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Eurovision hopefuls announced

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15:21 CET+01:00
The star-spangled spectre of the Swedish Song for Europe competition raised its glossy head this week to remind Swedes that starting in the new year a ragtag crew of rappers, crooners and disco divas will be vocally jousting for the honour of representing Sweden at next May's final in Ukraine.

No one's singing yet, but Stockholm City thought the announcement of this year's hopeful contestants was enough to make the front page, especially as website Esctoday.com, specialising in covering Eurovision, published a list last weekend of all this year's wannabes, "just days before SVT was scheduled to make the announcement".

Stockholm City said the website blamed a "technical error", but once the cat was out of the bag it wasn't going back in. Such giddy names as Josefin Nilsson, Jessica Folcker and previous Eurovision winner Katrina (formerly of the Waves) were among the hopefuls.

Making their priorities clear, Aftonbladet revealed on Wednesday that Katrina is a lesbian.

"I live with a woman," she declared. Katrina is an American who, with her band The Waves, won Eurovision in 1997 for the UK. But she said she'd rather compete for Sweden than England because "The English don't take the Eurovision seriously". She's right about that.

Hoping to follow such guiding lights as Roger Pontare, Lena Ph and the effervescent Carola, Katrina will perform a song called 'As if tomorrow will never come', accompanied by a band she met at last year's Stockholm Pride Festival. Originally, the band is called "the New Wave".

Another Song for Europe hopeful, Josefin Nilsson, confessed she was close to quitting the competition.

"I've worked so incredibly hard and I'm really knackered," she told Aftonbladet. But such was the draw of the "psalm-like ballad" 'Med hjärtats egna ord' (With the heart's own words) composed by Lotta Ahlin, Jonas Isaksson and Tommy Lydell - the same team that wrote last year's Alcazar floor-filler 'Not a sinner, not a saint' - that Nilsson couldn't resist stepping up to the mike.

"I've been offered [Eurovision] songs since I was 16," Josefin gushed. "This one felt right."

Jinxing Nilsson's chances, Aftonbladet declared that the 35 year old blonde from Gotland "is the biggest star" in this year's competition.

Expressen stirred up some controversy with its Wednesday headline: "Ken Chucked Out of Contest".

So-called "scandal artist" Ken Ring was apparently missing from the list announced at SVT's press conference on Monday of performers and songwriters. Ken was missing from the line-up scheduled to perform "One Step Closer" along with B-Boys International (featuring Paul M).

"We've redone the song several times," rapper Peter Thelenius told the paper. "Sure, Ken was on the demo but not now."

Expressen pointed out that during a concert Ken notoriously encouraged the public to storm the castle and rape Princess Madeleine.

"Just because there was a last-minute change doesn't mean there's anything wrong," Paul M explained.

Thomas Hall, Project Leader for Sweden's Song for Europe competition told Expressen:

"It's just a typo. It's only been evident that Ken wasn't going to take part in the last week. As I understand it, he bunked off a recording session and went to ground."

Although the paper tried to talk to Ken, he wasn't available to comment.

Commenting on the entrants, Expressen's Anders Nunstedt assured readers that "it's not a bad starting line-up".

Nunstedt reckons that the most "exciting" performers, if that's not too strong a word, are the lesser known artists like Ayesha who "released a cool debut-CD earlier this ear, produced and financed by herself".

But Nunstedt lamented the fact there's no-one of the calibre of Lena Ph or E-Type this year, but SVT have promised to up the star status with the addition of four so-called "jokers" in January. Nunstedt's tips are Charlotte Perrelli and Markoolio.

The Local can't wait.

Sources: Expressen, Aftonbladet, SVT, Esctoday.com

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