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.
MICKEY HUSKIC - Izdajice
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.
THÉRÈSE ANDERSSON - When You Need Me
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.
Patrik Isaksson & Bandet
5. Mickey Huskic
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.