Malmö had engaged their biggest star to host the event: Harald Treutiger had had an enormous breakthrough hosting the game show "24 karat" and was a popular choice with his relaxed style and dry wit.
His presence was needed in order to sell the show. The standard of songs was fair, not to say quite good, but it was becoming clear that it was increasingly difficult to convince established stars to take part.
On a personal note, I will never forget how smitten I was with the cute backing singer Jens Friis-Hansen and how upset I was when he wasn't allowed to travel to Rome with Carola. Oh, well...
|Image borrowed from svt.se|
10. Diana Nuñez / Kärlekens dans
In accordance with tradition, there would be at least one song that seemed to be selected mainly because it had a connection to the region of Scania. This one had the added bonus of being written by the same man who had written the original music for 24 karat as well. Well sung and sort of nice but not very interesting.
9. Tove Naess / Låt mig se ett under
Originally written for Carola, this was another pleasant ballad that sort of floated past the listener without leaving any lasting impression. Another good singer that had a little bit too little to work with.
8. John Ekedahl / Stanna du i dina drömmar
A welcome attempt at quirky and original that falls a bit short partially due to a weak performance, partially because the direct influence - Orup & Anders Glenmark - is so obvious and so directly copied from the original.
7. Jim Jidhed / Kommer du ihåg mig?
Former heavy metal vocalist Jidhed was one of the hotter names in the lineup and his song became a major hit afterwards. Not bad, just a bit bland. And it didn't grow old all that gracefully.
6. Sharon Dyall / Ge mig ett svar
Another one to be filed under "Interesting failures". This one sports a surprisingly groovy beat and an elegant verse but the chorus never takes off. Sharon Dyall wore a skin-tight and very short golden dress that created a public outcry and was remembered far longer than the song.
5. Laila Dahl / Annie
A light-weight but cheerful little pop song, delivered with a wide smile and a good voice. Maybe the input from some choreographer could have proved helpful but it is hard not to like this one at least a bit.
4. Jessica / Änglar
I always had a soft spot for this one. If the voice is big, then the hair is enormous and this one possibly still goes down as the best attempt at gospel influences in a Swedish final, managing to whip up a real feeling of church and hallelujah in the end. Also proof that it is actually possible to repeat your chorus many times without getting tedious.
3. Pernilla Wahlgren / Tvillingsjäl
According to the press, the final would be a two horse race between Carola and Pernilla Wahlgren, performing a song written by Lena Philipsson. One aggressive flu came in the way and Pernilla failed to even qualify for the super final. Which is of course a scandal. Would have deserved a high placing as well as becoming the hit single it never was.
2. Towe Jaarnek / Ett liv med dig
An almost ridiculously well-crafted ballad that starts elegantly before building and building into one final burst of a chorus. Despite the Big Bag label's efforts to launch her, Towe's career failed to ever take off properly and this song remains her main moment of glory.
1. Carola / Fångad av en stormvind
Game over. Carola storms the stage and blows everyone away. Literally. Perhaps not the perfect song, but a perfect vehicle for Carola's new image and her recently earned dancing skills.
Malmö managed to get their equation together and crafted a good show as well as finding an ESC winner. Their reward was to host the Big Thing the following year, something they did as well as they could, possibly proving that an ESC final takes a bit more than a national final.
In a parallel universe:
Nobody else in this final would have been anywhere near victory in Rome, that much is clear. Towe Jaarnek would have drowned in a sea of ballads and no one else had that thing the international juries seemed to be looking for. Possibly the most important factor is Carola's attack and determination: even though her song lost most of its sophistication thanks to the mess that was the Italian orchestra, she performs like it didn't matter. And that's why she won in the end.
Carola / Fångad av en stormvind (Sweden 1991 NF performance)