Many of the artists present on the Melodifestivalen press conference had a calm morning this Monday – compared to the regular routine of the press meetings of the event. The Swedish national selection is wildly popular in the country, always rated as the number one TV show of the year in terms of viewing figures.
For 2010, the main topic of conversation has been the many newcomers. Several new names have emerged both among artists and composers. This might have contributed to a less intense second press conference. Last Monday, the first half of the line-up was revealed.
“This year’s line-up is a bit different from previous years”, says Christer Björkman, Head of Competition and Artists of Melodifestivalen. “It’s rather grave and doesn’t contain that many ‘lightweight’ songs. We’ve got 23 entries where the artist’s never have taken part in Melodifestivalen before, which is a new record.”
So, to sum it up, the line-up is darker than previous years?
“Yes, it’s a bit more serious. We’ve been focusing a lot more on the texts of the songs. After analysing the results in the Eurovision Song Contest we think that people vote for what they feel. Look at the Icelandic ballad – it’s not enough to have a slick melody, you have to actually move the viewers.”
This week, the focus of interest largely fell on the veterans. Several artists in the press conference looked to Peter Jöback, 38, as a possible Swedish representative in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. Jöback performs the ballad Hollow, composed by Melodifestivalen veterans Fredrik Kempe and Anders Hansson. Kempe wrote the winning song in Sweden both in 2008 and 2009.
Jöback first entered the limelight in 1990, when he performed En Sensation (“A Sensation”) in Melodifestivalen 1990. After finishing 9th out of 10 he was heavily ridiculed by the media. Several years of labour eventually made him able to claim success in the musical scene, and many now consider him to be one of Sweden’s finest male vocalists.
“It was quite tough, actually,” Jöback admits of his 1990 experience. “I was so young, just 18. I’ve long felt that I wouldn’t return to the contest, but next year will be the 20th anniversary of my debut, and the song is amazing.”
Another veteran gaining attention in the press conference was Pernilla Wahlgren. Being an icon of Melodifestivalen from the 80’s and 90’s, she has never been able to go through to Europe’s favourite TV show. As the only representative of the old Melodifestivalen, Wahlgren received special attention on Monday. Her entry Jag Vill Om Du Vågar (“I Want To If You Dare”) is described as the only representative of the typical Swedish “schlager” genre in 2010.