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Sweden braces for Melodifestivalen kick-off

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Sweden braces for Melodifestivalen kick-off
17:19 CET+01:00
Swedes nationwide are preparing for the first heat in 2013's Melodifestival - the competition where viewers pick which singer will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö.

It's that time of the year again.

Love it or loathe it, all of Sweden goes quiet for a few hours every Saturday night for six weeks as hopefuls singers compete for the chance to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest.

On Saturday night, the 2013 Melodifestival competition kicks off in Karlskrona, southern Sweden, with hosts Gina Dirawi and Danny Saucedo calling the shots.

The line-up includes Yohio, a Swedish teen pop star who sings in Japanese, dresses like Lolita, and plays guitar like Hendrix, and David Lindgren, who finished fourth last year.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Behind the scenes at the dress rehearsal for the Karlskrona show

After Karlskrona, there will be another three heats over the next three weekends, to be hosted in Gothenburg, Skellefteå, and Malmö respectively.

Each Saturday, eight acts will compete for the chance to be voted through by the public as the best of the night.

In Karlstad, on March 2nd, there will be a "second chance" final for those acts that didn't make it through by public vote.

Finally, the ten remaining acts will compete in Stockholm on March 9th, where Sweden will vote for who will represent the nation at Eurovision itself.

And the winner will have big shoes to fill, after Euphoria singer Loreen was triumphant in Azerbaijan last year.

RELATED PHOTO GALLERY: Meet the contestants for the Karlskrona show

The full line-up for Karlskrona:

1. David Lindgren - Skyline

2. Cookies 'N' Beans - Burning Flags

3. Jay-Jay Johanson - Paris

4. Mary N'diaye - Gosa

5. Eric Gadd - Vi kommer aldrig att förlora

6. Yohio - Heartbreak Hotel

7. Anna Järvinen - Porslin

8. Michael Feiner & Caisa - We're Still Kids

The broadcast begins Saturday at 8pm on SVT channel 1.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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