Photo: Olle Kirchmeier/SVT
After six weeks of contests, and an even longer period of pre-contest anticipation (we love it, don’t we?!), Melodifestivalen 2013 came to its usual confetti spurting climax on Saturday night, and crowned a brand new winner. And thankfully, a deserving one too.
Somehow, despite a lot of initial reservations about the quality of the songs that were progressing from the heats each week, Saturday night’s final was a really good show. A fantastic two hours of entertainment that we enjoyed immensely – much more than we thought we were going to by the end of heat 4. In the end, there was really only one song that we didn’t like in any capacity (name and shame – State of Drama’s ‘Falling’), with even Sean Banan and Ravaillacz at least being an entertaining part of the line-up, each a spectacle in their own different way, and both with a catchy tune on hand. The rest of the songs were made up of soft rock, hard rock, Japan rock, and boy fronted dancepop. A lot more rock than we’re usually used to enjoying, but that we did, is in itself a credit to the songs.
So yes, in fairness to SVT and the Swedish public, it was a great final. Still though, in comparative terms, it certainly wasn’t a vintage year by any means. Or at least it doesn’t look that way right now. Take 2005, for example – a final which draws some parallels to this one, in that it was a wide open field by the time the show started, and in the end it was actually the juries that swung the vote and didn’t allow the Swedish public’s favourite to win. That final however, had Nanne Grönvall’s ‘Håll Om Mig’, Alcazar’s ‘Alcastar’, Shirley Clamp’s ‘Att Älska Dig’, and Linda Bengtzing’s ‘Alla Flickor’ in the mix. All genuine classics, each and every one of them. But all schlager classics, at that. Something that for now at least, the contest seems to want to turn its back on. Time will tell if Melodifestivalen will reverse that stance on schlager, or if in fact Robin Stjernberg’s ‘You’, Anton Ewald’s ‘Begging’, David Lindgren’s ‘Skyline’, or Ralf Gyllenhammar’s ‘Bed On Fire’ go on to become classics themselves within the next eight years, and we thus don’t miss the schlager as much as we think we will at this point. Although actually, we personally think that both of those options in the previous sentence will come true a little bit. Schlager will be back in the future, although it’s safe to say we’ll probably not have another year like 2005 with four future schlager classics in the final. Instead, the songs that SVT are replacing the schlager with will continue to get better. They have to. Despite viewing figures being at a record high, voting numbers have dropped off. And this year for the first time ever, none of the songs that finished 5th to 8th in their heats each week and were released to iTunes earlier than the rest, made it to number 1 on the chart.
So why the record number of viewers despite the general public consensus of there being a dip in quality to the songs? Well it’s because SVT are still producing an amazing TV show every week. The artists competing every week have been varied enough to appeal to a broader range of viewer and listener than ever before, Gina Dirawi and Danny Saucedo have been an inspired choice as hosts, the opening numbers and interval acts have been nothing short of brilliant almost every week, and where the final is concerned, the staging of Friends Arena was epic, and all of those crowd and arena shots were stunning (and despite hearing numerous well argued reasons by Swedish experts trying to convince us otherwise, we STILL think that it’s a shame SVT chose not to host Eurovision there this year. We’re with Lynda Woodruff on this one!).
Next year we can’t see any reason that all of those new viewers won’t be coming back for more. Largely thanks to the fantastic television that Melodifestivalen is, and also because it’s produced another worthy winner for the Swedes to get behind at Eurovision.
So then. It’s all over for another year, and we have that winner. Sweden’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. ‘You’, by Robin Stjernberg. Here’s his winning reprise;
(Oh, and if you’re a brand new Robin Stjernberg fan after Saturday night’s show, you might want to check out his two previous singles that were also really good. ‘Scars‘ and ‘On My Mind‘. They, like ‘You’, have also been released outside of Sweden too. iTunes link under his performance.)
The Melodifestivalen 2013 CD featuring all 32 songs, is available from our store, as are many new albums from the competing artists.