A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Monday, February 29, 2016

Sweden, Finland, Norway and everyone else: weekend update

I should of course have been blogging my happy little heart out after the Finnish national final where my winner - who I frankly didn't dare fully hope for whatever I may have written beforehand - stormed to the top of the scoreboard despite only placing third in the televote.

The semi final is always a struggle for Finland. It never feels safe. It never feels like we can relax until the blue cross on a white background pops out of an envelope and we can all breathe again. Let's be honest about that.

Out of the nine songs in the running of the UMK final, I am convinced Sandhja has the best chances of making it out of the semi. If she's a borderline qualifier, so be it. Saara Aalto's song and performance were just too messy for an ESC stage and Finland has a long history of getting brutally ignored when sending in beautiful ballads à la Mikael Saari.

Maybe it would have been nicer had the televote winner won the whole thing, but then again. If we learned anything at all last year it is that the televoters are not always right.

I'm confident Sandhja will make us all proud - with a bit of coaching - and whenever I feel in doubt I imagine her backing vocalists dancing behind me, bursting into their trademark "Yeah!".

Sweden had it's final semi. Now we heard all their songs and I can not pretend not to be disappointed by the overall standard. The final will be good with very radio friendly songs, most of which are fairly similar. Not sure that it is how to compose the perfect national final.

Everyone seems to have found a new favourite in Frans - the Swedish equivalent of ByeAlex - and I'm charmed too. But more by the guy than by the song. Hopefully it will grow on me.

Tobson's current top 3 in the final:
1) Ace Wilder / Don't Worry
2) Oscar Zia / Human
3) Robin Bengtsson / Constellation Prize

Honestly - I never listened carefully to the songs in the Norwegian final. I saw the press conference and thought I'd look into it and then I never did. The only song I heard - and loved - was Laika by the Hungry Hearts.

Honestly, part 2. I never thought Laika would win. I love it and it is very dear to me. The studio version is pure gold and even the slightly clunky live version is most likeable. But I never for a second thought Norway would actually select this.

What about the winner, then? It is nice. Pleasant. Well sung. Agnete was lovely already back in the day when she won MGP junior and still have her aura in tact. I am not friends with the tempo change in the chorus as yet but maybe that will be fine too with some more listenings?

As for the other national finals I can conclude that the Swedish schlager is not dead, as many feared it to be. It just moved to Moldova. Not sure it is a winner on an international scale but it is nice enough to possibly take Moldova back to the final. The Slovenian entry is another pleasant effort that is easy to like but perhaps harder to remember.

The real exclamation mark is instead the Latvian entry. Suddenly it is emerging as an early favourite to win the whole shebang in Stockholm in May, it is also a second consecutive triumph for the majestic Aminata who got a well-deserved 6th place in Vienna. Now she is back as a most original and impressive songwriter. Latvia is bound to do well again.

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