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Three finals took place on Saturday night as the ESC 2022 national final season drew to a close – and it was “girl power” across the board as they all ended up with female winners!
The evening began with the culmination of the traditional six-week Melodifestivalen circus (even if wasn’t so much of a travelling circus this year). Not for the first time, the international juries and the local audience found themselves in disagreement over who should represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest. Although veteran songwriter Anders Bagge won the app and telephone vote by some distance, even he conceded in Aftonbladet that the overall winner was the better choice for ESC: “Hold Me Closer” by Cornelia Jakobs, which the Swedes also had as their clear second favourite behind Bagge.
Over on our social media, we reminisced about our past times in the Melodifestivalen press centre, and we firmly hope to be back in Stockholm next year. Although, given the strength of Cornelia’s song, a visit to Sweden for ESC 2023 isn’t out of the question either…
Elsewhere, Iceland had the unenviable task of finding a successor to breakout star Daði Freyr. They could hardly have gone in a more different direction, selecting the gentle “Með hækkandi sól” by the sisters Sigga, Beta and Elín. After that, the last Saturday of the national final season came to a close – as it maybe always should – with several long and relaxed hours in the company of Portugal and Festival da Canção. Absolutely no disagreement between jury and televote here: “Saudade, saudade” by Maro came out top with both constituencies, thereby giving us a few months of fun trying to work out the best and most concise way of rendering the word “saudade” in English.
We’re also in that phase of the season where the late-announcing internal selections come thick and fast. In terms of the artists we already knew about, Jérémie Makiese from Belgium presented “Miss You“, Greece gave us Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord’s introspective “Die Together“, and Circus Mircus from Georgia had something to say about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as they revealed the quirky “Lock Me In“. We also knew that Austria would be represented by the youthful combo of LUM!X feat. Pia Maria, who duly published the video for the energetic “Halo”:
In terms of the artist and song reveals, last year’s podium finishers Switzerland are staying in the solo male lane with Marius Bear and his ballad “Boys Do Cry“, while Cyprus will be looking to continue their impressive recent qualification streak with Andromache and a song title we’ve encountered before in a Eurovision context (albeit doubled): “Ela“.
Speaking of doubles, the United Kingdom have responded to their double-zero result in last year’s grand final by stepping up their game a little. A partnership between the broadcaster and TaP Music was much heralded in advance, and the result is “Space Man” by Sam Ryder, a singer who came to fame on TikTok. A very 2022 kind of story, and while it remains to be seen what the outcome will be in terms of points on the scoreboard in May, it certainly feels like the UK is putting more effort into things this year. Even right down to the fact that we keep getting promoted tweets from Sam Ryder in our timeline every time we go on Twitter…
And while we wait for the official presentation of the Armenian and Azeri entries – not to mention the news from the Heads of Delegation meeting, which should cover everything from Italy’s starting position in the 2022 grand final to the question of what’s happening with the entry from Ukraine – Malta decided to revisit their 2016 approach by completely replacing the song that won its national final. The new Maltese entry, “I Am What I Am”, was officially revealed this morning. Those who spent their money televoting for Emma Muscat’s national final winner were presumably not consulted.