Wiwibloggs has been travelling around Europe and taking a look at all of the countries currently participating in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them. Today we docked in Stockholm to take a look at Sweden, six-time winners of the contest.
Sweden debuted at Eurovision 1958 in the contest’s third edition. Their first win wouldn’t come until 1974 when ABBA represented the country with arguably the most famous entry in the contest’s 63 year history.
Five more wins would follow, including two this decade. The 2010s have been a golden era in Swedish Eurovision history, with two wins and six Top 5 finishes. Ever since Anna Bergendahl failed to qualify in 2010, Sweden have missed the Top 10 on only one occasion. With a prolific run of results and a rich history to draw from, here are 10 reasons why we love Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. We have to talk about ABBA
We all have our favourites at Eurovision but we can all agree that few acts are as iconic as ABBA in 1974. ABBA aren’t the only huge stars to be born from Eurovision but they are arguably the biggest. “Waterloo” catapulted them into international fame and they never looked back. Such is the success of ABBA that we are still talking about them in 2018, with the release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Over 1500 songs have now been performed at Eurovision and “Waterloo” is undoubtedly the most famous of the lot.
2. Their winners are not afraid of coming back
ABBA may have been Sweden’s first winners but subsequent winners have been more than willing to return to the scene of the crime. Carola has the unparalleled honour of finishing in the top five on three separate occasions, the second of which was her 1991 victory. Charlotte Nilsson came back as Charlotte Perrelli in 2008, nine years after taking us to heaven in her 1999 victory. More recently, even Loreen attempted to return to Eurovision with the iconic Melfest entry “Statements”. If you’re a fan of returning artists, Sweden won’t disappoint.
3. Everything about Melodifestivalen
There are many national finals around Europe but there are none quite as exciting as Sweden’s Melodifestivalen. Every year, the rumour mill starts churning out reports of which artists will compete. Then comes a highly publicised artist reveal, along with the titles of the songs. Producers reveal running orders which results in wild speculation before any songs have even been heard. We are given a small taste of the songs ahead of each semi-final, but still with a lot kept secret until the live performances. Then we spend six weeks debating, speculating and dreaming about which artist will fight through 27 others to earn the right to represent Sweden at Eurovision. This entire experience is almost as exciting as Eurovision itself and no other national final comes close to matching it.
4. Super slick Swedish staging
The last few years have brought Sweden some great results. Their success has been built on the back of some very slick staging, culminating in a victory in 2015 for Måns Zelmerlöw. The likes of Robin Bengtsson and Benjamin Ingrosso have continued the trend. The dwindling support for Sweden in the 2018 televote may suggest that slick choreography is no longer be enough, with more importance placed on the song itself. It will be interesting to see whether Sweden will fly or fall in 2019.
5. They love a good F-bomb
Speaking of Robin Bengtsson, he had to change the lyrics of “I Can’t Go On”. It initially appeared at Melfest with the lyrics “when you look so f***ing beautiful”. While the rules may be a bit more lax in the Nordic nation, Eurovision rules would not have allowed the song to be performed with those lyrics. Of course, Robin had to beat the likes of Lisa Ajax to make it to Eurovision 2017. The songstress repeatedly sang the lyrics “I don’t give a f*** what the others say” and “f*** what they say”. Wash that mouth with some soap once you’re done singing along!
6. The queen of popera
With a rich history at Eurovision, it is difficult to single out a handful of acts for this list. However, one name that needs to be on this list is Malena Ernman. The blonde bombshell brought popera to life in 2009 and she is the only Swedish artist to sing in a language other than Swedish and English at Eurovision. While there was plenty of buzz around Estonia’s popera effort in 2018, let’s not forget that Sweden can do it just as well.
7. Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley
While the success of ABBA was extraordinary, the group that won Eurovision a decade later also had a catchy tune that most Eurovision fans know well 34 years later. Herreys experienced great international success with the iconic number and delivered Sweden its second victory in 1984. The song was even performed at the Eurovision Song Contest’s Greatest Hits in 2015, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the contest.
8. They can bring a beautiful ballad too
Most of the songs we have talked about on this list are big pop songs and upbeat numbers. However, Sweden are certainly capable of slowing things down when they need to as well. A look through the years will reveal plenty of variety among Swedish entries but we only have to look as far back as 2014 to find a great Swedish power ballad. Sanna Nielsen was among the favourites with the powerful “Undo” and finished third with a vocally flawless performance.
9. They bring us complete “Euphoria”
ABBA may be the most famous Eurovision winners ever but Loreen is undoubtedly the most famous winner of modern times. “Euphoria” experienced huge success around Europe, topping the charts across the continent. Its success was certainly not limited to Sweden, topping the charts as far west as Iceland and Ireland and as far east as Russia and Hungary. “Euphoria” has sealed its place in Eurovision history and will undoubtedly stand the test of time, much like many of Sweden’s other winners.
10. The greatest host in Eurovision history
We’ve spoken a lot about Eurovision singers and songs but there is no question that the greatest thing that Sweden has ever given us is Petra Mede. The talented television presenter hosted the 2013 and 2016 editions of the contest and her efforts were nothing short of iconic. Her sharp wit, her contagious sense of humour and her ability to think quickly on her feet on live television have cemented her status in Eurovision history. Who needs four hosts when you have Petra Mede?
What do you think of Sweden at Eurovision? What are your favourite Swedish entries? Let us know in the comments below.