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Final Eurovision 2008You must have a story to tell  to win Eurovision Song Contest, I am more and more sure about this. Alexander Rybak from Norway won with 387 points with his song Fairytale, better result than ever. His comment to his victory was:  I am not the best singer in the competition. I won because I have a story to tell.  I think people like my story.

The Swedish song La voix with Malena Ernman became 21st. Malena is a great artist and had the best voice of all artists in the finale of Eurovision Song Contest but what was the story in the song?  I heard the verses but not the lyrics of the chorus because of the high notes that made it impossible even for a opera singer, used to sing that high, to sing the lyrics so it was possible hear the words.

The sound mix of La voix in the Semi Finale made it hard to hear Malenas song. It was not easy to get the impression of a voice that in fact was bigger that all other competitor’s voices.

When I saw the video of La voix , sent to all 42 countries,  it was not the original video from her victory of the Swedish National Selection. Someone had softened the contours. There was too much light in it. In the performance  of La voix during the Semi Finale there was even more light on the stage. The whole stage became white. Malena disappeared several times because of this strong light.

Maybe the meaning of the light was to show that Malena sings like an angel and that the stage because of it became a heavenly place.? When I saw it I got serious doubts about the chances of the song in the Finale.  Maybe the lights didn’t destroy for us who know how charming  and communicative Malena is, but for others in Europe for whom the contact must happen during those 3 minutes, I am sure that the strong white light did weaken Malena’s chances.

What was the idea of making the artist dissappear? Was it to  make a better contact between the artist and the audience? I don’t think so. On the contrary, it really made the artist something distant and unreachable. 

The only way for an artist to touch hearts is to communicate with the audience as much as possible. Why was Malena not allowed to do this? Of course she can do it as an opera singer. To blaim the light technician for all this disturbing white light  is not right, he just fullfulled the intention chosen in the softened La voix video.

Here is  some issues to think about for the jury that picks the songs for next year’s competition. Is there a story to tell? Do listeners hear the words loud and clear enough? How can you help the artist to communicate in the best way with people in 42 countries and avoid making obstacles for the communication, how cool it even might look for the audience in the big ESC Contest hall. Most people watch the competition on TV anyway and  they want to see and hear the artist, to be able to connect and become willing to vote for that particular song.

Alexander Rybak chose another way. It was a pleasure to see his performance and his video without any disturbing lights, to see right into his eyes, to see him smile and hear him sing his heart out loud and clear. Also Yohanna from Iceland did communicate with listeners in a magic way.  She had also a story to tell. Her video was very communicative, too. Nothing did disturb the communication between her and her audience.

I suggest that every song that is going to picked to compete in next Swedish National selection is a song that touches hearts. Check up the lyrics carefully and see if there is a story to tell.

I also appeal to Christer Björkman and the others in the Swedish crew to make the video and plans for the performance in a way that makes the artist go right through the TV screen by communicating with the audience without disturbing lights and other obstacles. Let the artist make eye contact as much us possible.

One of my favourites was the Finnish song Lose control by Waldo’s people. It became last in the Finale. I saw the Finnish Finale and there was really lots of energy and heat on the stage then they performed.

I must say I was very suprised in a negative way when I saw the Loose control video! It is a good thing to stand up for homeless people but why make such an depressive video, with the artist freezing to death outside in the night, with eyes that ni the end of the video couldn’t see anything anymore. It is difficult to change the caracter of a song in a Semi Finale in 3 minutes when it has been sent to all 42 countries with such a depressive video.  

So, I give the same advice to Finland. Let the artists communicate with listeners in a positive way both on the video and on stage during the live performance.

My congratulations to Norway and Iceland that became number 1 and number 2 in the Finales of ESC 2009! We have a lot to learn from you.

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