreen’s most interesting moments instead.

During her audition on September 4, 2004, Loreen elected to sing Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.”

A good-looking Moroccan girl with an I-just-woke-up hairstyle stands in front of the jury. She takes on one of Alicia Keys’ biggest hits, and does so with aplomb. “A typical girl next door with pleasant vocals” you’d say. But moving forward she starts to ooze something truly special.

On October 15, the judges asked contestants to take on Swedish hits. Loreen went with Freestyle’s “Vill ha dej” (I Want You).

Here we see Loreen’s first efforts to create her own style. She looks kinda bold, she acts kinda bold. The red bowler hat says it all…

On October 29, contestants had to sing “cocktail” music. Loreen went for “Where Do I Begin” by Shirley Bassey.

Look at this girl—or should I say woman? She’s so sophisticated. Who would dare suggest that she would one day chant “We’re going up-up-up-up-up…” or climb up a meaty male dancer? This does not scream “electronica pop star.” So much class, accompanied with strong vocals as well. It’s also noticeable that she had visited a hair dresser before the show. We doubt this Loreen would have been so keen to perform in front of a wind machine…

On November 12, contestants had to choose songs that came out during their year of birth. Loreen (1983) went with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Loreen owns MJ’s mega-hit—and the stage. Her body language and facial expressions hint at her crazy side, as does the fact that she’s wearing this animal-print top. God, it makes you think that 2004 was 20 years ago!

After being eliminated from Idol, Loreen seems to have gone into hiding. It’s hard to track her down until we see her competing at Melodifestivalen in 2011 with “My Heart Is Refusing Me.”

Here Loreen no longer feels like she has to hide her artistry and persona in the name of getting sugar-coated Idol votes. Instead she lets her ‘pop star’ image hang out, and also looks a bit mysterious. Her hairstyle has entered this millennium—hello bangs!—and her vocals are stronger than ever. She wasn’t chosen to represent Sweden at ESC (maybe she wasn’t that *cough* “Popular” *cough*). But Loreen did prove how far she had advanced since Idol.

And it suggested how far she planned on going, too. This year Loreen won Melodifestivalen, Eurovision and several other awards. She also climbed the music charts across Europe. All the while she’s remained charismatic and humble, as she demonstrated in this interview with the BBC.

Last week we saw the premiere of the long-awaited ‘Euphoria’ music video. It may seem kind of disappointing at first, but the video completes Loreen’s beautiful journey from amateur to professional, from Idol contestant to fully-formed star.

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11 years ago

I like Loreen in 2012.NO in 2004 in 2004 it’s VERY VERY VERY ugly.From Greece 🙂

11 years ago

Very interesting! Yeah, I watched her “Every Breath You Take” performance on Idol a little while ago and I was just like, “whoa, is that really crazy Queen Loreen?” Her hair gets better with every performance. Also, she isn’t a *bad* performer early on, but I do notice that her stage presence has improved–Euphoria really is a piece of art and she works the camera beautifully. Go Loreen! Love the niche she’s created now–I agree, who knew she’d turn into a crazy, arty dance-pop goddess? One of the best things about the Swedish music industry is that soooo many people… Read more »

11 years ago

She has changed a lot in just 8 years. We can surely see the evolution of Loreen. From a girl that nobody knew, who tried her luck on Idol in Sweden to a woman which all Europe knows and a woman who won Eurovision for her country.