The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — are going through all the podium finishers of the 2010s to decide who the ultimate champion of the decade is! Today we stop by Sweden to judge the song that began their chain of success at the contest. Eric Saade has had some funny moments in his time involved with the contest, such telling the hosts he was going for a wee during the grand final results; calling Petra Mede a MILF during the 2013 green room visits… and don’t even get us started on #DPOV. But what about his entry that started it all, “Popular”?
He will be popular, he will be popular, he’s gonna get therrrrre to third place! After a shock non-qualifying result in 2010 (Anna Bergendahl was robbed), Sweden were in it to win it in 2011. The previous year’s third placer at Melfest, Eric Saade came onto the stage and owned it. The unashamedly Swedish banger “Popular” was taking no prisoners, with ultra slick choreography and oh-so-2011 hair to win younger voters over. Is the Wiwi Jury over this track or is it still very “Popular” with us? Read on to find out!
Eric Saade – “Popular”
Antranig: Aside from Jedward, this was my favourite entry back in 2011. It hasn’t aged all that well but it’s still an undeniable earworm. Eric Saade oozed sex appeal on stage and like a fine wine, he has only gotten better with age. His music has only improved with time as well. While “Popular” didn’t take the crown, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re talking about Eric Saade as a Eurovision winner by the end of the next decade.
Lucy: There was a section in the 2011 grand final that was intense with high-energy pop, with three absolute bangers in a row. It was going to take something exceptional to survive that block, where Jedward gave us a sugar coma, followed by Mr Saade, followed by the meme queen Getter Jaani. Eric definitely won out of the pack, with Getter getting the short straw. A performance complete with shattering glass and bad boy vibes, the pulsating melody gets everyone singing along to the (sure, slightly generic) lyrics. But seriously c’mon — rhyming possible with impossible isn’t going to win you a Grammy. But it did the job, and it’s still fun in 2019.
Calvin: The song itself is great and a typical amazing Swedish production. They brought the party to Düsseldorf, but there’s a reason why he’s dancing and not singing for his life. Eric’s voice doesn’t fit the song and among other stellar vocalists he can’t keep up with them. Luckily we have background singers. And please ignore the lyrics — otherwise, you can’t enjoy the song.
Kristin: The lyrics to “Popular” do NOT stand the test of time. Not at all. A part from that, this song is still somewhat of a bop. It’s not Sweden’s best, but it put Eric Saade permanently on the Eurovision map. It’s a hit for kids, really, and it works perfectly in that sense. I’m not overly impressed, not back then and not now, but I will not shy away from dancing and singing along to “Popular” at da club. After all, it is genuine Swedish schlager dance-pop.
Florian: After the unfortunate finish of Anna Bergendahl back in 2010, Sweden brought their A-game with Eric Saade’s “Popular”. With an ultimately addictive pre-chorus, the song stood out both sonically and visually. It also paved the way for all the impressive Swedish entries that we’ve seen at the contest in the following years. Consequently, it’s one of the better songs of the year and had definitely earned its place in the top three.
Katie: Watching this as a 12-year-old, I was very much under Eric Saade’s spell. His hair, his looks, his leather jacket that has me questioning my vegan beliefs to this day. While the artist and his stage presence had me mesmerised, the song almost felt secondary. But to be quite honest, once Eric smashed through that glass, I didn’t care about the song. Sweden delivered an aesthetic, squeaky clean pop star with a catchy tune, well before Simon Cowell was able to get this formula right with One Direction. Love it or hate it, I don’t blame you either way — we all remember “Popular” and its melody. Eric’s aesthetic is one that is very hard for countries to get right at Eurovision, but for Sweden in 2011, it worked.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 25 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
| Oliver: 7.5/10
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 4.5 and a high of 9.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.36/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!