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A Supersized Serving of Scandipop: My Top 50 Melodifestivalen Entries, 2006-2015! (#50-#31)

Hallå, och välkommen till…um…nope, still not quite at the point where I can string together an entire introduction i Svenska. But I’ll get there. Possessing such a skill would have been ultra-appropriate today, though, given the subject matter of this post. There’s no need for me to explain it to you – the title tells you everything you need to know. Well, apart from one or two or three teeny tiny things:

  • Melodifestivalen is far and away my favourite pre-ESC national final (which may be cliché, but I don’t give a crap) so I’ll take any opportunity to celebrate its sheer sensational-ness. I’ve never posted a Melfest ranking before, so with that in mind – plus the fact that the 2016 edition of the show is creeping ever closer – I’m considering this window of time before NF season crazy-time begins as an opportunity more golden than Herreys’ shiny boots.
  • I realise that a Top 50 of Melfest spanning 1959 (the year of its inception) to present would have been more spectacular, but there’s just so much magnificent music to choose from, even limiting myself to the last ten years was a challenge. Besides, I’m far more familiar with the entries from 2006 onwards – i.e. the year I discovered the definitions of ‘Eurovision’ and ‘national finals’. You can, however, expect a more vintage view of the comp in the future.
  • There are a lot of entries from the last two/three years of Melfest in this first installment of the countdown, but I can assure you that trend does not (completely) continue in the #30-11 and Top 10 episodes. Just FYI.

Now, with that trio of housekeeping points taken care of, let’s get started! I’ve embedded some videos of the listed tracks below, but if you want to see and watch them all in one place, check out this playlist.

Sverige (and everywhere else)…vi har ett resultat.

Well, some of it, anyway.

 

Melfest50a

 

#50 | Jag Är Fri (Manne Leam Frijje) by Jon Henrik Fjällgren (2015) No, I’m not joiking. As much as I love the standard Scandipop fare Melfest predominantly serves up, it was refreshing to have something on the NF’s most recent programme that managed to be super-Swedish without *Googles the songwriters just in case* having Thomas G:son’s name attached to it. Jag Är Fri could be the theme song for a tourist campaign urging us all to visit Lapland – and it totally works on me. I wonder if I could squeeze in a side trip while I’m i Sverige?

 

#49 | På Väg by Abalone Dots (2012)

 

#48 | Don’t Stop Believing by Mariette (2015) If it hadn’t been for the extremely predictable lyrics peppering this track from Mariette – and the presence of Måns + Stick Måns in Melfest 2015, of course – I’d have happily said ‘Si!’ to Sweden sending a cool, contemporary ballad-but-not-quite kind of pop song to Vienna. My favourite thing about this is how dynamic and drama-packed it is, without ever being OTT. It’s got a great melody, and overall, isn’t half as cheesy as you might expect a song called Don’t Stop Believing to be.

 

#47 | Make Me (La La La) by Dinah Nah (2015)

 

#46 | Stay The Night by Alcazar (2009) It’d practically be illegal to put together a list like this and NOT include Alcazar, unless you’re the President of the Anti-Schlager Society. Now, I’m not exactly heading up the Pro-Schlager Party, but I’ve always found Alcazar’s sound-alike Melfest entries to be infectiously irresistible. Stay The Night (the superior version of 2014’s Blame It On The Disco) is so textbook, you could sing it in your sleep even if you’d heard a minute-long snippet and nothing more. But there’s a certain appeal in such familiarity…and in that freaking catchy chorus.

 

#45 | Stormande Hav by Timoteij (2012)

 

#44 | Begging by Anton Ewald (2013) One of several surprise successes of Melodifestivalen 2013 (both Anton and Robin Stjernberg failed to qualify direkt til final, only to emerge victorious from Andra Chansen and finish 4th and 1st respectively), Begging became a big success in the Swedish charts too, and I understand why. Produced to perfection and not as derivative as your average dance track, it’s a frantically-paced club banger that I think holds its own without Anton busting many a move to add interest – partly because in studio, his vocals don’t suffer for the sake of enthusiastic pelvic thrusting. Forget about his comeback track Natural (although I personally liked that too)…it was during his debut as a frontman that he had the best musical weapon at his disposal.

 

#43 | Hello Goodbye by Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli (2013)

 

#42 | Sean Den Förste Banan by Sean Banan (2012) GUILTY PLEASURE ALERT. I never wanted to enjoy this – even considering my crappy taste in movies and books, it should have been too low-brow for me – but what can I say? I’m easily swayed by an ear worm, and SDFB is nothing if not one heck of an ear worm. Also, bananas are my favourite fruit, and Sean has a penchant for them too, so…there’s that.

 

#41 | Falling by State of Drama (2013)

 

#40 | För Din Skull by Kalle Johansson (2015) The pre-comp Svensktoppen Nästa winners always get a raw deal in Melfest, methinks – never advancing anywhere (they’re lucky if they don’t come last in their semis). Still, I’m always a fan of their entries, and Kalle’s is no exception because it is adorable, dammit. Retro-flavoured pop doesn’t always float my boat, but För Din Skull (For Your Sake) is tinged, rather than soaked, with a slightly Sixties flavour, which lends itself very well to the Swedish language. I also really like the sound of Kalle’s voice, so all in all, this entry is sounding good, sugar (to me, at least).

 

#39 | I’ll Be Fine by Molly Pettersson Hammar (2015)

 

#38 | Bröder by Linus Svenning (2014) Before he informed us that Forever Starts Today, Linus proved that you don’t have to opt for a ballad if you want to move people – move them straight to the nearest box of tissues, in this case. Written for him by Fredrik Kempe about the death of Linus’ brother (hence the title), Bröder is far more rocky than most tributes to a lost loved one. It does start out in ballad territory, giving you a chance to notice how pretty the melody is, before upping the ante and turning hard(er)core. I loved Bröder from the first listen, felt the emotion behind it, and practically jumped for joy when it scored a second chance and made it to the 2014 final.

 

#37 | Around The World by Dr Alban feat. Jessica Folcker (2014)

 

#36 | Möt Mig I Gamla Stan by Magnus Carlsson (2015) A year ago, I would NEVER have considered including this song in my top fifty. After all, it was Magnus “I Can’t Feel My Face (Because of all the Botox)” Carlsson crashing Melfest yet again, with yet another been-there-heard -that schlager number. All of those things remain true, but the song has wormed its way into my brain and affections over time. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly superficial, all I want out of my music is a catchy tune. On that, Möt Mig I Gamla Stan delivers, and y’all can bet I’ll be singing the shiz out of it when I’m actually wandering around Gamla Stan.

 

#35 | Red by EKO (2014)

 

#34 | One By One by Elize Ryd & Rickard Söderberg (2015) Robbed of a place in Andra Chansen last year (IMO), this poperatic confection worked to a degree I didn’t expect. Sure, Rickard comes off a little too showy to be taken seriously at times, but Elize’s vocal saves the day, and the two do manage to mesh for the most part. One By One itself has a nice mix of light and shade, verses that are as interesting as the choruses, and a show-stopping money note from Rickard, prior to chorus no. 2, which gives me goosebumps.

 

#33 | Living To Die by Andreas Johnson (2015)

 

#32 | Yes We Can by Oscar Zia (2014) High School Musical met Melodifestivalen two years ago, when Oscar followed up his backing-singer-for-Behrang-Miri gig with a song about dancing in his underwear. Well, it was about other stuff too, but that was mentioned – and since it was okay for Lena to divulge the deets of her knickers to millions, I say it was okay for Oscar too. I feel like this entry is a rare one to fangirl over, but if I am one of just a few who’d say yes to Yes We Can, then so be it. This song’s epic! It packs a punch, it’s fun to sing along to…you can really let your hair down and rock out to it. And it reminds me of summer, making it a summer anthem, which automatically makes it awesome.

 

#31 | Euphoria by Loreen (2012)

 

 

Talk about ending on a (euphoric) high! Although, if you’re a massive Loreen fan, you might think seeing her ranked outside of the Top 10 is the lowliest of lows. In that case, don’t worry, because she might just crop up again in the countdown *insert mysterious, cliffhanger-type music here*.

 

I hope you enjoyed this supersized serving of Scandipop, with some Scandirock and Scandiotherstuff thrown in for good measure, even if you disagreed with some/all of my choices. Once again, here’s the full playlist:

 

Now’s the time for you to post your own #31-#50, or simply have your say on my song selections, in the comments below. Go on…do it for Christer Björkman.

I’ll be back in a few days’ time with more Melfest goodness – specifically, unveiling the Top 50 from #30 through to #11. As Anton Ewald would (probably) say, I’m begging *pelvic thrust* you to drop by and count them down with me!

 

 

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Selection Season Day 9: Verdicts of the week, the Melfest final and my first ranking for 2013

So, Romania’s choosing a Eurovision entry tonight? How fascinating. I must say that…

No, I’m sorry. I don’t really care. Because Melodifestivalen is where it’s at this evening! As I mentioned last time, it’s the first and only final I’ll be getting out of bed at a ridiculous time to watch, so even though the standard is weak, I’m super pumped. We also get to see Sarah Dawn Finer in action as Lynda Woodruff (probably to discuss Lorraine’s Euphemism or something like that), schlager queen Carola in action as herself, and what should be a thrilling voting segment. I never thought I’d say this, but bring on 3am!

In the meantime, as little attention as I’m willing to give to Romania (again, I apologise) I will acknowledge that other things have happened in the past week besides Melfest rehearsals. And here they are. Along with Melfest ramblings, of course.

 

Songs of the last seven days: first impressions

Armenia (Lonely Planet) – this makes me think of my Lonely Planet book collection, which makes me happy. That association, however, is the only thing about this that puts a smile on my face. I was so hoping Armenia would come back with a bang, showing Azerbaijan what they missed, etc. But this is not a good effort.

Belarus (Solayoh) – I was practically head of the Rhythm of Love Appreciation Society, so for it to be replaced with a lame five-year-old tropical number that would have been more at home on a cruise liner circa 2003, is a huge blow. I hope this doesn’t qualify. 

‘Look at all these suckers, thinking my original song was going to be my eventual song. Hello! This is Belarus!’

‘Look at all these suckers, thinking my original song was going to be my eventual song. Hello! This is Belarus!’

Bulgaria (Kismet) – how are you supposed to feel about three minutes in which you like 65%, but are weirded out by the rest? Good I guess, since majority rules. I really do like the instrumental parts, and the bit Elitsa keeps repeating (technical term, anyone?).

Estonia (Et Uus Saaks Alguse) – Birgit is no Ott Lepland, let’s face it: even though they’ve both won Estonian Idol, there’s no way she looks as good in a tight pair of pants. Her ballad is nowhere near as strong either. It’s nice, and I’m glad they’ve gone for another song in Estonian, but…yawn.

Hungary (Kedvesem) – I have no idea why, but I LOVE this. Maybe it’s that same humble charm that Coming Home had for Sjonni’s Friends. I’m not sure ByeAlex will do as well as Compact Disco (it may be ‘bye, Alex’ on semi final night, if you know what I mean) but if I could vote, I’d vote for him.

Israel (Rak Bishvilo) – interesting look, great voice…average song. Okay, it’s verging on being a decent ballad, but it doesn’t exactly live up to Milim. In what is appearing to be a ballad-heavy contest, I can’t see this standing out unless something drastic happens on stage. Is there an Israeli version of Jimmy Jump?

Serbia (Ljubav Je Svuda) – guilty pleasure alert. It’s been labeled cheap, tacky and a little bit dated, and I know I shouldn’t be a fan, but damn it, I am. Yes, it is partly because we have our first JESC-to-ESC artist and that is freaking awesome. But come on, the song’s catchy!  

I wonder which side Nevena’s on…good or evil?

I wonder which side Nevena’s on…good or evil?

United Kingdom (Believe In Me) – sigh x 1000. Another year, another big name, another middling ballad that will struggle to make an impression on anyone from the UK. Having said that, I do like this a little better than I liked Love Will Set You Free after one listen. All we can hope for is a killer vocal and suitable staging.

 

Which entry of the week is your favourite?

 

Sweden ready to name Loreen’s successor

And it will be one of the nine that isn’t Ravaillacz.

  1. Tell The World I’m Here by Ulrik Munther
  2. Skyline by David Lindgren
  3. Falling by State of Drama
  4. Begging by Anton Ewald
  5. Only The Dead Fish Follow The Stream by Louise Hoffsten
  6. Bed On Fire by Ralf Gyllenhammar
  7. En Riktig Jävla Schlager by Ravaillacz
  8. Copacabanana by Sean Banan
  9. You by Robin Stjernberg
  10. Heartbreak Hotel by YOHIO

Can whoever it is do as well as Loreen? Um, no, obviously not. But it would be nice for the host country to squeeze into the top 10. At the very least they’ll get that massive cheer that I look forward to so much.

But just who will ‘they’ be, if that made any sense?

Ulrik, Ralf, Sean, or YOHIO, I reckon. Up until recently I would have gone with Ulrik straight out, but as scandipop.co.uk   (I think) pointed out, with both Robin and Anton advancing from Andra Chansen, the teenage girl votes that would have gone directly to the Munthmeister may now be divided between the three guys. I really want Ulrik to win (or Robin, the underdog) but YOHIO in particular has an x-factor and crazed fan base that will make him hard to beat. Outside of Sweden, the international juries may go for someone a little more mainstream – Ulrik, David, Anton maybe. Or they might be wooed by the sight of a grown man in a nappy being hoisted into the ceiling rafters of Friends Arena (everyone has a fetish).   

Really, who wouldn’t want this man flying the Swedish flag?

Really, who wouldn’t want this man flying the Swedish flag?

Head over here http://www.svtplay.se/video/1071366/finalen-med-forsnack at around 20.00CET to watch the show live from the massive arena just mentioned. I know I will, unless some disaster happens with my alarm, in which case you won’t hear from me ever again because I’ll be too devastated to function. If you see any of my hilarious live tweets (@EurovisionByJaz) you’ll know everything’s good.

 

Ranking the Class of ’13, so far

I would like to (sarcastically) thank the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – using the full name because I am not amused – for doing two things. Firstly, for announcing yesterday that my beloved Imperija would be scrapped as Lozano & Esma’s entry for Malmö, due to negative reactions in the press and on social media. Because it is only a few journalists and a handful of people on Twitter who decide the Eurovision winner, right?

The second thing is that, in dumping their entry, they totally messed up my plans of making my first 2013 ranking a top 30. Or DID THEY?

Well, no, ’cause I’m just going to go ahead and do it anyway, assuming that the new song will be just as good as Imperija and would therefore not affect my list in any way. Wishful thinking, huh.

 

  1. Germany
Feel free to insert your own 'glorious' pun here

Feel free to insert your own ‘glorious’ pun here

  1. Ukraine
  2. Hungary  
  3. Norway
  4. Macedonia
  5. Serbia
  6. Malta
  7. Austria
  8. Belgium
  9. Finland
  10. Lithuania
  11. Switzerland
  12. Ireland
  13. Iceland
  14. Bulgaria
  15. Israel
  16. Slovenia
  17. Denmark
  18. Greece
  19. Estonia
  20. Albania
  21. Georgia
  22. Croatia
  23. United Kingdom
  24. Belarus
  25. Russia
  26. Latvia
  27. Armenia
  28. Spain
  29. Cyprus

 

That concludes my bits and bobs for another Saturday. Do let me know what goes down in Romania if you watch the show there; I do still care. If you want to share your thoughts on anything else, including your personal ranking at this point, please do. 

Until 3am…

EBJ Signature

 

Selection Season Day 4: Finland and Norway choose, Melfest continues

Hello again, and välkommen to another overview of some of the action taking place this weekend. After a week of random revelations, it’s nice to focus on some ESC-related things that were actually scheduled. By tomorrow, we’ll have two more entries for Malmö and two more finalists from Melodifestivalen. All four of them can be found somewhere down there…but not necessarily in my predictions. Please read on without taking them too seriously!

 

UMK, or TFOFNF – the final of Finland’s national final

Finland, I am not amused. Or enthused. Yes, I may have drawn that conclusion from a dodgy online recap of your final crammed with fifteen-second snippets of the offerings for 2013, but I know personally if I’m going to be excited by something, it will happen within fifteen seconds.

That’s not to say – and I’m talking to you guys again, not Finland – that UMK has nothing good up for grabs this year. And at least you have a chance of finding the good stuff in a field of only eight songs. Take note, Malta!

Here are the eight:

  1. Lost by Arion
  2. He’s Not My Man by Elina Orkoneva
  3. Dancing All Around The Universe by Lucy Was Driving
  4. Marry Me by Krista Siegfrids
  5. Saturday Night Forever by Last Panda
  6. We Should Be Through by Mikael Saari
  7. Flags by Great Wide North
  8. Colliding Into You by Diandra

I’m getting decent vibes from Arion, Elina and Diandra in terms of song quality, but in the absence of full-length song knowledge, I’m going to predict a winner based completely rationally on song title. I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone’s done it.

So, who looks promising? By my standards, Dancing All Around The Universe gets a tick. So do Mikael and Diandra, whose names are probably more interesting than their song titles, but who still count.

Can you give me a more informed take on who should/will win UMK? If you’re reading this after it’s happened, then obviously you can.

 

Norsk MGP: three down, one to go

Nine qualifiers and one lucky (lips) wildcard later, and NMGP is about to crown a hopefully more successful successor to Tooji. This is a much stronger ultimate line-up than Finland’s despite the hideousness voted through from the first semi, and I have some firm favourites. But looking back on the last few years of the Norwegian selection, there seems to be no way of accurately guessing the outcome – sometimes, the acts that won their semis don’t even get a look in to the super final, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, Tooji came 2nd in his heat. When you think about it, the winner could be any one of these:

  1. Paid My Way by Vidar Busk
  2. Ulvetuva by Fjellfolk
  3. Bombo by Adelén
  4. Alone by Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen
  5. Awake by Gaute Ormåsen
  6. Sweet and Heavy by Lucky Lips
  7. The Underground by Datarock
  8. I’m With You by Annsofi
  9. I Feed You My Love by Margaret Berger
  10. I Love You Te Quiero by Sirkus Eliassen

That abovementioned super final will feature the four top-ranking songs from an initial round of voting, and the winner will be whichever of those scores the highest from a combined jury and public vote. At risk of going with some too-predictable options (I like to live dangerously and be on the safe side at the same time) I’m earmarking Gromth, Datarock, Annsofi and Margaret for the super final.

Datarock are in there purely for the sake of randomness. I don’t like their song that much, and I don’t think they really deserve to get so far, but I’m always confused by the stuff that gets through in NMGP.

Gromth & Emil are my hands-down LEAST favourite, so for the unsuspecting eardrums of Europe, don’t let them win, Norway!

Annsofi is a force to be reckoned with thanks to her association with Alexander Rybak. Her vocals weren’t exactly perfect, and the song sounds like one that could get boring very quickly, but I wouldn’t mind if she won.

Finally, Margaret is amazing in every way, and I don’t get all the criticism about her dress. I would LOVE her to win. Norway would have a very edgy, unique entry if she did, and you know what? I think she will.

Will M. Berg be looking this happy after tonight’s final?

That’s right; I’m predicting girl power to prevail this evening. What say you?

 

Melodifestivalen marches on

Melfest? More like mehfest! I never thought I’d say something like that about my beloved Swedish final, but let’s face it: last week’s semi was a bit crap. Still, there is a chance the hosts will redeem themselves tonight with a semi that includes:

  • the poor man’s Eric Saade/Danny Saucedo
  • a triple whammy of schlager divas
  • a duet between the ‘E’ of EMD and a Norwegian pop princess
  • the return of a banana-loving, fake chest-hair-wearing comedian

It can’t go wrong…right?

  1. Begging by Anton Ewald
  2. Make Me No. 1 by Felicia Olsson
  3. Annelie by Joacim Cans
  4. On Top of the World by Swedish House Wives
  5. Hello Goodbye by Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli
  6. Only The Dead Fish Follow The Stream by Louise Hoffsten
  7. En Förlorad Sommar by Rikard Wolff
  8. Copacabanana by Sean Banan

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Sweden do NOT want to win Eurovision again so soon. If not, then I have to question the musical taste of the people who narrowed down all the entries submitted for MF to just 32. Feel free to question my musical taste as I narrow the above eight down to a top four:

Begging This is oh-so-predictable dance pop with a dubstep break a la everything. But that’s enough to make it one of my favourites in yet another average semi. With such a high production level in studio, Anton could totally destroy it live, but even so he’s got a good chance of going straight to Globen.

On Top of the World Here are those schlager divas with a clubtastic song penned by the Euphoria team of Boström and G:son. It’s one of the best things going, if not the most original.

The SHW star power is blinding. MY EYES, MY EYES!!

The SHW star power is blinding. MY EYES!!!

Hello Goodbye I am so grateful for Erik and Tone for not doing dance. This is my favourite of the semi by far. It’s a nice little slice of guitar pop which actually makes breaking up with someone sound appealing.

Copacabanana Yes, I know that this is a carbon copy of Sean’s entry of 2012…but I loved that, and in such a poor field I can easily love this too. It’s fun, it’s catchy, and it probably has offensive lyrics, but I don’t understand enough Swedish to know for sure.

Now to try and make up for my dreadful MF predicting last weekend!

I’m gazing into my dust-covered crystal ball, and it’s telling me…Swedish House Wives and Erik & Tone to the final, with Anton and Joacim heading off to Andra Chansen. There. Now I can blame the crystal ball for everything, unless it was right in which case all the credit will be attributed to ‘Jaz, with absolutely no help whatsoever from any kind of prophetic device’.

Your turn – who’s got the right stuff to get to the final, and who deserves a second chance?

 

That’s it from me for this Super-ish Saturday. Enjoy whichever final you’re tuning into, and enjoy whatever else you’re doing if you can’t be bothered. Bring on the results!

EBJ Signature

 

Selection Season Day 9: Announcements, more finals and Swedish second chances

Guess what? I’m not going to make this a post with a long, boring intro. It’s Saturday (again) and this is what’s happened and/or happening – and that’s all you need to know.

 

Israel and the UK presenting and representing

Israel officially premiered their song Time by Izabo on the first of the month, and as it turns out it is the song that has been on Youtube for the past week or so under the dubious title of ‘The possible actual but still unofficial entry’. Damn that dastardly internet for spoiling Israel’s plans! Although as a result of that evil entity we have had the chance to get to know the song better by this point. Who in this day and age doesn’t like getting something earlier than expected?

I suppose it’s Time for me to tell you how I feel about the entry. Well, I can certainly say that it more closely resembles something you’d find on alternative radio than at Eurovision, but why should there be a genre that isn’t ‘Eurovision’ in sound anyway? The song’s quirkiness may be its saving grace. It’s not like any of the 2012 songs so far and is unlikely to be like any yet to come. I’d describe it as a happy little ditty (if I was about seventy years older than I actually am), something left-of-field fromIsrael. I think it has the potential to be a (good) surprise on the live stage.

Speaking of things old and surprising, the UK finally broke the silence on who their act is, only to leave gazillions of fans speechless. As I’m sure you already know, a certain Mr. Engelbert “The Hump” Humperdinck – who on one hand is tremendously popular but on the other is tremendously aged by ESC standards – will be shuffling onto the stage May 26th on behalf of the UK, and there he will most likely a) rake in the votes and make the top five or b) fail miserably, which would be more consistent with the United Kingdom’s recent results. He will be 76 years old by then, which means that not only can we make lots of hilarious jokes about his name (“Hump”…hehehehehe) but we can also make references to his being up way past his bedtime when it comes to the show.

'STOP! Humpertime!!!'

In all seriousness, I do respect the man’s skill and credentials, and with some experienced songwriters at the helm of his entry, who knows; maybe he’ll be the live surprise. Part of me is still wondering what on Earth the BBC were thinking, but the other part can’t help but root for the underdog – or the old, arthritic dog in this instance (I’m sorry, I can’t help it!). Perhaps we should reserve our judgments for his song, as this is a song contest. For some reason I’m always forgetting that…  

 

It’s the final countdown for Estonia, Lithuania and Spain

Well, that’s what Wikipedia is telling me, anyway. Both Estonia and Lithuania qualified last year, but after the less-than-impressive positions they ended on, both could stand to improve by picking something stand-out. As for Spain, we’ve known since December that it’s the firmly established Pastora Soler who’ll be carrying their flag. All that’s left is for her song to be chosen from a field of three. They too didn’t live up to expectation in Düsseldorf, so will bringing out the big guns (or just the one gun) change their fortune? Maybe, so long as they keep the actual guns at home, unless we are talking about the ‘guns’ of some shirtless dancers in which case I’m all for the use of weaponry.  

I should really stop with the gun thing.

 

Second chance time in Sweden

Andra Chansen is the final obstacle (albeit one I don’t mind getting over) before the fabulous Melodifestivalen final, and the last chance for a lucky twosome to nab a place there. There’s about a 0% chance that one of the AC winners will win the whole of MF, but you never know how well they’re going to do – last year The Moniker made it out of Andra to come third in the final, beaten only by two good-looking guys in leather jackets.

Anyway, here are the four pairings that will turn into two, from which will emerge the final two songs in the March 10th decider:

Duel #1: Dynazty VS Top Cats

Duel #2: Andreas Johnson VS Timoteij

Duel #3: Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern VS Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren

Duel #4: Sean Banan VS Youngblood 

There are some tricky-to-pick partnerships there, but I’ve made my predictions. Check them out with the aid of this nifty and highly complicated table (FYI, green means go).

 

I don’t really mind who makes it through so long as one of them is Timoteij. Although if I’m honest I would like the other one to be Sean Banan (cue everyone throwing banana skins at me for my poor taste).

 

That’s about all I’ve got to say for the moment. This NF season sure is making me tired, although I guess that could also be due to the countless hours I spent dancing with joy yesterday on finding out that Dima Bilan will be trying again to represent Russia next week (but more on that another time – like when he wins, for instance!). See you on the other side of Saturday…

 

Jaz

 

Selection Season Day 3: Malta, MGP three and (squeal) Melodifestivalen!

Every year, during national final months, there’s one Saturday night that can only be described as crazy, for all the action it brings. Although come to think of it, the “official” description is Super Saturday, so…I guess you can say whatever you want about it. It’s an evening where there are so many semis and finals and whatnots going on that you have little hope of keeping up with it all even if you decide to stay in and not go out to a club and dance on a table into the wee small hours whilst slurring the lyrics to Ghetto Superstar and waving your underpants in the air (I don’t write from experience, I swear).

Well I’m here to tell that today is…

…not that Saturday. Sorry if I got your hopes up. Nonetheless, there are some big things happening tonight, including the selection of Baku’s next entry in Malta, and the first installment of my favourite national final in Sweden. Let’s get to the nitty gritty (INSERT APPLAUSE HERE for my use of the term ‘nitty gritty’) of this not-so-super-but-still-pretty-cool Saturday’s scheduled events.

 

The Maltese Falcon…er, I mean Final  

Last night Malta had a semi final, but I won’t go into detail about that. The important thing is that we check out the final, because one of its 16 songs will be failing to qualify in Azerbaijan in a few months time.

Okay, that was mean of me. But I’m often so unimpressed by Malta’s finalists, and 2012 has been no exception. I feel like the island is stuck in a musical time warp when it comes to Eurovision. Let’s face it; Glen Vella was not the most current of acts. There are some good ones in this year’s group though, and I am pleased to say that my entire personal top 5 advanced from the semi.

The show:

  1. In Your Eyes by Lawrence Gray
  2. You Make Me Go Uh Uh by Deborah C. feat. Leila James
  3. Autobiography by Dorothy Bezzina
  4. Petals on a Rose by Gianni
  5. Pure by Claudia Faniello
  6. 7 Days by Danica Muscat
  7. I Will Fight For You (Papa’s Song) by Fabrizio Faniello
  8. Mystifying Eyes by Corazon Mizzi
  9. Look At Me Now by Richard Edwards
  10. First Time by Kaya
  11. Answer With Your Eyes by Amber
  12. Time by Wayne Micallef
  13. This Is The Night by Kurt Calleja
  14. You Are My Life by Janvil
  15. No Way Back by Klinsmann
  16. Take Me Far by Francesca Borg

My picks: Look At Me Now, I Will Fight For You (Papa’s Song), Answer With Your Eyes, No Way Back and 7 Days.

Look At Me Now is a Nickelback-esque rock track with two main things going for it (besides me) – firstly, it’s very Top 40, which as we now know could allow it to win Eurovision (if it came from somewhere other than Malta) and secondly, it works great live, thanks in no small part to Mr. Edwards. Rock on!

Fabrizio Faniello is back for the 178th time, probably wanting to make up for his dreadful and totally uncalled for result the last time he made it all the way to the big show in 2006. I Will Fight For You is tons better than his last NF entry, and I’d tentatively say it’s my favourite of what’s on offer. It sounds like a mash-up of See You Again by Miley Cyrus, Where Do You Go? by No Mercy and Temple of Love by B.W.O., but I’m partial to all of those songs (yes, even the Miley one) and if this is as close as we ever get to a megamix at Eurovision I’ll be happy.

Amber, Klinsmann and Danica also have decent if not amazing songs of varying genres. I’m hoping, but not expecting, one of them, Richard, or Fabrizio to win. Which brings me to…

My prediction: The reason I’m not expecting a win from my favourites is because my favourites have a knack of never winning. Still, I’m going to say Richard or Fabrizio could do it. Otherwise it’ll be Kurt Calleja, Wayne Micallef or Deborah C.*

* Anyone I predict to win also seems to coincidentally NEVER win, so keep that in mind.

 

Norsk MGP

Norway have a good final on their hands so far (which could be made excellent if they give Rikke Normann and Shapeshifter the wildcard place) and I hope the three qualifiers tonight keep the standard high. It’s not the best semi of NMGP this year, so that might not be as easy as it sounds.

The show:

  1. Stay by Tooji
  2. Si by Marthe Valle
  3. Things Change by Petter Øien & Bobby Bare
  4. Sammen by Yaseen & Julie Maria
  5. The Greatest Day by Håvard Lothe Band
  6. Euphoria by Silya Nymoen
  7. Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time by The Canoes
  8. Sailors by Lise Karlsnes

My picks: Stay, Si and Sailors (ooh, alliteration!).

Tooji has been snubbed for being a clone of Eric Saade, but I have a few things to say about that:

A) There’s no way he’s looking in the mirror every morning and thinking ‘My God, do I look like Eric Saade or what!’

B) The song does not have a (practically) single-word chorus.

C) Where can I get a clone of Eric Saade? Do they have those on eBay?

"I will win MGP, I will win MGP, I'm gonna get there, MGP..."

Marthe Valle’s Si is a nice ballad, but it’ll have a hard time outshining Nora Foss Al-Jabri’s song should it make the final. Sailors is quirky electro-pop that could be very interesting live so long as nobody gets seasick onstage. I’m also thinking Lise should borrow Soluna Samay’s costume.

My prediction: If I was a betting woman, I’d put money on Stay, The Greatest Day and Euphoria to make the final.*

* The reason I’m not a betting woman is because I am usually wrong, as indicated by the previous asterisk.

 

Melodifestivalen

FINALLY! Europe’s most-loved NF is beginning, and I’m so excited I just made an assumption about an entire continent! Melodifestivalen is almost as big a deal as the ESC itself, with 4 heats, a second-chance round and a final to its name, not to mention the Webjoker process that comes before everything else. The standard is often as high as Dana International’s hemlines, and Sweden’s biggest acts aren’t afraid to take part. On the list for 2012 are Ulrik Munther, Timoteij, Danny Saucedo, Charlotte Perrelli and Molly Sandén, to name a few…none of whom are in this first heat. Here’s who and what is (listen to the full songs here: www.svt.se/melodifestivalen)

  1. Sean Den Förste Banan by Sean Banan
  2. På Väg by Abalone Dots
  3. I Want To Be Chris Isaak (This Is Just The Beginning) by The Moniker
  4. The Boy Can Dance by Afro-Dite
  5. Mystery by Dead By April
  6. Salt & Pepper by Marie Serneholt
  7. Jag Reser Mig Igen by Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern
  8. Euphoria by Loreen

My picks: Sean Den Förste Banan, Mystery, Salt & Pepper and Euphoria.

Sean Den Förste Banan is a song I feel like I shouldn’t like – I mean, his name is in the title, for Petr Elfimov’s sake (rarely the sign of a high-quality song). But it’s so unbelievably catchy I can’t help myself.

Mystery, on the other hand, is a song I didn’t expect to like. The bits that don’t involve ‘death growl’ are actually really nice, and I can even see myself accepting the death growl in the future. The chorus is a knockout. Dead By April, I think you’re a dead cert for the final.

Dead By April: they were never going to sing a song about ponies and rainbows.

Salt & Pepper is familiar retro pop, and Euphoria is familiar dance pop, but there’s nothing wrong with familiarity! I am a little disappointed with Loreen who was one of my favourites last year, but I knew I would be – nothing could live up to her 2011 entry. What she’s got now in 2012 is pretty darn good.

My prediction: This post has been rather long, so I’ll give you a guess in one sentence: Mystery and Euphoria to the final and I Want To Be Chris Isaak (This Is Just The Beginning) and Salt & Pepper to Andra Chansen.

 

I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and see what happened in Malta, Norway and Sweden– follow me on Twitter (@EurovisionByJaz) for reactions.

And don’t forget to keep dropping by as the selection season continues!

 

Jaz x