The first tiny stirrings of Spring are beginning, ironically on the coldest day yet of this Swedish winter. Yes, I'm talking about the Melodifestival, the six-week contest on SVT to decide the country's entry into the Eurovision song contest.
The Swedes really like to stretch it out. Most countries have chosen already; all but a very few will do so over the next few weeks. Sweden is last, as the grand final won't be until March 10. A good chart of each country's entry can be found on Wikipedia.
Saturday's first show was from Växjö, a town of about 65,000 people in south-central Sweden. It had the usual selection of sexy, execrable and kooky performances. The first winner was Dead By April, with a Lincoln Park-esque dual-vocal hard rock ballad.
More intriguing was the second winner, Loreen, a young lady with a fantastically shaggy haircut, mysterious lighting, a costume with some sort of reverse cleavage, but most importantly, a pumping Eurodisco ballad, "Euphoria", which really hits the Eurovision hot buttons in my opinion. She's one to watch, and you can see her here, at least until SVT puts out a copyright notice.