We’re coming to the end of the Eurovision season, as time turns to action on the pitch in Turin. Let’s check in with another fan to find out how he thinks the contest is going – and learn how he fell in love with Eurovision in the first place.
This week we meet Daniel (@daniel__little), who lives in Sydney but hails from the epicenter of modern Eurovision – Sweden! We were excited to pick his ideas on all things Sweden in the contest (like, how big is Melfest and what’s wrong with Anders Bagge?) and we’ll all be booking haircuts at his Newtown salon after having read the music he plays for customers.
Hi Daniel! So happy to welcome you on board as our new Aussievision Fan of the Week. To start, tell us about yourself!
Hey ! My name is Daniel, I live in Sydney with my husband Bluey, our daughter Alex and our two Burmese cats. I own a salon/hairdresser in Newtown where customers and staff these days are VERY familiar with Eurovision music as it is often played in the salon (some enjoy it more than others! ) I moved from Sweden to Australia in 2006 because of love. I am still very much in love, although with a different person at the time! In my free time, I like to cook, run, go to the theater and travel. My big interest growing up (besides Eurovision) was ballroom dancing and swing which I spent 10 years competing in.
How and when did you discover Eurovision? (tell us about that 1987 VHS tape breakup!)
Melodifestivalen and Eurovision have a very strong following in Sweden, so I grew up surrounded by the competition. I remember watching the 1987 edition of Eurovision (I was 7 at the time) and because it ended well after bedtime, mum recorded the show so that I don’t miss the end. I then watched the recording so many times that the VHS eventually broke and dad had to use duct tape to fix it! Israel’s ‘Shir Habatlanim’ and Belgium’s ‘Soldiers Of Love’ were my favorites (I still absolutely adore Liliane Saint-Pierre’s choreography!) – in addition to Sweden’s oddly renowned ‘Boogaloo’ of course! It originally contained both Coca Cola and Bugg (a Swedish brand of chewing gum) in the title of the song, but since brand marketing at ESC is prohibited, the word “Boogaloo” was coined as the title. of the song. No wonder the song failed (however, it probably had more to do with the corny song itself!) My love for Eurovision took off instantly and I’ve religiously watched the competition ever since. I even stayed home after an important dance competition to watch the 1994 Eurovision final – much to the chagrin of my dance partner and coach.
~ Hell hath no fury like a despised ballroom dancer! As for the VHS tape, modern contests go on so long that I don’t think they would fit any longer on a single tape… (Mark)
It’s difficult, but what is your favorite performance at Eurovision?
It must be Loreen and her iconic victory in 2012 with “Euphoria”. It was a turning point for Sweden after a few years at the bottom of the scoreboard and I really admire that Loreen has maintained her creative vision and presented something with a new Eurovision vibe. It’s such a banger! My partner and I were lucky enough to be in Stockholm to see her win the Melodifestivalen that year and you could tell something big was about to happen! Magic.
Who was your 2021 winner and why did he get your vote?
The Roop with ‘Discotheque’ from Lithuania. A really catchy song with offbeat choreography. Just what I needed at least in the middle of the pandemic! On top of that, the singer managed to look sexy in yellow – not easy!
It’s still early, but are there still new things in 2022?
I have to say Cornelia Jakobs from Sweden. It’s been a long time since I felt that for a Swedish entry (the last would have been ‘Undo’ with Sanna Nielsen in 2014). From week one, Cornelia was my favorite at Melfest and I’m so glad she won. Another Eurovision favorite this year is “Snap” from Armenia.
Which Swedish and Australian artists would you like to see go to Eurovision, and why? Give us one of their songs that shows what they could bring to the Contest.
I’m still disappointed that Alcazar never made it to Eurovision for Sweden. 2003’s ‘Not A Sinner Ni A Saint’ and 2009’s ‘Stay The Night’ are classics and I think they would both have done very well at ESC. Who knows – maybe it’s time for (yet another) comeback next year? From Australia, I would love to see Ricki-Lee Coulter on the Eurovision stage. His song ‘Can’t Touch It’ would have been the perfect entry!
So, if things were to go wrong, who would you support at Eurovision: Sweden or Australia?
Both! I really can’t choose. I love my two countries and it would be fabulous to see them fight for the crown for a year! I vote for Sweden every year and my relatives in Sweden always vote by TV for Australia. Equal love there!
~ I love it. We need all Australians with family in Europe (and quite a few of us!) to adopt this strategy so that we never have a repeat of the TV heartbreak of 2016! (Mark)
We Eurofans love Melfest. But can you tell us how important Melodifestivalen is for Swedes?
Melodifestivalen is HUGE in Sweden. The finale is usually the most-watched TV show of the year, and many of the show’s songs impact the Swedish charts. It has always been a fairly popular show, although the popularity and level of the songs dropped in the mid-90s. really exploded. The artists benefit from wide media coverage and the show arouses a lot of interest among the public. This is by far the best way to promote a new single in Sweden, which may explain some artists’ penchant for repeats.
~ I dream of the day when millions of Australians will participate in Eurovision – Australia decides. Hopefully we can get to that point; what a wonderful thing to bring a country together – even if it divides! (Mark)
We have to ask ourselves: what is the problem with Anders Bagge? Why is he so loved in Sweden?
Anders is a well-known music producer and songwriter and has been a very popular judge on Swedish Idol since 2008. He suffers from low self-esteem and the stage fright that previously kept him from performing. He did well at Masked Singer Sweden in 2021, however, which inspired him to give Melodifestivalen a try this year. I think the fact that he is a very likeable and high-profile person partly explains his popularity with televoting. People sympathize with him and appreciate his openness about his personal struggles. His song has a very Swedish sound to it so I’m not surprised people have embraced it. I am however relieved that the song didn’t win as I don’t think it would suit a wider European audience that doesn’t know its history.
I think finishing second at Melfest was the ideal result for Anders because he no longer risks a bad Eurovision result – and he scored a big hit in Sweden. Perhaps the result is also a bit of revenge for Cornelia since she was rejected for Idol in 2008!
We are now in the post-Christer Björkman era, so it is likely that we will see some changes in how Melfest works (we already are!). What would you like to see happen?
I think you could say that Christer and a lot of the team that worked with him weren’t there this year. Shows weren’t as smooth and well produced as they used to be and it all felt a bit messy. I want the return of an experienced TV host, rather than singers, to anchor the show. I thought Farah Abadi did a fabulous job as a sidekick this year and would love to see her host the whole thing very soon. I think it might be a good idea to not have artists come back too regularly (hello Linda Bengtzing!) and also possibly reduce the four semi-finals to maybe two rounds to ensure a better quality of participating songs .
Sweden hasn’t had it all its own way in recent years, with a lack of TV love and often being the whip of fandom. What do you think of all this?
I think they’re a fairly small but vocal group that’s stirring up “Sweden hatred” among parts of the Eurovision fandom. I guess it comes from the fact that Sweden regularly performs very well in the competition, and that these fans prefer to see other countries (maybe their own) at the top of the rankings. It is to be expected that Sweden will sometimes obtain poor results in televoting (and also with juries). Several countries end up with no or few points awarded each year, but when it happens to Sweden, it gets a lot of talk (and acclaim from some). I don’t think there’s a broad hatred of Sweden at Eurovision – if the public doesn’t like the song a country sends in, they just won’t vote for it.
All right, now that you’re warmed up, the questions keep piling up and piling up! Hands on the buzzers for the quick ride!
Which Eurovision Song:
Is the best winner? ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen (Sweden 2012)
Has the best live voice? Sanna Nielsen in ‘Undo’ (Sweden 2014)
Is your favorite Aussie entry so far? Dami Im, ‘The Sound of Silence’ (2016)
Has been stolen? Joelle Ursull, ‘White & Black Blues’ (France 1990)
Is this your guilty pleasure? No guilty pleasure – I maintain my musical tastes 100%!
Your favorite song for the national final (which didn’t make it to Eurovision)? ‘Stay The Night’ by Alcazar (Melodifestivalen 2009)
Do you have a ‘Eurovision community’ – for example, do you connect with fans on Twitter or is there a group of friends you watch the competition with? Or is it something you like to do solo?
Every year a group of friends gather at our house just before 5am on the morning of the Grand Finale to watch the show together. It has become a tradition that has grown from two to about 10 people now. It’s my favorite morning of the year and a wonderful thing to do together. I also work with another die-hard Eurovision fan, so we talk a lot about the competition at work!
~*invites himself to the 2022 contest at Daniel* (Mark)
Daniel, it was an absolute pleasure. Thank you for helping us to deepen the history of Sweden in Eurovision. I hope Cornelia (or Sheldon!) can pull off a win for you in 2022.