Melodifestivalen upset leads to recriminations

The second round of Melodifestivalen in Linköping ended in a big upset for favourite Arja Saijonmaa, who went on the attack against the evening’s victors as she was beaten into last place.

She was beaten by Sanne Salomonsen from Denmark, whose song “Higher Ground” was described by many papers as “Anastacia-esque”. The other big winners of the evening were from the Swedish side of Öresund. Duo Fredrik Kempe and Sanna Nielsen from Skåne will join Salomonsen at Melodifestivalen’s final in Stockholm after their song “Du och Jag mot Världen” (You and I against the World) won over Swedish viewers.

“It feels wonderful”, the three winners said as the results were announced.

But Arja Saijonmaa was in no mood for celebrating. The veteran Finnish chanteuse, who enjoyed success with her 1987 song “Högt över Havet”, (High over the Sea) claimed that her opponents’ stage spectaculars and spectacular cleavage had masked the inferiority of their music.

“It could have been the bombs, grenades and clothes that won it for them,” she said of Sanna Nielsen and Fredrik Kempe. “I focused more on the content of the lyrics – the song stood up on its own. And clearly cleavage is a plus in this kind of situation.”

But Nielsen was not taking the attacks lying down. “I’m very surprised,” she said. “She had nearly as much cleavage I did. People have made really positive comments about my performance and my clothes,” she added.

Nielsen and Salomonsen appeared to get on better. The two female victors of the evening “celebrated their success with a sloppy kiss,” salivated Aftonbladet.

“I was really nervous for a while, and my legs were all sweaty,” Nielsen told the paper.

Salomonsen, for her part, professed herself happy with the result, saying that she planned to “party hard tonight.” She disliked the comparisons with Shania Twain and Anastacia.

“I don’t think I sound like anyone, and I don’t like it when everyone says that I do,” she complained. “I have a rock’n’roll voice.”

The victors will go on to the final of Melodifestivalen in Stockholm on March 12th. There they will join Shirley Clamp and Nordman, winners of the Gothenburg round of Melodifestivalen.

The runners-up in Linköping, Josefin Nilsson and Cameron Cartio could still appear at the final. They came third and fourth respectively, which entitles them to a place in the “Second Chance” run-off round.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter,Sveriges Television, Aftonbladet, Expressen