May 26, 2012

Sweden in Euphoria!

We are the same age The Eurovision Song Contest and I. Born the same year. When I was a child this event was a black and white thing, as it’s medium was television, broadcasted by The European Broadcast Union. It was a quiet, serious and grand event, all in the same. The songs were accompanied by a symphony orchestra, each country brought their own conductor. The contestants were grown up men and women standing up right before the microphone stand dressed like for a black tie dinner. And as I remember it, there was this rule, saying that the songs were to reflect it’s country’s musical tradition. France or England usually won, so it was either a French chanson or a British pop making history.

Every Swedish family gathered in front of the TV set with a bowl of snacks and a soda. And it’s interesting cause tonight, about 50 decades later, Eurovision Song Contest brings out the same pattern. The TV sets and the snack bowls are bigger, the event is an explosive party of colors, fire, smoke, wind, water and creative outfits. But it sure still is a camp fire, not only in Sweden, but in most of Europe.

There is also one more difference. Europe is so much bigger today then 56 years ago. Tonight 26 countries are competing in the final, the semi finals were 42, which is an all time record. ESC was a sleepy thing for a lot of years, but all the eastern countries, which are now a part of Europe, have infused the competition with tons of energy, and France and UK are rarely the winners anymore.

2012 the final of The Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Baku, Azerbadjan who won 2011, another country we are getting a chance to peep into for a moment. The entries are a mix of pop-folk-house-power ballads-ethnic-rock and cross over. And I am thinking that the original idea of the countries expressing their cultures is actually more alive now the is was during the sleepy years. The Eastern European countries have strong traditional traditions. Although they frequently are working hard to act western, the songs are often transparent from history and pride.

And the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 just took a nerve wrecking turn for my home country. The vote started minutes ago, and leading right now by 14 points is Sweden! Loreen, a Swedish dervish with a wall of long black hair floating with her fluttering outfit in her house-inspired song Euphoria is in top of the 26 countries. And things are progressing, now the lead is by 38 votes!

Is Sweden going to take this?! Winning ESC is huge, and it brings consequences, it’s a bit like getting the Olympics. Azerbadjan had to do quite a bit of cleaning up and build a new super arena in no time. Last time Sweden won this event I was a journalist working for Sveriges television, the national Swedish public service television network. Wow, Loreen is in top with 56 points now! Anyway, last time the show I was working for back then was canceled together with quite a few other shows, because… Wow again, Sweden is 94 points ahead of the game! Anyway, because the money was needed for the ESC broadcasting.

Did I already say nerve wrecking? Four countries left voting. Now Germany, one more 12 points, and it looks like Sweden is winning this! Russia puts in one more 12 points, and yes, the game is over. Irland is the final country voting, 12 points to Sweden, and the Swedish dervish Loreen is winning Eurovision Song Contest 2012 this very minute! See you in Stockholm next year!!!


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