Carola wins song final

Did anyone ever doubt it? Carola swept all in front of her at the Melodifestivalen final in Stockholm on Saturday. The veteran Swedish chanteuse, who has twice represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, and won once, will be going to Athens to as the choice of the Swedish viewing public.

Despite her sore throat occasionally showing itself, she belted out her power-ballad Evighet, or Invincible in English at top volume, with her trademark fans sweeping back her hair at full power.

The song’s religious overtones were emphasised by a prominent tattoo of Christian symbols on her right arm. But the famously secular Swedes either failed to notice or failed to care, and voted her through convincingly.

The only song that seemed for a while to threaten her was Andreas Johnsson’s catchy sixties-style Sing for Me. The song went down well with SVT’s juries up and down the country, and was in first place before the votes of the viewing public were counted.

But clearly Johnsson’s upbeat tones didn’t quite catch Sweden’s zeitgeist, and the public relegated him to third place.

Alexander Bard’s band Bodied Without Organs, with Temple of Love had been tipped as having the best chance of beating Carola. Perhaps the tall blond lead singer could have been just the sort to seduce Europe with Scandinavian charm, while Bard himself cut a typically eccentric figure behind the synthesizer in his trademark shorts.

But if BWO was said to have had the most credibility, it was altogether too avant-garde for the Saturday night television audience, and it landed in second place.

Carola declared herself delighted at her win.

“I’m very grateful,” she said in a television interview after the show.

“I felt carried, I felt great, I felt strong,” she told SVT.

She also said that the win would help her to win new fans internationally.

“This is a new start for me abroad.”

But any Swedes dissatisfied with the result will have a chance to patriotically cheer on another fellow countryman in Eurovision. For while Magnus Carlsson didn’t make it with his song Lev Livet, his ex-bandmate in Alcazar and ex-boyfriend Andreas Lundstedt will be representing…Switzerland.