1) The Result
After a few sub-par years, Cornelia Jacobs’s emotive ballad “Hold Me Closer” stormed into 4th place, giving Sweden their best result since they last won the contest in 2015.
2) The Process
Good old Melodifestivalen (aka Melfest aka Mello) remains one of the highlights of the national selection season, even if this year didn’t feel like the strongest outing. Once Loreen was announced as one of the participants it was hers to lose, and once she performed in the 4th heat it was pretty much over. It was no surprise that she ended up winning the jury vote and televote by sizeable margins.
3) The Artist
I’m guessing even the newest of Eurovision fans know who Loreen is. “Euphoria”, her winning entry in 2012, won the ESC250 countdown ten years in a row and is widely considered one of the greatest winners of the contest. It provided a definitive turning point away from the dominance of cheesy, kitschy entries of the 2000s and towards the contest we know today. She has released two albums, two EPs, and almost 20 singles since her debut in 2011.
There’s no denying that this goes a long way to capturing the atmosphere of “Euphoria”, with the focus on the creation of a dramatic electronic soundscape. However, there’s more urgency and emotion in “Tattoo”, which Loreen is more than capable of delivering.
5) The Verdict
Perhaps you had to be there back in 2012, when it was either the slick modernism of “Euphoria”, or the novelty of Russia’s “Party for Everybody”, to appreciate what a relief it was that Loreen came away with the win. I know I’m not alone in saying that the result restored my faith in the contest and set it on the path to what it is today. While I don’t think the contest needs saving in 2023 like it did in 2012, (and I prefer “Euphoria” to “Tattoo”) I certainly wouldn’t begrudge Loreen a second win and Sweden a record-equaling seventh victory. This song and performance is worthy of it.
My ranking: 3rd