EDITORIAL – With 2017 not only being the 15th anniversary of the Swedish selection format change to Melodifestivalen but it will also be my 10th year attending the final. Over the years, I have wanted and waited for some of my favourite Swedish artists to perform and grace the stage in my presence. Many of my wishes have been granted but unfortunately some haven’t. I have compiled my top 5 wishes for the 2017 contest which include artists I’ve seen and some I haven’t.
Alcazar – One of my all-time favourite participants in Melodifestivalen is the Schlager, Disco and Europop extravaganza that is Alcazar. Being five time entrants to the Swedish selection as well as being offered to be a part of the UK selection clearly shows their popularity. True Schlager music has lost favour in recent years but I feel it will have a come back via the club scene, most likely. With classic entries like Blame it on the Disco, Stay the Night and Alcastar you can clearly see the Eurovision potential. They’re all time stand out number has to be Not a Sinner, Nor a Saint. Being in the final four times but they haven’t placed higher than third place but with a cracking new song they could take the trophy. Along with European chart success they could fair well on the Eurovision stage.
Lena Philipsson – She will always be the Queen of Swedish Schlager in my eyes. Lena has been in the Swedish selection four times, as a writer twice and she won in 2004. She even hosted Melodifestivalen in 2006 and she still stands as one of my favourite hosts of the contest. Her 80’s entries are all time classics even though she never one with one of them. I dare you to listen to one of her songs and not have a positive opinion on it. In a way she reminds me of Dolly Parton, not in style but in demeanor, like a ray of pure sunshine. Lena Philipsson has had a very diverse music career in many different styles and genres. The one thing she always seems to bring is the happiness that defines what Schlager is all about. She was one of the only pop stars to appear on a postage stamp in the 90s as well. Clearly Sweden has good taste. Her 2004 representation in the ESC in Istanbul is a classic performance and song which landed her a fifth place finish for Sweden. I don’t think Europe has had enough of this Lena and she would welcomed back at any time.
Agnes (Carlsson) – Possibly one of the biggest Swedish exports of recent years, Agnes the first female winner of Idol, only officially participated in the 2009 contest with the song Love Love Love and finished eighth in the final. She was actually a part of the 2007 line up but she let slip the name of her song in a newspaper interview before she was allowed to. SVT disqualified her and the song for the slip up but she was replaced by another Idol contestant, Måns Zelmerlöw with Cara Mia. Since Agnes’ participation in the Swedish selection in 2009 she has had chart success all over the world. Release Me was a massive hit all over the world as well as its follow up On and On. Agnes is also the first and only to date Swedish Idol contestant to be launched in the US. Things have gone a bit quiet since her 2013 greatest hits release and her Eurovision interval inclusion so now is the perfect time to welcome her back to Melodifestivalen.
Darin (Zanyar) – Another Idol contestant on my list, Darin came second in the very first season of Swedish Idol back in 2004. He went on to far outsell the winner, Daniel Lindström, to be one of the best selling Swedish artists including six number one albums. In 2010, Darin decided to give Melodifestivalen a go with his song You’re Out of My Life. His ballad did very well finishing fourth in the final but receiving top marks from the Greek and Russian international juries. Since then Darin hasn’t really stopped including releasing several more albums and appearing on Swedish TV show Så Mycket Bättre (S o Much Better) where he performed six cover versions of well know songs. He broke chart records during that time because all six songs appeared in the Top 10 of most of the Swedish charts for several weeks. I think Darin’s voice and style is perfect for the contest and one of my favourites’ is his song Lovekiller. SVT would be lucky to have him back if he agreed. Darin also participated in the 2013 Eurovision interval with fellow Idol contestant, Agnes.
Sarah Dawn Finer – A fascinating artist with a breathtaking voice who is of English and American parents but raised in Sweden. She first participated in the Swedish selection back in 2007 with the ballad I Remember Love. She finished the final in fourth position but the song was a big hit in Sweden. Sarah came back in 2009 with the song Moving On. This time around she came sixth with her rising platform but the song was the most played song on Swedish radio in 2009. Sarah presented the Eurovision votes that year and went on to be one of the hosts of the 2012 Melodifestivalen contest. This is where her alter ego was invented, which she is probably better known for, Lynda Woodruff, the “official” spokesperson for the EBU. Lynda has appeared during several Eurovision events and has become an iconic character in the Eurovision bubble. She performed the ABBA classic The Winner Takes it All during the Eurovision 2013 final and it was so popular it was released as a single. Recently though, Sarah cancelled her most recent Winter Tour due to vocal issues. So I’m not sure she would be well enough to participate for 2017 but I’d welcome her back with open arms.
It was very difficult to pick just five but I would also welcome any of the successful supergroups, artists famously known in their own right, that Sweden is famous for putting together. I can’t wait to see who will be included in the 2017 edition. Who do you think we be back?