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Svenska: Just like old times

It's the first heat of Sweden's Melodifestivalen tonight, as they begin whittling down 32 songs to send one to Eurovision in Moscow. It's just like old times (ie. when we started watching it a few years ago), with the returns of both Alcazar (hurrah!) and Shirley Clamp (hurrah again!)

Needless to say, we're off to Glitterball Mansions to watch it the Cypriot and Maltese finals instead. The Schlagerboys are in Malta, so we'll be keeping an eye out for them.

After holding back almost completely on the national heats and finals so far this year, I threw myself into this year's Eurovision frenzy with gay abandon last Sunday by watching THREE national finals in one day; the UK, Slovenia and the Netherlands. (I was out at an engagement party last Saturday, so could only watch the final of Your Country Needs You with the sound down, in a pub. I watched it properly on Sunday lunchtime, then watched Slovenia and De Nederlands at Glitterball Mansions on Sunday night.)

All three countries picked songs which are good enough, in their own ways, to do well, but I think Slovenia may have secured themselves a place in the final at last. This is written by Andre Babic, which is something we get to say every year these days, but for different countries. (It was the Portuguese epic for Vania last year.) It taps into Europe's love of classical pop and doesn't let the tricky business of language get in the way. It takes the Secret Garden route and has no vocals for the first one minute and seven seconds of its three minute existence. When the singer does come in, she makes an enormous effort to sing some quite taxing notes, but if she can pull it off twice again in Moscow, as she did here in Slovenia, they may be onto something at last. I wonder if Graham Norton has scripted the phrase "plucky little Slovenia" yet? What do you think of this?

Eurovision 2009: Slovenia - 'Love Symphony' - Quartissimo ft. Martina Majerle

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