“It’s Björn Ranelid all over again”, according to one of the blokes they interviewed on the web-only after-show coverage of Melodifestivalen. I think he was a newspaper journalist, and he was referring to the controversy in the equivalent round of Melodifestivalen last year when Björn Ranelid’s “novelty song”, “Mirakel” made it through to the final.
And there’s no doubt, “En riktig jävla schlager” (A real bloody schlager) is a novelty song also. Performed by the group, Ravaillacz (which comprises some very well known older male Swedish performers) it’s almost an “oom-pah-pah” style of pop song, in the style you might have heard back in the 40s and 50s. Indeed, the lyric of the song goes on a little about the history of the “schlager”, and how last year’s Eurovision winner, Loreen’s song, “Euphoria” was good, but how this song was a “real schlager”.
You can imagine it would appeal instantly to an older audience watching the program with their extended family. Especially so since the main singer in the song, Tommy Körberg is a dead-set long-term Swedish legend. His career goes back to the 1960s, and he has previously represented Sweden at Eurovision, was a key performer in the original production of the musical “Chess”, and is the main male singer in the band, Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO). So of course, while the kids were tele-voting for the second placed act, “State Of Drama” with falling, the grandparents were pulling out their Sony Ericsson phones and voting along too. There was a joke in the contest about how the wives of the band had competed previously in Eurovision – with a direct cross to a still photograph of the Russian grannies from last year.
The song has a certain kitsch value to it, and is very memorable, and I guess that’s why the young and groovy members of “State of Drama” joined them on stage at the end in a rousing sing-along.
Truth be told, it was the most memorable song in the entire show. The first two, Alibi and Island, had potential but were pretty forgettable. In the pop genre, there was the song by Martin Rolinski which was pretty bloody good, and the song by Janet Leon which was okay, though probably a little too “pop generic” to have made it through to the final. I’m a fan of Caroline af Ugglas and was a little disappointed with her song which fell short of her 2009 entry, Snälla, snälla in my view. In the more “rock” category, Amanda Fondell seemed to be channelling Kim Wilde (circa 1984) and the second place band, “State Of Drama” looked and sounded remarkably like a clean-cut 1980s American rock band.
Once again, the half-time comedy sketch totally rocked as the made-up “dansband”, Bizex (say it out loud) sang about gays, lesbians, transexuals and marriage. You gotta love the Swedes. Melodifestivalen has something for everyone.