Love it or loathe it, all of Sweden goes quiet for a few hours every Saturday night for six weeks as hopefuls singers compete for the chance to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest. On Saturday night, the 2013 Melodifestival competition kicks off in Karlskrona, southern Sweden, with hosts Gina Dirawi and Danny Saucedo calling the shots. The line-up includes Yohio, a Swedish teen pop star who sings in Japanese, dresses like Lolita, and plays guitar like Hendrix, and David Lindgren, who finished fourth last year.
After Karlskrona, there will be another three heats over the next three weekends, to be hosted in Gothenburg, Skellefteå, and Malmö respectively. Each Saturday, eight acts will compete for the chance to be voted through by the public as the best two of the night. In Karlstad, on March 2nd, there will be a “second chance” final for those acts that didn’t make it through by public vote.
Finally, the ten remaining acts will compete in Stockholm on March 9th, where Sweden will vote for who will represent the nation at Eurovision itself. And the winner will have big shoes to fill, after Euphoria singer Loreen was triumphant in Azerbaijan last year.