You might be put off by fermented herring, but when it comes to Eurovision, Sweden cooks up dishes that are hard to resist. Ever unpredictable, you’re never sure quite what the Melodiefestivalen machine is going to churn out after its leviathan selection process is over. We’ve seen opera, light-country ballads, club bangers and ethereal soaring dance-pop, all since 2008. Sadly, like Charlotte Perrelli’s unfortunate plastic surgery, the Swedes aren’t always successful in their quest for perfection, but when they hit on a something good, they run with it, as in 2011 and 2012. The Swedes have thrown everything at Eurovision since 2008 boys that can sing, boys that can’t sing, girls with hair in desperate need of a brush, icy-haired opera singers and the one woman weapon that is Charlotte Perrelli. The Swedes have averaged 117 Points per Contest since 2008 and take an average of 4 sets of 12 Points per Contest, but it should be remembered that Loreen’s record-breaking haul of 18 perfect scores in 2012 skews that statistic.
Finals Qualified For Since 2008: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
2013: Robin Stjernberg with ‘You’, 14th with 62 Points
2012: Loreen with ‘Euphoria’, 1st with 372 Points
2011: Eric Saade with ‘Popular’, 3rd with 185 Points
2010: Anna Bergendahl with ‘This Is my Life’, 11th in the Semi-Final with 62 Points
2009: Malena Ernman with ‘La Voix’, 21st with 33 Points
2008: Charlotte Perrelli with ‘Hero’, 18th with 47 Points
Number of times Loreen swallowed fake snow performing ‘Euphoria’? 1
How many windows did Eric Saade shatter in 2011 with ‘Popular’? 3
Inches between Charlotte Perrelli and indecent exposure in her performance of ‘Hero’ in 2008? 2 at the very most.
Number of 12 Points received from Denmark since 2008? 3
Best Scoring Entry:
Loreen with ‘Euphoria’, 1st with 372 Points
Going into the Contest of 2012 few were in any doubt of who would emerge victorious from the Grand Final. Loreen’s dark and mysterious staging, coupled with crab-walking and karate chops, and the instant Eurovision classic ‘Euphoria’ took not only that small stage, but the world by storm. Thumping synths drive the song, while Loreen’s haunting vocal leaves you no choice but to yell ‘Euphoria’ at the top of your lungs for 3 minutes. Even a year on few were bored with it, and it rightly formed an integral part of Sweden’s hosting of the Contest this year.
Most Memorable Lyric: Tonight, tonight eternity’s an open door. I’m afraid I missed the opening of a temporal rift on stage in Baku.
Worst Scoring Entry:
Anna Bergendahl with ‘This Is My Life, 11th in the Semi-Final with 62 Points
Anna WHY? This song goes nowhere. It just sort of meanders along and doesn’t go anywhere. You might have gone down the beaten track, but you should have stuck to the mainstream were Sweden are strongest. This live performance is just so underwhelming. If you were so determined on not qualifying you could have at least done us all a favour and bashed Juliana Pasha over the head with your guitar. That might have tempted me to vote for you.
Most Memorable Lyric: I go down the beaten track, along the river with an empty bag. At the end, she said to me, “Why are you here, with the autumn leaves?” Was there a point to this journey or…?
Here’s Team Wiwi’s verdict on Stockholm’s songs…
It’s stereotypical but I’m plumping for Loreen as the best. She was easily the best performer on the night and ‘Euphoria’ was outstanding: a world away from most recent Eurovision songs. I should say though, that if Anna Bergendahl had sent ‘The Army’ to Oslo instead of ‘This Is My Life’ my favourite would be a whole lot different. My worst has to be Robin Stjernberg. It might be that I hated Melodiefestivalen 2013 in general, but Robin just failed to fill Loreen’s shoes. The song was boring, the choreography terrible and the outfit…was a disaster.
Charlotte Perrelli may have fallen from first place at Eurovision in 1999 to 18th place in 2008, but her second go was, in my estimation, the more memorable effort. She rocked the black and white lighting effects long before they were en vogue (hello Estonia 2013), and the feel-good message of her song has lived on as the perfect soundtrack for many a schlager Queen at the club. “Out of the light like a star like a hero, love will survive.” Only that it didn’t. In an interview with Aftonbladet in 2011 she revealed that when she arrived at ESC in Belgarde she found out that her then-husband had been cheating on her. It took her to a dark place. “That trip was on its way to costing me my life,” she said. “It was absolutely horrible. The whole competition was overshadowed by the fact that there was so much else that was so stressful.” Watch the video again and feel her pain. That she pulls through makes her a hero to me.
My favourite has to be Eric Saade! When you’re 12 and a guy wears a leather jacket and then smashes three panes of glass it’s something you’re going to vote for. It’s also beyond catchy, I still have it on my iPod and I know all the words – it’s the generic pop that I love! I don’t get what happened in 2010 though – Anna Bergendahl springs to mind as a really disappointing entry from Stockholm! I don’t understand how they thought someone in a ridiculous puffy dress deserved to win Melodiefestivalen! The lyrics were also way too repetitive and annoying, and everything about the performance…could have sent me to sleep.
James K. Puchowski:
Sweden always pulls off a performance, though the songs have varied. I loved it when Malena Ernman experimented with pop-opera in 2009 – at least it was something to vote for on the grounds of how genuine it was. Plus, the eye contact with the camera was quirky – Sweden does that well, though they slump when there isn’t a performance. We have too high expectations, so although we had a pretty face singing ‘This Is My Life’, the lack of surprise and the fact that nothing had been camped up was a serious let down. They can produce anything, and they do so well because they try to get noticed. Flambouyance is key when you only have 3 minutes on stage. What else do I need to say? Loreen demonstrates this perfectly. Drama. Action. A modern song. And that hair. It’s a success by numbers.
So what do you all think? Was Malena Ernman’s spray-tan the best thing about her performance? Did Anna Bergandahl’s guitar-playing tug at your heart-strings? Did Robin Stjernberg hit all the right notes?
Photo: Olle Kirchmeier (SVT)
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