In the “A Song For Europe” episode of the wonderful Irish sitcom Father Ted, Father Ted Crilly and Father Dougal McGuire are somehow persuaded to enter the Irish selection for Eurovision by their nemesis, Father Dick Byrne.
To cut a long story short, they get through to the final and are ultimately victorious, due to the arrangers needing a song guaranteed to deliver a non-Irish victory. Their song, My Lovely Horse, (actually written and performed by the superb Divine Comedy) can be seen here:[youtube id=”jzYzVMcgWhg” width=”600″ height=”350″]
I know that Father Ted was shown in Sweden. I just wonder if Christer Björkman, head honcho of Melodifestivalen and Producer of Eurovision in Malmö, has seen it.
Melodifestivalen winner, Robin Stjernberg travels the short distance to Malmö to represent his host nation, and judging by rehearsals so far, there is a distinct lack of star quality missing from Stjernberg’s stage show, which begs the question: is Stjernberg getting the ‘My Lovely Horse’ treatment from SVT?
Given that eternal runner-up Danny Saucedo was persuaded to host Melodifestivalen, you have to wonder if certain aspirants were advised to give it a miss this year by SVT’s top brass, fearful of another unaffordable victory for Sweden.
However, let’s just look at the history of all of this. The last time Sweden hosted the contest, they sent Roger Pontare, safe in the knowledge that Europe was not going to vote in droves for a mad-eyed Lapp. And Christer Björkman has previously been accused of manipulating the contest (although ESCbet, and our lawyers in particular, would like to point out that the charges led to nothing).
Possibly the most telling indicator, however, comes from the last time the contest was held in Malmö, in 1992. That year, Sweden entered an anaemic ballad (the Swedes might term it a sömnpiller – a sleeping pill) performed by a singer with no great charisma and with a weedy voice. Until Latvia in 2003, the eight points it mustered constituted a record low for a home country in Eurovision. The singer? A younger, thinner (yet still recognisable) Christer Björkman.