Six weeks later we travel to (sort of) the capitol of the country (or at least the capitol län) to the newly presented Friends Area in Solna. A largely huger venue to host the final of Melodifestivalen, the night was a huge success and I will highlight the moments that stuck out to me as being the most important and amazing.

Solna.00-00.Gina Dirawi & Danny Saucedo

Firstly our faithful hosts for the competition this year, Gina Dirawi and Danny Saucedo opened the show with some others with a musical number about going to Malmö. As people who follow the press would know, Danny has admitted that hosting is not his thing, but he had a huge awesome time and likely won’t do it again. Having said that, I have to say that two years later Gina Dirawi is absolutely amazing and quite honestly I can’t think of a better person to do the job. She’s smart, funny, versatile, professional and added that extra magical sparkle in arguably a lack-luster competition this year. Hats off to both of them, on a super job well done! :wave:

Solna.00-01.Anders Lundin & Kattis AhlströmSolna.00-02.Petra Mede

In the aforementioned musical performance we had a few guests, from new and old. Former host and future Eurovision Song Contest 2013 host Petra Mede made an appearance to sing along with the other past hosts for Eurovision: Anders Lundin & Kattis Ahlström from 2000, Harald Treutiger & Lydia Capolicchio from 1992. Great cameo’s and a great beginning to the night.

Ulrik Munther – Tell the world I’m here
=> Second runner up
❗ Personal Favourite
Solna.01.Ulrik Munther

What can we say about Ulrik? Well he has a very Coldplay type song that really was lucky to come in third place with all the vote splitting. His song is appealing to a wide variety of people but I really think that his performance in the semi-final heats were much better and packed a lot of a punch. It’s also interesting to note that in the semi-finals he was far and away the winner of the heat with the most votes of all the previous entrants combined. Pretty crazy for me to think that this was one of the favourites to win, and given how the evening went I was very surprised because I don’t even think SVT was ready for what happened. Needless to say this song will be a radio-hit for a long time. Good job and good song, Ulrik even if I don’t exactly like your voice.

David Lindgren – Skyline
Solna.02.David Lindgren

This song is just a flop in a group of songs that really are mostly flops, but it’s just a copy of his song from the previous year. It lacks originality, and is a great dance number but I get irritated watching David bounce around the stage making weird excited faces. I think he was just a bit too excited the whole evening considering he had little chance to actually win. It was a decent song but nothing to write home about.

State of Drama – Falling
❗ Personal Favourite
Solna.03.State of Drama

Despite this being the “odd one out” in the final in terms of not really fitting in, I think that it was a good addition to the line-up in the ballad department that was a lot more mainstream than any ballad could ever be. I know that there was little to no chance of this song winning, but I think they should be proud of what they did and how far they came against all odds. Edging out the old fogies, they luckily didn’t come last and provided the indie-pop-ballad to ease everyone into the show.

Anton Ewald – Begging
❗ Personal Favourite
Solna.04.Anton Ewald

Just barely out of the top-3 finalists, Anton the dancer turned singer after being asked to participate makes me wonder if I would ever be able to do be in the competition with a self-written-collaboration song. I likely sing a ballad of some sort, but in any case after the Andra Chansen journey for Anton and Robin it’s no surprise that he had a lot of support from the viewers. I just think that there were too many of the same images (attractive young boys) that split the votes across the board. The song grew on me and the more I listen to it the more catchy I feel it become, but really I think Anton is a better dancer than singer and should probably stick to that. I doubt he will go far, but this song will be a radio-hit for awhile, but maybe I will be proven wrong and he won’t be a one hit wonder!

Louise Hoffsten – Only the dead fish follow the stream
❗ Personal Favourite
Solna.05.Louise Hoffsten

University of Linköping’s very own Professor of Philosophy should be very proud of her path to the final with her oddly named song. Although she admittedly was very bitter about not being able to tour in the spring due to Melodifestivalen and lack of promoter interest, this long time artist represented the only woman in the final for the first time in a long time, and ironically a day after International Womans Day, she represented her gender with honour, interest, and with a lot of confusion. I’m not convinced she knew what was going on, but she garnered a great number of votes because he song was very powerful and odd. I really enjoyed it and I’m sure it will be a hit for a long time at least in my playlist. Congratulations Louise, you did us proud!

Ralf Gyllenhammar – Bed on fire
Solna.06.Ralf Gyllenhammar

For all those hard-rockers out there, here is that number that appeals to you and the pyros of Sweden. After a semi-final where there were many jokes about the front rows of spectators being lit on fire, Ralf takes to the stage with his career and Grammy award and nominations and gives it his all. I think it’s also important to note that while his song is interesting, not my thing mind you, but that he was able to embrace the competition in a positive way and all it stands for. As shown in a later picture he even homo’ed it up a bit to add to the festivities, yay homofriendly! :DD

Ravaillacz – En riktig jävla schlager

Part of this year’s gag act and commentary on schlager singers Tommy Körberg, Claes Malmberg, Johan Rabaeus and Mats Ronander took to the stage to use text and cheesy melodies and background music to appeal to the older generations of voters but I think it was clear from the start that although being the top voted in their semi-final the song wasn’t going anywhere fast. They are figures in Swedish culture, and although trying to stay classy even become the joke of the host. When asked who made their clothing, Tommy Körberg referred to the making of them being kept in the family, which was quickly retorted by the comedian Gina with commentary about incest. It was a golden moment, though they didn’t seem too interested but I laughed! :))

Sean Banan – Copacabanana
Solna.08.Sean Banan

Well two gag-acts in a row made for an interesting middle-end of the show. Sean Banan is rigorously popular figure and represents the cheesy population and parodies of Swedish culture. He has commentary on just about everyone and has the painfully unattractiveness of an act that is by and far over the top. I guess that’s what Sweden likes about it, him quite frankly his song was nearly the same as last year and I hope that he gives it up after this. He’s entertaining in a “I can’t look away cause it’s such a disaster” way, and his song (albeit catchy) is just equally as disastrous. Having said that, he still brings to the final one of the few glamoured schlager-eque numbers that were lacking, I doubt it was his intention though!

Robin Stjernberg – You
=> Winner
Solna.09.Robin Stjernberg

Arguably a surprise winner this year, Robin will be representing Sweden at home in Malmö this year with his pop-ballad You which is the first winner to come out of Andra Chansen in the competition. Strongly favoured by the international juries and playing second fiddle to the publicly popular Yohio, Robin represents a surprise winner that’s deserving in his personality, and somewhat of his song. I think the song is good, but it’s not great. He’s been a long-shot winner from the start as his song sort of irritated me (especially his boots), and even as it was announced for the third time by Edward af Sillén over the loudspeakers he still didn’t believe that he won. I guess it’s nice to have a surprise, and a good figure. Europe will struggle to pronounce his name (obviously), but he will still be a good choice for Eurovision. Will his song win? Remains to be seen what the competition is, but I’m doubtful.

Yohio – Heartbreak Hotel
=> Runner Up
❗ Personal Favourite

Interesting how the competition ended, with Yohio getting the most televotes but was in no way a favourite by the international juries. Essentially it was the lack of these votes from the juries that was his achilles heel to win the competition with his j-rock song Heartbreak Hotel. Massively popular and the highest voted combined total in the semi-finals and finals, it still wasn’t enough to stop Robin Stjernberg with his ballad. Visibly upset, Yohio clearly just wanted to be noticed by Swedes as the majority of his career has been in Japan and not really “fitting in” in his home in Sundsväll, it’s sad that it didn’t come to be. I think that his song was okay, and his character and image was very interesting and out there in a way that’s memorable and positive. Commanding in performance, graceful in defeat he was a good sport for losing but maybe Sweden will see more of him after this.

Solna.00-04.Lynda WoodruffSolna.00-05.Lynda Woodruff

Other features of the competition were the always funny Lynda Woodruff from last year, played by the awesome Sarah Dawn Finer presenting the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest 2013: Friends Arena in Solna, oops she meant the smaller more intimate venue in Malmö. Clearly a commentary and poking fun at self for SVT for choosing a smaller venue in the south, in order to return the competition to it’s roots and not be such a huge financial burdon for possible winners it renews in a funny way the state of the economies of the possible winners in Europe. Some countries already had to pull out due to financial constraints, it renews hope to possible winners that hosting the show is still possible with a decent budget.

Solna.00-06.Lynda Woodruff

And after all, even if it’s a small venue there are cultural things about Malmö that you can experience like spit-cakes… Oh Skåne… :lalala:

Solna.00-07.Manillaskolan & Adolf Fredrik MusikklasserSolna.00-08.Manillaskolan & Adolf Fredrik Musikklasser feat. Loreen

This year, Loreen’s winner Eurphoria in a whole new way was performed by Manillaskolan & Adolf Fredrik Musikklasser feat. Loreen in a rendition that was bost moving and something close to Loreen’s heart: children. The child’s choir featuring children from what seems to be as young as eight years old to teenagers, featured boy-sopranos, and a lovely arranged rendition to the former winner. If you even look hard enough (outlined in the picture above) there is even a future pop-star Eric Saade style kid who’s got that charm that could win him some hearts. Otherwise it was a fantastic tribute to the Eurovision winner from the last year.

Solna.00-09.Ralf Gyllenhammar & Gina DirawiSolna.00-11.Carola & Danny Saucedo

The “gayer” part of the show came in the most unlikely of places: Ralf Gyllenhammar enthusiastically accepting and wearing a furry pink cowboy hat and bright fuschia boa. He demonstrates that even the hard rockers can be gay-friendly and have some fun lookin’ good. Keeping on the gayer subject, it was the 30th year anniversary of Carola’s massive hit Främling, which was re-written and re-performed (with wind machines yes) as one of the middle-acts. As always Carola was all about herself and preaching her Godly ways for being so fabulous. The gays love her because she’s fabulous, but she hates the gays because God says they are evil. :crazy:

Solna.00-10.Gina Diranova

Presenting the Ukraine’s jury this year was Gina Diranova (hah! :wave:) who didn’t understand why she was talking in English, but it didn’t stop her from being really funny without even trying to be!

Solna.00-12.Robin StjernbergSolna.00-13.Robin Stjernberg & Yohio

Keeping with the “gayer” theme, the winner however tragically heterosexual had one of those “OMG it’s me?” moments when he wins, and then comes my favourite part of the night: when all the boys start kissing each other. Why do I like this? Well because it shows the world that it’s totally okay for boys to touch each other, or even on occasion kiss, and it doesn’t make them homo! Here one sees Yohio kissing and congratulating Robin who probably has no idea that he’s being kissed by a cross-dressing man. Whether he cares about that or not will never be known, but who cares? Yay!

Solna.00-14.Robin Stjernberg & Anton EwaldSolna.00-15.Sean Banan, Robin Stjernberg & Yohio

As illustrated and talked about above, you can see the bromance of the year Anton Ewald and Robin Stjernberg whom during Andra Chansen bonded in many ways (clearly emotional and possibly otherwise). The final image is of this year’s winner really living his dream for winning and his competitors around him congratulating and being happy for him, no matter the heartbreak. That’s an amazing thing!

In conclusion, while talking with a friend of mine who’s from America I started on a rant about how much I love my country and why. It’s a place where no matter how old, how young, how hot, how ugly, how you love, who you love, where you live, or who you are, you’re all accepted and don’t need to worry about expressing yourself or why you’re different. It’s diverse, it’s happy, it’s sad, it’s emo, it’s expressive and as long as you’re not hurting other people, it’s okay! Melodifestivalen and Eurovision represent this diversity and this acceptance of fabulousness in all it’s forms and is a reason why I love it so much!

So until next year for Melodifestivalen 2014, I’ll keep doing my Eurovision Song Contest reviews as well. Take care! :wave: