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EUROVISION

Sweden’s Eurovision trials cancel live tour amid rising Covid numbers

Swedish television's flagship programme, Melodifestivalen, will not tour the country in 2022.

Sweden's Eurovision trials cancel live tour amid rising Covid numbers
Melodifestivalen in pre-pandemic times. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

In a statement, Swedish public broadcaster SVT commented that the high spread of infection currently meant it “would not be defensible to travel the country with a large team”.

The TV spectacle was set to fill arenas in Gothenburg, Malmö, Linköping, Lidköping and Örnsköldsvik en route to the final in Friends Arena.

Instead the show will stay in Stockholm for its six-week duration, as 28 artists compete to represent Sweden in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. 

The venue in Stockholm is yet to be confirmed, with SVT looking at solutions that may allow a small audience. Under current regulations a maximum capacity of 500 people would apply. 

“The situation is how it is just now and we will do our best with the situation,” said Hanna Stjärne, CEO of SVT. “Melodifestivalen is a party for all of Sweden and we will do all we can to create an exciting TV show that spreads warmth and happiness when it is most needed.”

The first heat of Melodifestivalen’s six weeks of programming will be broadcast on SVT 1 at 8pm on Saturday, February 5th. 

In the weeks after Christmas, Sweden has seen record-high numbers of new Covid infections, with more than 25,000 daily cases confirmed on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. This prompted authorities to roll out a series of new restrictions and recommendations this week, including early closings for bars and restaurants, capping public events to 500 people, and urging adults to limit their close contacts.

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EUROVISION

VIDEO: Three times Sweden poked fun at Eurovision

With Sweden one of the favourites to win Eurovision this year, let's take a look at the times when the country showed up the sheer ridiculousness of the song contest.

VIDEO: Three times Sweden poked fun at Eurovision

Eurovision is often known for eyebrow-raising entries featuring bizarre local traditions or, frankly, eccentric outfits. Although Sweden takes the contest seriously when it comes to its song entries, that doesn’t mean Swedes don’t sometimes celebrate the weirdness of Eurovision.

Love Love Peace Peace

Who could forget Måns Zelmerlöv and Petra Mede’s run as Eurovision presenters in Stockholm in 2016? Zelmerlöw, who won the contest the year before in Vienna, was joined by comedian Mede, who had presented the contest in Malmö three years earlier.

The two performed a sketch titled, “Love Love Peace Peace”, an attempt to make the perfect winning Eurovision song. The clip features former winners Lordi who won for Finland in 2006, and Alexander Rybak, the Norwegian violinist who won for Norway in 2009.

Watch the clip below and see how many references to previous Eurovision entries you can recognise.

 

Tingeliin

In this bizarre clip from Sweden’s Eurovision Song Contest qualifiers Melodifestivalen in 2009, Swedish comedy group Grotesco perform a mid-show sketch full of Russian stereotypes, including Cossack dancers, matryoshka stacking dolls, and a chorus of men dressed like Russian soldiers. The choreography also featured several scantily clad women wearing tight-fitting shorts with a single red star splaying their legs toward the camera in unison.

The clip caused controversy in Russia, after The Local reached out to Russia’s embassy in Stockholm for a comment – a spokesperson called the song “offensive” and “disconnected”, and condemned the sketch in an official statement:

“We do not react to eccentricity by some lunatics whose Russophobia should place them in an asylum rather than on Globen’s stage.”

See the clip for yourself here:

 

Lill Lindfors and her wardrobe malfunction

Lill Lindfors, a Finnish-Swedish singer and comedian, presented the 1985 Eurovision Song Contest in Gothenburg following Sweden’s win the previous year in Luxembourg.

Prior to hosting Eurovision in 1985, she had placed second in the 1966 contest with the song “Nygammal vals”.

In a clip which reportedly displeased the European Broadcasting Union who manage the contest, the bottom half of Lindfors’ dress was ripped off by a piece of set, exposing her underwear.

Lindfors paused, feigning shock, before quickly pulling a new dress down from the remaining top half of her outfit.

You can watch the iconic moment here (narrated by Terry Wogan, the BBC’s Eurovision commentator for many years) and decide for yourself whether it was meant to happen or not:

 

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