Monty’s Eurovision Countdown 2024 Part 34 – Sweden

I’ve complained to anyone who’ll listen to me (and plenty who wished they hadn’t) about the sub-par quality of this year’s Melodifestivalen. Yes, yes, I know it still produces winners and yes, yes, I know it still brings in staggering audience shares (roughly 80% this year, though really that’s not hard – what else is there to do in Örnsköldsvik in the middle of winter?). But it can’t just be about that: the songs must be good too.

From week one Mello 24 felt so predictably formulaic: the pop one to open; the ballad; the Swedish one; the rock one; the returning favourite. All there, just where you expect. All the same predictable songwriters are there too; it would take a busy Venn diagram to capture the crossover of the same dozen or so most prominent names we see time and time again. The Green Room camera captures just how “in bred” it can feel, most visibly this year with Cazzi Opeia playing musical chairs between her entry as a performer and her entry as a composer. Even the more authentically Swedish grassroots epa dunk genre got a G:ssonification and crowd-pleasers Medina felt more Melfestified for their return.

True to form the better songs did advance to the final, though I have to stop short of joining those acclaiming it as great. And true to form too, the returning favourites took the crown, with Norwegian twin-twinks bringing a sister song to the one they finished second behind Loreen with a year ago. It may be tempting fate to call your Eurovision entry Unforgettable, but to be fair it’s a highly competent dance track with the kind of creative staging Sweden does do well.

Eight PointsWhisper it, but after all this complaining I actually do like the song. It’s one of the 3 or 4 songs I though the better in this year’s Melfest line-up and I can see why it won, and so convincingly with more than 92% of its available points. This will get a good result for the home nation, and I’m not critical of that. But I need more than just a good winner, and Melfest has always felt more than just the selection show for Eurovision. It has a different place in Swedish culture and right now it’s lost its way. It’s better to travel than to arrive, claims a famous quote, and I only partly disagree. The Melfest destination is still a good one, but I so much want to enjoy the journey again.

 

Photo: Jonathan Perlmann/EBU

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