Fresh from chart success in Sweden, Martin Stenmarck arrived on stage in Kyiv to one of the larger crowds attending the first rehearsal. Famed for their strong performances at the Eurovision Song Contest, Martin was asked in the press conference how it feels not to be amongst the favourites this year. He was also in for a surprise as one of the questions came from an impostor, not a journalist at all in fact!
Martin�s first rehearsal went well, with good movement on stage. The sound check was completed speedily, although there may be a few minor changes before returning to the stage tomorrow. The all round performance is strong, and has not changed too much from his winning performance at Melodifestivalen 2005.
Although the rehearsal was not used to test any of the costumes for the final on Saturday, the Swedish team appeared for the press conference in uniform�everyone was wearing the replica t-shirts of the Swedish national ice-hockey team that came 4th in the world championships this weekend.
Martin declared himself �Really happy to be here, it�s going to be a lot of fun�. Asked how it feels to represent Sweden, he said �It feels great, I�m very proud to be representing Sweden. The competition back home was very tough, so it�s great�.
Talking about his musical background and how he relaxes, Martin explained that �I started out playing in heavy metal bands for 10 years. I like to test new things, I�m eager to learn. I�ve done everything from heavy metal to musicals and even jazz. I have a little daughter and when I have spare time, I like to spend it with her. I also like to read and cook a lot�.
Martin was asked about the video, and what his impressions of Las Vegas were. He said �There were a lot of things there, it�s crazy and wonderful at the same time. Now I really know what I�m singing about”. He was asked if he saw one of the most famous winners of the Eurovision Song Contest, Celine Dion whilst he was there, but said that he �was only there for 36 hours, and she wasn�t performing that night, so I didn�t get a chance�.
The next question went to a man in sunglasses. He stood up and removed them, and it turned out to be none other than Geir Rönning, who asked �as someone from Norway, representing Finland, how does it feel only to be Swedish?�. Laughter erupted in the press conference hall, on both sides of the table. Martin responded by getting the whole Swedish team to stand and sing their national anthem!
Martin was then asked about Helena Paparizou, the Greek Contestant born in Sweden and whether he thought she was a serious contender. Martin responded �of course she is good at what she does. All the countries in the final are strong and those that qualify two days before will also be tough�.
Questioned about Melodifestivalen and what it means to Sweden, and also about losing the public vote to Nanne Gronvall and not being amongst the favourites, Martin said �Melodifestivalen is the biggest event of the year in Sweden, lasting for about 6 weeks. It�s the biggest show with four semi-finals and receives lots of press coverage. I feel ok as the underdog. It was the same in Sweden, I was not one of the top three or four favourites and I won. I like being an underdog, it�s a carrot for me�.
Finally, it was announced that Martin would be at the OGAE tent tomorrow at 2pm to sign copies of his CD for fans.