EDITORIAL – Who would of thought that the fourth place finisher in Swedish Idol 2004 would be one of the most celebrated and legendary winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. That’s where it all started for Lorén Talhaoui, as she was known then.
Young Lorén didn’t really hit the ground running after her Idol participation. She featured on Swedish reggae rappers’, Rob ‘n’ Raz, “The Snake” which failed to chart. Failing at that she turned her hand to working on several Swedish tv shows but mostly behind the scenes as a director and segment producer. She then took a long hiatus out of the public eye.
Lorén didn’t make an impact again until she was selected to take part in Melodifestivalen in 2011. With a slight renaissance, Lorén became Loreen and sang “My Heart Is Refusing Me” in the second semifinal. Loreen advanced to the Andra Chansen but she lost out on a place in the final to Sara Varga with “Spring För Livet”. Interestingly Loreen may get her revenge as she is now up against Sara Varga again in fourth semifinal of Melodifestivalen 2017. This was Loreen’s first song to chart at number 9 and stayed for an amazing 30 weeks on the chart.
With such immediate success without even getting to the final, Loreen entered Melodifestivalen again in 2012 with “Euphoria.” She competed in the first semifinal and advanced directly to the final. On 10 March 2012, she won the jury and the televote to represent Sweden at the ESC in Baku. Loreen released “Euphoria” and a another song “Sober” at the same time. “Euphoria” was an instant hit spending 6 weeks at 1 whereas “Sober” limped in at 26 and only spent 5 weeks in the chart entirely. Was this the early signs of being a one hit wonder?
Baku was the place that changed Loreen’s life forever. On the 26 May 2012, Loreen easily won the Eurovision Song Contest winning both the jury and the televote. If the result was just down to the televote the contest would of been more interesting as the audience knew she had won before half of the voting had been revealed. Russia came second but with such a poor jury vote they ended up 111 points behind Sweden. “Euphoria” broke the record for the most amount of douze points with 18 countries giving the song their top marks.
Europe exploded for their love of “Euphoria” and it went to number 1 in 17 countries and was the highest charting Eurovision song since 1996 in the UK, at number 3. The song as had longevity as it charted in Sweden for 43 weeks as was their number 1 song of the year. It also appeared in many other European countries end of year charts. It also received countless sales achievements with Sweden being the highest at 10x platinum. So Europe was ready and waiting for her album.
Heal was named as Loreen’s upcoming album and was due to be released late October 2012. Her second international single was “My Heart Is Refusing Me” but this failed to make much of an impact with the best chart placing was Germany at 11. So in Sweden only she released her then fourth single “Crying Out Your Name” which only charted at 19. So the warning signs were starting to show. Maybe she waited to long to release new material. By the time her album arrived, to mixed critical reviews, it really only made an impact in Scandinavia being Top 10 in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. It also made the Top 20 in Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany. The album didn’t last long in many of the charts with many of her other singles failing to chart.
After a poor attempt to relaunch the album Heal, with the less well received “We Got The Power” at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö. The single didn’t make the Top 50 in Sweden coming in at 52. Its best charting was in Finland at 24. Loreen then decided to tour to promote the album throughout 2013 & 2014. She performed at selected cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Throughout this time she started writing and hinting to her audiences that a second album was coming soon.
In late 2014 she started performing her new single from her upcoming album. The single was “Paper Light” which most wouldn’t have seen until she performed it as the interval act at the Melodifestivalen 2015 Andra Chansen. The single was released but only managed to reach 25in the charts. Audiences were confused by her new grungy, dirtier sound and look. Loreen announced it would be the lead single from her new album which was scheduled for an October 2014 release. After two further failed singles including her first in Swedish the album has been put on hold.
On 30 November 2016, Loreen was announced to be participating in Melodifestivalen with the song “Statements.” This was a shock to many but in several interviews Loreen has revealed that she is using Melfest to promote her new album. She isn’t interested in winning but simply wants to be heard. Ironically her song is all about making a political statement which she hasn’t been a stranger of.
Overall Loreen has a cult fan base internationally but her Swedish fans have deserted her new style and sound. After last night’s rehearsal the audience poll put her in 3rd place for the semifinal behind Wiktoria and Jon Henrik. It is interesting that someone like Loreen who could potentially win Eurovision again without too much trouble actually will find it very difficult to win the Swedish ticket to the contest. Can you really imagine Loreen going to Andra Chansen after her accomplishments like Carola in 2008? We shall see tonight.