Tooji unplugs the fireworks off of ‘Stay’.

I’ve always believed that the mark of a good song is its ability to translate and crossover into different languages and genres. You know a song is good when it still works in hard rock, country or even acoustic. Norweigan pop star Tooji has done just that, performing an acoustic version of his fiery hit Stay. What was initially just a one-off TV performance has lead to the possibility of actually recording and releasing this version. Check it out below:

Even has an unplugged ballad, Stay still works and for me, this proves how much of a great song it really is. Everything from the melody to the lyrics is now hauntinginly beautiful. And Tooji sounds better than I’ve ever heard him! I really hope they record this version for real.

And check out the original version of Stay for comparison, in all its blazing glory: 

Hard to pick, isn’t it? Which version do you prefer?

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Euphoria in Sweden! Loreen wins Melodifestivalen 2012.

Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, has just celebrated its final at Globen Arena in Stockholm and was won by Loreen with the song Euphoria. It was the standout winner after the votes of 11 international juries and the Swedish public televote. Thus Sweden will be represented at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with Euphoria, performed by Loreen and composed by Thomas G:son and Peter Boström. Check out Sweden’s 54th Eurovision Song Contest entry:

I am just thrilled beyond words! Euphoria is so much more than an amazing song. It is a work of art. Ever since the first semi-final, I was hopelessly entranced by Euphoria and while I’m a huge fan of Danny, I had my heart set on Euphoria and Loreen’s unique interpretation of the song. Her vocals were flawless, the performance was an artistic showcase and everything was absolutely mesmerizing. On top of that, its a modern, catchy song that is completely in rhyme with the time. This will stand out a mile at the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

Sweden, you chose well. Grattis till Loreen och lycka till!


Super Saturday, Sensational Songs.

It was a blockbuster of a Saturday here in Euroland with the finals of Melodi Grand Prix in Norway and Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins in Iceland. It was definitely an exciting night, complete with alot of switching back and forth. Here’s what happened:

NORWAY – Model-turned-singer Tooji won the 2012 Melodi Grand Prix by a landslide (155,480 points to the runner-up’s 90,046) with his song Stay, written by Peter Boström and Figge Boström. It was one of my two favourites going into the competition, the other being Plumbo’s Ola Nordmann. Whereas Stay was my ‘guilty pleasure’ favourite, I was quite convinced that Ola Nordmann would walk it and I was happy for it to do so, as I thought it would be a fresh, authentic choice for Norway and make their bid unique and attract attention. So I was plesantly surprised when Stay won. It’s very similar in style to the Cypriot entry (and Jedward’s Waterline should they win in Ireland) so its not all that original and may suffer as a result. In any case, I’m thrilled that Tooji won and it was very touching to see him breakdown in joyous disbelief as the points came rolling in. He got the host a bit choked up! It was a wonderful show, with Norway picking a very strong entry.

Norway 2012: Stay performed by Tooji

ICELAND – No sooner had Tooji finished his reprise (and carried on with his state of joyous disbelief) than it was time to switch over to Iceland’s Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins in time to see Greta Salomé & Jónsi win the Icelandic ticket to Baku with Mundu Eftir Mér. It is a dramatic, bombastic ballad that’s heavy on the violin. It was also the best song of the night and a very deserving winner. Iceland have a tradition of translating their song into English for Eurovision but I think they ought to keep it as is as the song sounds so much more dramatic with the almost mystical-sounding Icelandic language. Another worthy addition to the line-up for Baku.

Iceland 2012: Mundu Eftir Mér performed by Greta Salomé & Jónsi 

Oh, and Hungary selected their song. An eighties-inspired ditty called Sound Of Our Hearts by Compact Disco. I didn’t follow the final, nor listen to the song as I like to keep about half the entries unheard until the big night to be surprised and to keep things fresh. Apparently its not so good performed live.

Whew! It was a marathon evening and it was almost a relief when it was all over, just to have a respite from all the excitement and as a Eurofan put it on Twitter, “time to get back to our normal lives!”… atleast until San Remo starts on Tuesday!


Sweden announces the competing songs for Melodifestivalen 2012.

SVT have announced the titles and authors of the songs that have been chosen to compete in Melodifestivalen 2012, Sweden’s selection for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Have a look below:

  1. Aldrig Aldrig (Niclas Lundin, Maria Marcus, Randy Goodrum)
  2. Allting Blir Bra Igen (Michael Sideridis)
  3. Baby Doll (Mårten Eriksson, Lina Eriksson, Susie Päivärinta)
  4. Det Går För Långsamt (Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad, Niclas Lundin)
  5. Don’t Let Me Down (Lasse Holm, Lars ‘Dille’ Diedricson)
  6. Euphoria (Thomas G:son, Peter Boström)
  7. Förlåt Mig (Mattias Andréasson)
  8. Ge Aldrig Upp (Thomas Di Leva)
  9. Goosebumps (Hanna Lindblad, Linda Sundblad, Tony Nilsson)
  10. I Din Himmel (Sonja Aldén, Bobby Ljunggren, Peter Boström)
  11. I Mina Drömmar (Nanna Svensdóttir, Thomas Cars)
  12. I Want To Be Chris Isaak (The Moniker)
  13. Jag Reser Mig Igen (Thomas G:son, Ted Ström)
  14. Just A Little Bit (RedOne Team)
  15. Land Of Broken Dreams (Thomas G:son, Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson)
  16. Lovelight (Andreas Johnson, Peter Kvint)
  17. Mirakel (Fredrik Andersson, Björn Ranelid)
  18. Mystery (Pontus Hjelm)
  19. Porslin (Björn Olsson, Martin Elisson)
  20. På Väg (Abalone Dots (Rebecka Hjukström, Sophia Hogman, Louise Holmer), Viktor Källgren)
  21. Salt & Pepper (Lina Eriksson, Mårten Eriksson, Figge Boström)
  22. Sanningen (Michael Clauss, Martin Bjelke)
  23. Sean Den Förste Banan (Sean Banan, Joakim Larsson, Hans Blomberg, Mårten Andersson)
  24. Soldiers (Ulrik Munther, Johan Åberg, Linnea Deb, Joy Deb, David Jackson)
  25. Stormande Hav (Kristian Lagerström, Johan Fjellström, Stina Engelbrecht, Jens Engelbrecht)
  26. The Boy Can Dance (Figge Boström, Catrine Loqvist, Johan Lindman)
  27. The Girl (Fredrik Kempe, Alexander Johnsson)
  28. To The Sky (Fernando Fuentes, Tony Nilsson, Danny Saucedo, Peter Boström, Figge Boström)
  29. Kyss Mig (Axel Algmark, Mattias Frändå, Jonathan Magnussen)
  30. Why Am I Crying (Molly Sandén, Aleena Gibson, Windy Wagner)
  31. Why Start A Fire (Lisa Miskovsky, Aleksander With, Bernt Rune Stray, Berent Philip Moe)
  32. Youngblood (Fredrik Kempe, David Krüger)

Of course, this leads us to all kinds of speculations as to who will be singing which songs. We can make educated guesses, going by known artists who have co-written songs as well as looking at songwriting teams and who they’ve been working with recently. The obvious names at this point are Lili & Susie, Linda Sunblad (or even Hanna Lindblad), Sonja Aldén, Andreas Johnsson, Mattias Andréasson, The Moniker, Danny Saucedo, Molly Sandén and Aleksander With. I am particularly excited to see Ulrik Munther as part of the line-up, as I think he’s an amazingly talented artist. I’m also more than a little surprised to see Andreas in the mix again, seeing as how he stated that he won’t compete again after 2010, so perhaps the song is for another singer.

In terms of songwriters, we also have our usual suspects Thomas G:son and Fredrik Kempe, though not with the usual boatload of entries, which is good thing. There is one team that I’m really excited about, namely that of Peter Boström, Figge Boström, Tony Nilsson together with Fernando Fuentes and Danny Saucedo. I am of the opinion that the reason why Popular did so well at Eurovision this year was because of Peter Boström’s impeccable modern production. That he’s working with Tony Nilsson on a song possibly performed by Danny Saucedo is plain amazing. Another welcome team is that of REDONE! Clearly he’s not taking his ignominious defeat at Andra Chansen this year to heart and is probably seeking to do better next year. But who will be singing the song? According to their blog, Love Generation has just finished recording their new single, which has the same title as the RedOne entry! A third team I’m looking forward to hearing is that of Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad and Niclas Lundin who are the guys behind Le Kid. Given that the song is in Swedish (there are alot of those this year by the way), I don’t think Le Kid themselves will be performing it. Finally, Pontus Hjelm’s inclusion in the line-up is surprising but oh-so-welcome. He’s the songwriter for nu-metal group Dead By April and I have every faith the song is going to electrify the lot of us.

So there it is! A combination of new names, debutants and old faces that is bound to make this year’s competition a sizzling one. Especially after the fore-gone conclusion that was last year. Hold on to your hats ladies and gents, Melodifestivalen 2012 kicks off 4th February 2012!