It happens every year. Fans dive into the new season with freshly brewed courage…and the more songs are revealed, the longer the virtual faces online. Same story this year, and there’s no better place for the virtual cry baby than Melodifestivalen. The most popular national final looks to be suffering from its own success. Or is it?
I don’t think thewords ‘worst final ever’ have been uttered as much as in the week running up to the MF final this year. The machine that sprouted countless hits and stuff of legends (in the ESC bubble, yes) showed signs of dehydration and fatigue. Have we climbed every MF mountain and is are we heading for the way back down or are we all just a bunch of drama queens? Let’s look at the arguments.
Då kör vi!
1/ The songs all sound alike…or we’ve heard them before: Quelle surprise, when half of the field has been penned by the queens of recycling that go by the name of Fredrik Kempe & Thomas G:son. But the fact that a popular (ha!) genre survives a couple of editions isn’t that big of a surprise. And everything finds its way back to the general public. Just ask Bon Jov…YOHIO. Agreed, the diversity that ruled the semis wasn’t reflected in the final this year. That’s more due to a not very clever mix in the semis than the voting behaviour of the Swedes, I’d say.
2/ Too many visual tricks, too little real (vocal) stuff: Quelle surprise, with prerecorded backing vocals it’s up to choreographers and dancers to catch the attention of the televoter. Sure, showing off might help (though one has ones limits, Anton Ewald) but simple and effective usually does the trick. Right, Louise Hoffsten?
3/ Too much testosterone in the Friends Arena: Quelle surprise… No really, it IS a surprise. A surprise that there actually were so many male finalists (for once). And a surprise this is actually one of the concerns in people’s minds when it comes to MF. Sure, one female finalist isn’t exactly overwhelming, but all those whiners conveniently forgot MF was only won twice by a man in the past decade. Get a fracking life. So what if the era of The Diva is temporarily over? Carola showed us, bursting out of her hotpants and raping her own classic with a second hand beat, that might not actually be a very bad thing. (Bad queen, I know, but it is what it is isn’t it)
4/ Does it really need to be that big: Well…yes. How else will you know if a potential entry will potentially survive come May? Bad enough to have 8 people on stage and prerecorded backing vocals, let alone organising your NF in some basement in the nation’s capital with only room for a handful of people. Yes, I do have our own RTBF in mind and yes I did just turn into a lighter shade of green.
5/ Sweden doesn’t really want to win Eurovision: So fracking what. That’s common knowledge by now, no? MF is first and foremost a local happening, giving lots of opportunity and exposure to local talent and providing lots of fuel for the local music industry to keep on turning. Which makes Eurovision ‘only’ a bonus. Some countries might do well in taking an example *coughs* UK *coughs again*
In short, who are we to judge? Sure MF has its shortcomings: too much of the same names year in year out which makes the element of surprise harder to come by. But it does succeed in staying succesful and somehow the Swedes are able to pick a rather contemporary and dangerous contestant for the European platform. In Belgium and the Netherlands we’re already over the moon when a popular artist from the alternative spectrum decides, against all odds, to participate without conforming to any of the clichés – in other words: just for fun. Who should pity whom then?