A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
There is always some matter to discuss or just a song I want to share
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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tobson takes on Melodifestivalen 1985

While Gothenburg had learned fast on how to make a better tv show, Malmö would prove to have greater difficulties understanding what had gone wrong the first time. In an attempt to keep the budget to a strict minimum, the whole show was pushed inside one of their rather small studios, allowing only a limited audience and no room for any orchestra.

Using pre-recorded backing tracks was a good idea since everything sounded an awful lot better compared to two years earlier but some other production ideas didn't go down equally well. Turning the studio into a disco could have been a good idea but only looks cheap and tacky. Who'd like to be seen dancing in this scenery?

If Bibi Johns hadn't been inexperienced enough in 1983, this time Malmö opted for someone with even less television experience: a former miss Sweden who had no idea how to improvise or handle a situation like the scoreboard running amok. Which it did.

The general standard of entries was less impressive again. There exists an LP with 16 songs entered but rejected for this final and it is a mystery how some of the finalists were selected. What was the jury thinking?

Picture borrowed from oppetarkiv.se

10. Suzanne Frölén / Vänner
Suzanne was still a teenager but had released a number of singles and had been sent to Germany to record with an international team. A good voice and an obvious talent are totally wasted on a mind-numbingly dull song with amateurish lyrics. Whoever on Suzanne's team thought this would be a good idea?
Grade: 1/5

9. Per-Erik Hallin / Morgonluft
Per-Erik didn't give up and decided to try his hand at making gospel a popular genre in this contest and brought along a backing group of his own to add some temper to the performance. He should have worried more about the actual song that doesn't feel finished and contains a few abrupt changes too many to work. Feels like it is over before it even begins.
Grade: 1/5

8. Li Berg / Jag vet hur det känns
Just like Suzanne Frölén, Li had a few records to her name and seemed to operate in a very different musical landscape as she was suddenly pushed into melodifestivalen with a fairly basic entry. They both shared the same label and were possibly victims of the same poor decision-making. The best part of this is Li's helmet-like hair (as she makes a pirouette, not a single hair is moving) as well as the Prince Charming who is coming on to her as part of the performers. The stuff that nightmares are made of.
Grade: 2/5

7. Stefan Borsch / Sjung din sång
The Mariann label didn't always pay much attention to styling or staging and this is one case where it back-fired. This is quite a good and fairly bombastic schlager ballad that could easily have been improved and made more marketable. Stefan Borsch was a huge name on the dansband circuit and recorded several ESC entries in Swedish versions, often with pretty good results.
Grade: 2/5

6. Ritz / Nu har det hänt igen
A mature pop schlager that only made the final cut after one of the originally selected songs had been disqualified (and the first reserve met the same fate). More likeable that exciting and more of an album track than an entry that would stand a real chance in a song contest.
Grade: 2/5

5. Göran Folkestad / Eld och lågor
Second consecutive attempt from Göran who would never really impose himself as a solo singer. This chorus has a kind of call-and-response between him and the backing group that you hardly ever find anywhere else but in 1980's schlager. Nice and upbeat but that's pretty much it.
Grade: 2/5

4. Pernilla Wahlgren / Piccadilly Circus
A mega hit and a huge breakthrough, which probably goes out to explain why most people tend to remember this pretty standard schlager as better than it really is. Most Swedish people my age visiting London will start humming this to themselves when passing the place in question.
Grade: 3/5

3. Bel Air / 1 + 1 = 2
Proof that enough wrongs piled upon each other will turn into something rather fantastic in the end. The lyrics are forced, to say the least, and these three sisters weren't quite ready for the big time. If you listen carefully, you can probably hear the sound of a choreographer crying backstage. This is what Belle & The Devotions would have looked like had they grown up in the Swedish countryside and I love it.
Grade: 3/5

2. Dan Tillberg / Ta min hand
If this is Malmö, then you can be sure there will be some local talent involved. Just like Nils-Åke Runeson in 1983, Dan Tillberg sings in the local dialect of Scania but has a much better song. A fine example of clean-cut Swedish soft pop of the 1980's.
Grade: 3/5

1. Kikki Danielsson / Bra vibrationer
Apparently nobody saw this one coming. Kikki thought the song was too modern to suit her and was reluctant to sing it. The label never saw it as a winner. The press award went to Dan Tillberg. Everyone expected Pernilla Wahlgren to win. How come nobody heard what a terrifically strong entry this was? Obviously the best one of 1985. By miles and miles.
Grade: 5/5

Again Malmö had extreme luck and managed to find the golden ticket in a pretty weak final. Maybe this final left the heads of SVT in doubt of Malmö's abilities after all? It would take three years until they would have another shot at hosting and then they would show a very different approach to the event.

In a parallel universe:
Nobody else from this bunch could have impressed like Kikki did in Scandinavium. She was at the height of her popularity and was both professional and radiant. Dan Tillberg would have looked weak and lost on that big stage and Pernilla Wahlgren's song wouldn't have carried far at all. I doubt either one would have made into the top ten.

Kikki Danielsson / Bra vibrationer (Sweden 1985, NF performance)

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