After a weekend of intense schlager activity, the final line-up for next week’s Melodifestivalen in Stockholm is now known.
The shock winner of the fourth and last heat was Caroline Wennergren, with her unfancied “Bossanovapop-jazz” entry, ‘A different kind of love’. She was joined less surprisingly by veteran Nanne Grönvall, who sang ‘Håll om mig’ (‘Hold me’).
Pre-show favourite, Anne-Lie Rydé, seemed well on course for a final slot as voting progressed, but ultimately sunk without trace. She didn’t even make the ‘Andra chansen’ (second chance) final for those coming third and fourth.
Hot on the heels of Saturday’s competition in Växjö came that ‘Andra chansen’ final on Sunday in Stockholm. For the second time in their career, disco favourites, Alcazar, qualified for the final via the side door and were joined by Linda Bengtzing.
19 year old Wennergren from Mölnlycke was as surprised as the rest of Sweden at her Växjö triumph:
“I’m just happy, I can’t believe it’s true. It felt great and I was calm, but now…” she gushed to Göteborgs Posten before the tears got the better of her.
“I never thought I’d go through because I’m so unknown,” she told Aftonbladet.
There were no tears from Alcazar afterwards, but the star group, which is getting a bit of a prima donna reputation, did profess to be pleased:
“I was more nervous two years ago. Now I feel the Alcazar thing will roll on whether we win or lose. But it’s bloody good fun every time. This year all the songs are ridiculously good, so we’re just glad to have got this far,” said Magnus Carlsson.
The success of Alcazar and Bengtzing means that four entries from the first heat in Gothenburg will perform in Stockholm next week. This lead Aftonbladet’s correspondent to speculate as to whether there was sufficient strength in depth to justify four qualifying competitions:
“It was a tough contest in Gothenburg. Since then, the quality has got worse song by song, town by town, until ultimately all the entries were much of a muchness. Is there sufficient song-writing quality in our kingdom, or even enough decent artists? The fact that foreign has-beens like Alannah Myles, Katrina and Sanne Salomonsen were called in is not a good sign. Even if they do add to the humour and the bizarre factor’.”
Maybe the weekend’s biggest winners were ‘Hurricane’. The appropriately named team of four song-writers from Örebro have blown away the opposition this year. Including Alcazar’s and Linda Bengtzing’s entries, they have penned no fewer than four of the ten songs competing in the final. Team member, Tim Larsson, was predictably stunned and speechless, but nevertheless squeezed out a few words:
“It’s fantastic. It’s beyond our comprehension. Unbelievable. I’m completely speechless, I can’t think of anything to say. No, it doesn’t matter which song wins.”