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'Almost goddess status': Sweden's Loreen tipped to win Eurovision

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
'Almost goddess status': Sweden's Loreen tipped to win Eurovision
Loreen qualified for the Eurovision final in the first semi-final in Liverpool on Tuesday. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

It's official, Loreen will be representing Sweden on Saturday in the Eurovision final in Liverpool. We spoke to Ben Robertson from ESC Insight about Loreen, the contest in Liverpool, and who he thinks will win this year.


"Loreen is one of the artists in the Eurovision world who has almost a goddess status," Robertson says, when The Local speaks to him ahead of the first semi final in Liverpool on May 9th.

"She would be cementing that if victory does come on Saturday night. Loreen won the contest in 2012 with Euphoria, which is one of the few songs this century I would say to go out and become a proper radio hit beyond the borders of Sweden."

Loreen's Euphoria, with over 200 million streams on Spotify, reached number one in Sweden after the 2012 contest, staying there for six weeks.

Elsewhere, it peaked at number one in 16 European countries, making it the most chart-topping Eurovision winner in history. So, it's understandable that Loreen's presence in Liverpool was met with excitement by the media.



"On the turquoise carpet - they have a turquoise carpet rather than a red carpet - Loreen was probably the artist who was on there the longest," Robertson says.

"It was meant to take 90 minutes for each act to get from one end to the other and meet the press, and Loreen was there for nearly four hours, I think. There's such buzz, everyone wants to ask her questions."

Robertson puts part of this down to what he describes as Loreen's "etherealness".

"You always want to find out more, she's so cool and composed - but at the same time, the competition is hotting up."

Loreen speaks to press on the turquoise carpet before the first semi-final in Liverpool. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

"Loreen is the favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest, but it's not a sure thing."

Although Loreen is Swedish, she also has Moroccan heritage, something which Robertson says she has incorporated into her performance.

"Loreen's number, Tattoo, has all the hallmarks of Swedish pop music, but there's an earthy texture of production that has been brought in there," he says.

"Loreen is always very keen as an artist to make sure that the show is a part of herself, and there's almost a Saharan sand element to the stage performance that comes across, you see Berber imagery on the LED screen above her head throughout her performance, so there are those elements coming through from her heritage."

Fan favourite

Although Loreen is a firm favourite for Eurovision fans and the media alike, Robertson says her popularity is "probably equal in terms of fandom" with Finland's entry, Käärijä's Cha Cha Cha.

"Käärijä is bringing the most insane mashup of almost like rap over a Rammstein track with a turbo slider you only really get on those boats between Helsinki and Stockholm. It's an insane 'only at Eurovision' thing, but I have to admit, it works very well," he says.


"I'd say between Eurovision fans, those two are, by a long way, the ones to watch."

The Eurovision winner will be chosen through a jury vote and a public vote, which will both be equally weighted.

"The expectation right now is that Sweden with this pop sound which is huge from Loreen, will be loved by the juries, so Sweden will take the early lead in the voting," Robertson predicts.

"The question will be, is how far is that gap to Finland? You know, a rap song in Finnish is not what you expect juries to go for. Can Finland catch up with the public votes?"

Scaled-down stage show

Those who watched Sweden's Eurovision qualifiers, Melodifestivalen, earlier this year will have seen Loreen's stage show, which Robertson describes as "an incredible piece of engineering", consisting of a 16 square metre LED screen weighing almost two tons suspended from the ceiling.

"It was almost squashing her on the stage, I've never seen anything like that before in any kind of performance context," Robertson said.

Loreen performing Tattoo in the final of Melodifestivalen in March. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Although Loreen's performance in Liverpool will be similar, it has been scaled down for technical reasons.

"That 16 square metre screen has been shrunk to just 6.25 metres," Robertson said, "so they can wheel it out and lift it on to stage in time".

In Melodifestivalen, the screen was suspended from the ceiling throughout the whole show, but that hasn't been possible in Liverpool due to the sheer amount of lights and rigging already in the arena, he explains.

'Historical' if Sweden wins

Although Sweden can boast an impressive six Eurovision wins throughout the contest's history, it does not hold the title for most wins by a single country.

However, that would change if Loreen were to take home the trophy on Saturday. The top Eurovision winning country is currently Ireland, with seven wins between 1970 and 1996, something that has previously been described as an "almost unbeatable number", Robertson explains.

Loreen winning the contest would put Sweden in joint first place.

"For Sweden to win would really cement Sweden's place in the modern Eurovision Song Contest as being the country that does this the best."

"There are so many Swedish producers, both musical and creative producers who have their fingers in different delegations, in different numbers. The Swedish pop sound, the Swedish pop look is something that is a huge export here and something that we do better than anybody else," Robertson says.


'Sweden will win'

Unsurprisingly, Robertson is predicting that Loreen will win on Saturday, despite competition from Finland and other popular entries like France and Spain.

"I'm expecting Tattoo to be pretty much uniformly loved by the juries. Even if Loreen doesn't win the public vote, maybe third, fourth or fifth place, but with enough points that nobody else can overtake. Then Sweden will win by a comfortable enough margin to bring Eurovision to Sweden."

Sweden has hosted contests in all three of its largest cities - Stockholm in 2016, 2000 and 1975, Gothenburg in 1985 and Malmö in 1992 and 2013.

"The question will be where can it be hosted. Gothenburg doesn't have an arena to host - Scandinavium's roof can't take the weight, so you're looking at Malmö arena or somewhere in Stockholm."

"My understanding is Globen (arena in Stockholm) will be renovated next year, so it might be the football stadium if it was Stockholm," Robertson says.

You can listen to more from Paul O'Mahony's interview with Ben Robertson from ESC Insight in the next episode of our Sweden in Focus podcast, out on Friday.


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