Listen! MF semi 4

Saving the best for last? Well, there isn't going to be one single worst-of-the-worst tomorrow night. It will be a tough choice for the viewers and I stand pretty clueless as to who will join Perrelli in Globen. Not to mention Andra Chansen. It will all come down to how the singers perform there and then. Exciting!

Niklas Strömstedt - "För många ord om kärlek"
Positive surprise for me. Usually I find Strömstedt a bore but this is laid back, grown-up pop with a hint of the sound of the 60s. The question is if his fans are still out there and ready to jump the phone?

Calaisa - "If I could"
Nice country-pop but we are all familiar with the word "nice" and how wrong it is in these competitions. Quite forgettable too from this clip. Needs more Faith Hill or Dixie Chicks oomph to reach me.

Daniel Mitsogiannis - "Pame"
A smoking hit on record and I understand all too well the comparison to Cara Mia. But. The big problem is said to be Daniel on stage. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a regular 5th place for the dance track of the evening, but the reality will probably be a lower score. Shame really.

Linda Bengtzing - "Hur svårt kan det va"
Traditional fun schlager with a smiling Bengtzing as usual. This time with both something new, something old, something blue and something borrowed from "Grace Kelly". Just like Becks it drives me crazy when I can hum along to another melody when hearing a song for the first time. It drags down my enthusiasm a great deal and it's "A little bit of love" part 2 all over again. Why this ungraceful loan? Didn't the writers have faith in the song to start with? But most importantly - will the voters care? Final or Andra Chansen.

Nordman - "I lågornas sken"
Is it only me or does it sound like Hemlin is sitting on the toilet while singing? Strange chorus - not very Nordman at all. More Sarek. However, I'm not a big fan of Nordman so not complaining. At the same time not a Sarek fan either. Suspect the extreme stage show of burning witches will land the group another chance though.

Sibel - "That is where I'll go"
I liked Sibel already back in her Idols-days and am glad to finally see her on stage again. Here singing a beautiful ballad that I'm hoping won't turn screamy live. If she will be able to control the nerves I have a feeling it could go a long way. Hopefully pulling down Bengtzing from a free ride to Globen. We need two ballads in the final so BWO can have a chance against Sanna too...

Fronda - "Ingen mår så bra som jag"
I can hear a clear parallel to "Adrenaline" by Mendez in this clip. It doesn't work as well in Swedish and in 2008 as six years ago. Melodifestivalen has evolved since then. And what's the deal with the lyrics? Are they supposed to be funny? I don't get it. Not convinced last place is dedicated to Fronda still even if it is the weakest attempt for me of the week.

Charlotte Perrelli - "Hero"
Va-va-voom! The modern monster hit Perrelli has been waiting for since 1999. Based on the clip it is hard to say if it will be a winner in the end but one thing is for sure and that is that the woman can belt out a song and deliver live in front of millions of people. The dream scenario for (I think) both Perrelli and me is a 2nd place in Globen and a HUGE hit to follow that. Please, dear people of Sweden don't let this star fail to reach the final tomorrow. Enough with "skrällar" already!

In the perfect world of Posh: Perrelli & Sibel to Globen. Bengtzing & Mitsogiannis to Andra Chansen. Strömstedt 5th.

Posh says the people will vote:
Charlotte Perrelli
Linda Bengtzing
Andra Chansen
5. Niklas Strömstedt
6. Daniel Mitsogiannis
7. Calaisa
8. Fronda

With the reservation of a completely different list once I've heard the songs in full and seen the performances. Place 5-8 could change tremendously, the top 4 in any constellation I'm fairly sure of.

What will Mika say?

This is not my prediction, it will come later. I don't have time to listen repeatedly to the MF snippets just yet, just lent a quick ear to them.

And dear Linda Bengtzing, did nobody tell you you are not allowed to take what is not yours? I push play and all I hear is Mika's "Grace Kelly". It is so obvious that I find myself blushing.

And once I get started in that mood, I hear some echoes from Die Prinzen and "Alles nur geklaut" in Fronda's song, but that is probably just a co-incidence and nowhere near as alarming as Linda.

No stealing, Linda, how hard can it be? (Hur svårt kan det va'?)


Andorra bang into the final

Today, RTVA previewed the official clip for their eurosong "Casanova" by Gisela. And yes, ladies and gents, this is a real Eurosong with a capital E. Traditional bordering on aggressively traditional, but this is like a prototype for old-fashioned success.

I wasn't convinced when I heard the first short clip in December or so, but when all other countries are headed for musical adventures on new grounds, it is suddenly refreshing to have something familiar dished at you. And nothing bad with familiar as long as it's good.

"Casanova" is good, and very competently performed by Gisela. There are only two tiny problems at this tage:

a - the expensive clip sometimes forgets about being a clip, and transforms itself into an almost immoblie flyer from Andorra's board of tourism.

b - there is no key change. Hello? No key change? There is still time, though. A tiny bit of modulation wouldn't hurt.

But I think Andorra found their pot of gold. If they are not in the final this year, I will be even more surprised than I was last year.

Gisela - Casanova - Andorra 2008

Go, Greece!

Tonight, Greece will select their masterpiece for ESC 2008 and I have heard every candidate exactly once. So I won't jump to any conclusions who would be the best one to send off, but let me tell you, Greeks! I pin high hopes upon you.

I would like something classy yet catchy and hit-friendly, something that can compete with all the best, classic Greek entries. Like this one.

Sophia Vossou - Anixi - Greece 1991

It was 20 years ago today...

Holy cow, I just realised that it is exactly 20 years since Melodifestivalen 1988 today. All of a sudden (pun intended) I feel very old.

I really longed and ached for MF this year, and I had written to SVT Malmö who sent me the complete line-up by letter as well as the official sticker for the event. I was so happy and so hopeful, and it was the first MF I ever owned on video.

I recorded the songs off the radio (on a very modern and hip-looking Sony audio tape that was completely transparent and somewhat pink) and made my own tape cover to match it. I loved it, played the songs over and over again, and couldn't wait for the ESC from Dublin.

Maybe I was a bit disappointed when Lotta Engberg didn't win, but these days my favourites would be Lena Philipsson (of course) and Siw Malmkvist. Ah, the memories. Those were the days.

Siw Malmkvist - Det är kärlek - MF 1988

Boaz Mauda for Israel

After two far from successful attempts (pointless soul followed by nuclear irony), Israel wants to return to form and make a splash à la Shiri Maimon in Belgrade. IBA internally selected Boaz Mauda, of Pop Idol fame, to perform five songs of which the audience selected one lucky winner.

The winner "Ke'ilo kan" is penned by nobody lesser than 1998 Eurovision winner Dana International, who is arguably a better songwriter than singer. The israeli entry is a pleasant little song, unfortunately lacking in the hook-department. On a first listening, there is nothing to grab at and hold on to. I wonder if Israel won't have a sweaty evening on the night of their semi.

But young Boaz is something of a male Shiri Maimon. The boy has the looks as well as a very pleasant voice, and if he manages to flick on his switch on the big night, he could be the certain something that Israel would need to lift them into the final.

Boaz Mauda - Ke'ilo kan - Israel 2008

San Marino deadline

This year's liliput debutant, San Marino, has passed its deadline for submission of entries. Anyone could send in suggestions to the tiny broadcaster, and a jury will select the first Sammarinese entrant ever in a closed voting. Just thinking of the fact that San Marino will take part makes the butterflies fly like crazy all around my belly. But it is very happy and positive butterflies.

I have always, since I was very young, had a soft spot for the microstates of Europe, and I wanted them all in Eurovision (but had to content myself with only Luxembourg for quite a few years). Now Andorra and Malta are there on a regular basis and Monaco at least popped its nose back in for a few years. And here we go with San Marino, a state with a population smaller than the 2001 live audience at the ESC in Copenhagen. Groovy.

What thrills me the most is the secret hope that some Italian record label may have understood the benefit of pan-European exposure. Let's face it - Italian music is no longer the highly attractive export it once was. If this is unfair or not is irrelevant, but way fewer Italian acts make their way out into the international limelight anymore. What if some star hopes for European stardom with a little help from the ESC?

Well, at least Jalisse entered a song. How nice of them. But I would hope for someone slightly hotter to do the job, in all honesty. I loved "Fiumi di parole" back in 1997. But Jalisse never made it big. And I want big.

Despite the fact that San Marino is really, really small.

Jalisse - Fiumi di parole - Italy 1997


Late comment on MF

Was meaning to write a review of Saturday's MF yesterday but got carried away finding rare tracks from the history of national finals. Stuff like Liliane St Pierre from the Luxembourg heat 1978 and the likes of it. Imagine! But back to Melodifestivalen...

My prediction was way off this time and although I'm very happy for Frida I feel equally bad for Patrik Isaksson. His song was 10.000 times better than "When you need me" and "Smiling in love".

What to say about BWO? Fab! Fab! Fab! If there's any justice in the world this should go on to become a hit across the globe. Heads above the rest in the heat and in MF so far this year. Lovely crazy costumes too. Only Alexander Bard could come up with that. "Let's dress like a pack of cards!" Great! And exactly how handsome isn't Martin? Pwoar!

Saturday daytime I started to believe that Frida could advance, but then I had Andra Chansen in mind. What a swinging, happy, clappy number. Even the rap worked and they had so much fun on stage. Priceless to see the shocked face of Frida after having won. Pure happiness!

Therese gave a good stageshow but my friends and I decided that it contained too much opera for us. A relative to both Nightwish and (ugh!) Elysion. Terran sold it, looked fantastic in that dress, with Carola's flags and fan. But I'm surprised it beat both Ainbusk and Isaksson.

Bubbly performance by Caracola and they sang in tune. That far I'm with them. Just wish the songwriters had endeavoured to write real lyrics. Aggressivly sugary is not my thing. I want to decide for myself not being told "You must like me or else..." That's how I felt. Doesn't really matter now as Ola will demolish them in Andra Chansen.

Shocker only 5th place for Patrik Isaksson. Felt sorry for him. It was a really good song and he couldn't have done it better. Expect to hear it non-stop on a radio near you (if in Sweden) from now on.

Ainbusk. I like Josefin's fragile voice and thought more people would. Was perhaps a too traditional schlager-ballad for viewers? Because it was by no means bad and would have gone down well in the days of juries. My only guess is that the Swedes are more modern than ever this year and ready for a Popfestival in Globen. (not including Sjögren in that context)

The Bosnian element of the evening was better than the short pre-clip. But it fell apart when Mickey Huscic changed to English. And I'm still not fond of his strained voice. Got that placing right at least.

Someone who did NOT deserve the last place was Eskobar. I'm in love with the chorus of Hallelujah New World. I can admit that they were a tad boring on stage and prepared myself for a failure in votes but last??? The song is going straight to my iPod that's for sure.

Comedian Björn Gustavsson was lovable as usual when he performed his self-penned love song to Luuk's girlfriend - TV-presenter Carina Berg. What a HUGE improvement to have him involved instead of last year's musical fiasco. "Take me to the city of light". "There's no such place. You have the light inside yourself.It was there all along" The end. Zzzzzzzz.

Next week we'll finally hear Charlotte Perrelli's "Hero". The song we have all been waiting for. By then we will know for sure if it is a strong threat to "Lay your love on me" and "Empty room". For now Posh is backing BWO 100%!



The FYR Macedonian final paid hommage to the late Tose Proeski, and rightly so. Tose was an exceptional talent who parted far too early.

So, Posh & Becks do the same. This is the way I want to remember him the best, in the 2004 preview clip. A wonderfully lavish clip, or to quote a friend of mine: I don't know what I think about the song, but I really like the way it looks.

Maybe Tose got a tiny hint too over-excited on stage in Istanbul, but here he is total perfection. Rest in peace.

Tose Proeski - Life - FYR Macedonia 2004

Euroviisut, third semi

So, the third and last Finnish semi is over and now we have sorted the songs into ready finalists and the ones that have to go through the second chance-round. Does it strike anyone else that it is actually an advantage to go through the Second Chance?

The semis usually have really low ratings in Finland, while the final should have somewhere around a million viewers. Which means that the majority of the viewers will hear the songs for the first time on March 1st. Which, in turn, means that the songs that go through Second Chance (held as a part of the final broadcast) will have an advantage on the previous "winners".

Anyway, the third semi went rather the way I expected. Loud rock with a singer lacking a credible voice proved to be the dish of the day, and, somewhat surprisingly, drag act Cristal Snow sneaked into the final as well, leaving Jenna, giving clearly the most polished performance of the night, behind.

I would not be surprised if Jenna broke through to the final and ended rather high in the final ranking there. But reason tells me that the three weekly winners will fight it out for the title. This is what it all looked like in the Tohloppi studios on Friday night:

Teräsbetoni - Missä miehet ratsastaa - Finland NF 2008 QF

Cristal Snow - Can't Save Me - Finland NF 2008 QF

Jenna - Sinua varten - Finland NF 2008 - Second Chance

Vuokko Hovatta - Virginia - Finland NF 2008 - Second Chance

Super Saturday winners

The Super Saturday left us with no less than eight new entries for Belgrade. And here they are, complete with Mr Becks' first impression.

Deep Zone & Balthazar - DJ, Take Me Away - Bulgaria 2008
At first I don't understand much - a hard beat turns into some pseudo reggae before turning back into a dance track. And there, somewhere, I begin to see the point. This will work wonders in the clubs (maybe not only in Bulgaria), but that does not necessarily translate into ESC success. But best of luck to the Bulgarians DJ's. Thanks for trying, anyway.

Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents - Romanca - Croatia 2008
Street musicians complete with a street bench and a loud old man and everything. Not without charm, but 100 % made for domestic consumption. Most people outside the Slavic sphere will get absolutely nothing out of this. Whatever happened to the pop music of Croatia? Will we never hear a pop chorus from them ever again?

Euroband - This is my life - Iceland 2008
Two fabulous singers make the most out of a rather weak song. Add some intense 90's beat, and there you have Euroband, trying to get Iceland into the final for the first time since 2004. Given the way the national selections are shaping, it would not be impossible for them to pass into the Saturday night show, but RUV will be spared the trouble of organising the international event also next year.

Dustin the Turkey - Irlande Douze Points - Ireland 2008
Ah, well. It won. That fact doesn't make me half as sad as the fact that many, seriously many, people seem to find it the funniest entry ever. Come back Scooch, all is forgiven. Not even Germany would have gone for this one in their saddest days of comedy back in the 90's.

Tamara Todevska, Adrian Gahxa & Vrcak - Vo ime na ljubovta - FYR Macedonia 2008
The only clip available on the net is this, somewhat out-of-tune, reprise rendering. Hard to say whether this will work or not, as it will probably be polished a bit before the ESC, but I really like FYR Macedonia's efforts of bringing less typical Eurovision sounds into the contest.

Ani Lorak - Shady Lady - Ukraine 2008
Baccara has really left their mark on large territories of this old continent, that is for sure. A more than OK disco song, competently belted out by Ani Lorak, who almost got to represent her country already back in 2005. Not bad at all, and probably a grower, but given the recent quirkyness and originality of the Ukraine, I had maybe hoped for a tiny bit more.

Nico & Vlad Mirita - Pe-o margine de lume - Romania 2008
I have no idea what song the backing singers think they are dancing to, but that slight criticism aside, I find myself liking this. Traditional, straight-forward pop ballad that could have made top three in Sanremo anytime during the late 80's. Very well sung, uncomplicated and appealing. Well done, Romania.

Isis Gee - For Life - Poland 2008
Big voice and big ballad from Poland who, for once, I think, got it right in their national final. Luckily, this is not just the stereotypical big ballad that just wants to show off some pretty vocal chords, but it is also quite engaging. The only thing I miss is a bigger bang by the end, but I would be surprised to see Poland miss the final this year.

8 New Winners

Last night we got to see 8 new finalists. Some very disappointing, a few good ones and some disasters. Let's start with Iceland. They know how to pick a winner unlike some other islands. Not mentioning any names but a very green island.

Iceland 2008: Euroband - "This is my life"

Even if the song is a bit too flirtatious with the early 90s-sound I still like it. And any song featuring Regina Òsk must be good. That's the law. Will be surprised if this doesn't go through the semi in Belgrade.

FYR Macedonia 2008: Tamara & Vrcak & Adrijan - "Vo imeto na ljubovta"

What a mess! What were they thinking? I haven't heard the other songs but was this really the best they could do? Disappointing.

Croatia 2008: Kraljevi ulice & 75 cents - "Romanca"

Eh....have the Croatians gone completely mad? The song in itself is quite traditional and not harmful but why bring in the local mafia with a Hugh Hefner-look-a-like to perform it? Now we might as well send Christer Sjögren off and they can battle it out in the Senior Eurovision - Live from a nursing home close to you!

Bulgaria 2008: Deep Zone & Balthazar - "DJ Take Me Away"

Hurrah!!! I really like this dance track! Way to go Bulgaria. You surprised me last year with a fantastic song and now you follow it up with another fresh dish. Thank you. And who can go wrong with a name like good ol' Balthazar?! Woho!

Ireland 2008: Dustin the Turkey - "Irlande Douze Pointe"

I hope you are proud of yourself you stupid Irish! A screaming puppet is just what the Eurovision needs. This. Is. Not. Funny. The one and only thing in this whole mess that I actually like is the line about "Wogan's wig". But that's it. Unfortunately I don't expect the turkey to get the placing he deserves. People will vote and I will cry.

Poland 2008: Isis Gee - "For Life"

Traditional ballad not unlike Dutch "My impossible dream" from 2005. Quite nice but American Isis was struggling with the high notes last night. Not a good sign. But compared with the bunch chosen yesterday this is among the best. Doesn't say much really but 2008 is looking more and more like a middle-of-the-road-year. Shame. Btw, Isis Gee has a twin in Swedish tv-presenter Linda Isaksson. "Like as berries" as we say in Sweden.

Romania 2008: Nico & Vlad Mirita - "Pe-o margine de lume"

Strong good voices in a duet which brings back memories from "Tell me why". Other people have compared the song to one of my Italian favourites "Avrei voluto" (1989). Not quite guys, but not a bad song at all. It will definitely pick up votes across the scoreboard.

Ukraine 2008: Ani Lorak - "Shady Lady"

Thank God for the Ukraine! At least there is one country you can always count on to deliver. It's finally superstar Ani Lorak's turn to take the stage in Eurovision with a smoking hit penned by Philip Kirkorov. Yes! Yes! Yes! I love it!

Now please have your say about these 8 new songs. Is it a stuffed turkey or a senior citizen with a stick for you?

Melodifestival, anyone?

My friends may call me a party pooper (and they do) but Mr Becks (aka Mr Doom & Gloom) understands very little of what went on last night in the third Swedish semi.

First of all, I got the feeling the entire Melodifestival had a headache compared to previous weeks: the jokes were not as funny, the technical department messed up, and Nour seemed shaken in her foundation. I think it is a good thing that everyone wants to be nice to her, but not during her short features. It is just weird. Like, everyone hugs Nour on the way out, so she keeps from crying. Nour deserves better. It seems the viewers agreed with me on some level, as the number of calls was dramatically lower than last week.

And I can safely say the results surprised me. First of all, I find it very comforting to see that it takes more than a song in Bosnian to convince the ex-Yugo televoters in Sweden. "Izdajice" was even less dynamic in its full-length version than I would ever have imagined. Secondly, I didn't think Eskobar would end last, but can't say I am really surprised either. Their heyday came and left again.

But then some other things really DID surprise me:

AINBUSK - despite the fact that the cosy girls matured into somewhat less synchronised women, I thought they nailed their ballad yesterday. I also thought they had more fans. My jaw dropped when they were left in 6th place.

PATRIK ISAKSSON - did have something frantic about him, and he has never looked less charming on-screen. He is a regular guy next door, and the make-over and attempted choreography just felt really really wrong and displaced. But there was still a highly effective song that he already sold to the Swedes several times in the past. Maybe he did it once too many already?

THÉRÈSE ANDERSSON - surprised me even more than Ainbusk. Traditionally, Swedes are anything but weak for this genre. It is not like Natalia Barbu from Moldova had loads of fans in Sweden, so why this change of mind? Not that I am against it, but still.

FRIDA - the hiphopper from Scania must have hit Sweden harder on the head than I ever imagined. I never thought she would make it into the final five, and not in my wildest dreams did I see her go on to the Globe. Everyone is so happy, and I understand nada. All I hear is a female equivalent of Pandang, if anyone remembers. But if everyone else is happy, I won't complain. I'll take a painkiller for the headache and smile for as long as the song lasts.

Caracola were expected for Andra Chansen, and if BWO had not made it straight to the final, I would have given up on the Swedes altogether. As for now, BWO is my top tip to win the Swedish final, but I have a feeling Charlotte might have a word or two to say before the fat lady sings.


Hello Skopje!

One of the eight countries selecting their entry for Belgrade tonight is FYR Macedonia - yet another of these ex-Yugo republics that make my weak old heart beat faster.

There has been so much criticism towards FYR Macedonia for their late habit of making the final every year from the semis. I read those comments every year and fail to see any reason anywhere? Why would it be forbidden for FYR Macedonia of all countries to do that? Would the same criticism arise had it been the Netherlands doing the same thing? (I would think no.)

Besides, many of the offerings from the Skopje region have been pure pleasure in the ears of Mr Becks. My eyes still sparkle like I was a child on christmas day when I hear the first ever FYR Macedonian entry, from 1996, that the juries rejected from the Oslo final. (What do I normally say about dumb juries?)

There is no video of Kaliopi singing anywhere in Youtube, but here is the audio version the juries voted (or failed to vote) upon. I'm wild with this one!

Best wishes, FYR Macedonia! Love you!

Kaliopi Gril - Samo ti - FYR Macedonia 1996
rejected in the pre-selection

My supersaturday

I was going to write a few bits and pieces about Finland today but time tricked me yet again and now I'm on my way to another blogger's place for a schlager evening. Late tonight or tomorrow morning you'll get a review of not only MF but also the Polish final. Will the Swedes win there too?

ps. Alexander Bard is KING of pop!!!

Poor Nour

This week's storm in a teacup concerns a subject I thought about touching ever since the first week of Melodifestivalen this year. Partially, MF has been one great big television fest - brilliant television and an exciting contest in a luxurious wrapping. Even Sven Stojanovic, responsible for some of the most mediocre camera work through the history of MF and ESC, is doing his best and the result is very good.

Some things are not as hot, though. Some ideas have not worked out, but that is normal. SVT have tried to vary the show and some ideas don't work. Natural.

One of the things that have worked really badly is the short interview sequence after each song, where young Nour El-Refai has tried to get something sensible out of the singers. Mission impossible. They are on an adrenaline high and just scream things like "What a wonderful audience!" and other deep thoughts.

Last year, Christer Björkman tried the same and failed the same way and had some criticism for that. And now some singers have made some very explicit comments on Nour and her (lack of) talent. Poor Nour took the whole thing really badly and has been absent from the rehearsals today.

I have seen Nour in other contexts, where she came across as very bright, funny and intelligent. The complete fiasco in MF is not her fault, it is the sequence that doesn't work. It should be cut out - nobody can make anything good out of it.

Being angry with Nour is very much like shooting the weather guy every time there is a storm or rain on its way. Don't shoot the messenger. Or the interviewer. Be angry with the producer instead.

Victory for Romania

Among seven other countries, Romania will make its final decision tonight. I keep my fingers crossed that everything will end well. For several various reasons. Above all, I hope tonight's winner will be Romanian.

No less than three acts are Swedish, and two of them have no link what-so-ever to Romania. What could be more pointless than a country being represented by a song AND a singer that has no connection to the country in question?

I know Luxembourg and Monaco did this, Andorra has done it etcetera etcetera, but these are small nations. Romania has a very developped music industry. Why are the Swedish songs even in the running?

It was one thing if these Swedes had huge careers over there and were loved by the Romanians, but I doubt that is the case. Fingers crossed for a good (and suitable) winner. Watch all the songs over at TVR's own site.


Listen! MF semi 3

It's that time of the week again. Listen to the snippets over at SVT.

My views are as follows.

BWO - Lay your love on me
Very promising 60 seconds and very BWO. Will be massive on stage! Madonna's "Hung up" comes to mind. Have the potential to become equally as big hit as that song around Europe. I would ship this off to Eurovision without blinking.

Mickey Huscic - Izdajice
OK Balkan-ballad but no masterpiece. He wants to sound rocky but to me the voice is just strained and not comfortable to listen to. Forgetable.

Frida feat. Headline - Upp o hoppa
Will be a rather nice summer hit with reggae beat (think Markoolio last year). Difficult to hear what Frida is singing with that thick skånska coming out. All in all a decent attempt but by no means a candidate to Globen.

Therese Andersson - When you need me
Think Alenka (Slovenia 2007) but with a better song. I'm still disappointed as I wanted something more and better from Pay-TV-Tessan. It doesn't hook me in those 60 seconds. Unfortunately.

Patrik Isaksson & Bandet - Under mitt tunna skinn
Happy schlagerpop in the best possible way! Really, really good! Nothing more needs to be added. Congratulations Patrik, here's your revenge for not getting to Globen with the wonderful "Faller du så faller jag" two years ago.

Caracola - Smiling in love
Three female Jimmy Jansson clones with way too much sugar on top for a cold-hearted soul like myself. And let's not even mention the "Mmmbop" revival in the chorus. Gosh!

Ainbusk - Jag saknar dig ibland
This week's Suzzie Tapper. Beautiful song and no doubt well performed by Ainbusk. I don't know if it is the 80s feel in it that makes me think of Solstollarna's collaboration with Carina Carlsson (of Cayenne MF-94)? That said in a positive spirit.

Eskobar - Hallelujah New World
Somewhat haunting clip which leaves me wanting to hear more. Much more. I like this style of music and welcomes it to the MF-stage even if I don't see Eskobar on a plane to Serbia in the near future. Reminds of another favourite of mine in the outside world - Christian Walz.

Posh says BWO & Patrik Isaksson to Globen, Ainbusk & Eskobar to Andra Chansen.

Posh says the Swedes will vote:
Patrik Isaksson
Andra Chansen
5. Eskobar
6. Frida feat Headline
7. Mickey Huscic
8. Therese Andersson

Melodifestivalen snippets, #3

And so I got to hear the one-minute snippets of the songs of the third semi in Sweden - a semi all newspapers have pointed out to be very hard to predict. I can partially agree, even though, for me, two finalists stand out as brightly as any entries can. I think I know who will end in last place, too. But then? Hard.

BWO - Lay Your Love On Me
Oooh, I spot one of ABBA's titles here. And their sound. And a few of their songs. I have always liked BWO, even if I sometimes find them a bit too plastic for my taste. ("Our aim is to be plastic!" is probably what Alexander Bard would answer to that. Me and Alexander went to the same school, by the way, but with quite a few years between.) I don't care if this is plastic, though. For me, this is the musical equivalent of being hit on the head - two seconds into it, I hum along with a distinct feeling of liking it very much. A hit. For sure.

This guy must have taken the wrong turn somewhere. The Bosnian selection is over there, this is Sweden. Bosnia usually have an abundance of pseudo rock like this in their national finals, and they hardly ever do well even there. The only hope for Mickey is if all ex-Yugos in Sweden (and they are neither few nor far between) puts him on repeat dial. Otherwise he would be out on his ears.

FRIDA feat HEADLINE - Upp och hoppa
This is not my cup of tea at all. I just get "Rosa helikoptern" vibes from this (most people will have no idea what I mean, but the Swedes will get painful memories) and the teacher in me is less than impressed by the use of swear-words in the lyrics. Frida has had a mega hit in Sweden last year, but I think she will remain a one hit wonder. I can't see a bright future ahead for this song.

I really like this weird mixture of rock and opera and I am usually weak for the songs of Evan, so this clearly touches something in me. However, I am also equally sure that the large masses will be left unimpressed by this. A bit too pretentious and complicated, I think. But a personal favourite of mine. And Thérèse can do nothing wrong in my eyes, I love her.

PATRIK ISAKSSON & BANDET - Under mitt tunna skinn
Patrik is a steady feature on the Swedish pop scene, and this is his best up-tempo effort for years - not unlike his precious "Hos dig är jag underbar" from 1999. He had a remarkably good ballad in MF 2006, and this time he is after revenge. Ladies and gentlemen, he will get it. Of that I am dead sure.

CARACOLA - Smiling In Love
Quite a few journalists have more or less fallen over in their almost hysterical admiration of this package. Colour, happiness and optimism paired with a nonsense chorus and everybody goes party. It could work, but I have my doubts. This doesn't do much for me, and could prove too aggressively cheerful for the average viewer.

AINBUSK - Jag saknar dig ibland
Newspapers report on somewhat shaky rehearsals for the Ainbusk singers, but I think they will lift this ballad to new heights when the show goes on air. The snippet leaves a feeling of something slightly too formulaic, but I think all worries will go out the window once we get to hear the full version. And Sweden has proven to be weak for Ainbusk in the past.

ESKOBAR - Hallelujah New World
It is great to have a band in MF that has had huge international success and chart toppers. It had been even better had this success been recent. Eskobar has not scored a major hit since "Someone New" back in 2002, which is six years ago. In pop years, that means a life. This song is nice, which is, arguably, the worst thing you could be in Eurovision. Everybody will like it a little bit, but who will vote for it? Unless there is a real splash at the end to make it memorable, it will go in through one ear and out through the other. But it will entertain you while passing.

My prediction:

Patrik Isaksson & Bandet

Andra Chansen

5. Mickey Huskic
6. Eskobar
7. Frida
8. Thérèse Andersson

Before you start throwing cans at me, let me explain. For me, it is clear as day that BWO and Patrik will go to the final. Anything else would knock me oblivious, to be frank. Caracola could shock the world, but I don't really think so. Mickey Huskic will be helped into the second round by shiny, happy people from the Balkans, but then it will end. I hope. And Thérèse will end in a very unfair and undeserved last place.

The Feeling Of Love!

What a wonderful discovery! Somebody posted the english version of "Vivo cantando" on Youtube and I just need to share it with you all. Salomé at her best! Just when you thought this couldn't get any better...

Salomé - The Feeling Of Love - Spain 1969

Salomé - Vivo cantando - Spain 1969

A lovely Day!

After all rambling about that horrid bird, let me praise the Emerald Isle for a moment. They almost never did better than this, back in Madrid 1969. Far too spaced out and brilliant for the silly juries, but Muriel Day is nothing short of remarkable. Motown from Ireland, and I love it.

But that dress? Wouldn't that amount of legs on display send an Irish girl to prison back in those days?

Muriel Day - The Wages Of Love - Ireland 1969

Ireland + Turkey = yäk!

Thanks to the excellent link provided by Miss Posh (it is still there - scroll down a bit and click it) I had a listen to the six songs in competition in Ireland. The proud Republic of Ireland that won Eurovision more times than anyone else until the new times came and hit them on the head, tipped them over, stole their handbag and disappeared.

For many years, I had a blind fear when it came to Irish entries. I always thought they would win. Even when reason told me they would not stand a chance, I thought they would win. I thought the Irish would score heavily in 1999. And in 2001. Not until very recently did that fear wear off. Cause the Irish used to win with any old piece of folklore they would hiccup in front of us.

Don't be angry with me, dear Irish readers. Fear is a weird form of compliment. And many an Irish entry has been brilliant through the years. This time, however, the brilliance is long gone.

On one first, critical listening with quite bad sound quality, there is no potential winners there. Most of the songs are OK, but not winners. And then there is that annoying turkey.

Seriously, I can get jokes. I can even push myself to get jokes that are outside my circle - too see what get others laughing even if I don't find it funny myself. As for Dustin the Turkey? Nothing.

If that silly plastic poultry wins it (which he most probably does) then it will be a sad moment for Ireland. Whatever happened to dignity? And if you find this hilarious once you passed the age of 15 or so, then you are far too easily entertained. This, you see, is rubbish. There is no tune, it is not very funny, it is not provocative, it isn't even a new idea. Besides, Estonia already decided to flop with the same kind of fiasco, so you wouldn't even look original on the night.

Where is Niam Kavanagh when we need her?

Super Saturday coming up

For the people with strong nerves and a solide psyche, this weekend will offer loads of fun in Euroland. Before Saturday is over, we will have eight more entries to complete the line-up in Belgrade. So, when Saturday turns into Sunday, we will be able to judge a great deal better if this is a strong year or if it is all turning into mush, doom and gloom.

I must admit that I don't have complete overview of the contenders so far. I am totally unable to determine whether things look good or not, but I do have a sneaky feeling somewhere in my old bones that we could be looking at possibly the weakest load of entries since 2004. Some songs are good, far too many are just OK, and far too many are truly disastrous.

Hopefully, it will make less of a mess than in 2004 - if things work out as planned, most of the rubbish will stay in the semis, where they can't hurt ordinary, decent, tax-paying people.

So, get on with it Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, FYR Macedonia, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine: give us your best shots. Will we see a winner coming from any of these?


Wogan's Wig

This is the real version of Irish puppet Dustin the Turkey's hope for international fame. I think I liked the fake one better...

All six acts were previewed on Irish radio 1 earlier today. Click listen here! I'm listening right now and have only heard the scandi-schlager-boy so far. Great fun hearing the comments from the Irish fans and radio personallities in the studio.

Ninja & Cristal Snow

I liked seeing the names of Ninja and Cristal Snow in the Euroviisut line-up, but I don't think they really delivered songs that live up to their regular standard. Just to showcase my point of view, here goes with some better singles from them. Am I right or am I right?

Ninja - Hush Hush

Cristal Snow - Cristal Clear


Euroviisut - the songs, part 3

Friday will see the third and last semi in Finland, and four songs will work it out who will go straight into the final and who will rumble in the Second Chance round.

1. JENNA - Sinua varten 3/5
Last year's Tango Queen goes Euroviisut with a style far removed from Finnish Tango, written by NylonBeat's old genius Risto Asikainen. What comes up is an adorably sweet little pop number, with a very soft and tender sound and a clever arrangement. Jenna looks like a tiny sweet and delivers the whole thing in a convincing way. Unfortunately, there is not enough of a hook to make this a serious contender in an international pop contest. More than good enough to make heavy rotation on the domestic radio stations, but not a universal smash.

2. CRISTAL SNOW - Can't save me 2/5
Cristal Snow is an interesting figure, well renowned in the Helsinki Gay Circuit after winning the title Miss Drag Queen 2006. Anyone thinking DQ or Sestre here would have something else coming, though. Musically, Cristal Snow is far more challenging with a deliberately trashy mix of pop, punk and a touch of Bowie. Not bad. And this could have been very promising, but disappointingly enough, this is mainly a re-hash of Cristal's hit single "Cristal clear" that was played a lot on air last winter. Europe wouldn't know about it, but this version is weaker and less inventive. The chorus is good, but the rest of the package feels a bit unfinished. A great shame - this could have been one of the most interesting things Finland ever sent off.

3. VUOKKO HOVATTA - Virginia 2/5
Kerkko Koskinen rides again - the genius behind UltraBra, "Shanghain valot" and last week's qualifyer "Milloin". You instantly recognise his sound, and this song (about Virigina Woolf) starts out nicely. This could be something along the lines of classic Euroviisut ballads like "An Actress" from 2005, but it gets lost somewhere along the way. There is no real chorus, and nothing to really hang on to. Vuokko sings it very well, but it would take a miracle to turn this song into a contender.

4. TERÄSBETONI - Missä miehet ratsastaa 1/5
And then, finally, the song I fear. Is this the number that the heavy metal fans will vote to victory on March 1st? It is not impossible. This is a mixture of drums, guitars, viking symbols and "Dschingis Khan" and something in the back of my head tells me that it will impress all the wrong people who will vote like maniacs for it. What is wrong with that, then? Lordi did well, didn't they? True, but Lordi could sing. There was a tune, and there was a touch of style to the whole thing. This is just loud, insensitive and severely lacking in the voice department. Could be a winner, but a very unlucky choice, if so.

My prediction:
The viewers will probably vote Jenna and Teräsbetoni into the final this Friday. But if the number of voters are low, the fans of Cristal Snow could upset the figures, and then he could possibly knock out Jenna. We shall see.


Iceland is losing it

Iceland is about to select its 21st Eurovision entry, and as I have kept half an eye on their endless selection procedure (isn't RUV a tiny bit afraid that 2,639 semi finals will leave the audience somewhat exhausted and fed up?), my spirits keep sinking and sinking. There is not much that leaves the old heart singing with joy when one listens through the potential entries.

I have always held Iceland were high in my personal ranking - they have been a neverending source of good pop music, fun performances and, sometimes, contribution that somewhat pushes the limits of this contest. This year, there is nothing to write home about.

I think I would be sort of pleased with Euroband, but I still think it is too early for a 90's revival. I never missed Culture Beat even once, and I don't think anyone else did either. And I am not sure if I should be happy about seeing Fridrik and Regina, two of my favourite singers, be shipped abroad with a song that is obviously lacking in most departments.

Not that I can blame the Icelandic for losing their grip, though. After 2005, when they were way ahead of everyone else and sent in the best dance track to date ever in Eurovision, only be rewarded with a shameful 16th place in the semi, I can't blame them for not giving it their all. (I don't CARE that her dress didn't work, that the camera work was a disaster, that Selma wasn't as confident as she should have been... Damn! Europe should have voted for her anyway!)

Selma - If I Had Your Love - Iceland 2005
16/25 in the semi final

Dima rides again?

Rumor has it that Dima Bilan is eager to enter the 2008 Russian NF and try to fight for another trip as Russian representative at Eurovision. It seems it all comes down to whether his management would let him or not.

I can understand his management if they have doubts - after a smashing second place in Athens 2006, it is easy to believe that the only way is down. Unless young master Bilan laid his hands on a real masterpiece of a song, that is.

Not that it always helps. In 2005, Bilan had a great entry for the Russian final, but had to content himself with a second place. But hey - no pain, no gain. And if you don't dare trying again, you can never win.

And I certainly wouldn't mind a repeat play of him on the ESC stage...

Dima Bilan - Not That Simple - Russia 2005 NF

Dima Bilan - Never Let You Go - Russia 2006

The moment you think you forget

Turkey is a virtual treasure chest - every time I just feel like dishing out a good entry for the sake of showing something good or funny, it seems Turkey is eagerly waiting to provide something useful.

"Unuttugumu sangidim anda" (The moment you think you forget) may be another nightmare title for commentators to spend sleepless nights over, but this song (runner-up in the 1999 Turkish final) could probably have gained a few more points than the misfortunate "Dön artik" did. (Not that "Dön artik" didn't deserve more, that is not at all what I am saying.)

Feryal Basel won the OGAE Second Chance Contest with this song in 1999 and kept coming back a few times in the national series without huge success. If anybody knows what she is up to these days, please fill me in.

Feryal Basel - Unuttugumu sangidim anda - Turkey NF 1999

SVT and YouTube

Today, Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet carries a story about SVT fighting it out with YouTube concerning copyrighted clips being available on the net. When people put clips from Melodifestivalen on the net, SVT feels that is a violation of copyright as well as a violation of the MF rules, giving the songs available on the internet an unfair advantage on the other ones.

Therefore, most YouTube material on MF has been removed, and there will be many links in this blog that won't work anymore.

Of course SVT takes whatever measurements deemed necessary to defend their rights. I just want to stress that Posh & Becks never upload anything on YouTube ourselves. We only link to material posted by others. And as long as clips are available and we like them, we will still link to them.

We have used clips very frequently, because we think it is fun, because it illustrates our points of view or, simply, because we want to highlight a certain song. Of course that means that people can listen to music without paying anything for it. But I believe in the power of PR. I think we help promoting Eurovision and it's various sub-events, and maybe somewhere some of the singers we highlight will sell a record or two thanks to internet exposure, instead of losing out from it.

I understand that SVT doesn't want any private footage from dress rehearsals plastered on the net, but once a show has gone on air, all the songs are out there. People can listen to them as much as they want; watch the videos over and over, rip the live sound and listen to that, carry the songs around in their iPods. In that case, the songs from semi one has an unfair disadvantage anyway. But MF is their show, they call the shots and I respect their decisions.

It's just a shame we can't link "Empty Room" by Sanna Nielsen anymore. You would all deserve to hear it.

Disco Monaco-style

The best disco song in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest came from Monaco in my year of birth. In case you are not familiar with the magic of Mary Cristy, I must share this with you.

Why Italian-born Mary wasn't turned into a worldwide star is beyond my understanding; for me everything comes together in this entry. Sit back and enjoy. Or throw your hands up in the air and shake it.

All recent Monegasque entries seem a bit lacklustre in comparison, don't they? I mean, "Coco-Dance"? Come on...

Mary Cristy - Toi, la musique et moi - Monaco 1976


Whistle down to France

No open competition in France, they will select internally, trying to get a big name to enter for them. Tobias gave a range of choices a few weeks ago. My contribution to the list is Aussie-born-now-living-in-England-and-having-a-career-in-France Tina Arena. I first noticed her in the late 90s when giving this performance at Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th celebration concert. Amazing voice which matched the musical ballad perfectly.

Tina Arena - "Whistle Down The Wind"

Then years later when I found myself on holiday in Australia my friend and I stumbled upon a concert she gave in her hometown of Melbourne. We got ourselves last minute tickets 15 minutes before it started and were blown away by Tina's repertoire.

She's not a huge name outside of Oz, France and the UK so what would she have to lose by entering Eurovision? I would be thrilled to see her in the contest! And if nothing else maybe the BBC will re-think about next year's selection?!

"Aimer jusqu'à l'impossible"

"Tu es toujours là"

"To sir with love"
"Don't cry for me Argentina"

Tina Arena 4 Eurovision!

Proud Mary keep on burning...

For no apparent reason, I was just consumed by a will to honour one of my favourite ESC contestants of all time - the majestic Mary Roos, the pride of Germany.

Not only did she contribute several quality entries for the German finals throughout the years, but she also twice walked out into the international limelight to spread an air of dignity over this melodic extravaganza.

In Edinburgh 1972, Mary and her fantastic dress impressed on all levels, giving Germany a third consecutive 3rd placing, something the Germans had not been spoilt with in the past.

Twelve years later in Luxembourg, things were far less rosy for Mary, as she recieved devastating news of a personal nature on the very day of the final, something that made the lyric of her song almost painfully close to her own life. But what does a real schlager diva do? Roll over and die? Hide in her dressing room, refusing to come out? No way - she steps onto the stage, fixates the camera and sings out all her agony.

The juries understood zilch and gave her a very low placing, but bear in mind that these jurors are the same that gave victory to "Diggi-loo Diggi-ley" in a year that offered "I treni di Tozeur". Shame on the juries. May they never come back.

Posh & Becks love Mary! If Germany finds themselves all out of ideas, we would love if they sent Mary again. At least we would vote for her. Repeatedly.

Mary Roos - Nur die Liebe lässt uns leben - Germany 1972

Mary Roos - Aufrecht geh'n - Germany 1984

I back Britain

Nobody can blame the BBC for not trying to change its unfortunate path through Eurovision: the national final will be revised again, for what feels like the umpti-eleventh time. After having "A Song For Europe" every year since the invention of music, the whole event turned into "The Great British Song Contest" (a contest that was, indeed, British but not always so Great), back to "Song For Europe", then morphed into "Making Your Mind Up" before going all "Eurovision: Your Decision" on us.

In a way, I don't think the change in itself was necessary. "Making Your Mind Up" often saw good line-ups and quite a few quality songs. Had the committy responsible for the songs just had the good judgement to leave out the silly novelties, this contest could have produced quite a few heavy scorers through the years. Now it never happened.

The UK has only reached top ten ONCE since Birmingham 1998, which is a shame for the formerly strongest participant country ever. Five victories and no less than fifteen second places through the years made the rest of the continent expect more than... ehm... Scooch.

On a first glance, the new concept seems slightly overworked from my critical point of view. Why not have just six good songs and six good acts compete the old-fashioned way? Why all the hocus pocus? But, on the other hand, if it works for re-capturing the domestic audience, who am I to sit around and complain?

I hope this will work wonders and that there are some good songs involved in the project - songs that could actually break the charts. Fingers crossed. And while waiting for this years British outburst of song, let's celebrate by looking back on some years in the past, where the Brits truly showed their best form. (Maybe not results-wise, but with good acts and good songs.)

Sweet Dreams - I'm Never Giving Up - UK 1983

Frances Ruffelle - Lonely Symphony - UK 1994

Mary Hopkin - Knock Knock (Who's There) - UK 1970

Gina G - Ooh... Aah... Just A Little Bit - UK 1996

Kathy Kirby - I Belong - UK 1965


Mad about Ola

Mr Becks finds himself with his jaw hanging between his knees. Ola has taken over and I just melt. The boy is wonderful! I love him and his song! Get him through to Globen, Sweden!

Ola - Love In Stereo - Sweden NF 2008 - Andra Chansen


Oh. My. God.

Those were the first words coming out of my mouth when Kristian Luuk told the viewers that Androla would join Ola in Andra Chansen. It never crossed my mind that this scenario could come true. Not after that performance they did. I gave in and fully enjoyed "One Love".

Can you believe that Sweden voted exactly like I wanted in my earlier post?!? I agree completely with the result for once. Hallelujah, as a certain Carola would exclaim (if she wasn't busy being sad she now has left the throne of schlager).

Sanna Nielsen was absolutely outstanding tonight! Globen must watch out when she enters the stage as it is possible the whole arena will take off and fly to Belgrade instantly. Sanna will end up no less than 3rd place in the final. I'm sure. The schlager-goosebumps on my body never wanted to stop during her three minutes. Have in mind that this might be the only ballad in Globen as well. 5th time lucky for the skåning?

I loved Rongedal's Scissor Sisters song after the snippet online yesterday. When seeing the twins on stage I still loved the song but was unsure if their performance would appeal to a broader audience. Turns out I needn't have worried one bit.

For once the general MF-viewer voted for songs instead of singers. Tonight was the biggest surprise win in ages and THIS is exactly the reason why I love this contest so damn much. You can never be 100% sure of anything. (Except that Sanna will be in the final top 3 as I just pointed out...) Seconds before the final result was announced I said "Shame it won't be as exciting as last week. We already know what will happen." Then my jaw dropped and I loved the surprise voting! "Skräll" is the new "nakenchock"!

Euroviisut, second semi

In a state filled of fever and exhaustion, I watched last nights Finnish semi number two and was slightly underwhelmed by what I saw. I knew the songs in advance, I knew what I was getting. But I keep getting surprised at how little thought goes into making this show.

I won't comment further on the lack of dynamics in the TV-show (but still: how can you make 50 minutes feel like an entire life???) and go straight for the songs:

Mikael Konttinen - Milloin - Finland 2008 NF QF
Clearly the best song in the line-up, but even the staging underlines the fact that this is a washed out recycled version of "Shanghain valot". Mikael sells the song really well, and comes across as a charming young man, but when your backing singers are intended to do synchronised movements in the background, the least one could expect is for them to be synchronised.

Kristian Meurman - Jos en sua saa - Finland 2008 NF QF
There is nothing to add about this song that I wouldn't have written the other night. Except, perhaps, that Kristian had let his hair out of the pigtail, which was, style wise, even more dubious than what he is normally up to.

Ninja - Battlefield Of Love - Finland 2008 NF - Second Chance
The lack of a chorus in combination with a lack of singing voice turns out to be a very unfortunate mix. Add a most viewer-unfriendly choreography (mixed with a camera work that may not be the hottest around) and the failure is imminent and irreversible. Too bad, this number could have turned into something good.

Jippu - Kanna minut - Finland 2008 NF - Second Chance
Wonderful Jippu managed to turn my mind around completely concerning this song. She totally sold it to me on stage. Not that it helped. Chanceless in the voting, and very likely that stunt will be repeated in the Second Chance round. But if there is any justice in the world, this will help Jippu sell a few more albums to the people out there with taste.

My prediction so far:
The final will be a private dingdong between Kari Tapio and Mikael Konttinen, given the fact they had almost the same share of percentage winning their respective semis. Neither of which would make Finland a sure qualifyer in Belgrade, I'm afraid...

The REAL Tina Karol

Thank you, The Nicole, for trying to Ukrainify the Swedish final with "Razborka", but no matter how sincere your effort might have been, there can only be one Tina Karol in the world.

And she comes here. (I love her, by the way. As I love the Ukraine on the total - by far the most entertaining country in Eurovision these days.)

Tina Karol - Show Me Your Love - Ukraine 2006

MF prediction

On first listening, after seeing the songs on the live show, one thing stands perfectly clear. It is more likely that Sweden cracks on the middle and sinks in the ocean than Androla missing out on the Globe. For the first time since, well, the last Ice Age or so, I feel Carola being genuine and attractive in a pop number. Not bad.

Nice thing, but it also means one of my two favourites must miss out. You see, I am MAD about the boy. Ola has stolen my heart and I think his lightly bombastic mix of retro A-Ha/Alphaville goes schlager is fantastic. But I also crack up from side to side when I hear Sanna. I want both of them in the Globe, but who will have to take the detour via Andra Chansen?

I think Sweden will vote Sanna straight into the final, which is a bad thing tactically. I think she would easily go through Andra Chansen, while I am not so sure about Ola accomplishing the same trick. But he should still have a hit single secured for himself.

Lasse Lindh grew on me, Andra Generationen worked for me live, The Nicole was funny and amusing, Alexander Schöld not my cup of tea, Rongedal too messy for me but a clear favourite for many voters. My old prediction still stands. Let's see how well I know the Swedes.

Turkey rocks

According to me, Turkey rocked more or less every year since they first set foot on the Eurovision stage. But this year they really got their guitars out, without sounding even a tiny bit like Lordi.

Good idea. Mor ve Ötesi is a well-established act on home ground and will give defend the Turkish colours in Belgrade. With their song "Deli" they will also carry on another old Turkish tradition: group names that are more difficult to pronounce than the title of the song they are set to sing. (I wonder how many of the commentators that got a headache back in 1984, when it was time for Bes yil önce, on yil sonra to enter the stage?)

This is what the boys will sound like. Not bad, if you ask me.

Mor ve Ötesi - Deli - Turkey 2008


I love grannies!

People who know Tobias and me often tend to use the phrase "You act and sound like an old married couple, grandparents-style". When you read our reviews and predictions for Melodifestivalen I tend to agree with those people. Not in any way us being old, but married for a long time. How else would you explain our similar taste and thoughts? Again I point out that we had no idea what the other person was going to write.

Now, this seems to be the right moment for me to come out of the closet as a granny-lover. I have a very soft spot for old women after five summers working in the home-help service through the years. They are just so damn cute and funny! Imagine how my heart jumped with joy when I came across this youtube video a few minutes ago! Ace!

I give you Swedish granny in love with "I love Europe"!

How adorable! And no wonder Christer Sjögren danced into the final as I expected him to do. (Unfortunately embedding this video on another site is disabled by request from the uploader.)

Melodifestivalen snippets, #2

Second week of MF, and I just listened through the one-minute snippets posted on SVT's website.

I am worn out after a long, stressful week, I think I am developping a flu and my shaky judgement is still intact, but here goes with my rating:

OLA - Love In Stereo
A very good opening - the song finds its way straight into your ear, and Ola delivers it in a tuneful and convincing way. Ola is another Idols-reject (of the same year as Måns Z) who also went on to have a lot more success than the people who won the final competition. He has many fans and they will all be prepared to vote for him tonight. I love the electronic elements in this song, that feel both retro and progressive at the same time. A very possible finalist when all votes have been cast.

LASSE LINDH - Du behöver aldrig mer vara rädd
On the other hand, this is a genre that has become far too over-populated for my liking lately. Sensitive young man with a guitar makes up arguably cute naïve rhymes over a soft melody line, and I shake my head and conclude that there is already too much of this in the world. Both song-wise and singer-wise.

THE NICOLE - Razborka
This is funny and uplifting. I like the voice and I like the attitude, and this could have been a Ukrainian ESC-entry had it only been stronger. I don't care much for the lyrics and if dear old Torbjörn at Aftonbladet is anything to judge from, The Nicole is too lightweight to do well. Not that I could see Sweden vote their phones to bits on this one anyway. Good try, but a lost cause.

ALEXANDER SCHÖLD - Den första svalan
Another assortment of male singers I don't care much for. Sensitive young man with a soft, almost whispering baby voice and no attack what-so-ever. I like the arrangement of the song, the mix of electronica and the grand-piano, but unless the lad is charming enough to blow apart a house, I can't see this go down well.

RONGEDAL - Just A Minute
The most easily recognisable twin backing singers in the history of Swedish pop goes Scissor Sisters wearing aggressively red outfits, singing an almost equally aggressively upbeat falsetto rock song. It leaves me a bit cold (could be the flu) but I could imagine that more than one Swede would fall for this. A dark horse in a bright red suit.

This is my song of the week, judging from this tiny clip. I always had a soft spot for Sanna, and this song gives her enough space to develop her voice without getting all loud and screechy. I just wonder if this clip is the very last minute of the song - in that case I would hope for more of an explosion (think "To nie ja!" by Edyta Górniak) and will be left disappointed. But I keep my fingers crossed for this one. Go, Sanna!

ANDRA GENERATIONEN - Kebabpizza slivovitza
A great idea to make some kind of balkanic ska-mix with Swedish lyrics. Really good idea. I applaud it. But the song leaves me with a headache. Sorry. I don't find it funny, I don't find it particularly good. I wish I did, but I don't.

Impeccably produced and perfectly polished to do well on the radio. Carola is surprisingly subtle on the recording and it all sounds good enough to go straight to the Globe. Unless... There is one big BUT in this. Will Carola manage to keep her lid on when the cameras start working for real? Will she put in her overdrive and drown the entire number in wailing? What a thriller. And even though this is an almost masterminded pop single, it is not direct enough to win the Swedish final, is it? Is Carola heading for a third place in March?

My prediction:

Carola & Andreas
Sanna Nielsen

Second Chance

5. Lasse Lindh
6. Andra Generationen
7. Alexander Schöld
8. The Nicole

This week, the prediction seems less mad than last week. In an parallell universe, Ola could surprise the world and kick Sanna out (or, if she runs amoch in her own little galaxy of sounds, Carola could find herself relegated to Second Chance).

Listen! MF semi 2

Listen HERE! I've only heard the clips once so forgive me if I change my mind five hundered times until tomorrow but first impression was this:

"Love in stereo" - Ola
80s pop. Promising but is it hook-y enough?

"Du behöver aldrig mer vara rädd" - Lasse Lindh
Jakob Hellman crossed with Winnerbäck. Ok but a little bit boring maybe. Could be a grower. Certain group of Swedes will adore it.

"Razborka" - The Nicole
Balkan and Russian sound mixed with Britney Spears. Quite good actually but will be too much on stage for Swedes. (Snowstorm! Diva chair! Nervous singer!) "Give me vodka"... 12 points from Malta?!

"Den första svalan" - Andreas Schöld
Would work better sung in English. Wimpy voice. Nah, not really my style.

"Just a minute" - Rongedal
Hell yeah! Scissor Sisters + Mika! But will it work on stage for the bald twins? They don't really have the look this genre demands.

"Empty room" - Sanna Nielsen
Goosebumps! That voice! Too short clip to make a judgement but I'm positive that I will like this big ballad.

"Kebabpizza Slivovitza" - Andra Generationen
This year's Östen med Resten? Can't focus on the song I just get hungry - I LOVE kebabpizza! [Homervoice]Ah...pizza! [/Homervoice]

"One Love" - Andreas Johnson & Carola
Had image of hating this but I don't. Much more Johnson than Carola in the song (which is a good thing). Could even live with sending it abroad but would be a boring, safe choice. Let's wait for BWO and Perelli before going down that road.

Posh would send Rongedal + Nielsen to the final. "Androla" + Ola to Andra Chansen. 5th place to The Nicole.

Sweden will vote Androla + Nielsen to the final. Ola + Rongedal to Andra Chansen.
5th Lasse Lindh
6th Andra Generationen (the drunken vote)
7th Andreas Schöld
8th The Nicole

Again a good selection of songs this week. I don't HATE any of them. I applaud the SVT jury and hope that it only will get better and better in the following weeks. When is the Melodifestivalen CD released? Monday after the last semi or after the final?


Happy Valentine

My reason for not blogging much this week is the same as Mr Becks. Work. Work. Work. I'll be back for real tomorrow afternoon. Just wanted to wish you all a happy Valentine's Day and treat you good with a medley of great love songs from my number one goddess. I don't care that the ESC-link isn't obvious. After last weekend's love theme of manifique Europe you need to get your ears cleaned with a quality star.

I give you Dusty Springfield!

Dusty Springfield - Medley of love songs 1970

Happy Valentine's Day!

Euroviisut, the songs - part 2

Still loads of work going on. But of course I must have my say on the second Finnish semi final as well.

1. NINJA - Battlefield Of Love 3/5
Ninja is a wonderful creation - a madcap former model turned pop star, mainly because she wants to herself. She is a kind of Finnish mix between Björk and Vanessa Paradis, with a hint of super model sprinkled over the package. Her debut album "I don't play guitar" may not have been the biggest seller but contains many hooky choruses, and even produced at least on single-hit in Sweden, where "Hush Hush" did quite well in the charts. In theory, I am very positive to all of this: a fast, trashy, pop punk pastiche in a furious tempo, but the entire thing collapses into a big, black hole when there is no chorus. Ninja's album is bursting full of choruses - why doesn't she have one here? I don't understand a thing. Not bad, but could have been so much better.

2. KRISTIAN MEURMAN - Jos en sua saa 1/5
Kristian is this year's Idols reject, a category that seems to have grown compulsory in this contest lately, and many people took to his singing during and after last season. He has mainly sung Finnish classics and evergreens and tried to make them his own. The song he has chosen to sing in Euroviisut will, most probably, not end up in the songbooks. A monotonous ballad that feels heavy on your shoulders way before three minutes have passed. Not a surprise if the Finns fall headlong for this song, though.

3. JIPPU - Kanna minut 2/5
Jippu is a Finnish singer/songwriter with a very intimate style and her very own way of performing. Fair and square, but maybe a bit too inaccessible for the larger audiences. The acute problem of this song is that the first minute completely lacks dynamics and pushes every inattentive listener away. Then there will be a very sweet chorus, but by then most people will have stopped listening. Unfortunately.

4. MIKAEL KONTTINEN - Milloin 3/5
And here he comes, the saviour. Kerkko Koskinen, who used to be the primus motor of Ultra Bra, has written a very effective floor filler for every Finnish traditional dance salon and this will be the favourite of the domestic radio stations. Mikael Konttinen could very well be a Jari Sillanpää in the making, but no amount of enthusiasm can cover up the fact that this is a shadow of Kerkko's "Shanghain valot" from 2006. Good, but not as good.

My prediction:
Mikael Konttinen and Kristian Meurman will get voted into the final, even though I would favour Ninja over Meurman any given moment. But maybe she will break through from the Second Chance round?


Queen Birthe

I am so wrapped up in work this week, and that is the main reason for the lack of updates from my side. But miss Posh, what is your excuse?

However, I must make at least one statement per day, or I would feel ill. So I will treat you all to Queen Birthe, one of my overall favourites. I have loved every inch of her ever since she won the 1989 Danish final, the first one I followed via radio. I had heard a few of her songs before, and loved her winning entry from the opening bar.

So, here are three out of Birthe's five MGP entries. To quote Posh: Love them or die. Birthe deserves your love, and lots of it.

Birthe Kjaer - Vil du med? - Denmark NF 1986

Birthe Kjaer - Hva' er du ude på? - Denmark NF 1987

Birthe Kjaer - Vi maler byen rød - Denmark


Finland, semi one

I know I haven't written anything about the Finnish final yet this year. This is, of course, partially because I know many people involved in the production and I want to weigh my words on the matter a bit.

Let's start by the good parts: the stage looked nice enough, TV2 has understood that postcards is a good way to keep the show going and Jaana Pelkonen is better than ever. She ignores the silly teleprompter that used to make her and Heikki stiff and oozes with self-confidence.

Then the things that are not so great. Every show is 50 minutes long, but contains only four songs and a very short time for voting. It feels like they are trying to squeeze out content enough for 25 minutes into double that time. There is still too much talk, the postcards are too long and the revelation of the voting is too undynamic. There is still no excitement in the show, unfortunately.

Well, anyway, this is what the four songs looked like and sounded like. What do you think, did the two best ones pass on to the final?

Kari Tapio - Valaise yö - Finland 2008 NF QF
This could very well be the winner in the end. Kari is the biggest name in competition, and even though the song is as old as the sea and the mountains, it is well performed and well crafted. Fans of Euroviisut can recognise Johanna Pakonen on backing vocals also.

Movetron - Cupido - Finland 2008 NF QF
I thought it was too early for a 90's revival, but it seems the televoters have missed Movetron since they split. This song sound exactly like their old hits, maybe it was the pleasure of meeting an old friend again that excited people?

Hanna Marsh - Broken Flower - Finland 2008 NF - Second Chance
This country ditty is not bad, but partially destroyed by a nervous and slightly overdone performance. Could have a future as a radio song, though.

Crumbland - Pleasure - Finland 2008 NF - Second Chance
Rock is usually the hottest thing around in Finland, but the fact this song failed to go straight into the final is an interesting sign that things could be changing.


My first love

If there is one single thing that forever got me hooked on Eurovision, then it is this! I was about to turn seven when we tuned into TV1 to see the previews and catch a glimpse of Carola. But who cared about Carola? This clip blew me away!

My young, impressionable self witnessed this trick filmed sequence when Jahn Teigen and Anita Skorgan walk over the keyboard of a piano and my eyes almost fell out of my head. Then more things impressed me afterwards: the UK clip, and the Italian one with all the soap bubbles. But nothing made my jaw drop like Norway.

So here, I share it with you: my most defining moment throughout all the years I followed this contest. (And as an added bonus - Anita Skorgan's magnificent "Karma". Even better, but I had no idea until years and years later.)

Jahn Teigen & Anita Skorgan - Do Re Mi - Norway 1983

Anita Skorgan - Karma - Norway NF 1985