Archive for the 'Television' Category


Nina from Serbia

I am still processing the Eurovision outcome and wondering why such a boring song won. In the meantime, look what I found.

This is probably old news for many but there is actually an English version of the Serbian entry, “Caroban” by the spunky Nina.

“Caroban” was actually one of my favourite songs this year. I would even place it in my top three after Sweden and Hungary. The 60s vibe struck a chord with me, I loved Nina’s look and I loved the psychedelic light show going on behind Nina and her backing singers even if it did make my eyes hurt.

One thing I did appreciate and respect was that Nina had the balls to sing the song in her native language. That is one thing I miss about Eurovision. I really think that they should go back to the native language rule. One has to wonder if the disappointing position that the song came was because it was in Serbian. Surely Europeans are not that shallow?

Anyway, doing some surfing tonight and I discovered that Nina did in fact record an English version and also recorded a music video for it. In English, the song is called “Magical” and magical it is. I hate to say it but maybe Nina would have scored higher if she had performed the English version. I guess we’ll never know and part of me is still glad that we got the Serbian version.

Here’s the English clip. Enjoy the groove.


Melodifestivalen final – here we come

Tonight, Swedish time, sees the final for Melodifestivalen which will select Sweden’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. It seems that the two favourites, Eric Saade and Danny Saucedo, are getting overly friendly in the picture above. This shot has been appearing on schlager blogs all over the net so how could I resist such a shot. Sadly, as the following video shows, it’s just the two guys mucking about at a press conference. But it does embody the spirit of Melodifestivalen. The friendly rivalry and the fun that the participants bring to the atmosphere, one could almost say a sense of family.

I have read quite a few schlager blogs complaining about the final line up of songs. I actually think it’s a good and varied line up, a bit of something for everyone. The Swedes actually have a range to choose from which should make it more interesting.

I have already commented on Sara Varga (my favourite in the final) and Eric Saade (the one that should go to Dusseldörf) but I thought I would give my impressions of the remaining eight songs for what it’s worth.

Danny – In The Club

Eric Saade’s closest rival, I think this club tune will give Eric a run for his money. It’s modern and would appeal to a younger audience (as long as they are the ones voting). I’m not that keen on it myself (I must be getting old) but I’m sure it would do well at Eurovision.

The Moniker – Oh My God

A lot of people seem to hate this very happy pop song but I quite like it and certainly won’t be skipping it when I get the CD. Kinda like Mika but not done as well, still it’s fun. I don’t think it’s a contender.

Brolle – 7 Days and 7 Nights

I really like this slice of rock pop from Sweden’s so-called answer to Elvis. I find myself singing it a lot. I have a feeling it will do well at the final but not well enough.

Linda Bengtzing – E Det Fel På Mig

Linda has entered Melodifestivalen a number of times in the past but this would have to be her weakest entry yet. I know I should like it but I just can’t. I think the only reason it made it to the final was the general low standard of the songs in the fourth semi final, one of the worst semi finals since they introduced the semi final format.

Nicke Borg – Leaving Home

I don’t like this rock ballad from the lead singer of the internationally known Backyard Babies. I think there will be an audience for this song but I just don’t think that the fans of Backyard Babies are the kind of people to watch Melodifestivalen or Eurovision.

Swingfly – Me And My Drum

Although I don’t normally like rap, the chorus of this song is so damn catchy it could get through. It would be one of those annoying summer hits that Europe seems to love so much. If it does get through, it could even manage a decent placing at Eurovision. Certainly not a favourite by far but not the end of the world if it ended up representing Sweden.

Sanna Nielsen – I’m In Love

Although Sanna does have a loyal fan base and this schlager number is quite listenable, I don’t think it will do too well.  Nothing wrong with schlager of course, but voting audiences seems to be moving away from it.

The Playtones – The King

This rock ‘n roll pastiche is catchy and should do well but I think it would be regarded as too much of a novelty song by European audiences.

Part of the fun of Melodifestivalen is and Eurovision is not really knowing which way the voters will swing. Since the semi finals were brought in, the eventual winner of Melodifestivalen  has always come first in their respective semi final. This would mean that only Danny, Sanna, Eric and Linda are in the running. But the real unknown factor this year is that for the first time, 11 international juries will be voting and will make up half the vote with the general public making up the other half. Watch the sparks fly in the Swedish media if the jury vote changes the general public’s choice!

Still, all things considered, I think Eric Saade will be eventual winner and that he could very well take out the Eurovision crown for Sweden. I guess that time will tell.


Will Eric Saade restore Sweden’s standing at Eurovision?

It’s no secret that Sweden hasn’t been going too well at Eurovision in recent years but hopefully that’s about to change.

Eric Saade is hot favourite to win Melodifestivalen, the Swedish heats to select the artist to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest and if he is not selected, the Swedes must be crazy.

This year’s Melodifestivalen has been rather lack lustre. The format is becoming tired and the quality of songs just hasn’t been there. I really haven’t enjoyed the show that much this year and the fourth semi final was one of the worst since they introduced the semi final format. The hosts have been boring with no chemistry and the comedy sketches have been decidedly unfunny. Melodifestivalen is in desperate need of a revamp.

But Eric was a breath of fresh air with his song “Popular”. Yes, some of the other songs have been very good (Dilba, Sebastian, Jenny Silver and Sara Varga all leap to mind) but Eric is the total package. Memorable performance (Eric crashing his way out of a glass box), memorable song, easy to sing along to and Eric himself. Not only is he is easy on the eye but he does come across as an all round nice guy. He ticks all the Eurovision boxes in a way that none of the other contenders do.

Eric still has to win the Swedish final which is being held in Stockholm on Saturday 12 March 2011. Ahead of the final, the single for “Popular” is being released in Sweden today in both a digital format and physical CD format (cover above).

Lets hope Sweden get it right this year and select Eric to represent them. I am sure that Sweden will rank highly and could even win in Düsseldorf.


Melodifestivalen is coming …

Well, it said it on the back of a bus so it must be true.

I got quite excited when I saw this. I had to chase the bus, fumbling with my mobile phone camera to get the shot. Thankfully it stopped long enough for me to snap it.

Tickets have now gone on sale for the semi finals, finals and associated dress rehearsals. I’d love to be here but unfortunately I can’t. Still, as with other years, I’ll be avidly following it via the internet. Our group will probably be watching the final at a Sydney pub. I really think that SVT should listen to us because we always know best! 😉


Call Centre Frustrations

Seeing as the Judge was sharing some ANZ bank ads, I thought I would share my favourite one too.

I don’t know how the ANZ got the rights but this ad features the Robot from Lost In Space and a couple of Daleks from Doctor Who. Hilarious even though it does show the frustrations one gets when one gets put through to a call centre.


Eurovision 2010 Final – My Verdict

Another year, another final, another winner. I had a great evening of it with the Judge and James. Some great songs and performances along with some not-so-great ones which still add to the enjoyment.

It is always good to see Europe get together for a show like this. It gives you hope that people can forget their petty dramas and rivalries and replace them with a friendly rivalry and just have fun together. Making the whole of Europe be the intermission act as a huge flash mob was simple but incredibly effective. I had a big smile on my face.

Norway put on a great show. They may not have spent the kind of money that Russia did last year but there was a lot of heart and soul and glitz. The hosts were great unlike most years. I think Erik probably has his own following now with his cute fun scenes. In the final, he did that, how does one describe it, quick change sequence as he changes clothes while walking along and pulling things out of thin air. That could so easily have gone wrong but it didn’t.

I thought the quality of songs in the final overall was quite good this year. My top 5 for the night:

  1. Iceland
  2. Romania
  3. Moldova
  4. Belgium
  5. Germany

Three of my top 5 did well. Germany, of course, won the whole show. Romania came third and Belgium came sixth. I was disappointed that Iceland and Moldova got lost along the way. Although one could suspect a backlash against Iceland due to the volcano, I suspect more that the style of song wouldn’t have the broad appeal to the person on the street despite being very popular with Eurovision fans. Dare I say that it was too camp (which is definitely not a bad thing in my book). Expect to see Hera Björk making appearances at Pride Festivals around Europe.

I can’t explain Moldova. It even had saxophone and I know that I’m a sucker for good sax but it would appear that not everyone is.

Did anyone else notice how the contestants seem to be getting younger and prettier as the years go by? And there is much more prevalence of reality show contestants representing their countries. Not necessarily a bad thing since there was quite a bit of talent on display.

I liked Turkey, Armenia, Israel, Georgia (with a Swedish song), Ireland (another Swedish song) and Denmark (yet another Swedish song). Enough for me to keep playing the Eurovision CD. I didn’t think that Azerbaijan deserved all the hype and the $3,000,000 spent on it. A nice enough song but ultimately forgettable.

I did like the UK entry a lot and it certainly did not deserve last place. Getting Pete Waterman involved was a big mistake since he has always made it clear that he has contempt for Eurovision. Even as recently as an interview at the second semi-final, Waterman was still arrogantly showing his contempt. I feel sorry for Josh Dubovie who is a very good singer and a very charming one at that. I believe that he was a hit with everyone he met during Eurovision week. I like the song but he deserved a much stronger one for an international contest. My career advice to Josh would be to get as far away from Pete Waterman as possible.

One thing I have to mention that did disappoint me was that despite the sharing of the moment that Eurovision generates, portions of the audience in the stadium felt that they had to boo Russia. Okay, it was not the best song and maybe shouldn’t have got through to the final but it did so deal with it. Imagine how poor Peter Nalitch must have been feeling. Still he soldiered on and even though I didn’t like the song much at first, I didn’t mind it at all by the end of the evening. Maybe he was spurred on by the booing to give an even better performance.

And Eric Saade did make it to Eurovision. He popped up to give the results of the Swedish voting. We all were excited to see him. 🙂

I was happy that Germany won. Lena has that kind of sound that you could expect to hear on the charts today so I’m sure she’ll have a worldwide hit with it. It’s also good that it shows the big 4 what you can achieve if you take it seriously. Well done, Germany.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Romania was a big hit around the world. It has certainly overtaken Iceland (my favourite on the night) as the one I play the most and hum along to all the time.

Finally, a shout out to Graham Norton who did a great job with the commentary. He had fun with the show without making fun of it. Much better than our local hosts and way much better than that awful Wogan fellow.

Bring on 2011.


Eurovision 2010 – 2nd semi final

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.