Saturday, March 17, 2012

Melodifestivalen - Sweden's Song Contest

Melodifestivalen. 'The Melody Festival'. Sweden's song contest. A cultural tradition.

Make sure to view the last video in this post - that's where the real fun is!

Each year, countries across Europe hold national song contests in preparation for Eurovision, the European-wide championship. And winners from each country go on to compete for the Eurovision title, held in the country of the previous year's winner. This year's event travels to Baku, Azerbaijan, which prompted a pretty funny sketch by one of the Swedish show hosts, Sarah Dawn Finer.

Sweden's Melodifestivalen spans 6 weeks of preliminary contests to determine the 10 songs that will compete at the finals. There's a notorious love-hate relationship between the Swedes and Melodifestivalen - they love to hate it. Although deeply entrenched in their culture, the annual event serves as a punching bag for the millions of Swedes who join together in front of their TVs every Saturday night, young and old, to criticize, mock, cheer, and vote for their favorite songs - and singers as the case may be.

This year my family skipped the prelims, but we did sit down together to watch the finals and vote for our favorite songs. Our top picks:

1.  Euphoria - written by Victor Escudero - sung by Loreen

2.  Mystery - written by Pontus Hjelm - sung by Dead by April

3.  Why Start a Fire - written by Lisa Miskovsky, Aleksander With, Bernt Rune Stray, Berent Philip Moe - sung by Lisa Miskovsky

4.  Shout it out - written by Fernando Fuentes, Tony Nilsson - sung by David Lindgren

Loreen and Eurphoria took home the honors and will be representing Sweden at Eurovision 2012 in May.

But in my opinion, the best performance of Melodifestivalen 2012 was not seen by the millions watching the national broadcast - but instead a choice few who had access to the sign language videos for the hearing impaired. I have no idea where this guy came from - but this is absolutely one of the best sign language interpretations I think I've ever seen in my life! He captures the song perfectly...every screech and yell of it! It really is a must see! Even the band linked to his performance on their Facebook page.

Now the citizens of Sweden have to work through the withdrawal that follows each year when the contest concludes - and simply bide time until May when - fingers crossed - a win by Loreen brings the Eurovision contest to Sweden next year!

Until  next time...