There were two genuine laugh out loud moments, as I watched the first heat of Melodifestivalen (now, appparently called “Mello”), the Swedish competition which chooses their entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest. As I’ve stated previously, I far prefer Melodifestivalen over Eurovision. Maybe it’s because I’ve attended Melodifestivalen a couple of times? Or maybe because it’s more fun/more interesting?
The only downside to the competition is their regular choice of a lame-arse Swedish comedian to either co-host or provide “comic relief”. The exceptions have been when they’ve included either Petra Mede, Bjorn Gustaffson or Per Andersson. Bjorn does terrific physical humour, Petra does wonderful, hilarious “show tunes” and I loved Per’s piss-take a couple of years ago of an “ordinary” Swedish family. Yes, you can watch this without a knowledge of Swedish.
But mostly, the comedians on Melodifestivalen are very un-funny. And this year it was the character “Fab Freddie” who accompanied the host (and former contestant) Davyd Lindgren.
As I watched “Fab Freddie”, I could tell from the look on Davyd’s face, the words going through his mind were clearly “Don’t say fat, don’t say fag”. Or at least they were the words going through my mind.
But to get to the laugh out loud moments. There was an odd moment involving one of the singers who, performing in a mask, found herself in the midst of a magic act. “Oh, please make it through to Eurovision, the contest needs it”, I thought to myself.
And then there was an “old fashioned” number designed to keep Mormor, Morfar, Farmor and Farfar (the grandparents) entertained called “Livet på en pinne” (“Life on a stick”) which featured some really terrific costumes. It was so “at odds” with so much of Eurovision now which includes artists who come through the Pop Idol “factory” of “generic” young singers. I thought it was great fun.
But “Life on a stick?” WTF? I asked a Swedish friend who told me…
There are a couple of explanations for this expression according to my research. I’ve always used it as “That’s life” or “That’s life in a nutshell”. For those situations where you just want to shrug at Life, Universe and Everything. But there’s another explanation claiming a more positive meaning, as in “aah, this is the (good) life!” I honestly think that the positive one is the correct answer. My wife has always seen it as a positive expression as well, so I think that I simply have misunderstood it.
In the midst of all the silly-ness, there were a couple of proper songs and performances, including Benjamin Ingrosso (a member of the Swedish House Family/Pernilla Wahlgren family of perfomers) and John Lundvik who, on the basis of the first performance, could be a serious contender to represent Sweden at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
I’ll keep you up to date as events unfold, as there’s three more heats, “another chance” and the final still to go before the Swedish entry for Eurovision is chosen. Hang in there…