Thomas Molloy was fortunate enough to make it to Karlstad to watch the Swedish Melodifestivalen Second Chance round. Below is his report. Thanks again Thomas! Some of his pics are below.
Karlstad came alive for Sweden’s Second Chance round this evening, as fans packed the Lofbergs Lila Arena to see eight acts battle it out for two places in the final of Melodifestivalen.
The city, better known as a summer lakeside resort, is often sleepy in early March. Not so today. Groups of young people could be seen loitering outside hotels early in the day, waiting for performers to make an appearance.
In the main shopping centre, finalist Ulrik Munther attracted quite a crowd for his sociable chat with an interviewer and the audience, before the obligatory performance and signing.
The morning papers – local and national for once, as Loreen’s win has meant they take it a little more seriously now – had very varied views as to who would make it to the final. None of them would be proved right – but the critics rarely call Melodifestivalen accurately, in spite of a few surprises in recent years.
All the buzz pointed to Idol success Robin Stjernberg – and the photos to photogenic Anton Ewald. Critics preferred Cookies n Beans, or Caroline ad Ugglas, the latter a previous finalist.
And so to the show itself. Quite slick organisation gave the venue a positive buzz, with the usual promotional stands ensuring fun was had in the hours leading up to transmission. Andra Chansen sees a more mixed, family audience than the Final, giving a mixture of local flavour and youthful enthusiasm.
The show moved at a pace – no time for comedy pieces tonight – as the eight participants performed back to back, and were whittled down to five. Goodbye to Eric Gadd, who failed to garner the same level of engagement in the hall; Cookies n Beans in spite of a strong performance; and Caroline af Ugglas. More voting, before four (minus Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli – the sweet duet perhaps lost amongst stronger, more upbeat tracks) were paired up for the so-called duels.
At the end of the show, the pre-show buzz proved correct. Behrang Miri’s colourful and strongly performed track couldn’t hold off Anton Ewald’s broad smile, in spite of the glitter. Robin Stjernberg’s sing-along number saw off Martin Rolinski’s striking coloured-yogurt-flinging number.
And so, the circus rolled off towards Stockholm, leaving a very small non-Swedish contingent in the middle of the snow-filled landscape, wondering what to do with their Sunday, and Karlstad no doubt wondering when they’ll see Melodifestivalen back in their friendly city.