For today’s Eurovision preview, we travel back to last year’s host country, where meat is round, the furniture is flat-packed and the people are full of love love peace peace. It’s Sweden!!
Sweden first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958 and will make their 57th appearance this year. They are the second most successful country in the contest’s history with six victories. Their first win came in 1974, when a little-known band called ABBA won with “Waterloo”, which was later voted the best Eurovision song of all time. Ten years later, the Herreys won for Sweden again in 1984 with “Digiloo Digiley”. The 90’s gave Sweden two more wins, “Fångad av en stormvind” by Carola in 1991 and Charlotte Nielsen got the last win of the 20th century in 1999 with “Take Me to Your Heaven”. In 2012, Loreen broke the record for the most sets of 12 points under the old scoring system with the epic “Euphoria”, collecting 18 sets of 12’s on her path to victory. Måns Zelmerlöw claimed Sweden’s sixth win in 2015 with “Heroes”. Last year, Frans placed fifth on home ground with “If I Were Sorry”.
For the 57th year, the Swedish broadcaster, Sveriges Television (SVT), organised Melodifestivalen, the biggest and most famous Eurovision selection of them all. 28 songs competed over four semi-finals. Public voting was used to send two songs directly to the final. The third and fourth placed entries in each semi-final went sent to the Andra Chansen (Second Chance) round, where they were paired off in duels. The winner of each duel advanced to the final. The winner was chosen by a combination of eleven international juries and a public vote. After securing a convincing lead in the jury vote, a third place finish in the public vote was enough to award Robin Bengtsson the Swedish ticket to Kyiv.
Robin Bengtsson was born on April 27th 1990 in Svenljunga in western Sweden. He started learning guitar at the age of 13, after having played trumpet for a few years previous. In 2008, he auditioned for the fifth season of Swedish Idol and finished third overall. His first big success came last year when he participated in Melodifestivalen with the song “Constellation Prize” and reached fifth place in the final. He also recently got engaged. His entry for Kyiv, “I Can’t Go On”, was written and composed by David Kreuger, Hamed “K-One” Pirouzpanah and Robin Stjernberg, the latter represented Sweden in 2013.
Before I comment on the song, those eyes….(BOOM Pregnant). As for the song itself, I mean come on, it’s Sweden we’re talking about here. The vocals are smooth, the choreography is tight and Robin gives off the vibe of a man who is cool, calm, collected and who knows it. This is one of the best songs not just in semi-final 1 but in the whole contest. Should some of the other favourites falter, Sweden could strike and equal the record for most wins (but don’t though, it’s ours and you can’t have it!) Sweden’s reputation as a Eurovision powerhouse doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. I just wish Robin would decide what do to with his suit jacket.
What Could Have Been
Melodifestivalen had so many great entries in it that I can’t pick just one, so I’ll pick two instead. Firstly, Loreen with “Statements”. When I first heard this I was shook to my very core. SHOOK. This is no Euphoria but it is pure art. Loreen is a true artist but her vision was not as well received by the Swedish public, as she failed to progress from Andra Chansen. Look what you missed out on Sweden!
Of the actual finalists, I would have picked Wiktoria with “As I Lay Me Down”. She may only be the tender age of 17, but she sure packs a punch! Her performance showed off her vocal prowess, from tender tones to powerful notes. This year might not be her year but I’m sure her time will come. And when it does, she will blow everyone away.