Melodifestivalen: old favourites line up again

The Eurovision Song Contest might have spurned traditional sugar-pop in 2005, in favour of Finnish latex-covered monster rockers Lordi, but there are few signs that the organizers of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen have taken this to heart. Swedes love their schlager, and Melodifestivalen supremo Christer Björkman seems determined not to disappoint them.

The first round of Melodifestivalen kicks off in Jönköping on Saturday, and viewers are unlikely to be surprised by the selection on offer.

Among the old favourites making an appearance will be Anna Book, who first appeared in the song contest back in 1986. Having made it back into the limelight through celebrity TV show Let’s Dance, Book has had a high profile ahead of the contest. Whether her recent visibility will help her song, Samba Sambero, reach the dizzy heights of Eurovision fame remains to be seen.

Another contestant with form is Tommy Nilsson, whose ‘Jag Tror på Människan’ (I believe in humanity), is his attempt to repeat the success of 1989, when he came fourth in the Eurovision final. While his hair – apparently borrowed from Bon Jovi – might still be stuck in the eighties, he’ll be hoping that his music will still resonate with the Swedes of the noughties.

The other candidates for Eurovision glory on Saturday include Andreas Lundstedt, he formerly of Alcazar, back in Sweden after competing in Athens for Switzerland last year. If successful on Saturday, he could find himself singing his song ‘Move’ against former Alcazar bandmate (and ex-boyfriend) Magnus Carlsson later on in the contest.

One joker in the pack on Saturday could be Addis Black Widow. Adding an international flavour to the evening, the R’n’B and hiphop group has one member originally from Ethiopia and another from Iran.

Saturday’s competition will be followed by another three heat. Among the early-tipped favourites are internationally successful band The Ark, best known for their 2000 hit ‘It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane’. Magnus Carlsson has also been named as a potential winner, although his entry in 2006 was widely viewed as a disappointment.

Melodifestivalen Entrants – Jönköping heats

1. Money – Elin Lanto

2. Anything But You – Andersson & Gibson

3. Samba sambero – Anna Book

4. Clubbin – Addis Black Widow

5. Move – Andreas Lundstedt

6. Jag tror på människan – Tommy Nilsson

7. Hypnotized – Sofia

8. God morgon – Uno & Irma

The Jönköping heats of Melodifestivalen will be broadcast on SVT1 on Saturday, 3rd February at 8pm.