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Just another American living in Sweden


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eurovision song contest

If you don’t recall my other post about Eurovision, read up here. There I explain all about how the contest works. Guess what, one week ago today, Sweden did it again!

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This post won’t be quite the same detailed run-down as my previous post was, but I will have you know that I personally think that this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was the best one I have ever seen. Every country that made it to the final really stepped it up. Every single song and artist was truly amazing. And I’m pretty hard to please, seeing as I’m a native English speaker I’m hard on artists. If they can’t sing in English, I’m a firm advocate for them singing in their native tongue. This year, however, no one’s English caused me to cringe or want to turn off my TV. Everyone brought their A-game.

That being said, here are the results, as well as links to the songs from the official ESC site.

ESC(picture found here)

  1. Sweden – Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes: 365
  2. Russia – Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices: 303
  3. Italy – Il Volo – Grande Amore: 292
  4. Belgium – Loïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside: 217
  5. Australia – Guy Sebastian – Tonight Again: 196
  6. Latvia – Aminata – Love Injected: 186
  7. Estonia – Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday: 106
  8. Norway – Morland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me: 102
  9. Israel – Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy: 97
  10. Serbia – Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies: 53
  11. Georgia – Nina Sublatti – Warrior: 51
  12. Azerbaijan – Elnur Huseynov – Hour of the Wolf: 49
  13. Montenegro – Knez – Adio: 44
  14. Slovenia – Maraaya – Here For You: 39
  15. Romania – Voltaj – De La Capat/All Over Again: 35
  16. Armenia – Genealogy – Face the Shadow: 34
  17. Albania – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive: 34
  18. Lithuania – Monika Linkyté and Vaidas Baumila – This Time: 30
  19. Greece – Maria Elena Kyriakou – One Last Breath: 23
  20. Hungary – Boggie – Wars for Nothing: 19
  21. Spain – Edurne – Amanecer: 15
  22. Cyprus – John Karayiannis – One Thing I Should Have Done: 11
  23. Poland – Monika Kuszynska – In the Name of Love: 10
  24. United Kingdom – Electro Velvet – Still in Love With You: 5
  25. France Lisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas: 4
  26. Germany – Ann Sophie – Black Smoke: 0
  27. Austria – The Makemakes – I am Yours: 0

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Definitely click the link to listen to Sweden’s song, and I even encourage you to click all the links. Form your own opinion. Learn a little about European music. Although I thought this year’s performances were above and beyond, as per the usual I did not agree with this year’s voting.

If I was the Queen of the Eurovision Song Contest this is how I would have ranked the songs:

My list

This year’s song contest did not occur without a little drama. Half way through the contest Russia was winning. The audience did not like this, and they started booing when Russia received points. The TV hosts reminded the audience that the song contest is completely outside of politics, and all artists should be supported. A bit later on a Sweden chant began.

Little awkward, but the ESC has been very pro LGBTQ, and Russia these days is the opposite of that. So, although awkward, not unsurprising in the least. I do think that what the hosts said was important though, the music is the focus, and the music this year was GREAT.

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I’m super glad Sweden won, and if any of you readers can get me tickets to the song contest next spring I would be forever in your debt!

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twenty three. buy a guitar and learn five songs

After four successfully completed goals I thought it time to bring up one that remains incomplete.
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Now, I did not buy a guitar in the past 3 years, nor have I learned to play five songs. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten anywhere with this one.
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Guitar
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I did borrow a guitar from work, and signed up for a guitar course on Coursera. When I wrote the goal of five songs I imagined picking five of my all time favorite songs. But as time went on, I thought I might settle for Mary had a Little Lamb and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Mostly because this would also be fun to play at work. And Ke$al’s Cannibal isn’t really appropriate for pre-school aged children.
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But, also, Baa Baa Black Sheep is probably a lot easier to play.
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Well, as mentioned, this one still remains on the to do list. Maybe I’ll have to take five weeks of paid vacation this fall and learn me some guitar.
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melodifestivalen

Melodifestivalen, what is it? Well it directly translates to Melody Festival. Idiomatically it translates to Song Festival. I’m sure you never would have guessed that, so I’m glad to help. As you all remember my thoroughly in-depth description and analysis of Eurovision 2012, I’m now here to explain how Sweden chooses the song they send to Eurovision. (Get caught up on Eurovision here.)

Eurovision 2013 was held in Sweden, where Denmark won. (If you have been waiting for my analysis of Eurovision 2013, it’s not happening. Sorry for the letdown.) This year the song contest will be held in Denmark.

In order to decide which song will be sent to the Eurovision Song Contest, Sweden has a song contest. What else? Melodifestivalen lasts six weeks, where artists from across the land compete with one another to get the Swedish populace to vote for their songs. (At a price. Imagine if it cost money to vote for American Idol? Think there’d be as many votes? Now imagine you could also choose to call a number where money would go to charity (as they do in Sweden). Imagine…) Anyway…

Melodifestivalen is shown on Saturday nights (high time for lördagsgodis – Saturday candy – remind me to tell you more about this later). The first four showings consist of eight songs competing for your vote. During the first four shows two songs are sent directly to the final competition. Two songs are also sent to the second chance. The competition travels around Sweden and is sent live to all the televisions across Sweden.

The first four weeks the competition is pretty much set up how you would expect it to be. Eight groups/artists perform their songs, and Sweden calls in to vote. The two songs with the most votes get sent directly to the final (and are preformed one more time). The two songs receiving the 3rd and 4th most votes are sent to the second chance week.

Week one in Malmö saw YOHIO with the song “To the End” and Ellen Benediktsom with “Songbird” move directly on to the final. Linus Svenning singing “Bröder” as well as Helena Paparizou with “Survivor” were sent to the second chance competition.

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Week two broadcasting from Linköping sent Panetoz and Sanna Nielsen, singing “Efter solsken” and “Undo” respectively, to the final. Martin Stenmarck singing “När änglarna går hem” and JEM singing “Love Trigger” went to the second chance.

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In week three the artists sent directly to the final from Göteborg were Oscar Zia with “Yes We Can” and Ace Wilder singing “Busy Doin’ Nothin’”. State of Drama and Outtrigger singing “All We Are” and “Echo” respectively were sent to the second chance.

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Then in week four, from Örnsköldsvik (I don’t know where that is either), both Alcazar and Anton Ewand were sent to the final singing “Blame it on the Disco” and “Natural” respectively. Ammotrack singing “Raise Your Hands” and Elinor Holmer with the song “En himmelsk sång” were sent to the second chance show.

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Last week, week five was second chance week in Lidköping. Second chance week is a little different from the first four weeks. First, all eight artists/groups perform their songs. Then Sweden calls in to vote (much the same). However after the votes are counted, things get interesting. The top four songs are paired up two and two, and the artists prepare for a duel. The top four songs chosen by Sweden were: “Echo” by Outtrigger, “Survivor” by Helena Paparizou, “När änglarna går hem” by Martin Stenmarck, and “Bröder” by Linus Svenning. Linus sang against Martin Stenmarck, and Outtrigger sang against Helena Paparizou. In the end it was Linus Svenning and Helena Paparizou who walked away with golden tickets to the final competition. (Figuratively, I saw no actual golden tickets.)

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The final gets even more interesting than second chance week. It starts in much the same way all the previous competitions have begun. This time, however, ten performances sing their songs for a live audience instead of eight. Sweden then calls in (or texts, not sure if I mentioned yet that you can also text – if you’re not the phone-call-type-of-person). It then gets even more interesting, as 11 international juries also vote on Sweden’s final 10 songs. This year Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom weighed in. The Swedish people and the 11 international juries have 473 points each to divide amongst the songs.

The points that the people of Sweden award are divided up based on percentage of votes. (If 12% of the votes were awarded to one song that song would receive 12% of 473.) The awarding of the points from the international juries is very similar to that of Eurovision, where the best song receives 12 points, the next 10, then 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1. Once all the votes are counted the winner is announced!

If you ask me….

This year Evelina and I enjoyed the whole of Melodifestivalen comfortably from our couch….or a couch at least during those Saturdays we weren’t at home. However, I highly recommend seeing Melodifestivalen live. In 2012 Evelina and I worked at Cloetta Center in Linköping, along with 6 of our closest teammates during the Melodifestival performance. (Well 6 of our teammates anyway.) We got to see a bunch of fun performances (after hanging everyone’s coat in the coat check). Plus, the jokes from the hosts of the program are just a little bit funnier in person.

The final is right around the corner, a mere 15 minutes away. And if you ask me, I vote for Ace Wilder’s “Busy Doin’ Nothin'” Since you did ask me, I think her song is a lot of fun, and will do the best at the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s not my favorite song in the competition, or necessarily the best song…but, like I said, I think it will do the best at Eurovision. But everything remains to be seen.

If you’re ever in Sweden in February or early March, you now know what to do. (AND you now hopefully understand all the minute details of the Swedish song contest.) When in Sweden…

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pictures from svt.se