Well first thing’s first – here were last night’s results. Click on the song titles of the 5th to 8th finishers, to see their performances.
Ravaillacz: ‘En Riktig Jävla Schlager’
State of Drama: ‘Falling’
Martin Rolinski: ‘In And Out Of Love’
Caroline af Ugglas: ‘Hon Har Inte’
Well the main picture tells you all you need to know, before even getting to the results. What a sight. In short: this was not our week. Nondescript MOR rock music, and old men actually taking the piss out of our beloved schlager, trumped all else last night. Janet Leon was knocked out with her sublime disco pop track ‘Heartstrings’, Amanda Fondell’s tortured triumph ‘Dumb’ was eliminated, and Eddie Razaz’s seen-it-all-before-but-we-always-wanna-see-it-again ‘Alibi’ crashed out. So no, it wasn’t really our week. But then it’s not really looking like our year either.
As it stands now, the final of Melodifestivalen 2013 is looking and sounding; at worst – almost completely woeful, and at best – a poor and pale imitation of EVERY final of the last ten years. If you’d told us this time last year that David Lindgren would provide our favourite entry in this year’s final, we’d have laughed at you. Well we’re not laughing now. ‘Skyline’ is a fantastic track though, but that’s pretty much all we’re looking forward to seeing in Friends Arena right now. Yes ‘Only The Dead Fish Follow The Stream’ (we still cringe every time we have to type that title) is a nice song, but it’s not Melodifestivalen final material, let’s face it. And while we were the first to admit last week that ‘En Riktig Jävla Schlager’ is a fun romp of a song, why do we have to have Ravaillacz singing a song about schlager, when we could have an artist singing – y’know – ACTUAL schlager?
However depressing it is that our favourites are being eliminated from the contest by songs that aren’t up our street though, we can’t complain. Because that’s exactly what it is – fans moaning because songs they don’t like are doing better than the songs they do like. Melodifestivalen is a television show just as much as it is a music show. And for ten years or so, it suited us that our kind of artists – Linda Bengtzing, After Dark, Charlotte Perrelli, Alcazar – they all made great television that Sweden loved to watch. But eventually a lot of Swedes and unfortunately the majority of the Swedish press, grew tired of it. So in order to keep Sweden watching Melodifestivalen and maintain its status as THE number 1 television show every year, SVT have started using a new batch of artists who make great television that Sweden wants to watch. Kids favourite Sean Banan, Ravaillacz for the older generation, unassuming-boy-next-door-done-well David Lindgren, and the likes of which had never been seen before – YOHIO. Whether we like them or not, we can’t deny that they’re all succeeding in making great television in Sweden right now – Melodifestivalen is getting record breaking ratings this year (who knew it could get even bigger than it was?).
SVT have diversified, and it’s paid off for the show, which is bigger than ever. And in the long run, that’s gonna pay off for us fans of yesterdecade too. It means that the contest will still be here in ten years time, basically. Something which we perhaps couldn’t have been guaranteed, had the likes of Kikki, Afro-Dite, and Jessica Andersson been given prime focus by Christer Björkman for much longer. But what we do suspect, is that their ilk WILL start to filter back into the finals throughout those next ten years. The Sean Banan joke will get old, the next breed of Ravaillacz will start poking fun at the next breed of David Lindgren, and YOHIO will get fat.
The final this year isn’t going to be our cup of tea at all. But the vast majority of Swedish TV viewers are gonna love it. And we’re grateful for that at least, because it’s what the contest needs to survive – the vast majority of Swedes loving it.
Until the final is ours again, we’ve still got the songs that make up the heats. ‘Heartstrings’ was amazing. Nobody could call ‘Dumb’ mediocre. And Anton Ewald’s ‘Begging’ wasn’t just a re-thread of Danny Saucedo or Eric Saade, its production and choreography was next level, something else. ‘In And Out Of Love’, ‘Hello Goodbye’, ‘Make Me Number 1’, ‘We’re Still Kids’ and ‘Alibi’ – all good to great pop tunes too.
The only thing that IS inexcusably missing though, is the schlager. It doesn’t need to make the final, that’s fine. But it really shouldn’t be gone from the contest completely. That’s just kicking us while we’re down. And there’s no need for that. So SVT – if you’re gonna make us sit through the next few years of Sean Banan, you can at least give us Anne-Lie Ryde’s 40ft brown feather boa to make the noose some sort of comfort. Cheers.