My own private Melodifestivalen
Vasil Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
EDITORIAL – This is the first guest editorial we had in years. We asked our dear friend Anastasis Bachas, one of the true lovers and fan of Melodifestivalen to explain us why he loves the Swedish national selection:
My very first contact with Melodifestivalen was in 2003 when I was in Norway as an Erasmus student to the school of Architecture there. I was already a Eurovision fan but I was not so much involved into the “before the Eurovision” thing. I was mostly focused in watching all the songs representing the counties till the (one) final night of the Eurovision. In Greece the national selection wasn’t a big thing and there was no big show actually. So my Norwegian friends one day told me” hey mister Eurovision it’s the Swedish final this Saturday”, wanna watch it? They said me it’s a big thing in Sweden, and Norway loves to watch it too. Also many Norwegian singers participate from time to time. So at that Saturday of 2003 I watched my first Melodifestivalen Final. I was happy to see again the “Aphrodite” to go for the trophy with “Aqua Playa” and Alcazar with “Not a sinner not a saint” that became big hit in Scandinavia that year. They were my favorite but the winner was a Blond Duet singing “Give me your love” that at the Eurovision final night the Norwegian commentator called them “as charming as the IVAR bookshelf from Ikea”. Not my cup of tea but either but it was a great night and was so happy to see that Eurovision has more nights to watch than the final. It was another Eurovision for me.
When I came back home in June of 2003 the internet was still young , dial up connections, some of us remember that, so there was no chance yet to watch something online . In 2008 when Charlotte Perrelli aka Nilsson represented Sweden I saw her performance in a club in Athens and After a While the performance from the group After Dark with the song “Dolce Vita” and the Melodifestivalen” seed “ started to grow all of a sadden again. Was thinking how many great songs we miss from all this Eurovision final selections that we are not able to watch!
The next year 2009 and while I was following updates from oikotimes.com there was a link about the first semifinal of Melodifestivalen? First semifinal? How many do they have? In 2003 I thought it was only the final. And somehow the whole size of Melodifestivalen started to appear Saturday after Saturday. I have to mention that the ADSL connections were almost in every house in Greece. Thank to oikotimes.com and SVT there was a link to connect with live performance every Saturday !
In 2009 was my first full Melodifestivalen year! The “Andra Chansen” thing kind of confused me because I don’t speak Swedish (yet) but soon I got the point! In 2009 it was a big surprise to see a song with Greek lyrics participating to Melodifestivalen, Sophia with the song “Alla”. At that year Malenna Ernman won the Melodifestivalen, the last performance out of the four semifinals! Since that Year 2009 I am so looking forward to Melodifestivalen. I kind of know what I will do the next six Saturdays of the year. I like to watch it with friends at home because Melodifestivalen is fun to watch it with “Jury”. Year after year it kind of becomes addictive, and also watch it more than once . Also my friends are more interested in joining into this proses. It’s great to see some singers participating during the years more than once and or others hosting the show. To compare what are the things that changed and what remained the same! Even the Jars and Glasses from Orefors that they have on the tables of Green Room Catch my attention.
What I want to mention about the Melodifestivalen is that some participants that have already won the trophy the one year are not afraid to participate again. Kind of reflecting the Swedish mentality and way of thinking. In Greece we know that this is a really hard thing to happen. The former participants of Eurovision don’t nagotiate of re participating. In Sweden Carola and Charlotte Perrelli who has won the Eurovision Contest didn’t want to finish there Eurovision history as winners of the contest but they keep on trying again and again being part of the big Melodifestivalen family.
In 2012 after the first semifinal I decided to make Melodifestivalen popular at least among my friends. Writing on a blog and posting it on Facebook was what I thought to do. The whole blog is in Greek so it’s all Greek to you if you try to read it. I wanted to make people watch the Melodifestivalen final at that year that Sweden had the chances to win. So I described all the songs of all the semifinals with some data I could get for the participants. I still remember how we all SHUT OUR MOUTHS UP when we first saw Loreen performing Euphoria. A friend said that “we have the winner from the first semifinal” and he was right. I was pleased that I knew Loreen from 2011 and “My heart is refusing me” that didn’t even make it to the “Andra Chansen”.
Since 2009 till 2014 there are countless thing to remember from Melodifestivalen. I’ve been listening on my mp3 the songs or while I’ve been working and scenes from the performances come into my mind, and questions like, “was it fair enough that this went straight to the final? Hmm this is a great song that I haven’t noticed that night? What a pity that this didn’t make it to the final”.
Nina started to count the Melodifestivalen years of mine with her “Tick Tock” since that I learned “La Voix” of Malena Ernman, that Måns Zelmerlöw stands very well for hope and glory, how Sarah Dawn Finer is moving on, I got to know Pernilla Whaagren at least 2 times since 2009 and loved her Jog vil om de vugar, also found a Place to stay into “something in her eyes” of Jenny Silver, Eric Saade is a “Popular” “Manboy” in Sweden, that Loreen the one year is refused by her heart and another year she becomes the heart of the whole Europe and gives her Euphoria. Learned that Emilia is a “big big girl” has her “World” is in Sweden, Jessicka Andersson does is for love, Alcazar never give up to participate and after being sinners and saints they stay the night and ask us to find them on the headlines and finally “blame it on the disco” that they didn’t win last year. Also learned that the “Glorious” Andreas Johnson is from Sweden and he is a Melodifestivalen veteran, that YOHIO is the first human Manga live toon, that Doctor Alban is from Sweden and he is famous “Around the world”, that the phenomenon Sean Banan exists in his “Copacabanana” world , that Danny is “Amazing” in or out of “Da club”, Anton Ewald “Ah ouuu” is “Begging” for more, Sanna Nielsen UNDID all her sadness by winning the last Melodifestivalen, and finally that Helena Paparizou is still “My number one” “Survivor”.
Its all about fun! Its all about having a good time by watching something on TV. Nothing more nothing less and the Swedish have a great way to do it. It’s a great format that SVT created and hope to see that happening in other countries too. Wish someday my country Greece can make it and have benefits from it. You don’t spend money when you invest on something. I am looking forward to this year’s Melodifestivalen 2015 with Måns, Eric, Jessika and many more! My big wish is someday to be in the audience. An online voting could be another thing that could bring the Melodifestivalen viewers closer, suppose it will help for the better choice of the final song also. Melodifestivalen is the next best thing after Christmas and can’t wait till the 7th of February to live again my own private Melodifestivalen in Greece!