We’ve done it team. We have finally found our way to the end of one of the weirdest national final seasons going. With many a fan favourite not making the cut over the past few months, Saturday night felt like it was high stakes. It would have been fitting for it to end on some kind of drama and certainly not a happy ending. Mercifully, Melodifestivalen (and specifically the juries therein) had other ideas.
Firstly, bravo to SVT for putting on such a spectacle. It was not lost on this writer just how special it was to see a full Friends Arena brimming with fans. The whole show had a real celebratory vibe and to all involved, you should be applauded. But what of the actual competition? Well calling Klara Hammarström for a surprise win was pretty wide of the mark. The running order certainly put paid to that. Conversely, Medina closing the show with their energetic banger was a stroke of genius. Barring the winner, them receiving the first jury 12 points was the most joyous moment of the night.
There was plenty of stories throughout the event but as most had anticipated it came down to two, Anders Bagge vs. Cornelia Jakobs. Now I like an ol’ fashioned anthem and Bigger than the Universe certainly has that appeal. There’s no denying the bloke’s got pipes but man, those schmultzy nature clips playing on the screen behind were just too much. Compare this to the stripped-back, raw and emotional performance from Cornelia and for me, this was a no-brainer. We always knew it would be the international juries for the Eurofans and the televote for the Swedes. We, as a fandom, were relying on…
Tali Eshkoli, a regular Israeli panel representative has cultivated a reputation for throwing the occasional spanner in the works during such proceedings. It was, perhaps, at the point she awarded her full marks to Hold Me Closer that we should’ve realised Cornelia was on for the win. Still, Anders’ resounding & deserved public vote kept us guessing until the final score was declared. However, the “right” result managed to win through with the song that gives Sweden their best chance at equalling Ireland’s tally of seven wins. And now, for the first time, I can wholeheartedly say I want Sweden to win Eurovision.
That still doesn’t quite sit right.
It was elsewhere we got the “chill” element from the title of this post. Of the other two selections happeing on Saturday, both Iceland & Portugal opted to go for lower energy entries for Eurovision. Reykjavíkurdætur were sadly overlooked in Iceland for the folk entry from Sigga, Beta and Elín. Given Portugal is the nation of chill Maro winning FdC with Saudade, saudade really shouldn’t have been a surprise. Though I should say it’s Diana Castro’s Ginger Ale I’ve had stuck in my head since Saturday. Looking back on my previews I made three predictions and drew blanks on all three. Probably sums up this mad season as well as anything.
And that’s it. We’ve still got Armenia & Azerbaijan waiting to release but in terms of national finals, we’re done. Next one will be Festivali i Këngës in December. Just the small matter of a Song Contest to get sorted in the meanwhile.