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🇸🇪 RIP Lars Berghagen

Today the sad news came to us that Lars Berghagen passed away. Berghagen represented Sweden in the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Jennie Jennie”. Lars “Lasse” Nils Berghagen was born on May 13, 1945, in Enskede, Stockholm, Sweden. From a young age, he showed an inclination towards music and started his journey in the Swedish entertainment scene in the 1960s. Berghagen is known for his melodic and sometimes folk-influenced music. Over the years, he has released numerous albums and singles. Some of his most famous songs include “En kväll i juni”, “Sträck ut din hand”, and “Teddybjörnen Fredriksson”, which has become a beloved children’s song in Sweden. In 1969, he wrote one of the winning songs in Melodifestivalen, “Hej Clown!”. Unfortunately, singer Jan Malmsjö ended up in 2nd place after a revote. In 1973 (“Ding Dong”) and 1974 (“Min kärlekssång til dig”) he took part in Melodifestivalen as a singer. In 1975, Berghagen represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Jennie, Jennie”. Although he did not win, the experience added to his prominence in the European music scene. Beyond his music career, Berghagen is also recognized for his work on television. He hosted the popular Swedish television show “Allsång på Skansen” from 1994 to 2003. The show, which features sing-along segments with the audience, has been a staple of Swedish television for many years. He has also acted in several films and stage productions, showcasing his versatility as an entertainer. Lars Berghagen has been married several times, and his family has also been involved in the entertainment industry. His daughter, Malin Berghagen, is a well-known actress and yoga instructor in Sweden.

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🇸🇪 Christer Björkman contest producer 2024

Today, EBU reveiled the remaining key members behind the organization of the Eurovision Song Contest for May 2024. Notably, Christer Björkman is making a comeback as Contest Producer, with Per Blankens stepping in as TV Producer. With an extensive history in Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest, Christer Björkman’s expertise is unparalleled. Meanwhile, Per Blankens brings his rich experience from major music shows such as Melodifestivalen, Idol, American Idol, and China’s Dragon TV’s ‘The Next’ based in Shanghai. ‘Eurovision’s values are more important than ever, where diversity and community are the foundation. Therefore, I am extremely proud to once again be one of the producers for this event –  it was impossible to say no’ – said Christer. Per added: ‘I remember my years at Melodifestivalen as fantastic, but to be able to participate in the big Eurovision Song Contest party in this way is a dream come true. To be able to work so closely with Eurovision’s television elite will be an incredible adventure!’ Christer represented Sweden in the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “I morgon är en annan dag”. He played a pivotal role in shaping the contemporary format of Melodifestivalen, offering his talents to the show in diverse capacities from 2001 to 2021. His contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest are also noteworthy, with notable positions as Show Producer in Malmö 2013 and Contest Producer in Stockholm 2016. Furthermore, he collaborated with various Eurovision broadcasters globally and notably introduced the Contest to American audiences in 2022 through the American Song Contest. Per is at the helm for the content and delivery of the three broadcasts scheduled for Tuesday 7th, Thursday 9th, and Saturday 11th May, aside from the contest’s competitive segments. While it’s his inaugural venture into the Eurovision Song Contest, Per’s credentials are robust. He took the reins for Melodifestivalen in 2006 and 2007 and has been a leading force behind significant music contests in Sweden, the USA, and Asia.

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🇸🇪 Malmö will host Eurovision

Today, the news came: Malmö will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. The contest will be held on 7, 9 and the Grand Final on 11 May. It is the 3rd time in Eurovision history that the contest will be held in Malmö. Also in 1992 and in 2013, the contest was hosted in this city. EBU Event supervisor Martin Österdahl responds on the decision: “The EBU is thrilled that Malmö has been selected as the Host City for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024. Malmö holds a special place in the history of the Contest, having successfully hosted it firstly in 1992 and then in 2013 – following Loreen’s last win. We’re excited to be returning to this vibrant and dynamic city which has demonstrated it has the venues and infrastructure that are perfect for staging the world’s largest live music event. Malmö’s commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and innovation aligns perfectly with the spirit of the competition. Furthermore, its compact size and well-developed transport infrastructure means everyone involved in the Contest, including delegations, media, and fans will be able to navigate the city easily. Its commitment to sustainability and green initiatives also aligns perfectly with our own values, making it an ideal Host City for the 68th Eurovision Song Contest. Malmö’s bid demonstrated a huge passion for the Eurovision Song Contest, and I have full confidence in their ability to create an unforgettable experience that will bring together fans, artists, and viewers across the globe. Together with Host Broadcaster SVT, we will create an extraordinary celebration of music, unity, and diversity that will captivate the world in May next year.”  

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Is Sweden in for the win?

Is Sweden in for the win? Your guess is as good as ours. Currently the bookmakers predict a 52% chance for Sweden to win the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. That would be their 7th victory. Currently Ireland holds the record, also with 7. But bookies are bookies, we have our own prediction. We agree with Sweden for the win, but here is our entire top-5: 1.Sweden – Loreen – Tattoo 2.Finland – Käärijä – Cha-cha-cha 3.France – La Zarra – Évidement 4.Israel – Noa Kirel – Unicorn 5.Austria – Teya and Salena – Who the hell is Edgar? But…. tonight, 01.00 CET, we know more!

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In the spotlight: Loreen

The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will take place on Saturday 13 May. One of the favorites for the win is Loreen representing Sweden.         But who is Loreen ? Let’s give her a spotlight.  Loreen (Lorine Zineb Noka Talhaoui), is a Swedish singer of Moroccan descent. She was born on October 16, 1983 in Åkersbergabeter, Sweden, as the eldest of six children in a liberal Muslim family. When Loreen was six years old, her parents divorced and the children moved to Västerås with their mother. Pop Idol, Melodifestivalen and  Eurovision Song Contest In 2004, Loreen took part in the Swedish version of Pop Idol where she placed fourth.  Together with the band Rob’n’Raz she released the single “The Snake”  in 2005.      Loreen in 2004   Seven years later, in 2011, Loreen took part in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest. She did this with the song “My Heart is Refusing Me”. She placed fourth in the semi-finals, so she did not advance directly to the final, but was allowed to participate in the second chance round. However, she still failed to do so. A year later, Loreen took another chance. With the song “Euphoria” she made it easily to the final, which she convincingly won. At the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, which was held in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, Loreen was then allowed to represent her home country Sweden. During the second semi-final on May 24, 2012, she managed to qualify for the grand final which she won two days later, on May 26, 2012, with 372 points. It marked the fifth Swedish victory in the history of the Eurovision song contest. In the weeks after her win, “Euphoria” became a big hit in many European countries. Loreen was number 1 in eleven countries. “Euphoria” eventually even became the most successful and longest recorded Eurovision hit in history in the Netherlands. Loreen’s debut album “Heal” was released on October 22, 2012. It contained eight new songs and three already released songs.  The single “My Heart is Refusing Me” was also included, in a new international version.   Ride, Melodifestivalen and Så mycket bättre In April 2014, Loreen went on a tour called XIV. On this tour she performed some of her new songs, including “Jupiter Drive” and “Dumpster”. The long-awaited second album “Ride” was released in 2017 but it was not very successful. That year Loreen participated again in Melodifestivalen  with the song “Statements”. However, she failed to qualify for the final. In 2020, Loreen participated in the Swedish TV show “Så mycket bättre” (Swedish for ‘So much better’). This program is based on the Dutch show “Beste Zangers” (‘Best Singers’). Loreen then sang in Swedish for the first time. The success of her performances led to the announcement of a Swedish-language album that Loreen would be working on. The first single, Sötvattentårar (Swedish for ‘Freshwater Tears’), was released in March 2021. In 2021, Loreen made her acting debut in the movie “Vinterviken”. In this she plays a Moroccan mother with a teenage son. She was inspired by her own mother for this role.   Return to Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest At the beginning of 2023, Loreen took part in Melodifestivalen for the fourth time. She did this with the song “Tattoo”. Her performance in the preliminary round was disrupted by climate activists, forcing it to be shut down. Immediately afterwards she was allowed to perform her entry again and she managed to qualify for the final. On March 11th, she won the final, making her the Swedish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. Will she manage to win the Eurovision Song Contest, just like in 2012? We’ll know on Saturday.   

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Liverpool Live: something is happening at the betting odds

The day with the most rehearsals continue. Eight more countries rehearsed today, only 20 minutes each. That means we can inform you if there were major changes in the act. photo credits: EBU/Chloe Hashemi/Sarah Louise Bennett Switzerland Remo Forrer performs in his black jacket and black plastic pants again. It seems there are not many changes since the last performance: Remo with his four dancers, who at a moment wrap him in long ribbons. It is something that reminds us of Sertab (2003) and the late Toše Proeski (2004). Switzerland is currently number 13 in the betting odds, so the final doesn’t seem far away for Remo. Israel The Israeli act is one where a lot happens. She and her dancers are standing in front of a bunch of squares. The dancers bring their hands to their heads, to depict the horn of a unicorn. And of course there is a lot of fireworks in this performance. Israel is currently number 7 at the betting odds. Definitely an entry to look up to, Noa can do very well. Moldova There seem to be no changes in the Moldovan entry: Pasha Parfeni is, in his second Eurovision performance, still surrounded by two backing vocals with a horn, made out of their hair. Two guys accompany them playing the drums. Moldova is currently number 20 at the betting odds. But with a 6th place in the odds for the first semifinal it feels pretty safe for Pasha. Sweden And than there is the other returning participant from 2012, Loreen. Of course there are no changes in the performance, as everything was already there way before the rehearsals… as always in Sweden. All the eyes are at Sweden at this moment, as she leads at the bookmakers. But note that there is something going on: she has now 42% chance of winning, while the runner up has 23%. They are coming closer to eachother. Azerbaijan What we didn’t hear from the first rehearsals but what we know now: the performance of Azerbaijan on screen starts in black and white. Later it fades to colour. It seems to fit to the combination of sixties-like music and rap. However, Azerbaijan is at this moment number 32 at the betting odds. So far that doesn’t give the twins much hope for a place in the final. Czechia Finally a country were there have been some changes: Czechia. The Vesna ladies have altered their hairstyle. During the opening verse, there is some intricate hair choreography, and their braids have become notably longer and weightier than they were on Monday. At this moment Czechia is number 11 at the bookies. The Netherlands We don’t know if there are any changes in the performance of The Netherlands. The people of eurovision.tv say they got goosebumps of the intimate performance Mia and Dion gave. When they are singing the camera turns around them. That seems to work. The bookmakers seem to be more positive about The Netherlands than they were, with currently an 18th place. However, they are 11th at the specified list for the 1st semifinal. Finland The last one is Finland with the same energetic performance we saw Monday. Today a video went viral where Käärijä dances on the music of “Tattoo”, Loreen’s song. At the betting odds something is happening. Finland is coming closer and closer to the first place. Yesterday they had 18% winning chance, now it is already 24%. That might make Finland a serious contender for the victory. in collaboration with Eurovision Artists

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Liverpool live: rehearsal schedule

The rehearsals continue with the 2nd rehearsal of 15 countries. The countries now have only 20 minutes to rehearse.  11.30 – 11.50 Norway11.55 – 12.15 Malta12.20 – 12.40 Serbia12.45 – 13.05 Latvia13.10 – 13.30 Portugal13.35 – 13.55 Ireland15.00 – 15.20 Croatia15.25 – 15.45 Switzerland15.50 – 16.10 Israel16.15 – 16.35 Moldova16.40 – 17.00 Sweden17.05 – 17.25 Azerbaijan17.30 – 17.50 Czechia17.55 – 18.15 The Netherlands18.20 – 18.40 Finland 

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Liverpool live: about sparks, costumes and a lightbox

We’ve had the second half of today’s rehearsals. Here is what we saw and heard today. photo credits: EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett/Corinne Cummings Ireland Spotlights are on Conor, the singer of Wild Youth. He has a rock gold catsuit with flares. There are stairs on stage. And there will be pyro technics. A lot of sparkles are visible by the end of the performance. Eurovision.tv is enthousiastic about the singalong capacities of the song. “Even on the first rehearsal, it’s easy to imagine the crowd in the Liverpool Arena singing along to this euphoric chorus.” Croatia As expected, the members of Let3 wear the costumes they also had in the national final. At eurovision.tv they speak about ‘high fashion hat/dress combo’s’. However, we do not reccomend you wearing this to a party. At the end of the song, they strip down to their underwear and they wave with huge missiles. On the LED-screen you see the faces of the band members. The missiles emit a shower of sparks over the Let3 members!  Switzerland As in 2021 and 2022 it is Sacha Jean-Baptiste who is responsible for the Swiss staging. Where you would expect Remo Forrer alone on stage with a spotlight on it, nothing less is true. There are dancers with Remo on stage and he also dances himself. There’s also pyro technics: a short interlude of smoke and red fireworks raining down from the roof. Moldova For the second time, Pasha Parfeni enters the Eurovision stage. We saw him for the first time in 2012. He is surrounded by huge drums, a flutist and two backing singers with horned headdresses. A lot to see and a completely different act from what we saw 11 years ago. Sweden Loreen currently tops the bookmakers. She has the same act as in Melodifestivalen, herself sitting under the huge lightbox. The one from Melodifestivalen however was too heavy, so a lighter version can be seen in Liverpool. It is also lifted a little bit off the ground. The catsuit, the long nails and everything else is the same as in Melodifestivalen, including Loreen’s strong vocals.

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Loreen wins Melodifestivalen 2023 in Sweden

The one and only Loreen has just made even more history than she already has. The 39 year old singer has won Melodifestivalen 2023, and will represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.   Two weeks ago, when Loreen rehearsed “Tattoo” for the first time, she skyrocketed in the Melodifestivalen odds to first place. Not only did she get herself to first place, she also made a magnificent impact on the Eurovision odds. For months Ukraine was first, but as of writing Sweden holds the first place with a 38% chance of winning.   We all know Loreen, as she has won Eurovision before in 2012 with her pop hit “Euphoria”. The song remains one of the most popular Eurovision songs of all time.  Loreen has participated 3 times in Melodifestivalen before. Her first time was in 2010, where she took part with “My Heart Is Refusing Me”. In the end she only got to the Andra Chansen round. In 2017 she took part another time with “Statements”. However the past repeated itself and she got to the Andra Chansen round again, where she failed to qualify.  Tonight she has won Melodifestivalen with “Tattoo”, and you can watch the performance here:    We will see Loreen perform “Tattoo”in the first Semi Final on May 9th. Can she win it all again in Liverpool 2023?   You can see the combined jury & televote results of Melodifestivalen 2023 here: 

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Sweden: Loreen favourite in Melodifestivalen

Loreen is the huge favourite to win Melodifestivalen 2023 with her song “Tattoo”. Bookmakers give the singer a chance of 86% to win the contest. As soon as her song was presented two weeks ago, Sweden is the top favourite even to win the entire contest. But…. nothing has been decided yet. The show starts at 20:00 CET and you can watch it here. These are the twelve contestants: 1 Jon Hendrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods Where you are (Sávežan) 2 Tone Sekelius Rythm of my show 3 Mariette One day 4 Marcus & Martinus Air 5 Panetoz On my way 6 Maria Sur Never give up 7 Smash Into Pieces Six feet under 8 Kiana Where did you go? 9 Nordman Släpp alla sorger 10 Loreen Tattoo 11 Theoz Mer av dig 12 Paul Rey Royals Jon Henrik Fjällgren became 2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2017 and 4th in 2019. Tone Sekelius became 5th last year.Mariette became 3rd in 2015, 4th in 2017, 5th in 2018 and 10th in 2020.Panetoz became 9th in 2014 and 8th in 2016.Nordman became 5th in 2005 and 6th in 2008.Loreen reached Andra Chancen in 2011, won Melodifestivalen 2012 and reached Andra Chancen in 2017. Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the legendary song “Euphoria”!Theoz became 7th last year.Paul Rey became 6th in the 2020 final. A year later he became 12th. 

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