I guess I should address the scandal first up – Sweden did not make it to the final. Sweden has always been one of the main countries in Eurovision so not to make it to the final is a big deal. I must say that I hate the way some Swedes have turned on Anna Bergendahl since they were the ones who voted her to represent them. It was quite heartbreaking to see the picture of Anna in tears plastered over the front page of Aftonbladet. But I’m not surprised that the song didn’t make it through.
I have already written that “This Is My Life” was the wrong choice to represent Sweden. A nice but unremarkable ballad that just didn’t stand up against some of the other songs in contention. I think that one of the reasons that endeared Sweden to Anna’s song was Anna herself. A happy, humble and energetic 18 year old who really did not expect to make the Melodifestivalen final let alone win it. On stage in Oslo, it was like a different person. Anna looked haggard, stressed and even older. She just did not connect with the European audiences. The guitar looked way too big for her and nothing more than a prop. It just did not come across as a genuine performance. I was feeling sorry for Anna. Worse songs than hers did get through but at the same time, hers was just not good enough.
Strangely enough, there will still be a Swedish presence in the final. Swedish songwriters had written or co-written six of this year’s entries – Azerbaijan, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Georgia and Sweden itself. Ironically, Sweden was the only one not to get through. Also, Belarus enlisted Swedish pianist, Robert Wells who is internationally renowned. Here’s predicting that Sweden will be giving Belarus 12 points.
I am happy that my favourite from that particular night, Romania, did get through. Also, Turkey was refreshingly different and got through. I liked Denmark although it was a bit cookie cutter Eurovision. I liked Armenia and Israel too but didn’t think Azerbaijan was good enough to be considered favourite to win.
I was disappointed that Bulgaria didn’t get through. For the second year in a row, they sent a great song that didn’t get through. What’s that about? This year they included some nice to watch oiled up backing dancers which didn influence my opinion at all.
Okay, the Dutch entry was cheesy and corny and written by the inventor of the Smurfs but it was just pure, theatrical fun. Very catchy and I loved the street organ. While it may have done well in the Eurovision of the 60s or 70s, I can understand why it wouldn’t go down well with a modern audience. I enjoyed it anyway.
I enjoyed the Slovenian entry of folk-influenced rock although it did seem to be several different songs in one. The female singer has a great voice.
A special mention to Lithuania, not for the song (which I didn’t like) but the performance with the spangly shorts and the homage to Bucks Fizz.