Gothenburg has been celebrating all things gay and trans this weekend at the annual HBTQ Festival. And by all accounts, they’ve been doing it with copious amounts of alcohol and food. Schlagerfiasko approves. Fortsätt läsa
Our last night at EuroClub is over. Fortsätt läsa
Ring-ring. Ring-ring. Voicemail.
“Hello, Schlagerfiasko! [Or words to that effect.] It’s Warner Music here. You do remember you’re interviewing Loreen at 10am, don’t you? We emailed you yesterday.”
Oh. There’s the email, received approximately around the same time as I was knocking back vittvin in Stadshuset. And now it’s 9.10am. Oops. I’m creating my own schlagerfiasko.
We rearrange for 11am. And then, on the T-banan, we rearrange for 11.30. Arriving at the hotel, there’s another wait, as Loreen is running late. It’s my own fault. A businessman tries to bring me in for an interview with his insurance company. I decline the offer, as I’m not very good with sums.
Loreen eventually arrives in the midst of an intense mobile conversation and greets me with a huge hug. It turns out that her brother is in Bali, and freaking out about the tsunami that could be on its way from Japan after the earthquake (thankfully, it never happened). I offer to cancel the interview right away, but Loreen’s having none of it. She even refuses to allow me to buy her a cappuccino, insisting on paying for our coffees herself.
She’s fabulous, of course she is. Anyone who insists on wearing the red stringy outfit like she did is always going to be fabulous. And the interview itself is a dream. We have a little gossip, too, but you’re not hearing about that.
After we wrap up, Loreen is approached by one of the reception staff to tell her that she was great, and that she voted for her, which I don’t think generally happens in Sweden. And as I casually mention that I have to buy a new microphone for the post-rehearsal interviews later in the evening, she even walks me to the shop to get one. Love her.
Spending the afternoon getting Loreen’s interview on the website, it’s soon time to start getting ready for the dress rehearsal.
It’s a bit of a strange experience, the dress rehearsal. In the press room, the media people are very relaxed about the whole thing (obviously, this is what we do), but outside, families are queuing to get in. Excited kids everywhere, eager to get a glimpse of their music idols (mainly Eric…). What we take for granted (and have free entry into), so many others are waiting in huge anticipation. This is a big deal.
Sitting down in the main are right in front of the stage, we’re in a very privileged position to see what’s going on. The rehearsal itself goes smoothly, with just a few minor hiccups along the way. But that’s what rehearsals are for. Can I also just point out at this stage that whenever you see breathless reports on other websites about which act has won the rehearsal vote, totally ignore it. It’s all made up to help the producers and other crew get an idea of how the technical side of the operation is working. It actually has no bearing on reality.
Swingfly wins the rehearsal contest. Enough said.
Right afterwards, we get a mini press conference, and a chance to chat to the stars. I grab interviews with Linda Bengtzing, Sanna Nielsen and Eric Saade. By the time I’d done that, there was no time to talk to Danny Saucedo, but three out of four targets isn’t bad, considering. At the välkomstfest the night before, Velvet had agreed to be interviewed, but we hadn’t exchanged numbers. Thankfully, she checks her email (or rather, her manager does and passes messages along), so as I’m waiting for Eric, I see her waving at me. Yes, I’ve got people waiting to speak to me. How ridiculous is that?
All four interviewees were absolutely amazing. It’s a credit to the contest that everyone is happy enough to talk openly, in English, to some crazy internet guy from London wielding a camera and a half-working microphone. Such professionalism is rarely experienced elsewhere – I have bitter memories of quite a few incidences…
If you haven’t seen the interviews, they’re all very snappy, quite amusing and brief. Take a look at my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/schlagerfiasko
Later on in the evening, we hit up Kolingsborg to return to Paradise for the first time in a year. Paradise is one of Stockholm’s gay club nights, and has a reputation for schlager. Emil, aka Soundfactory, was DJing, and doing some very mind-altering things with mixes. If you have never heard Hera Björk mashed up with Kejsi Tola (Albanian Eurovision entry from 2009, but you already knew that), then you’re missing out. Actually, having said that, I’m going to ask him if he’ll put it online. It has to be heard.
The main act was the absolutely stunning Arja Saijonmaa. Anyone who knows me will know that I adore Arja, the Finnish campaigner, singer, politician and sauna-enthusiast. I’m not even going to try explaining how fabulous she was on stage, so you can watch the video below and experience the Arja magic for yourself. That’s Diamond Dogs’ Peter Englund hosting and worshipping.
Next time, standing at the bar with Shirley Clamp, dancing with the prime minister’s daughter, and being best pals with Alexander Bard.
Apologies for the lack of updates, it’s been a bit hectic trying to catch up with London life after leaving the schlagerbubbel. Over the next few days, I’m going to record my Melodifestivalen highlights. Please humour me.
Thursday 10th March: The arrival
The ridiculousness started from the outset. After being directed to a dingy Portakabin at the entrance to Globen (and trudging through the mud to get there), I had to get my photo done for my press pass. I was a bit disappointed at this, as I’d picked out a lovely photo of me holding a glass of wine and showing some serious schlager attitude. But it had to be done again. Thank goodness I was already dressed for the välkomstfest.
But as the photo was being taken, someone was waiting very patiently for me to be done. Yes, Christer Sjögren is lovely, and happily stood there while I was attended to. As I said, ridiculous.
From there, it was a trudge back to Globen itself to watch Sanna Nielsen rehearse. No matter what you think of her, no one can deny that she isn’t seriously talented (and if you do, then you’re wrong). She performed the song perfectly three times, dressed ‘down’ in some major wet-look leather.
Photo: Viktoria Karlsson/EuroVisionary
The rehearsal process is fascinating to watch. It’s a very intense experience, and not necessarily enjoyable. There’s a lot of tension – and waiting around – as the crew strive to ensure the technical aspects of the performance are all correct, while the dancers attempt to iron out any issues – such as a certain tall dancer not being able to reach his wire until it was too late to perform the spin in Sanna’s performance!
Anyway, that done, we moved on to Stadshuset for the Melodifestivalen välkomstfest – or the welcome party at city hall, if you prefer. Of course, even a simple arrival wasn’t without a drama, as we had to forge ahead to get to the entrance not knowing where we were going, because Linda Bengtzing was right behind us – and there was no way we were asking her for directions. Anyway, once we did get inside, we were dumbfounded.
A set of steps lined all the way with candles let up to a stunning entrance hall light beautifully in the Mello colours. The gracious staircase (I’m not throwing in every adjective I can think of, it was absolutely beautiful) let to a waiter holding a huge tray of champagne in proper old-style coupes. Amazing. And then there was the room. Here it is, courtesy of another guest. I’m in the video (unaware at the time), chatting to the Schlagerprofil boys.
Yes, that’s the famous schlagerbuffé. And it was delicious. Fish, meat, desserts. Done stunningly well. And the mayor kept her speech short, so we could all enjoy the hospitality. And the drinks were free all night. They seriously knew how to look after us.
As I took a short schlagerpaus outside on the balcony, I got chatting to Tobbe Ek from Aftonbladet and Fredrik Kempe came out to say hello. Yes, it was that type of evening. Only bettered by Rickard Olsson tapping me on the shoulder to ask if I was Schlagerfiasko. Yes, he knew who I was (not for the last time, bizarrely), and promised to mention me in the show. Of course, he didn’t, but who cares? Ricky loves me. That’s all I need to know.
I also met the super-hard-working Gustav Dalander from Poplight. If anyone deserves an award for his Mello coverage this year, it’s Gustav. From covering every angle of every heat to even spending Sunday afternoon following Eric Saade to Sergels Torg, he and his excellent team have been there.
Also på plats were the aforementioned Schlagerprofil boys – Ken Olausson and Ronny Larsson, along with SR’s resident Brit Kristian Boswell and Posh of Eurovision herself, Nina Andrén. All four are marvellous.
As is the stunning Velvet, who chatted at length about schlager and supporting Bengtzing.
The party went on until the small hours, and the very patient staff were always on hand with more wine. Far too much wine, in fact.
The evening ended with Tobbe making sure I didn’t get inside one of Stockholm’s infamous rip-off taxis. Tack Tobbe.
Coming next: Schlagerfiasko meets Loreen and gets the full Arja Saijonmaa experience…
I met Velvet a couple of times over the schlager weekend, so I decided to have a video chat with her after the Melodifestivalen rehearsal on Friday evening. Highlights include her revelation of how Victorious was originally entered for the contest last year, and her reaction to the name of this website at the end…
And just to get you in the mood for tonight, there’s the fab mix of Velvet’s My Destiny just underneath.
Tonight the Melodifestivalen final dress rehearsal took place. It was all very exciting, and we got to see how the show will look on Saturday.
But you don’t want to know about that. You want to hear from Linda Bengtzing, Sanna Nielsen and Eric Saade, don’t you? Well isn’t it lucky that they were all desperate to talk to Schlagerfiasko?
The main revelations: Linda Bengtzing has a filthy dressing room. Sanna Nielsen is very tall. And Eric Saade has devilment in mind…
Here at Schlagerfiasko, we love to get a few stats in. Mainly because it reveals the truth behind the rumours and speculation. So we were very interested to see that the Swedish Performing Rights Society (Stim) has published the top ten most-played songs from the Andra chansen round of Melodifestivalen. The full list is below, and here are a few observations to go with it…
- Alcazar – perhaps the queens of Andra chansen, appear twice in the top ten, at 1 and 6. Although you’d expect the positions to be reversed for those songs, wouldn’t you?
- Nordman’s 2008 song, I lågornas sken, is at number eight. So anyone who assumed people voted for the group just to stop Carola and Andreas Johnson from getting to the final is, in all probability, wrong
- Velvet’s Mi amore is at number ten. That’s a real shocker!
- Schlagerfiasko knows for a fact that you can’t hum the Jan Johansen song at number nine without looking it up on YouTube first
- Patrik Isaksson and Velvet are the only two acts who didn’t go through to the final
1. Not A Sinner Nor A Saint – Alcazar (2003)
Lotta Ahlin, Bobby Ljunggren, Tommy Lydell
2. För att du finns – Sonja Aldén (2007)
Bobby Ljunggren, Sonja Aldén
3. Moving On – Sarah Dawn Finer (2009)
Sarah Dawn Finer, Fredrik Kempe
4. Min kärlek – Shirley Clamp (2004)
Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Ingela ‘Pling’ Forsman
5. Faller du så faller jag – Patrik Isaksson (2006)
6. Alcastar – Alcazar (2005)
Niklas Edberger, Johan Fransson, Anders Hansson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren
7. Alla flickor – Linda Bengtzing (2005)
Niklas Edberger, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren
8. I lågornas sken – Nordman (2008)
Lina Eriksson, Mårten Eriksson
9. Sista andetaget – Jan Johansen (2002)
Dan Attlerud, Thomas Thörnholm
10. Mi amore – Velvet (2006)
Pelle Ankarberg, Niclas Molinder, Joacim Persson
To see the original news release visit www.stim.se/2chansen