• 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
Why this Swedish restaurant is launching a dog menu
Forget ice cream, hungry Swedish dogs can now drink beefy beer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

A Gothenburg eatery has unveiled a menu specially designed for dogs in an effort to attract new customers.

How the Swedish Church used taxes to fund lavish trips
File photo of a Swedish priest. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A trip to Malta for 99 people was among those funded by the church coffers.

Stockholm couple crash car during rowdy romp
Never forget to put the handbrake on. Photo: YB Södermalm

A pair of hapless Stockholm lovers decide to get intimate in their car on Monday, but it was all downhill from there.

Why Sweden is now the EU's most competitive economy
Sweden has been ranked as the EU's most competitive economy. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

It's beating European giants such as Germany and the United Kingdom by miles, according to a key global ranking.

Is this the best cafe in Sweden to grab a fika?
Annas Hembageri in Mariefred. Photo: Sofia Marcetic/TT

Fill up the coffee cup and help yourself to a 'kanelbulle'. This is Sweden's best café according to food experts.

Poll shows cost of spring crisis for Swedish government
Swedish PM Stefan Löfven and Deputy PM Isabella Lövin at a cabinet reshuffle in May. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

The survey suggests the current Swedish government would not receive the largest share of votes if an election were held in May.

Presented by Malmö Town
How Malmö is becoming the next hub for foodies
A dish at Malmö restaurant Bord13. Photo: Gustav Arnetz

When you think Malmö, do you think cheap falafel? Think again.

Fewer than 500 of 163,000 asylum seekers found jobs
Migration offices in Sweden. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Of almost 163,000 people who applied for asylum in Sweden last year, fewer than 500 landed a job, according to a new report.

Opinion
The eight ingredients that created the Swedish model
Where did the Swedish model begin? Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

What is the Swedish model and who invented it? Thinktank chairman Anders Källström presents the eight reasons behind Sweden's success.

Sweden lack fire without Zlatan in Slovenian stalemate
Sweden coach Erik Hamrén. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

But who are the other players who got a chance to shine ahead of the Euro 2016?

Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
National
How this Swede was turned down for a job because of her head scarf
National
Swedish police trial use of taser guns
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
'Sweden would not be able to defend Gotland'
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Gallery
People-watching: May 27th-29th
National
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
3,317
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se