malena ernman

Go home, Russia!

I’ve just read, thanks to my trusty RSS Feeds, that Russia is not happy with Melodifestivalen’s interpretation of the mid-act show. It’s really a silly article, that you see attached:

Russian disgust over Eurovision skit
David Landes, The Local, 16/03/2009

The Russian embassy in Stockholm has launched a scathing critique of Sveriges Television (SVT) for what it sees as a “disgusting” portrayal of Russia during the weekend’s Melodifestivalen finals.

“It makes no sense to me why Sweden would show such ignorance in misinterpreting this image of Russia,” embassy spokesperson Anatoly Kargapolov told The Local.

“If Russians could see what happened on the stage of Globen on Saturday, I’m fairly certain it will reduce the number of votes they give to the Swedish singer [Malena Ernman].”

Kargapolov’s comments come in reaction to a comedy interlude from the Melodifestivalen finals featuring two Swedes who travel to Moscow on a fictitious attempt to recruit a Russian singer to perform a “musical postcard from Moscow”.

The two are then ushered into the headquarters of the Russian “Schlager Mafia” where they meet a stereotypical Russian mobster, flanked by a beautiful woman and armed guards.

As the sketch proceeds, tempers flare when the Swedes refuse to hand over a teddy bear one of them is wearing in lieu of a traditional Russian fur hat.

The other Swede then says to the supposed-gangster, “You’re fucking worst!”, at which point the mobster’s henchmen (and the woman) all draw their weapons.

The taped comedy sketch ends with an agreement between the Swedes and the head of the Russian “Schlager Mafia” at which point the programme segues into a techno version of a tongue-in-cheek song entitled “Tingaling, tingaling” (‘Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling’) performed live on the Globen stage and broadcast live across Sweden on SVT.

The live dance number included an array of Russian stereotypes, including Cossack dancers, matryoshka stacking dolls, and a chorus of men dressed like Russian soldiers. The choreography also featured several scantily clad woman wearing tight-fitting shorts with a single red star splaying their legs toward the camera in unison.

“I didn’t know how to react,” said Kargapolov.

He explained that many staff members at the embassy were bewildered by what they saw as an “offensive” and “disconnected” portrayal of Russia and Russian culture.

“I’m really upset that the Swedish people don’t bother to see beyond its own borders and sticks to such narrow-minded and outdated stereotypes of Russia,” he said.

Even the ambassador himself, Alexander M. Kadakin, has been informed of the matter, although he has chosen not to get involved personally at this point since he was out of town at the weekend and didn’t see the performance himself.

The embassy did issue an official statement however, condemning the piece:

“We do not react to eccentricity by some lunatics whose Russophobia should place them in an asylum rather than on Globen’s stage.”

SVT’s Ronnie Lans, an executive producer for Melodifestivalen, defended the comedy sketch and song as “satire”.

“The number was done with a lot of humour and affection,” he said.

“It wasn’t our intention at all to offend anyone. It was a comedy sketch.”

Lans explained that the satire was meant to poke fun more at Swedes’ views of Russia, rather than Russia itself.

“We’ve all been to Russia and know that’s not how it really is,” he said.

He clarified in particular that the so-called “Schlager Maffia” is actually a term applied in jest to a group of performers and artists surrounding Christer Björkman, a former Melodifestivalen winner from 1992 who now runs the Swedish contest.

“We thought it would be fun to include his Russian counterpart,” said Lans.

Lans said SVT has received nothing but positive reactions about the sketch from viewers, many of whom suggested that “Tingaling” should be Sweden’s Eurovision entry to the contest in Moscow.

“We apologize if what we did was considered insulting. That wasn’t our intent,” he said, but added that he didn’t think the number crossed over the line.

“Satire is what it is, and sometimes it can be edgy.”

He admitted that SVT could also do more to help counteract Swedes’ stereotypes about Russia, something that the embassy’s Kargapolov would welcome.

“These stereotypes sit so deeply in the Swedish psyche,” Kargapolov explained.

“Hopefully this will help ring some bells among Swedes and help them realize how disgusting some of the things are that they’ve shown.”

All I have to say is, get over yourself Russia. If you’re not going to want to host Eurovision and take some satire then don’t bother to even enter. Eurovision is, in it’s entirity, satrical, and you know that having your bloody singer have a dancer coming out of a panio, and winning the competition with a half naked singer, a violinist and a professional figure skater. Fuck off!

And to think that they actually, apart from almost promising that Sweden won’t get votes, would dare to say such things… If Sweden doesn’t get votes, I guess we know who caused that… Cause it’s not Sweden.

Ode to Malena Ernman, disco-opera queen

So rightfully so, I’ve been tapping my toes to the song La Voix since Saturday night. This song was written by Malena Ernman and Frederik Kempe (I’m really starting to want to call him Freddy, as we so celarly are on a first name basis!) And this song is fabulous. Before Slovenia’s entry a few years ago, Alenka Gotar, we didn’t think that opera and pop/disco could be mixed, but boy were we wrong. This song rocks my socks, and I just find myself belting everywhere I go.

Malmö.08-01.Malena ErnmanMalmö.08-02.Malena Ernman

Starting out in green and with sexy-salt-and-pepper older dancers, Malena busts out the theme of keeping a promise and being in love with us. What will she do next?

Malmö.08-03.Malena ErnmanMalmö.08-04.Malena Ernman

Well what else would SVT to besides avoid pyrotechnics, but use the abundance of light that is available. They make her look like an angel, and justly with the voice of one. And then she busts a move with the sexiest dancer on the stage, the 40-year old salt-and-pepper one who looks a bit like Pekka Heino (yes I know who he is, weird!)

Malmö.08-05.Malena ErnmanMalmö.08-06.Malena Ernman

Oh but wait, it gets better going back to pink from green and white, and then we’ve got the angel again belting out befoe the chorus! It’s eeirie but an awesome effect. I never would have thought that bringing the contrast so high woud make something look so cool.

Malmö.08-07.Malena ErnmanMalmö.08-08.Malena Ernman

Oh but wait, that’s not all before moving back to green we go to black, and with mysterious masks. I think it’s really nifty, and a nice simple little addition.

Malmö.00-01.Malena Ernman & Sarah Dawn FinerMalmö.00-02.Malena Ernman & Sarah Dawn Finer

Wow what a song. And what is even better about a disco-opera song is the fact that Sweden actaully voted for it! And also, beat out Sarah Dawn Finer, probably one of the most popular singers there. Notice the change in expressions on both of the singers faces in the following comparison.

Malmö.00-03.Malena Ernman & Sarah Dawn FinerMalmö.00-04.Malena Ernman

This picture is worth a thousand words. Sweden was shocked, and notice how amazingly shocked / happy the singers are. Sarah Dawn Finer becase she goes to Andra Chansen, gets the International Jury Vote, and clearly will make it through, and the success of Malena. After this Freddie (hah) came up for the kiss-and-hug, becasue he had two songs going against each other, both of which he wrote with the singers, so it was kind of awkward. I love it though!

So what did we learn today folks? Opera and Disco do mix, and they mix well when sung correctly! Now go and become a fan of Malena Ernman… !!

What else do we learn? The lyrics of course, found here:

Malena Ernman – La Voix
Can you keep a secret
Can you keep a secret
I’m in love with you
Can you make a promise
Can you make a promise
Stay forever true
Then I’m forever yours

Je t’aime, amour, quand j’entends la voix
Je t’aime, ma vie, c’est jamais sans toi
Je vis ma vie pour toi, c’est l’universe pour moi
Je t’aime, amour, quand j’entends la voix

Tell me what you’re feeling
Tell me what you’re feeling
I just wanna know
Tell me what you’re dreaming
Tell me what you’re dreaming
Let your feelings show
Stay and don’t let go

Je t’aime, amour, quand j’entends la voix
Je t’aime, ma vie, c’est jamais sans toi
Je vis ma vie pour toi, c’est l’universe pour moi
Je t’aime, amour, quand j’entends la voix

Je vis ma vie pour toi, c’est l’universe pour moi
Je t’aime, amour, quand j’entends la voix

J’entends la voix
La voix