Monday, 7 May 2018

Feels like I’m stuck here in time

Sweden
Benjamin Ingrosso
Dance You Off

HOORAY! It's been an exhausting, miserable ten days or so this, plodding through the turgid wasteland that is european pop- so it's an enormous relief to finally get to Sweden. You see, I love Sweden. I love Sweden. I love Sweden.

I love the food. I love the people. I love the fact they enjoy paying tax. Tax is excellent. It's a dirt cheap way of getting good things. I love Ikea, I love "Alcazar", I love extensive paid parental leave, and I love five weeks of paid holiday every year by law. I love Lynda Woodruff. I love meatballs, I love gender equality, I love sarcasm, I love social mobility, I love castles with moats, I love Petra Mede, and I love Malmo. And Gothenburg. And Stockholm.

And being the spiritual home of europop, they really go to town on choosing their song. No "Eurovision your decision" or "Unser Star für Vienna" bollocks for them. Their "melodifestivalen" takes weeks, is the country's highest rating TV show and features every big pop star going in the country, spawning whole albums and careers and local radio station parties in parks (Baest Musik Just Nu- Rix FM).

Benjamin Ingrosso
This year's entrant Benjamin Ingrosso has a gimmick. Mans had a gimmick. Everybody needs a gimmick. Well, not everybody- if you're tolerant enough to not regard the beard as one, Conchita just stood there and belted it out and took the prize. As did Salvadorable. But if your song's not a sweeping bond theme and you're not a disco diva, you may need a little help from the staging gods to help your song stand out.

There's all sorts of options. Our skimpy skirt reveal is an oft copied all time classic; the Ukraine's giant hamster wheel an ideal way to hide an average song. The buck rodgers in the 19th century look was amazing; the Xena warrier princess on a night out in Watford look less so. You could try pirates. Or sand art. Or the world's third tallest man, shipped in especially (truefacts). You get the idea.

Benjamin's gimmick is that he's got all these light tubes that not only make the performance look like a music video, they also are a convenient place to hide the five allowed backing vocalists to support his whiney voice. It's all a bit robotic (although not nearly as robotic as San Marino) and given I'm sick and tired of going to Sweden to pay £16.50 for a beer I'm pretty relieved that it doesn't really "connect".

Also sadly it's not Wiktoria's "As I lay me down" which is possibly the greatest pop song of all time. End of.