Borrowing a concept from neighbouring Norway and Finland, Swedish broadcaster TV4 last night debuted the song contest Stjärnornas Stjärna (The Star of the Stars).
The show will run every Saturday from March 17 – May 5, fitting in the TV schedule between Sweden’s National Final and the Eurovision Song Contest.
In the coming weeks eight well-known artists from Melodifestivalen and Eurovision — including Wiktoria, Ace Wilder and Ola Salo — will compete across nine different genres of music from opera to country.
Last night’s show did not feature an elimination. But in the weeks ahead acts will be axed one by one via a public vote. A jury will be on hand to offer opinions on each of the performances to sway viewers. But after watching the first episode, it seems they’re mostly there to add positive lip service and fill time. The fun of the show will be seeing some of your favourites going out of their comfort zone and working with genres that are quite foreign to them.
Nine genres of Stjärnornas Stjärna
- Hard Rock (the rest of the world just calls it Rock)
- Swedish Classic
TV4’s money woos Melfest talent
The show is hosted by Eurovision 2013 and 2016 host Petra Mede, working alongside writer and director Edward af Sillén. Edward also wrote and directed various seasons of SVT’s Melodifestivalen, and if the last two years are anything to go by, he is sorely missed. The humour and originality that was completely lacking during this entire season of Melfest is quickly made up for by Petra opening the show with a tease rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, and also gloating about how she makes more money now with TV4. Perhaps if they go light on the glitter and Anna Book next year, SVT can sway the comedic duo back.
In any case, there can be only one Star of the Stars, and it could be…
Three-time Melfest favourite Ace Wilder joins the cast and says she is looking for inspiration and challenges during some down time after Mello. Will her popularity with the public carry her through the contest?
As part of the dance band Arvingarna, he represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993 with the fun and addictive song “Eloise”. After three other attempts at Mello, Casper joins the roster of the show to see what he is capable of doing outside of the band.
Originally hailing from the United States, LaGaylia has entered Melodifestivalen twice. Over the years her personality and Swinglish have won over the public, and led to a judging seat on Talang (Sweden’s Got Talent). She is known for her boundless energy, wailing voice, and ability to cover many different genres of music. LaGaylia is one to watch — whether you’re already familiar with her or not.
Hip hop artist Linda Pira won the Swedish Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2014. She proved she belongs on stage with the rest of the stars performing in last year’s interval act alongside Dani M during the Andra Chansen round. With a rising profile in Sweden, it will be interesting to see how Linda progresses in the contest through all the different genres, none of which are hip hop.
Ola Salo — 2007 Eurovision entrant with The Ark — is competing, as he really likes to do things that are new and uncomfortable. He’s got natural charisma and probably the most experience covering different types of genres compared to the others.
Having already won Melodifestivalen in 1989, Tommy entered Mello a few more times thereafter without the same success. But now one of the best voices of Sweden is back on a TV platform to prove that he has still got it.
Having represented Sweden twice at the Eurovision Song Contest with his distinct songs, Roger is an interesting artist to see in a competition like this. He has the voice to cover many different styles of music. If all types of music are, at their core, from the heart, then Roger will do well here.
Two-time Melfest entrant Queen Wiktoria is the youngest of all the contestants. Her vocals are among the best in Sweden and perhaps this will be a chance to see what more she can do as an artist beyond the country/pop sound she’s known for. She is driven and always brings her A-game in every element, so we just can’t wait to see what this season will bring.
Preview interview with the Stars
Watch below for a compilation interview with all the contestants, talking about why they entered, what genre they are the most scared of, who they think is their toughest competition, and if they would ever return to the Mello stage.
Stjärnornas Stjärna airs every Saturday at 20:00 CET on TV4Play up till the finals on May 5th. For those who are geo blocked from TV4Play, they have assured us that the performances will make their way to YouTube. Who do you think will win the first Star of the Stars contest?