There are some traditions that I eagerly await every year, one of them being the Swedish summer TV show "Allsång på Skansen". Even if it's raining outside, I hear the opening bars of "Stockholm i mitt hjärta" and that officially tells me that summer is here.
2009 was just that little bit different. We didn't just have Allsång on SVT, but also Lotta Engberg's show, Monday nights on TV4. Both shows have now ended their summer runs.
Allsång, the established favourite with its usual pick & mix format brought the usual highs and lows. The best show of the series was the first one, on 23.06.09, which featured Tomas Ledin and Måns Zelmerlöw, the latter being instantly acclaimed as a possible successor to the under-fire Anders Lundin, who was consistently a target for the Swedish press from day one. As I don't live in Sweden I'm not sure what the reason is for all this criticism, as I think he's ok for that sort of thing, although (IMHO) he's no singer, which is ironic as he's the host of a singalong show!
Other guests I enjoyed during this series: Magnus Uggla, John ME, Magnus Carlsson and Wille Crafoord (a very nice duet of the Swedish 1973 Eurovision entry), H.E.A.T. and Bjorn Skifs.
The mythical backdrop of Skansen and the Stockholm skyline makes watching Allsång a very special experience, even if the line-up of guests isn't always your cup of tea. That's what probably edged it in front of TV4's rival "Lotta på Liseberg", which was televised weekly for the first time this year. Still, I thought she had some very good guests - Ola Svensson, Brolle, Scotts, Agnes (an excellent "Release Me"), the new-look (and very glam) Linda Bengtzing, and for me the icing on the cake on the final show....Salem Al Fakir. Now you all know by now that Salem is my favourite singer, but he also has such a lively and infectious personality that you could imagine him hosting Allsång one day in the future as he relates so well to his audience and had so much fun here. The same could not be said for fellow guest, Paul Potts who sat squirming on the sofa whilst being interviewed by Lotta Engberg, and was then subjected to an "English Allsång" - "The Laughing Policeman". The irony was not lost on me, given Mr Potts' consistently sour-faced expression during the show!
But I digress. The other big hitter on Swedish summer TV is TV4's "Sommarkrysset" from Grona Lund in Stockholm, which I have also enjoyed greatly this summer, although I need to catch up with the latest editions. Again the highlights this summer for me were (goes without saying) Salem again, also Moneybrother, Brolle (again), Erik Hassle, Darin, Star Pilots.
"Sommarkrysset" finishes its current run this coming Saturday with a cracking line-up of guests including Fibes, Oh Fibes! and Kim Wilde, Europe, and Ola. Don't miss it.