• Sweden edition
 
Melodifestivalen 2014
Melodifestivalen review: Glamrock and hairy armpits in Malmö
Saturday's winners YOHIO and Ellen Benediktson. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Melodifestivalen review: Glamrock and hairy armpits in Malmö

Published: 03 Feb 2014 08:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Feb 2014 08:52 GMT+01:00

“Sweden’s biggest and most successful commercial TV project is broadcast on the ad-free (?) SVT," sniffed Moderate MP Lars Beckman on Twitter last week. Yep, the juggernaut that is Melodifestivalen returned to our screens for yet another year on Saturday night. It’s easy to dismiss the show if the thought of six weeks of schlager is enough to make you move to Norway (where they have their own version, sorry). But given that 44 percent of the Swedish population tuned in to watch last year’s final, you have to be fairly blinkered to think it isn’t of cultural relevance.
 
Melodifestivalen is also a gift for media folk in the cold, dark months of winter, where not much is likely to happen from a celebrity perspective. SVT is delighted to have a captive audience at home, while newspaper reporters (not just the tabloids) and bloggers follow the tour around the land, updating us on every detail of the performers’ experiences. Hit a bum note in a rehearsal? Critiqued in seconds. One drink too many at a welcome party? Snapped. The female presenter doesn’t shave her armpits? 300 words typed, spell-checked and open to comments immediately. This year, the situation has got even more meta as the Aftonbladet newspaper will live-stream video of its reporters driving from Stockholm to that week’s venue. Think Big Brother in a car with regular toilet breaks.
 
 
The aim of Melodifestivalen is to find a suitable entry for Sweden to send to the Eurovision Song Contest - but that has arguably changed over the past few years, as viewing figures increase. Indeed, there’s a notable difference in the amount of people who bother to ring or text, and those who are happy to let the experience flow over them in a Cheez Doodle-addled haze. Saturday’s show opened with a fairly bemusing declaration of musical war against Denmark, the current Eurovision champions. Urging Sweden to burn its flutes (as used by the Danes in their winning song), it was supposed to be the key to victory. No one dared to mention that Sweden winning Eurovision so soon after hosting it last year in Malmö would actually be a bit of a pain and a serious drain on SVT’s budget. Faced with a choice between Eurovision and hit game show På spåret...
 
There were eight songs in competition in Malmö on Saturday - but to be honest, none were especially memorable. Yohio is a Japanese manga self-creation, appearing in the contest for the second time after having victory snatched from him last year when a jury of foreign judges didn’t give him enough points. The 18-year-old’s brand of music is, strangely enough, MOR rock (middle-of-the-road). Very inoffensive and perfect for the Rix FM crowd. He won the show, of course.
 
 
Also of note was Helena (or Elena) Paparizou, a Swedish singer with Greek parents who won Eurovision for Greece in 2005. Unsurprisingly, she had the strongest performance given that she’s probably had the most practice, but a Swedish voting public is never kind. She only made it to the ‘second chance’ round. Her ‘place’ was taken by 18-year-old Ellen Benediktson, who performed a ballad called Songbird. Comparisons to the ill-fated Anna Bergendahl (who committed the ultimate schlager crime of failing to make it to the Eurovision grand final in 2010) abounded, but the teenager quite sensibly instead focused on performing the age-old ritual of spraying the journalist pack with a bottle of champagne at the after-party.
 
Mello highlight: I won a couple of quid after betting on Yohio to get first or second place.
Mello lowlight: A marked deterioration in the comedy following the departure of the usual writers. Must try harder.
 
Next week: Linköping sees the return of Martin Stenmarck and Sanna Nielsen.
 
 
David Jørgensen is a writer and editor who loves schlager and lives in London. Follow him on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

682
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se