A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweden and the advanced backing tracks

In 2009, SVT made a radical decision concerning the performances in Melodifestivalen. In sharp contrast to the EBU rules, you are allowed to put your backing vocals on tape instead of having them sung live. Also, you are allowed to have a maximum of eight people on stage, to emphasise the show element.

In 2009 and 2010, it worked pretty neatly in Sweden, even if the winners both years had to be modified fof the international final.

This year, however, the use of pre-recorded vocals got in my way a bit. Especially in the more modern and produced entries like Dilba's and Danny's.

There are so many vocal effects going on that I lost track of when the singer is singing and when the voices are supposed to be on tape. And then I suddenly didn't feel sure about when the performers actually sung or not. At times, it felt like Dilba and Danny didn't sing quite as much as they were supposed to.

Of course they did, but that was the feeling I got.

And I spent the rest of the show thinking too much about what the backing singers sung live and what they only lip-synced along with.

Maybe this is just me now, but I would like it better if all vocals were live after all. Nobody would have to think about things this way, and there would not be the shadow of a doubt that the singers couldn't pull their song off.

Not to mention how much more energy you create when the singing is live. Backing tracks are fine, but pre-recorded vocals are clearly more difficult.


  1. You are not the only one thinking that. The line between lead vocal and backing vocals is a very thin one.

    Earlier the Swedes were known to have a perfectly planned performances already in the Melodifestivalen level that was easy to transfer to the Eurovision stage.

    I think that the performances for both Malena Ernman and Anna Bergendahl suffered when they had to be redesigned and rearranged to comply the EBU rules.

    And I agree, the pre recorded vocal tracks does not sound as good as the live ones. Especially as the Melodifestivalen has always been known for good vocals.


  2. I also agree with Tobson's criticism - not that I even thought of the backing vocals being prerecorded, but simply the fact that there are "too many people on the stage" really caught my eye this year and last. I think it's misleading to give this type of impression in the MF and then do something - at least a bit - different live in the ESC.