There are few things that I consider tradition here in my home country of Sweden, though other swedes would probably be able to count more. But I don't care about those people.
Anyway, the things I consider tradition here are dancing around the Maypole (though I haven't done that since I was like four or five years old), watching the Donald Duck Christmas special on on Christmas (though me and my family have successfully stopped doing that because it's rather boring after 22 years) and watching the Swedish Melody Festival (direct translation) AKA Schlagern (I have no idea why and how it can be called that).
Schlagern is a televised music contest where artists (veterans, new stars and outright amateurs) compete with a song for the chance to be Sweden's representative in the Eurovision Song Contest, that you can look up for yourself. Ever since Charlotte Nilsson (now Perrelli) won the ESC in 1999 Schlagern has been an immensely popular program in Sweden and all the evening newspappers make big fusses about it. That's why I consider it a tradition.
From what I can tell Schlagern is a more drawn-out selection process than its counterpart in a lot of other European countries. The current form of the competition is four quarter finals with eight contestants each. From these two of the artists and their song go directly to the big Swedish finale, based on how the Swedish people have voted, and two other songs go a semi-final where they get a second chance in sort of complicated duel system. At the end of the semi-final two more songs are sent to the finale.
So in the finale we have ten songs chosen by the Swedish people who then get to vote one final time. The winner of that finale becomes the Swedish representative in the ESC.
At the moment we're in the middle of this year's Schlager and I don't think I've ever been as disappointed in the way the Swedish people have voted than now.
There have been a good number of interesting, varied and different songs in this years competition. Unfortunately the swedish people seem to lost all sense of taste and sent the dullest ones to the finale. You can tell because all four current finalists are basically cut from the same stone.
They're all male solo artists with bland and clichéd filled songs that I've basically heard better versions of before. It's really annoying. Annoying to the point where I've come up with a few theories on why this is happening.
1. For once the swedish people is taking the past ESC-winners of recent years into consideration, the most recent being a solo male with a bland and clichéd-filled song, and are voting for the songs they believe will best match the musical style and appeal of those winners. The reason why this theory is unlikely is that the swedish isn't that organised. At all. Usually everybody just votes for their favorites and creates a big mess in telephone network that use as an excuse for why their favorite didn't win.
2. There is a telepath living in Sweden who is also a Schlager-fan and is making people vote for the songs he/she likes the most and I'm one of a selective few people that is immune to this person's abilities. But naturally this one isn't likely either simply because life just isn't that cool.
3. The majority of the people that vote are fans of Swedish Idol, more specifcally girls the ages 15-20 or something like that, and instead of voting for the good songs they vote for the guys that they think are good-looking. While it may not be 100% accurate I do believe/fear that it is close to the truth. If it was such a fascist dick move I'd suggest that people that watch Idol shouldn't get to vote.
This Saturday the third quarter final will take place. If similar winners are chosen at that point I believe that I have enough evidence that the Schlager-audience has somehow lost all sense of musical taste.
Oh well. It's not all bad. While people may have chosen to boring songs the programs have been a great source for entertainment. Mostly due to the three hosts. Christine Meltzer (a popular comedian and television show host), Måns Zelmerlöw (former participant in Schlagern and overall teen music idol) and Dolph Lundgren.
You know. The guy that played Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and He-man in the live-action movie adaptation of the cartoon with the same name. That Dolph Lundgren.
He's surprisingly awesome and funny. Seriously. He's not afraid to poke fun at himself and people's pre-conceived view of him as an idiot and bad actor. He's got great comedic timing and is just overall funny. He's the real breakout star of the show this year.
And let me tell you. You do not know surreal until you've seen Dolph Lundgren perfrom a competent song and dance routine of A Little Less Conversation right before smashing trough several large blocks of ice with his fist.
So while the swedish people might've lost all their musical taste we've got a great new/old/something age related comedy star here in Sweden. Lose-Win I say.
Peace out until next time.