• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Never rely on a Dane: Melodifestivalen review

The Local · 10 Mar 2014, 07:37

Published: 10 Mar 2014 07:37 GMT+01:00

Melodifestivalen is entertainment for those who are bored at home on a Saturday night.” Well rejoice, dear Local reader - for Melodifestivalen is over. And I imagine that contestant Yohio, who said the above, is as thankful as you are, given that he was nowhere near victory, unlike last year. When I started to review Sweden’s biggest TV show, I had little idea of how much negativity I’d have to invoke, and probably persuaded many of you not to switch on to SVT1 on a Saturday night. The intention was the complete opposite, but 2014 will not be remembered as a fine year for the show, and I had to be honest about that.

However, I am going to be positive about the final show of the series, because it was very good indeed. Entertainment was mostly spot-on, all the artists gave at least decent performances, and there was the obligatory voting fiasco to keep us all glued to our seats right to the end. And with Denmark having its own Eurovision section show just across the Öresund, Sweden can at least know that Melodifestivalen’s final was the very best of fun compared to the humourless, rule-filled endurance test called Melodi Grand Prix (bit of advice for Denmark as it prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest: when you attempt a gag about the Oscars selfie moment, you don’t have to explain said gag in detail first. We’ll get it.)

The show opened with the ever-youthful schlager star Charlotte Perrelli pretending to be The Little Mermaid (geddit?) before launching into Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen. Not quite the spectacular opening of recent years, but I was taking whatever I was given and making the best of it. Actually, the best Danish joke of the night was when Swedish actress Sofia Helin of The Bridge (Bron) arrived to deliver the points of the Danish jury and declared, “I understand you’ve sent me [to do this] because you daren’t rely on a Dane”. The Danish part of me decided I’d think about being offended once I’d finished my beer and opened another one.

(The second-best joke of the evening for me was the British part of me watching the UK jury give Sanna Nielsen’s Undo only six points. Demonstrating the typical finger-on-the-pulse nature of Eurovision folk here in Britain, the song won the whole contest.)

We also had a tribute to Abba, given that it’s 40 years since they won Eurovision with Waterloo. So we had four past Melodifestivalen winners performing Abba songs, including opera diva Malena Ernman displaying a marvellous Chiquitita. Sadly, no one appeared to have thought to ask anyone to sing Waterloo itself.

It’s been a great year for music in the contest - disagree with me if you like, but it really has displayed a varied mix of what the Swedish public might like to hear. The iTunes chart quickly filled up with Melodifestivalen songs once they were all released, so it’s clear that there is still a lot of interest in the talent on offer. The break-out star of the show was Ace Wilder, the 32-year-old who looks as if she’s still a teenager. Her Busy Doin’ Nothin’  was ultimately only two points behind winner Sanna Nielsen (who was in the contest for the seventh time), and a busy career beckons. Meanwhile, teen heartthrobs Oscar Zia and Anton Ewald both suffered setbacks when Oscar apparently left the arena in tears after failing to do better, and Anton scraped only 18 points. And veterans Alcazar made it to third place. It’s a tough life being a Melodifestivalen contestant.

If I’m asked back to review the show next year (and quite frankly, from the response I’ve had so far, that’s looking very unlikely) then I’m hoping for a lot of changes and some actual FUN. Let’s see what happens. Before that, there’s just the small matter of Eurovision. What could possibly go wrong?

Sanna Nielsen's winning song Undo

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
Swedish police search for missing elderly hikers
The only trace is currently a mobile phone found in the area and which is believed to belong to one of the men. Photo: Henrik Montgomery /TT

Police have launched an extensive search operation after two elderly hikers went missing in the Swedish mountains.

Winds leave thousands of Swedes without power
The winds are also expected to blow away the warm weather that the Swedes have been blessed with in the past few days. Photo: Peter Arwidi / TT file picture

Strong gusts, forecast to reach up to 21 metres per hour, left thousands of people without power in Sweden’s northern regions on Saturday.

Migration agency ’to get rid of LGBT experts’
Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

An internal report looking at ways to make Sweden’s Migration Agency more efficient has proposed the agency gets rid of specialists dedicated to LGBT-related issues. The move has prompted the country’s main gay rights group to see red.

Sweden's Spotify hits 39 million subscribers
Spotify is gaining listeners. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Spotify has grown by nine million paying subscribers in five months, fending off competition from rivals.

Prosecutor wants asylum stabber convicted of murder
Prosecutor Linda Wiking. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The man was convicted of aggravated manslaughter for stabbing a worker to death at a home for young refugees in Sweden.

Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation
Old Swedish money. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Hand in your invalid Swedish bills to the bank by the end of the month.

Sweden moves to battle high rate of drug deaths
Sweden has among Europe's highest drug-induced mortality rates. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB/TT

Sweden has among the highest number of drug-related deaths in the EU despite its zero-tolerance policy. The government wants to find out why.

Human skeleton found on abandoned farm in Sweden
Police at the farm in Hörby. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect human remains found in a well on an abandoned farm in rural Sweden belonged to a man who was murdered.

The Local List
You'll never really be Swedish without trying this weird food
Kebab pizza. It exists. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The Local's intern Saina Behnejad on her love-hate relationship with Swedish cuisine.

Sweden's Stenson pulls out of Barclays with injured knee
Henrik Stenson at the Olympics this summer. Photo: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Henrik Stenson's injury throws doubt on Europe's chances at next month's Ryder Cup.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
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
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,370
jobs available