Sweden's performance overwhelms the hall – but not the cameras – continuing the Summer mood. Summer of '79 perhaps.
The Ark's rehearsal begins on very calm starry night background – is Worrying kind a ballad? And then suddenly it's like someone slipped something into our diet soda. OH MAMA.
You will give 12 points to Sweden.
You will give 12 points to Sweden.
That's not a command from the editors of esctoday.com. We are still an independent news site. One has to wonder if the spinning, psychedelic pinwheels projected everywhere are not meant to hypnotise viewers into giving all their votes to Sweden.
None of the other band member's costumes on the first rehearsal can compete with lead singer Ola Salo's black (velver?) hip-hugging, bell bottom pants and tricked out silver halter top thing. In fact that top comes off on the bridge for an added, we'll call it, thrill.
Between the first and second rehearsal the band confers with the technical crew. And the make subtle changes. In a couple of places, the vocals seem stretched, but it's not too much of a problem.
Before the last run through – with pyro – the stage manager seems impatient, asking the tech guys to hurry up … but The Ark doesn't seem to be taking longer then anyone else has on stage. It's already been a long week, and the flashing, twirling lights are dizzying for the crew and spectators in the hall. The effect is much more subdued when viewed over the monitors though – so home viewers will hopefully be OK.
In fact the performance looks very good over the monitors which capture the band's sense of infectious fun. North American readers, and yes we have many, will know what we mean when we write that the Swedish delegation who were the last to arrive in Sweden must have arrived in the Partridge Family's flower power bus.
The first question to Ola was about his Finnish name. Does he have a connection to Finland? "I am not Finnish – Salo is a taken name, and I took it because I love palindromes so much. I've heard Salo is a very pretty city so I'd like to go there some time!" explained Ola.
The band were invited to talk about their chances at the contest, being one of the favourites. "If we win we won't cry, and if we don't win we won't cry either. We're here to have a good time, and to rock the Eurovision!"
"For us to participate in front of millions of viewers, we can't fail. We're going to do our best and we won't fail. Whatever happens on Saturday, we'll be The Ark, and we'll play to The Ark fans on Saturday. Hopefully after that, there might be more of them."
One of the lyrics in The Worrying Kind is very similar to a David Bowie line: "just a mortal with potential of a superman". The band admitted to being hugely influenced by Bowie, as well as other glam rocks bands such as T-Rex. "We love them – not just the one hit wonders, also the no-hit wonders!" said Ola.
The Swedish entry has already seen some international release. "Our record has already been released in Finland and Denmark, and of course in Sweden. It's going to be released in Norway and Germany pretty soon, and we have plans for the whole of Europe. We'll work with the rest of Europe later on."
He was asked whether he was stopped from participating last year because of Carola’s participation. They said they like her very much but this year they had the time and the song for the Contest. They said that it’s a bit of a crazy thing to participate as they are a rock band but they like crazy ideas. They said they had no hard moments in coming to the Contest. They asked themselves how hard could it be and realised it wasn’t very much. „It was easy, a piece of cake,” Ola said.
Ola said the song isn’t dedicated to anyone but in general about the society. „It’s like all the things in my life have been cooked down to one person and this is dedicated to that person.”
Their costumes are designed by a Swedish designer and Ola’s pants are partly designed by him. All their costumes’ original ideas are from them. He added about his pants that he wants to create a balance in the band with having wide pants as all the other members have narrow ones.