• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Melodifestivalen review: The great Gothenburg disaster

The Local · 17 Feb 2014, 08:29

Published: 17 Feb 2014 08:29 GMT+01:00

 
“Actually, I'm turning off #Melfest,” I tweeted on Saturday night, as dancers in gold Lycra zentai suits paraded across my screen. “I'm just not interested any longer tonight.”
 
My mission, as The Local’s Melodifestivalen correspondent, was to make you care a little about Sweden’s most-viewed television programme. But try as I might, that task has been made extraordinarily difficult by a series that has been, well, a bit rubbish.
 
The gold suits were part of a humourless skit about the Winter Olympics, culminating in comedian Björn Gustafsson grabbing presenter Nour El-Refai’s breast (or as the papers described it, “bröstchocken”). That was the point I turned off. Not because of the actual incident, but because the entire sketch just represented how tired Melodifestivalen appears to have become. These are funny people - why are they doing this?
 
The same can’t be said for the music, though. The two winners, surprisingly, were artists whose songs actual young people might actually want to actually buy. Actually. Oscar Zia, 17, had an entertaining update on US boyband NSync’s style (which is fair enough, given that a lot of US pop music is actually Swedish) with Yes We Can. While the real shock came from Ace Wilder, who is 31, but looks 10 years younger. Her Busy Doin’ Nothin’ was a perfect response to the "harder" pop sounds coming out of Sweden right now, and deserved to win.
 
 
Poor Shirley Clamp was competing for the seventh time, and limped to sixth place. Shirley Clamp is one of the reasons I adore (that could change after this year) Melodifestivalen. She’s a veteran who’s prepared to come back year after year and still not win. Yet she battles on. It’s a strange aspect of Swedish musical culture that established performers are prepared to put themselves forward for possible public humiliation.
 
Their rest of the competition included a bit of "death metal" (not exactly troubling the Norwegian hardcore, though), some norrländska electropop, non-descript rock, and quiet balladry. Then there was Dr Alban, who varied his lyric of “Around the world” with “Around the globe” and redefined the word "cringe" in the process.
 
I went on to SVTPlay to finish off watching before writing this review, to witness the destruction of Gothenburg caused by father and son Glenn and Anton Hysén. I’m going to assume that it wasn’t a metaphor for this year’s show.
 
Story continues below…
It may be that the point of Melodifestivalen is about the music, but that has changed in recent years. It is now an entertainment show that doesn’t entertain. Saturday night’s show had the second-lowest number of votes since 2002 - so one could argue that the non-musical segments are turning people off (literally, in my case) from the actual music. And when artists’ careers depend on the exposure Melodifestivalen gives them, that’s a real shame.
 
And then Dr Alban blunders along to destroy my argument about decent music, so what can you do?
 
David Jørgensen is a writer and editor who loves schlager and lives in London. Follow him on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ikea threatens to shelve Russia growth plans
Everything Moscow. Photo: Maxim Murmur/AP

Will the Swedish furniture goliath retract its rubles?

Swedish police brace for 'unpredictable' pope
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Nobody knows quite what to expect when Pope Francis visits secular Sweden this autumn.

Could this Swedish finding help cure alcoholism?
What causes alcohol dependency? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Scientists hope their findings will end the stigmatization of alcoholism.

Man jailed for six years for asylum home arson
The district court in Västmanland. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A court in western Sweden has sentenced a 28-year-old asylum seeker to six years in jail for starting a fire at the asylum centre where he lived.

Volvo on hunt for 400 new engineers in Sweden
Want to help build one of these? Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Want to work in Sweden?

Swedish hearts fail on Mondays and at Christmas
Tell me why I don't like Mondays. Photo: Marcus Lindblad/SvD/TT

July is Sweden's most heart-warming month.

Woman told she's not Swedish enough for a job
A sun bather wears a Swedish flag hat to celebrate National Day. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden's discrimination watchdog is on the case.

Really hungry elk wreak havoc in Swedish forests
Om-nom-nom. Photo: AP Photo/Becky Bohrer

"It's an emergency situation."

Swedish hotels cash in on business travellers
Visitors are flocking to Malmö. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Business travellers have been flocking to city hotels in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm this summer.

Opinion
'More men must stand up against abuse in Sweden'
Equality Minister Åsa Regnér. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Sweden's equality minister Åsa Regnér on why the government is introducing a new strategy on male violence against women.

Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
How good is Sweden for expat life?
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Landskrona, Skåne
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th-28th
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,396
jobs available