Introducing… Markus Fagervall

Our regular peek into the world of Swedish celebrity this week looks at the new king of Swedish TV pop, Markus Fagervall.

Who is he and why is he famous?

Markus Fagervall is the 24 year old singer who has just won Idol 2006.

So what?

So his face is going to be all over the place for a while. We want you to be able to put a name to that face and sound clever at parties.

OK, thanks. Will I sound like I’m in tune with the kids?

You will. Especially the kids in Övertorneå.

What the heck is that?

It’s a small place up by the Finnish border where everybody speaks three languages. But instead of using them they generally settle for communication via short, audible inhalations. Markus is from there.

Right. And is he a typical polar circle kinda guy?

Yes. He recently said that since moving to Stockholm a year and a half ago he misses his nightly sauna and listening to the silence. He also consumes moist snuff by the ton. Any anthropologist would identify these as typical characteristics of a native of Övertorneå.

And are these unusual specimens in plentiful supply?

No, there are only 5,000 of them left, all constantly sprinting out of saunas, jumping into icy lakes and talking to elks when they have realised the sound of silence is a bit monotonous after while. Presumably the entire population tuned in to watch the region’s favourite son make it big among the bright lights of the city. Markus is like their Crocodile Dundee, except considerably less reptilian.

You’re generalising a bit about these fine people. Specifics please! What’s the third language after Swedish and Finnish?



Thank you. Anyway, getting back to the man of the moment, he was lucky to be in the final at all. The limo he and some other idols were travelling in was involved in a crash the previous weekend.

Oh no! Was he all right?

He was fine. Just a bit of a pain in the neck.

That’s not very polite.

You obviously haven’t watched Idol.

Indeed not. So who else was in the final?

Markus was up against some fellow called Erik whose surname I can’t recall because his fifteen minutes of fame are now officially over.

What was he like?

Don’t remember. But Markus spent most of the last week engaging in psychological warfare with the poor man. The whole thing was incredibly tense. Almost unbearable, in fact.

What did Markus sing in the final?

They each sang three songs. Markus did a version of Fix You by Coldplay, leading female jury member Kishti to describe his voice as being “like a caress, as close to a physical caress as you can get”. The weird moment passed and Markus was able to recover in time to sing the winning song, Everything Changes.

Haven’t heard it.

You will! It’s set to be released as a single. Like a latter-day Mark Anthony the victor will be asking friends, roamers and country folk to lend him their ears. But beware the idol of Markus! Lend him an ear and he’ll get inside your head.


Is Elijah Wood in Sundsvall and what is he doing there?

It is not that Sundsvall is not a nice town. It is just that it is not normally the place where Hollywood stars go for a night out. So rumours that Elijah Wood was visiting the town quickly went viral on Thursday.

Is Elijah Wood in Sundsvall and what is he doing there?
The main shopping street in Sundsvall. And Elijah Wood. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

The 35-year-old actor of Lord of the Rings fame was reportedly spotted visiting restaurant 'Tuppen' in the central Swedish town, which posted picture evidence on Facebook and Instagram late on Wednesday.

News of the unexpected celebrity visit quickly dominated local news headlines in Sweden, and was picked up by some of the national newspapers too, with growing excitement on social media. Several newspapers even asked readers to call them if they had any more information about the visit.

“Starstruck at Tuppen. Celebrity visit in the shape of Elijah Wood himself from the Lord of the Rings. Thanks for the visit!” wrote the restaurant.

Not everyone was convinced that it actually was the star, however, and some speculated that it could just be a lookalike or a clever PR trick by the restaurant itself to attract more visitors.

“I think it's fake. They had a customer who looked like him and wanted to joke,” wrote one person on their Facebook page. “Is it fake or is he looking for the ring in Sundsvall now?” wrote another.

Wood, who's currently starring in BBC America series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, visited Stockholm last month to perform at the Södra Teatern venue with his friend Zach Cowie as DJ duo Wooden Wisdom. His film production company SpectreVision, of which he is a co-founder, helped produce Swedish 2013 science fiction movie LFO.

With a population of some 50,000 people, historic sawmill town Sundsvall is the third biggest town in Sweden's northern region Norrland and Sweden's 21st biggest town overall. It is home to one of the campuses of Mid-Sweden University as well as Sweden's first-ever international casino.

Sundsvall's nearby island Alnön was recently voted one of the most beautiful places in Sweden. Restaurant Tuppen is one of a number of restaurants in the town. It opened in May this year and aims to serve locally produced meat and fish.

The reason behind Wood's supposed visit to the town was not immediately known, but it would not be the first time an international celebrity has fallen in love with unexpected places in Sweden.

Last year US-Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean revealed that he wanted to move to Sandviken outside Gävle. British actor Hugh Grant recently bought a house in Torekov, southern Sweden. And rapper Kanye West paid a visit to the rural town of Älmhult to convince its Ikea headquarters to let him design furniture.