It’s been a while since my last country profile, so I figured it would be appropriate to do one now on the next host country of the ESC. In case you’ve been locked in a soundproof room with no access to a television/PC/Mac/laptop/tablet/smartphone for the last month or so, or missed the title of this post because you were too busy frantically scrolling down to get to the content (I don’t know which is more preposterous) that country is Sweden.
As of yesterday, and suggested by ↑, it’s the third largest city in Sweden, and not the capital, that will specifically play host to the contest next May, for the second time in ESC history. After all the predictions I made about it being Stockholm (me and many others) I’m a little embarrassed that I dismissed Malmö, but now that it has been chosen I’m also excited to find out more about it. With the as-yet-to-be-confirmed-but-really-the-only-choice Malmö Arena resembling Helsinki’s Hartwall Areena, we could be looking at a similar Eurovision to that of 2007, which was one of my first and will always be a favourite. It’s definitely going to be more intimate than if Stockholm had nabbed it, but I don’t think a live audience of over 15 000 is anything to sneeze at – although if you did happen to sneeze whilst in the audience, nobody would hear you (come on, it’s fifteen thousand people!). I reckon it’s going to be an awesome contest.
So that’s that, and this is this.*
* ‘This’ being a profile of Sweden’s Eurovision history, of course.
SWEDEN: THE STATS
1958 – 4th place with Lilla Stjärna by Alice Babs
5 – 1974, 1984, 1991, 1999 and 2012
1 – 1966
5 – 1983, 1985, 1995, 1996 and 2011
Wooden spoons (last places!)
1 – 1977
Top 10 finishes
Top 10 success rate
Top 5 finishes
Top 5 success rate
Semi final qualifications
Qualification success rate
My favourite entry
Se På Mig by Jan Johansen (1995). This song has a magical quality for me that I just can’t put my finger on. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s humbler than many of the frou-frou entries that came before and after it, or that it’s not quite a ballad, but not a straight pop song. There’s always the chance that it’s Jan’s open-necked outfit, but that’s not very likely. It’s all about the song. I guess it’s just one of those that you love, but you don’t know why.
My least favourite entry
Bra Vibrationer by Kikki Danielsson (1985). Again, I can’t say specifically why I dislike this song, but there’s something in it that drives me crazy – in a bad way. I feel like it was dated even for 1985, but feel free to correct me if you were actually alive in the 80s. Another song I can’t stand is Malena Ernman’s La Voix. When the chorus kicks in I just want to strangle her, only I can’t because she’s (presumably) in Sweden and I’m in Australia, so I just end up strangling the plastic girl on my 2000 Under 10s basketball trophy. I could always skip to another song, but the rage is more fun.
More of the memorable
Waterloo by ABBA (1974) – one of the most famous Eurovision songs of all time.
Diggi-loo Diggy-ley by Herrey’s (1984) – who could forget those golden shoes?
Fångad Av En Stormvind by Carola (1991) – Carola’s third ESC outing, which was both her most successful and the one in which her costume was the most hideous.
It Hurts by Lena Phillipsson (2004) – the song was overrated IMO, but Lena ‘Cougar’ Ph performed the heck out of it.
Popular by Eric Saade (2011) – a smashing (get it?) song and stage show.
Euphoria by Loreen (2012) – if you can’t remember this I suggest a trip to your GP.
Their best stage show
Eric Saade’s Popular/ Loreen’s Euphoria. It’s a tie between brash choreography, lighting and glass-breaking, and something more subtle. Saade and his posse of backup dancers commanded the stage in Düsseldorf, but Loreen brought something brand new which used the bare minimum of the stage to the greatest of effects. Oh, and she had fake snow.
Their best costume/s
Charlotte Perrelli, with emphasis on the Perrelli so nobody mistakes it for Nilsson (hot pink pants were fine in ’99, but are positively YEUCH in 2012). So she only made the 2008 final on the jury vote, and her face looked like E.T.’s on an off day. So what? C.Pizzle looked amazing from the neck down, what with the silver explosion that was her mini-dress, those fierce heels, and a pair of legs I’d slap Mr. Lordi for.
Their best vocalist/s
Carola, on all three occasions she took to the big stage. From 1983 to her win in 1991, and then again in 2006, Sweden’s Eurovision darling proved over and over that she’s got serious vocal chops.
I love Sweden in the ESC because…
They don’t live up to their stereotype. Sweden is one of the most successful Eurovision participants, in terms of wins and high placings. But the country is by no means a one-trick pony named Schlager who only trots up-tempo. There has been a lot of that genre over the years, and they do it well, but when it comes to the contest, the Swedish aren’t afraid to move in different directions. As well as that, I love the fact that Melodifestivalen is such a big deal. It’s my favourite national final, and since it’s almost as massive as Eurovision itself, there’s no better warm-up for the big event. The standard is always high, and especially in the last few years, the winner has translated brilliantly to the ESC. I’m not having trouble seeing another top 10 finish on home soil next year. Makt till dig, Sverige!
What are your best and/or worst memories of Sweden in the ESC?