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Friday, February 27, 2009

Alienhits Loves… Melodifestivalen!
(And my plea to bring it to America)


Okay, this is a given. After all, I’ve been offering my thoughts on each heat for the past few weeks so I’m obviously obsessed (thoughts on the fourth and final heat below). It’s like American Idol with superstars, stage shows and original songs. Mocking the dancing and dubious outfit selections is half the fun, but what makes Melodifestivalen really special (and so much better than any other country’s Eurovision preselection) is the fact that there are actually good songs and artists participating.
I first got into Melodifestivalen two years ago when the Ark participated and won. I had originally planned to watch just for them, but was entranced by the mayhem on display in all four rounds of the competition. It’s a uniquely Swedish kinda party… filled with non-ironic cheesy pop, plenty of schlager, and humor that doesn’t always translate so well (and is all the better for it). Despite only knowing very limited Swedish, I still enjoy the parts in between performances… the corny jokes, the retrospectives, the weird little vignettes.
As far as the songs go, this year has been dynamite. There isn’t a clear frontrunner (yet), but as of now I think either Alcazar or HEAT could take it all. Maybe this weekend’s performances will change that. One of the great things about Melodifestivalen, though, is that you don’t have to win to score a hit on the charts. Swedish radio gets taken over by these thirty-two songs during this point in the year. It’s a welcome deluge of new material, clearing out the tracks that have been played to death and ushering in the Spring.
I wish that America had some equivalent of this kind of celebration--a “melody festival” of our own. I’ve often thought about how cool it would be if we tried to find the best act (amateur or established) in America by having each state send forth their competitor (ala Miss America, the music version). The qualifications could be either being born or growing up in each respective state, or maybe even more broad than that. Think about it: fifty acts, each representing the best original song in their little part of the country, competing for the top prize. We’re a country of so much diversity--both musical and otherwise--that it would be interesting to see what ended up on top. In a climate where American Idol is the number one rated show, you’d think there would be some interest. I’d certainly want Washington, my home state, to be represented by a good song. We could have five heats of ten (or narrow it down before the televised heats) and then a big final. It will never happen… I think it’s gotta be something embedded in culture like Melodifestivalen (embedded in Sweden for over 50 years!), but it’s exciting to think about. Imagine what a shot in the arm it would be to the music industry… having the potential for fifty new singles of varying genres released at the same time every year.

3 Comments:

Anonymous alex said...

You think of something like this:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2006-02-10-nbc-talent-contest_x.htm

But I see the article is from 2006 and not much has happened since I suppose.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Wow, I never heard of that! I hope they're still thinking about it. I can't believe something like this was ever in development. It would be so cool.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

There's also an Asia-vision contest rumoured to be happening. Apparently the reason Azerbaijan were in eurovision 2008 was to get an idea of how to host Asiavision.

Loving Melodifestivalen this year, and, for me, it's all about Måns.

8:49 AM  

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