An unexpected benefit of being in Stockholm over two Saturdays is that I could watch two of the competition shows for the 2008 Melodifestivalen.
The winner of the Melodifestivalen will be Sweden's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. I don't have the writing skills to explain this contest adequately, especially to a non-European. Suffice it to say it is an amazing amalgam of camp, earnestness, cheese, and nationalism, and I deeply love the Eurovision Song Contest, much to the puzzlement of my friends.
Sweden takes it pretty seriously; this is a 6-week, nationwide process, as opposed to the BBC's rather embarrassed selection show. Of course, Sweden did have the most famous winners, way back in 1974.
Update: Apparently Ireland (a 7-time winner) has chosen a turkey puppet as its entry. This is the kind of show that has turkey puppets, opera singers, and Moldovan girl groups all on the same stage. Amazing.