The “car crash” that was last year’s Melodifestivalen (the Swedish competition which chooses an entrant for Eurovision) hasn’t, so far, been repeated this year. Although the songs last year were reasonably okay, the hosts were terrible. The biggest problem with last year is the hosts seemed to have been under the impression (or were told) they were more important or interesting than the songs. Their seriously un-funny humour (especially the guy) meant I stopped watching the entire broadcast.
This year they’ve tagged a comedian, Robin Paulsson with a singer, last year’s winner, Sanna Nielsen, and it seems to work. The “comedy” mostly has a musical element. Sadly though they’ve brought in another lame comedian in what I think is probably an attempt to broaden the show’s appeal. It’s kinda like the lame “family humour” previously found on “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” I guess. The Swedes seem to have a “thing” for “wise cracking nerd comedians”. While previously they’ve had some wonderful moments from the likes of Björn Gustafsson and Sarah Dawn Finer (as Lynda Woodruffe), there’s something awfully unfunny about this year’s comedian whose name I can’t tell you, as I can’t be bothered to look her up.
My other big complaint last year was the dominance of song-writer Fredrik Kempe. He’s back again this year, having co-composed the winner of the first heat. He has some additional songwriters this year, and it shows, as the song is less predictable than the usual Kempe number. Hey, the lyrics even make sense. I suspect, they probably wrote most of the song, but have used Kempe’s name to attract Eric Saade as the performer, and to gain a place in the contest. The song’s not bad, and will probably end up as Sweden’s entry for Eurovision due to Eric’s popularity with Melodifestivalen voters, but I don’t think it’s as strong as his previous entries.
There were a couple of surprise numbers for me in the first heat. I quite liked the rap song co-written by Måns Zelmerlöw (“Det rår vi inte för” by Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone ) and the song by Daniel Gildenlöw “Pappa” (quite touching). But there were some duds as well, such as “I’ll Be Fine” by Molly Pettersson (she was almost off-key), as well as “Hello Hi” by Dolly Style and “Can’t Hurt Me Now” by Jessica Andersson which I thought were far too formulaic.
It will be interesting to see how Melodifestivalen pans out this year. Given the criticism of last year’s contest, I hope they’ve re-invented the competition somewhat, as I think they really need to. As wonderful as Christer Björkman has been running the competition for the last decade or so (he’s done some great stuff), I wonder if it’s time to find someone new to re-invent things?