“Ow, semi 4 already?” I thought to myself while going all Sheldon and demanding my own spot on the couch, getting ready to follow what has to be the worst live stream since I started following MF in 2004. Time sure goes by fast, a cliché some of the contestants in Malmö can attest to, whether they want to or not…
Hold on there. Malmö, you say? As in Malmö, the center of our collective universe for at least ten days come May? That Malmö? Yes sir, Sweden can boogie. The venue on Saturday is in fact the venue that will be hosting Eurovision itself. Used for a semi in MF. Just goes to show what the exact order is on SVT’s priority list: MF as the accelerator for the local music scene, Eurovision as a bonus. To rapidly erase that impression from the public’s mind SVT decided to put a spin on it, giving us a parody on the ‘traditional’ opening of Eurovision – Te Deum included. And a painful scene where Eastern Europe was depicted as no man’s land where time stood still for over 50 years. Luckily there was the fabulous Petra Mede to keep the boat (half) afloat, perfect French and all. Still a tad painful. Det gör lite ont. Mais bon, allons-y.
After the awful semi three number four luckily turned things around, even though the general standard is far below par. Or is that above? Anyway, in a year where they get to defend a European title you’d expect more than what MF had in store for us this year. Personifying this statement is the idea of dusting off a band that knew its highlight back in the beginning of the ’90s. That’s twenty years darling. I was a wee teen boy back then, crazy about Crucified I have to admit, and I can testify what time can do to someone in twenty years. Not an awful lot of good, judging by what Army Of Lovers treated us to on Saturday. Kitsch rules, but when it’s used to disguise the fact a song is non-existent it’s just an empty shell. The title of the article in the picture says ‘If they want to hear us sing they just have to play our records’ by the way. Still haven’t heard them sing live. Sometimes it’s best to let the past be the past. Det gjorde lite ont.
Someone else who’d have been better off watching MF from her spot on the couch instead of wanting to relive even older times than that bunch of fairies was the faded glory that goes by the name of Sylvia Vrethammar, hoisted in a dress even the production crew of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert would have refused. Her sweet little nothing that was Trivialitet was exactly what it said on the tin. Det gjorde lite ont.
Then there were of course a lot of songs that did not sound all that original and had other artists to thank for the inspiration, which is hardly a surprise with one of the Kings Of Recycling behind almost half of the MF field – yes, miss G:son, I àm talking about you. The most blatant example would be Lucia Piñera, packing a chorus I could sing Rolling In The Deep to without hesitating. Behrang Miri in the meantime brought an ode to France’s Eurovision 2010 entry, channeling some Allez on the side, while young Terese Fredenwall behaved as Anna Bergendahl’s sister bringing an ode to Coldplay. The British band appeared to be popular, as teen idol Ulrik Munther made more than one reference in his rather enjoyable entry. Britpop ruled semi 4 by the way, with Kurt from Glee copycat Robin Stjernberg going for more than a hint of The Temper Trap in his melodic entry. Sigh.
Thank heavens we got a kick in the proverbal nuts by rocker Ralf Gyllenhammar, mixing the best of Elton John & Freddie Mercury in an entry that’s as in your face as Loreen’s last year. A haunting piano melody, harsh guitars, some clever pyro on stage and a voice that did the song justice: now thàt’s what I call a candidate for the title. Bonus points for Ralf really wànting to represent Sweden, calling Björn Skifs his big example. A breath of fresh air amongst all those posterboys and -girls looking at nothing else but their own belly buttons.
I think it’s reasonably clear Bed On Fire is the one to beat in Stockholm. If anyone’s going to challenge him it will be YOHIO. Ulrik Munther will fall a little short I’m afraid. I’m still rooting for the dead fish to be up there with the best of them. But what an unimpressive bunch we’ll have to sit through. Det gör lite ont. And if Ralf Gyllenhammar does manage to win the title he gets to return to the stage…in Malmö. I do think det gör ont. Men bara lite.