I think many people have heard of ABBA, or at least I hope so. It’s one of the things Sweden is known for best, besides IKEA and meatballs. But maybe many people don’t know how ABBA got their big start. They were the winners of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. To get to the Eurovision, they had to first win the Melodifestivalen in Sweden to be the one qualifier Sweden sent to Europe.
Today, my host family and I watched the Melodifestivalen finale tonight. On the finale, only 10 tracks remained. At the beginning of Melodifestivalen, there were 32 songs total. There are 4 semi-final rounds where 8 songs compete. The 2 most popular songs from each semi-final go to the finale. In addition to the 4 semi-final rounds, there is a second chance round for songs that just missed qualifying in the semi-final rounds to compete again. The two best from the second chance also go to the finale, so like I said 10 songs in the finale total.
Those 32 songs total at the beginning of the festival, those were picked by SVT. SVT is the Swedish public service company. They are the ones who run the Melodifestivalen in Sweden. Around 4 million people in Sweden watched the finale.
It was fun to have the family all get together on Saturday nights after dinner and watch the Melody Festival. Although I don’t even think that most of the songs were that good. Even the ones that made it to the final were just so-so. But even with that being said, it was fun to all compare who we though was best and who was worst! It was pretty interesting how all of the acts presented themselves, it’s not just someone standing up on the stage singing. There are lights, extravagant dancing, and other exciting things to put on a show for the crowd and be remembered. For example, there was a disco group in the finale, and they came out of a huge disco ball that descended from the ceiling!
Also some more things you need to know about the festival for it to make sense. The singer(s) sing the same, original song, and only that song for the rest of the competition. So if you were a winner of the semi-final round, you would sing that same song at the Swedish finale, and if you won the Swedish finale and advanced to Eurovision, you would again sing the same song at the Eurovision competition. It’s crazy that all of the songs were originals! In the Swedish finale this year, there was a writer who wrote 4 of the songs in the finale. I kind of wonder what it costs to have someone write you a song to compete in the Melody Festival!
The songs can be sung in any language. All of them I heard on Melodifestivalen were sung in Swedish and English, but there could be something like Sami or Finnish too but I don’t think it’s that common for it to be on the Swedish finals. I think it makes sense to sing in English, because when you go to the Eurovision, not everyone is going to know Swedish, English is more universal. But then again, singing in the different languages is also something that makes it very interesting. Even if the viewer can’t understand what your saying, they should still be able to receive a general message from just watching, and can of course judge how good the singing is still.
This is the winner of the Swedish Melody Festival 2014 “Undo”:
The second place, “Busy doin’ nothin'” (who doesn’t go to Eurovision. Only the first place goes to it):
And the third place, “Blame it on the Disco”!:
I was rooting for Busy doin nothin or the disco song. I didn’t really like the one that won, I thought her voice was kind of annoying.
What was interesting about the voting in the finale was that first they had international juries cast their votes. There was about maybe 8 different countries who voted in the Swedish voting (Spain, Denmark, Germany, Britain, Israel, Malta, Estonia, France, I feel like I might be missing one?). So they gave points (1,2,4,6,8,10,12 points were what they could give and only one of each point amount), to the Swedish songs. Some songs didn’t get very many points at all, and it was the top 3 I listed above who were at the top the whole time. Then after the international juries voted, came the Swedish votes, from people in Sweden calling or texting in their vote. These votes seemed to count for a little bit more, the points were based on the percentage of vote they got from the Swedish people. The top two had over 100 points from Sweden each, and the last place got about 18 points from Swedish votes.
If you watched the videos, who do you think was the best?
The Eurovision Song Contest is held sometime in May, so we have a little break now from it, but I will probably make a another post to explain Eurovision some more when I watch it and know what’s going on with it!!
Side note- definitely listened to ABBA while I was typing this post!