Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 4

It's almost time. On Saturday it's time for the fourth and final elimination round in this year's Melody Festival. Soon we will have heard all possible Swedish contestants for Eurovision 2011. It's a scary thought, considering how disappointed I've been this far. Am I naive to still be hopeful? Maybe, but I rather be naive than cynical. I don't know anything about the actual songs that will be competing on Saturday, but this much I know about the artists:

Melody Club: This band formed in 2000 and have had some major radio-successes. Their sound is heavily inspired by synth-pop and glam-rock. There is a retro feel around them, while their sound is still unmistakably modern. I expect their performance to be solid and interesting. I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of their sound, but I'm certain it will be refreshing and that they will bring some originality and quality to the table. But that might also be their downfall. This far in the competition, being generic seems to to be the way to success.

Julia Alvgard: This is the second "web-joker" in the competition. She and Jonas Matsson (from elimination round 1) won their spots in this year's Melody Festival after gaining most votes on the Melody Festival's official website. Being totally unknown there is not much published information about her. Due to the way she earned her spot in the competition, I have heard her song once before. I don't remember it, not even a little bit. So, apparently she was not very memorable. However, I did find some of her music on Youtube. Regardless of what she will perform, there is always reason to be a bit worried when artists have as limited experience as she has. Hopefully she will prove me wrong.

Lasse Stefanz: ...and the winner is... Actually I will not be too surprised if Lasse Stefanz ends up doing great on Saturday, but believe you me, I'm not saying it because I like them, I'm pretty sure I will hate it, or, at least, very much dislike it! Lasse Stefanz is a Swedish country-styled band. They have been around for ages (specifically since 1967). I will give them this much, they have been immensely successful the past three decades. They have sold many times platinum and received countless awards. One of their greatest hits was on the Swedish Hit-list for 65 weeks straight! So yes, they have their fan-base and no, not everyone voting is under 40, so my guess is that they will advance beyond this round.

Linda Pritchard: Yet another Idol alumni. She participated in 2008, but unlike many of her fellow Idol-contestants, she actually didn't make it to the final stage of the competition, she only made it to the qualification round. However, she has done some impressive gigs. As a back-up singer and dancer she has worked with Swedish Artists like Magnus Uggla, Velvet and Ace of Base. She has also been back-up singer to Celine Dion. And this will not be her first time in the Melody Festival. She competed last year with the song "Your Making Me Hot, Hot, Hot". She did not qualify from her elimination round. She has a cool voice and I'm looking forward to see what she will bring on Saturday.

Anders Fernette: Ok, so this guy didn't compete in Swedish Idol, but he did however compete in one of the predecessors, Fame Factory, in 2003. Actually, he won it! Back then he was Anders Johansson and I didn't realize it was him until this very moment, when writing about it. So, in 2003, I really liked him and loved his hits "If it's all I ever do" and "Without you"... a wave of nostalgia is washing over me... After his initial success, he took some time off to start a family. In 2008 he returned to the limelight and has had a few successful singles since then. However, I don't appreciate what he came back as. He's always been a bit cheesy but now he's "club-cheesy". He totally butchered "Hungry Eyes" (from Dirty Dancing) last year. However the general public loved it so he might do ok on Saturday. For old times sake, I'm choosing to show two of his old songs.

Linda Bengtzing: What can I say? I've sang, danced and partied to her previous contributions in the Melody Festival. Linda Bengtzing is crazy energetic and has great charisma. She actually had her breakthrough in Fame Factory. Some might remember her from tv game-shows but everybody knows her from the Melody Festivals of 2005, 2006 and 2008. She has always made her way to the finale and her best result has been 5th place. Her songs has always been in Swedish, her sound is very traditional Eurovision and it's always catchy and upbeat. I know I will like it and sing to it in the future, but I already know I won't be ruling for her to go to Eurovision. However, I hope and believe she will end up in the finale.

Nicke Borg: If you would ask people on the streets if they know who "Nicke Borg" is, most of them would answer "no". However, if you ask them about "Backyard Babies" they would at least say it sounds very familiar. Backyard Babies formed in 1987. In the beginning their music was very much influenced by glam-rock and sleaze rock. Over the years they have dabbled with punk, hardcore and rock n' roll. They made it fairly big in Sweden as well as internationally, e.g. you can play one of their tracks, "Minus Celsius", on "Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock". Given Nicke Borg's background I'm hoping and expecting a good rock performance on Saturday. There has always been one or two rock songs in the previous competitions and this year's contribution has the potential to really, really good!

So, what do I expect..? I'm absolutely most intrigued by Melody Club and Nicke Borg. The oppressed Eurovision geek in me is looking forward to see Linda Bengtzing. Both Anders Fernette and Linda Pritchard might surprise me. I'm dreading to see Lasse Stefanz. My prediction is that Linda Bengtzing will make it to the finale and Lasse Stefanz will survive this elimination round.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 3, The results

I might have been upset, disappointed and frustrated last week, but all those feelings are better than feeling indifferent. Indifferent is exactly how I felt after the third elimination round.

Best performance of the night was Lena Ph, and she didn't even compete. She was there to entertain us while waiting for the results. Her rock rendition of herself was brilliant. She gave her all and had fun. She didn't take herself too seriously and after last week's elimination round's catastrophe (Christer Sjögren doing David Bowie), she showed everyone how things are suppose to be done.

So, what about the actual competition... I really don't care. But I guess I should explain why I don't care.

Linda Sundblad: Well, I didn't have any expectations, but this was still not what I expected. I wasn't really offended by the song, but it was too much pink bubble-gum and she is too old (or looks too old) to pull it off. Also, her voice was pretty weak. But this was by no means the worst song of the night. She did not qualify.

Simon Forsberg: This was a proper power ballad. Simon felt self-confident and I guess he looked alright. But this was not good. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good. He had such a wimpy voice. Way to feminine for my taste. The song wasn't exiting either. All in all, like me, the Swedish people wasn't too fond of it. He did not qualify beyond this round.

Sara Lumholdt: She looked good and the whole number felt up to date. I liked her in the chorus even though I thought her voice sounded really sour at times. This was very luke warm. I don't like luke warm. Swedish people didn't seem to like luke warm either. This was her first and last appearance in this year's Melody Festival.

The Playtones: Swedish Rockabilly Country... their package surely contained what it promised. I knew I wouldn't like it and I didn't like. I didn't hate it but when I play the Melody Festival CD in the future I will probably skip this song. However, it's no surprise that they made their way into the finale. Brolle did great last week, and this is not unlike it at all.

Shirley's Angels: This was not half bad. I think I might have tolerated this. I liked Shirley and she and her Angel's looked good and they sounded good. Best this far, but not satisfactory good, just better than what's already been discussed. I don't mind hearing this song again, and I will get the opportunity in two weeks, when they compete in the Second Chance.

Sebastian: This was my favorite this week. Having said that, this was still no home-run by any means. I wish Sebastian looked a bit stronger and commanded the stage a bit more, but the song I actually liked. This was the only song I would consider "proper music". Unfortunately, people didn't agree with me at all. Either they don't consider this good music or they don't necessarily want to see good music in Eurovision. I know what I believe...

Sara Varga: I'm lost for words. Simply because I'm lost for opinions. Sara Varga did a half decent job at performing. She looked nice enough and her voice was ok, but the whole thing felt mediocre. Which was a bit of a surprise. I was sure I would either love it or hate it. She did however capture the Swedish people's hearts. They liked her enough to give her a Second Chance.

Eric Saade: Surprise, surprise! This was no surprise! He was the winner of the night and I have a feeling he will win the whole shebang. I'm not sure I think he deserves it, but he seems to be immensely popular. He did deliver a proper show, with singing, dancing and special effects. The song was a generic club-hit, but nobody expected, or wanted, anything else from him. He's still ridiculously pretty which made his song somewhat annoying. Why would a cocky, picture perfect guy sing that he one day will be popular? If, in fact, he ends up as the winner of this year's Melody Festival, I guess I would be ok with it, knowing that he will deliver a solid show in Eurovision.

We are done with three out of four elimination rounds. That's alarming. We have two old-school rockabilly sounding artists competing over the "mature" votes. We have Sanna, representing the traditional and dated Eurovision sound. We have two pretty-boys singing and dancing their hearts out to win the hearts of teenaged girls. And then we have Swingfly... the most unlikely finalist and my only hope this far. He is probably the one who will receive the least amount of votes. Unless there is a hidden group of hiphop-loving Melody Festival watchers out there. A group of people who love fresh music and believe it's time for Eurovision to evolve. Unfortunately, the recent weeks have taught me that it probably won't be the case. The disappointment is likely to continue...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 3

No reason to cry over spilled milk. Full speed ahead. On Saturday it's time for the third elimination round of the Swedish Melody Festival. This time we can look forward to these artists:

Linda Sundbland: If you're Swedish, born in the earlier half of the 80s and a female, the chances are that you have rocked to Lambretta at some point. As the lead singer, Linda Sundblad reached great success with Lambretta's pop-rock sound and hit singles like Creep and Bimbo. In 2006 she went solo and had some moderate success with her first solo-album and the radio hit, Oh Father. She's been in show-business since she was 15 and she's an avid performer. I have little clue about what kind of music she does nowadays, but this has the potential to surprise me. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise.

Simon Forsberg: Another artist who graduated a tv talent show. Simon Forsberg participated in Fame Factory a few years ago. He has since then left the music studio for the gym. Today he works as Personal Trainer. Because of his short history in music, there is not much to know about him. However, his songwriter, Fredrik Kempe, is one of the most merited songwriters in Eurovision. The songs he writes usually do very well in the competition so there is reason to have some expectations. Unfortunately I didn't find any suitable videos on Youtube.

Sara Lumholdt: Talk about a blast from the past. Sara Lumholdt was once apart of the immensely popular pop-group A-teens. Both she and this year's Melody Festival hostess, Marie Serneholt, catapulted into fame in 1998, when A-teens (back then, Abba-teens) made pop-covers of Abba. A-teens had a handful of glorious days, but since the split in 2004, Sara Lumholdt has a couple of failed attempts at a solo career behind her. Again, it's difficult to know what to expect, both of her and of the song she will be presenting.

The Playtones: The Playtones is a Rockabilly "country" band that formed in 2008. They reached huge success when they won the tv-show "The Swedish Country Band Battle" in 2009. This kind of music has been quite successful in the competition the previous years, mostly thanks to the more mature audience. Given that the "The Swedish Country Band Battle" is a very popular program, The Playtones might do fairly well. Personally, I'm already sure this will not be my cup of tea.

Shirley's Angels: The main act is Shirley Clamp. She will be singing with Jessica Marberger. Jessica has been a background singer at pervious Melody Festivals and participated in several tv-shows, but never really reached fame. Shirley Clamp, on the other hand, is widely known and liked, both for her previous appearances at the Melody Festival, but also for her records and other singles. She has a very mature voice and a amazing capacity. She finished 2nd in 2004's Melody Festival, but last time she competed, in 2009, she placed last in her elimination round. Regardless of previous results, I've always liked her, and I'm hoping this will as good as I know she can be.

Sebastian: I've lost count by now, but this is yet another former contestant from Swedish Idol. He finished second in Swedish Idol 2005. After the show he had an ok solo career, but never became as big as predicted. He has been in musicals and he participated in the Melody Festival 2007. Back then he made his way to the finale and finished in 8th place. He did well in Idol because he had a very unique and individual style. I hope he still has it and that he has not turned main-stream to please the masses.

Sara Varga: She is a previously unknown artist that has been in the music business since 2002, but as a DJ rather than singer. Today she is a singer/songwriter and writes music in both Swedish and English. I have no previous experience of her music, but as soon as someone proclaims that they are a singer/songwriter I can't help but to have expectations. Done right, this is one of my favorite music genres. Done wrong, it can be unbearably bad.

Eric Saade: This 20 year old is ridiculously good-looking. If I was a 12 year old, I would plaster my walls with posters of him. As a 28 year old, he almost gives me the creeps. He's too pretty to be real. He used to be a tv-presenter at the Swedish Disney Channel, do I need to say more? He is the elimination round's obvious winner. It doesn't really matter what he will or will not do, he will win. So let's hope whatever he does will be good. He participated in the Melody Festival 2010 and came in 3rd. He should give a solid and well produced performance on Saturday. In the finale he will be in direct competition with Danny over the who's dreamiest.

Without knowing anything about the songs the artists will perform, I'm absolutely sure Eric Saade will advance to the finale. Else from that, I have no clue. Many of these artist haven't released anything in a while and I have no idea what kind of music the will me performing. This has the potential to be very good and very bad. Either way, it will be very interesting.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 2, The results

What?!? It can't be true!! I'm so disappointed...

Yet another qualification round has ended and it was an utter disaster! My beloved Melody Festival left me sad, angry and confused. This is not the way it's suppose to be!

Let me start at the beginning:

Brolle: He went straight through to the finale. I don't understand why. Sure, he has a good voice, but the song was terrible! During the performance, two other artists names kept popping up in my head, Christer Sjögren and Jerry Williams. For those of you who don't know who these gentlemen are, let me assure you, if you are in your late 20s, you don't want to be compared to these seniors who are dated and way passed their expiration date. I thought the whole ordeal was really sad and it made me really sad that the Swedish people voted him into the finale.

Loreen: Ok club song, good and stable voice but the outfit was terrible! I wanted this to be good and it was ok. Not offensive and I know I will listen to it again in the future. She was good enough to qualify to the Second Chance, which I'm not necessarily happy about but I don't mind it either.

Babsan: If nothing else, Babsan made me smile. It was fun and oh so pink but unfortunately her voice was not good at all. The chorus was acceptable but in general it was pretty bad. I can't but to like her character, but in the end of the day this is a song competition and she's far from being the best. Come to think of it, she's not even close to being as good as previous year's drag-queen artists. She came in 7th.

Elisabeth Andreassen: What happened here? This was terrible! She sounded awful. Maybe being one of the most merited artist in Eurovision history, she has lost her ability to be self-critical. She really should retire. Honestly, I can't remember too much about the song, I think is was a typical Eurovision ballad. However, she (her voice) is not equipped enough to pull this off. At more than one occasion I found myself crinching. Thankfully, the Swedish people agreed with me. She came in last and it was well deserved.

Sanna Nielsen: Again, utter disappointment. Sure, she sounded good and I've always liked her, she seems really nice. The song and performance was very solid and Eurovision appropriate. She was the winner of the night and made her way straight to the finale and I don't really mind that. So, where lies my disappointment? I was soooooooo unbelievably bored! Yawn! Wake me up when this is done with. It's also extra disappointing when you have high hopes. She actually delivered something along the lines of what I expected, and maybe it's my own fault. I should stop hoping and believing that people evolve.

The Moniker: This turned out to be quite the surprise. When the song started I got worried. It was very spaced out and reminded me of Thomas Di Leva (I'm not even going to attempt to explain who that is). But the song rapidly grew on me. This turned out to be the second time I felt happy during the evening. Daniel Karlsson, aka "The Moniker", really seemed to enjoy himself and that always helps. I look forward to playing this song in my car, one sunny day and feeling happy about pretty much anything. I also look forward to seeing him again in the Second Chance.

Anniela: Hm... I don't know what to write... Definitely not a favorite but it wasn't offensive either. It was fun to see a dance hit sang in Swedish without it didn't turning corny or stupid (I have issues with songs like Boten Anna). But it wasn't great. She ended up 6th and I think that made her justice.

Christian Walz: Now I'm going to start crying again. Up until the last performance I was very disappointed and frustrated that I hadn't heard a single good song. I had high expectations on Christian Walz to begin with, and with the addition of the previous disappointments, I ended up putting all my eggs in one basket. As they played the intro to his song I felt hopeful and terrified at the same time. Would he fail me too? I could soon relax. I might have put all my eggs in one basket but what a wonderful basket it turned out to be! I absolutely LOVED this song. It felt lika a big musical embrace. I couldn't get enough. But with the excitement came the anxiety. What if this piece of musical heaven wouldn't make it through this elimination round? By the end of the evening both excitement and anxiety had subsided and been replaced with shock and dispair. He didn't make it. He came in 5th. He was eliminated. For a second I cursed the Melody Festival and Eurovision Song Contest. But as a faithful fan, I took it back. Maybe there is still hope. There still is half of the contestants left. I refuse to stop hoping! Who knows, maybe Eric Saade will blow my socks off!

As for the rest of the show, Marie and Richard introduction was way too long and out of context. Was it just me, or was Marie the "perfect" Barbie? I don't like Christer Sjögren but was intrigued to see him transformed into a Glam-rocker. Surprise, surprise, I was disappointed yet again! It's not enough to paint a grey lightning-bolt on your cheek if you're going to channel David Bowie. Lighten up, for crying out loud! Loose the grey suite and your country moves. Thank you, Christer Sjögren, for ruining "Life on Mars".

In summary: Christian Walz shouldn't get a second chance to go to the finale, but the Swedish people should get a second chance to vote him in again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 2

Tomorrow it's time for the second elimination round in the Swedish Melody Festival. This week, the show will take place in the best city in the world, Göteborg! This week also offers a whole variety of interesting artist. I'll give you a short presentation of the artists but bare in mind that I haven't heard anything of or about the actual song they will be performing on Saturday:

Brolle: Brolle has been a fairly well know artist for quite a few years, but many might have forgotten that we first saw him in "Popstars" 2001, a predecessor to the Idol franchise. Since then he has recorded several albums and singles. He has preformed live at many occasions and should offer a solid performance. His sound is pleasant and has an old-school feel to it. If he delivers what I'm anticipating, this has the potential to be good and becoming a radio-hit.

Loreen: Best known from Swedish Idol 2004, she came in 4th place. Since then it's been fairly quiet around her. Apparently she has been working with television lately, both in front and behind the camera. It'a a pity that her music has been dormant, because she has a wonderfully soulful voice. But the Melody Festival do tend to propel artists into the limelight so hopefully she is as good as I remembered her and here to stay. I can't find any of her material on Youtube, but I do want to link to a beautiful version she did, of Celine Dion's "Love is on the way".

Babsan: Obviously the Melody Festival and Eurovision has a long and prosperous relationship with everything pink, sparkles, glitter and glamour. So why now tie it all up in one single person. Introducing Babsan! For those of you who don't know her, she is the fabulous drag-queen alter ego of Lars-Åke Wilhelmsson. She's all about the glitter, the glamour and the champagne. Lars-Åke Wilhelmsson has been performing as her for the past two decades or so and besides doing that he is a very successful costume designer. I already know this will be fun and flirty but not necessarily good. Either way, I can't wait to be entertained!

Elisabeth Andreasson: Wow, bring on the heavy artillery! Elisabeth Andreasson has a Eurovision Songcontest track record that would make any of her competitors green with envy. She won Eurovision Songcontest in 1985, while competing for Norway with her group "Bobbysocks". She came in 2nd place in Eurovision Songcontest in 1996. She's qualified for the Eurovision Songconstest a total of 4 times and never placed under 8th place. Its difficult to know what she will bring to the table this time, but I'm very much looking forward to it!
(She's the one in leggings).

Sanna Nielsen: This is Sanna's 6th time competing in the Swedish Melody Festival. Her track record is impressive. She has never finished below 7th place and she caused a minor uproar in 2008 when she competed with "Empty Room". The Swedish public gave her the most votes and wanted to send her to Eurovision Songcontest as the Swedish representative. But the jury groups throughout Sweden voted to send Charlotte Perrelli and they ended up having the final say. Charlotte Perrelli ended in 18th place out of 25... Sanna Nielsen has a great voice and I'm hoping she will take full advantage of that. Maybe this year will be her year.

The Moniker: Yet another contestant that came out of Swedish Idol. Daniel Karlsson, aka "The Moniker" participated in 2007 where he finished in 4th place. I don't know that much about him, or what kind of music he does now, but if I'm not mistaken he did a decent job in Idol. I literally have no expectations.

Anniela: She is a completely new artist to me. However, I'm not sure if it's because of her or me. I can't shake the feeling that I might be too old or live too far from Sweden to know this music. She is an up and coming pop-artist. She's barely out of her teens and seems to be big on Myspace and Youtube. Her sound is unmistakably modern and club appropriate. She sounds good when produced and it will be interesting to see how well she holds up live. If this is anything like the other stuff she has done, this is a destined radio- and club hit.

Christian Walz: HIGH expectations! I'm not expecting him to deliver a traditional Eurovision song, but actual good music. Why the high expectations? He has released at least two amazing singles, in 2004 and 2005. He's been doing his own music and released his first album in 1998, but didn't make it big until 2004 when he release his hit single "Wonderchild". I'm usually no too fond of high-pitched male voices, but he does it just right. He's never been in the Melody Festival and I'm hoping that he will narrow the gap between what's considered good Eurovision music and good music in general. I know I usually only post one link per artist, but I can't stop myself from spreading good music.

I'm expecting tomorrow's show to be good and interesting. The artists competing should be fairly even in their performance and I can't really say who I predict will do well without knowing anything about the songs. I'm personally most intrigued by Christian Walz, Loreen and Sanna Nielsen. I would be very surprised if Sanna Nielsen didn't qualify directly to the finale, but else from than, I would say it's pretty open.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 1, The results

Wow, the Melody Festival definitely had a few surprises. First thing first, I have to comment on the hostess, Marie Serneholt, and the host, Rickard Olsson. I don't have particularly strong opinions about him. Sure, he is mediocre and boring, but I couldn't keep my focus off Marie Serneholt. I can't stand her!!! Sure she is pretty, but she's such a fake. There is nothing genuine about her. Every flick of the hair and every smile is rehearsed. I can't stand people who are solely preoccupied with their looks and superficial image. Yuks!

The shows between acts were ok. Not brilliant, but I didn't mind them either. Peter Stormare is doing a few sketches this year, but I have to say Dolph Lundgren did a better job last year, even though Peter Stormare is a waaaay better professional actor. One thing that stood out was Nanne Grönwall. She is a great icon for the Melody Festival and she seems like such a sweetheart, but her English pronunciation was questionable. She usually sings in Swedish but she performed Whitney Houston's "I have nothing". She should stick to singing in Swedish in the future.

Now a short summary of each performance.

Dilba: Her voice was unbearably weak. Instead of using her strength, which is her voice, she chose to do a club song that could have been produced using any half decent voice. Very disappointed! Apparently I wasn't the only one. She came in last.

Swingfly: Yeah! I really liked this one! My favorite of the night. It's always nice to see a solid performance by a solid artist. He delivered what I expected and it wasn't a watered down version of himself, but a good representation. I'm also happy to say that they went straight through to the finale. Cudos to the Swedish public who voted on good music, even though it's not a "traditional" Eurovision song. The only remark I have is the performance of Swingfly's guest singer. He's name is Christoffer Hiding and known from Swedish Idol 2007. His voice is quite nice but I think he was a bit over-excited and it would do his singing some good if he just calmed down a little.

Jenny Silver: This was a one of the surprises I mentioned. In my previous post I wrote that I didn't really appreciate her last year. It was a bit too alternative. This year she was not alternative at all! Having her song written by one of the biggest names in the Melody Festival's history she ended up with a very catchy and main-stream song. It was done sooo according to the Melody Festival recipe that it turned boring. They did however end up going to the Second chance, so they will fight for another chance to go to the finale. I'm sure there are some Eurovision traditionalist who are really upset about her not qualifying directly, but honestly, haven't we heard this song a million times before?

Jonas Matsson: You could tell that this was the most inexperienced artist. He did a better job than last year's web-joker, but that doesn't mean he did a good job. His voice was shaky and the performance was uneven. He also suffers from the same syndrome as the hostess, Marie Serneholt. He tries too hard to be the good looking guy. In high-school, I'm sure he was the cool kid everyone wanted to be around, but maybe it's time to grow up and prove you have talent before you get yourself an unpleasant attitude. He came in 7th.

Le Kid: Pink Bubble-gum! That's all I have to say, really. I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't qualify from this round, I would have wanted to see them perform again. Not that I necessarily think this is great music, but they made me smile and they turned my world pink for a few minutes. And it was better and more exciting than both the songs that made it to the Second Chance. But, in the end of the day, they were not my favorites so the outcome of things doesn't really matter.

Rasmus Viberg: Another surprise! Not the expected pop-punk at all! This was a folky pop-balled? He did a far better job at performing than Jonas Matsson. The song wasn't offensive but it wasn't great. I'm sure I'll be singing along to it in the future, but I'm not disappointed or surprised that they ended up 6th.

Pernilla Andersson: She has a great voice, the performance was solid and it all sounded good, however, I don't like this genre of music. I love a good singer-songwriter, but I can't stand it when it goes country. So, in the end of the day, the package can be really professional and beautiful, but if you don't like the content you will not want to see it again. I did however suspect that she would end up qualifying beyond this round and she did. She was given a Second Chance.

Danny: The elimination round's winner! No surprise, at all. I'm pretty sure he could stand on stage in silence and still qualify for the finale. The song was ok and I will enjoy partying or/and working out to it in the future. Somewhat generic and very heavily influenced by Justin Timberlake and Usher. Even though the song could have been edgier the performance was top notch! Danny can sing, dance and deliver.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Melody Festival 2011, part 1

The Swedish Melody Festival, aka Melodifestivalen, is just around the corner. I'm a dedicated fan and as a dedicated fan I will dedicate quite a few hours to write, think and contemplate about it over next few weeks.

If I say "Eurovision Song Contest" or "Schlager", you say what? If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about or if the concept makes you want to hurl, you should stop reading. The rest of it will not be interesting. But if you're a fan like I am, please feel free to continue.

Sweden decide which song to send to Eurovision Song Contest by having four elimination rounds, followed by a "Second-chance" and finally a finale, where a winner is selected. On Saturday it's time for the first elimination round. As a preparation, I will write a brief presentation about the eight artist preforming on Saturday and my expectations. Please know that I write this without knowing anything about the actual song they will be preforming:

Dilba: By far mostly know for her 1996 single, "I'm Sorry". She has released a few albums since but she has never been as successful as with her first single. I'm not too familiar with her work and don't know what to expect, but I do like her voice and I did really like "I'm Sorry".

Swingfly: He's a American-Swedish rapper mostly know for collaborations with Swedish and Internationally known artistis, such as Dr.Alban, Looptroop, Ken, Robyn and Lutricia McNeal. He had major success together with Teddybears Stockholm and the single "Hey Boy", which I happen to LOVE! He's music is upbeat and has a clear melody and I have high expectations as far as music quality goes. I'm pretty sure he will not preform a song "suitable" for Eurovision, but I'm pretty certain I will be jumping around to it in the near future.

Jenny Silver: Jenny Silver was originally known as Jenny Öhlund and she had her musical breakthrough in the beginning of the 90s as a Swedish country singer (aka dansband) in the band Candela.
But over the recent years she has gone solo and is now doing alternative pop music. She participated in last year's Melody Festival, but didn't make the first cut. No wonder, if you ask me. I did not appreciate her last year!

Jonas Matson: He is a web-joker. He is a young and totally unknown artist and not elected by a jury to participate. He was one amongst thousands who sent in their song to the official website and the general public wonted him in. Because of the special circumstances, I have heard this song and it's best described as a young guy with a guitar singing an upbeat summer song. Like Jack Johnson, but not as professional. It will be interesting to see if he holds up when asked to preform live. Last year's Webjoker failed miserably. I couldn't find any of his own material on Youtube, only covers.

Le Kid: I had never heard of them, as a group, before this competition, however three of the five members have previous experiences of the Melody Festival, but as songwriters and producers. Le Kid has several videos on Youtube and after scanning through some of them I would described them as Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry's love child, if they had one in the 90s. I have no idea what to expect, but I'm hoping for it to be good.

Rasmus Viberg: Yet another young and unknown artist. He has released a few song on his MySpace and on Youtube, in a group called Oldschool. After listening to a few songs I can't help but to smile. I do have a soft spot for adolescent pop-punk. The teenager in me is jumping up and down the sofa just like I did when I used to listen to Blink-182 and No Doubt. But I have no idea if this is the kind of music he will preform on Saturday, when he is going solo. I hope so.

Pernilla Andersson: After six albums since 1999, she is no newcomer to music. She deserves extra cudos because she wrote the music and lyrics herself. I would describe her as a classic singer-songwriter. She has a lovely voice and is sure to deliver a confident and professional performance, however, I'm not sure how exciting her material will be.

Danny: If all Eurovision voters would have been 15 year old girls, Danny would easily win the whole shebang. He became famous through Swedish Idol 2006. Since then he has released solo singles such as "Tokyo" but also singles with his boy-band E.M.D. He performed at the Melody Festival in 2009 with E.M.D and they made their way into the finale with "Baby Goodbye". He is a fairly main-stream pop-artist and I'm expecting a solid delivery this year.

Without knowing anything about the competing songs, I'm mostly looking forward to see what Swingfly and Le Kid has to offer. My guess is that Danny will go straight to the finale, maybe accompanied by Pernilla Andersson. I will report back next week, after the fact.

For those of you who are interested you can watch the live streaming on Saturday, 8pm (CET):