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
It was Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman who once said of the entertainment industry: “Nobody knows anything”. And he’s right. Fortsätt läsa
Time for semi-final 1 in Germany, with no Eric Saade and a lot of crap. Fortsätt läsa
Amazing. Fortsätt läsa
We had a fab evening at EuroClub last night. Fortsätt läsa
Yes, it was a schlagerfiasko. Jenny out. Loreen out. Linda out. Shirley’s Angels out. And then Love Generation out. A sorry, sorry evening for schlager and pop fans who wanted to see those songs in the final.
And then there was the glimmer of hope that the problems with the voting could have meant the wrong results were delivered. But no. The same outcomes stood.
I’m not going to pore over the results or the events, because you’ll have seen them for yourself, and come to your own conclusions.
So, what does it all mean for Schlagerfiasko? Well, it doesn’t mean much, really.
There’s Saturday’s final, which will be much less schlager – and feminine – than we would like. But there’s the prospect of a hot pop battle between Danny’s Club (on first) and Eric’s Popularity (on last) to look forward to. Sort of.
Then there’s the sport of seeing who will reign supreme at the top of the iTunes chart. As I write this, neither Danny nor Eric are there (three and four respectively), because Loreen is sitting pretty instead. Just like Dilba did after her ‘failure’ at Luleå.
Not far behind her is Sara Varga, while The Moniker is at number five. So the two songs that went through are obviously popular – as you would expect. They are what people wanted to hear. That’s it.
It also proves that Melodifestivalen is as relevant to the music-buying public as ever before, regardless of how anyone may think otherwise. That’s it. Loreen is adored. Jenny has shown a brand-new side to her range. Shirley’s Angels are eager to get in the studio. Linda Pritchard is stronger than ever before.
I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations during the week about the online reaction to Melodifestivalen results outside Sweden, particularly with reference to the essay (it didn’t start off like that, apologies) I published after the fourth heat. It’s interesting that overseas fans are quick to assume ‘mass movements’ that are against schlager, or that the voting public are deciding, en masse, to send a ‘winner’ to Eurovision.
To assume such things is to be very naive about the concept of Melodifestivalen, which is to celebrate Swedish music in all its forms. Read the aforementioned post for more of my thoughts on that, then let’s all move on.
I’m still looking forward to the schlagercirkus to come – it’s Melodifestivalen! Nu kör vi!
Photo: Sven Lindwall/Expressen
Eric Saade? Nej. The real winner on Saturday night was, of course, Lena PH. Ensuring that the show opened with her latest single, Idiot, and more or less closed with her stunning metal version of Dansa i neon (conveniently available on iTunes straight after the show), Lena showed us how a true star works it. And I hope young Mr Saade was watching…
(And can I just say that production coordinator Henric von Zweigberk must be the hardest-working man in Swedish showbiz? From presenting the wildcard show from Golden Hits to making sure every Melodifestivalen heat works – including being there to catch Lena PH when she leapt off the stage. He even found time to coordinate the QX Gay Galan last week. Love the von Zweigberk.)
Presenters Rickard Olsson and Marie Serneholt are getting into their stride now, with a nice confidence proving that they’ve overcome any nervousness from the first couple of weeks, especially in Marie’s case. Her deadpan delivery of some of the most sarcastic links has been spot-on. Not sure the same can be said for web host Elsa Billgren, however. A little interviewing tip, Elsa: LISTEN to what your interviewee is saying.
The main question from Saturday is whether or not it was a schlagerfiasko. Shirley and her Angels losing out to The Playtones – schlager losing out to rockabilly! Is dansband about to eat its musical cousin?
Nu körde vi with Linda Sundblad. Unluckily for her, Lucky You was a great song marred by two things. Let’s get the first one out of the way quickly: someone should have told Linda that her teeth braces looked awful on camera. I’m not criticising her for wearing them, but surely they could have come off for her big moment for a few minutes? The second is that she’s too old for the song. This is a cheerful, teenage up-tempo pop song that would have sounded great coming from Amy Diamond – but from a singer who has already she can deliver a great, mature sound with her group Lambretta (and in her solo work), it all fell flat on its face. Which is a shame.
Next up was Simon Forsberg, with the evening’s ballad. He was always going to face an uphill struggle to make an impression with a slow number. He did a good job with what he had, though. The song is traditional schlagerballad all the way, with requisite money-notes and key-change all present and correct. A few years ago, he’d have probably been chasing Tommy Körberg all the way to the final with this. In 2011, it comes eighth.
Not far behind him was Sara Lumholdt. Or was it Cheryl Cole? California hair – check. Military styling – check. Vocal as flat as a pancake – check. Yes, sadly for Sara, what could have been a great song descended into three minutes of endurance as Sara attempted to get back on track, and failed. The studio version of this is great, so it might be an idea if Sara went away, analysed the show and came back in a couple of years, more confident and polished. There’s definite potential for fabulousness.
What can you say about The Playtones? Well I’m biased, frankly. Knocking the Angels into third place was never going to endear anyone to Schlagerfiasko’s heart – even if they did have a Kempesong. The fact that they had the schlagergenius on board means that they’re serious about doing well, and I’m pleased they seem to have the right attitude. But rockabilly just isn’t to my taste.
Schlagerfiasko’s star attraction, unsurprisingly, was Shirley’s Angels. I have a framed picture of glammed-up Shirl adorning my IKEA shelf. Shirley was making her comeback following the eighth-place ‘fiasko of Med hjärtat fyllt av ljus a couple of years ago. Is Sweden the only country where established artists are prepared to submit themselves to such harsh judgement on an annual basis?
Shirley was armed with Jessica Marberger and Vera Prada. And Bard, Ljunggren, Wikström and Abrahamsson’s I Thought It Was For Ever. And some spectacular dance moves. And this is the woman who didn’t move a muscle during Min kärlek.
A stunning return and a fabulous performance from all three women was a delight to watch. They’ve been labelled as the ‘MILFs’ in Sweden, which Schlagerfiasko would never do, of course. That doesn’t stop us agreeing, however…
Somewhat tragically (yes, that’s the word), as female schlager makes such a resurgence, only Sanna Nielsen has been able to secure a place in the final with it. With Shirley’s Angels and Jenny Silver both getting their second chance, it remains to be seen if Sanna will be the only woman on the Globen stage!
The person who probably lost out the most was Sebastian Karlsson. Arguably in the worst group for his song, this surely would have made the top four in any other round… A suitably paired-down performance worked well with the fast pace of No One Else Could, and the nice whistle hook worked well. My main issue was with the finish – songs do need to have an ending, and it’s a common problem that tracks that may last over three minutes simply stop, rather than end. Indeed, the camera operator also seemed to be taken by surprise at this!
Sara Varga has made a huge impression with Spring för livet. Deceptively light, the melody works in stark contrast to the lyrics, which deal with the issue of women in abusive relationships. Indeed, both main evening papers printed the lyrics of the song for their readers – almost unheard of before.
Spring för livet om det är dig klart, att slå tillbaka det är det aldrig värt… (Run for your life, if you care for it, fighting back, it’s never worth it…)
Does a song like this have a place in the glitter och glamour world of Melodifestivalen? Well, any song does, of course. I think it’s important to open up the contest as widely as possible, even if it means that schlager may miss out, on occasion. I like this song, but am not sure if it works in an arena setting, just as Christian Walz may have discovered last week.
On, then, to the man who had already gone direkt till Globen before he’d opened his mouth. Eric Saade promised a Popular show, and he delivered. The Kempesong is, well, it’s an Eric Saade Kempesong. A big wall of noise that disguises the lack of any substance in the lyrics. But that’s fine, I have no issue with that. Dancing, great. Smashing glass, great. Spectacular, even.
But what I don’t like is a half-baked vocal. If Melodifestivalen were all about the spectacle, then Popular would have triumphed. The problem is that the contest is also the selection process for Eurovision, and they’re much fussier about live vocals. An unfortunate cut showed Eric with his mouth firmly shut during the final money-note, only completing the last part of it. It’s not good, really, especially when you have Shirley Clamp pushing her lungs to the limit to prove herself.
I am glad that Danny’s got some major competition, and do think, even at this stage, that it’s a straightforward contest between the boys to win the whole thing. But a lot of work is needed before Düsseldorf.
If there’s a schlagerfiasko in Germany, don’t come crying to me. Or Lena PH.