Eurovision 2012: Tonight it's the Melodifestivalen final and Sweden has separated in to Team Loreen and Team Danny
It's the biggest night of telly in the year in Sweden. Across the land they're just off to the shops for some sweets and pop so they can settle down in plenty of time that is, arguably, their equivalent of the X factor final. Except this is so much better than anything which comes out of Simon Cowell's stable. After five weeks and 32 songs, the final 10 compositions will do battle for the Melodifestivalen crown and the right to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan in May.
Whereas in previous years there has been an obvious winner even before the first votes are announced (The Ark, Charlotte Perelli, Carola, et al), this year it isn't so clear cut. There is, however, an overwhelming favourite with the bookies in the shape of Loreen with her dance anthem Euphoria (although it's not that far removed melodically from the rather anaemic Maltese entry) which some Swedish turf accountants have stopped taking bets on. It's very well staged, has shades of Kate Bush-esque choreography and it finishes like every Doctor Who Christmas Special has done since 2005 - with an outbreak of snow (hang on, did they have one last Christmas? I can't remember now).
There is someone who could snow on Loreen's parade though and that's teenybopper idol - and last year's Melodifestivalen runner-upperer - Danny Saucedo. His equally anthemic number, Amazing, sees him dress like Evil Knievel during a guided tour of the set of Tron. This is perhaps more in keeping with the musical choices of the same folk who put Eric Saade through to Germany last year but as you will gather from the clips of both songs, Danny's vocal ability falls somewhat short of Loreen's efforts to belt one out.
At this stage, I really can't see either song doing fantastically well at the Contest, depsite the fact that the bookies have Sweden as favourite before the Melodifestivalen final has even begun.
There was one song in this year's 32-strong shortlist which I did think had a great chance at the Contest but it was eliminated in the second chance round. It was this one:
Shows how much I know. The final of Melodifestivalen 2012 begins at 7pm UK time and 8pm CET. You can follow the live webstream (and it really will be a great show, well worth watching), at this link here. I will be otherwise engaged today so won't be able to tweet - at least until later on. Therefore, I direct you to the feeds of @faulknmd @thoroughlygood @RichardWGordon @escdaily @escnation and the hashtag #mel12
And of course, let us know in the comment section here what you think of tonight's final choice. Are you Team Loreen of Team Danny?