Sweden’s Eurovision 2019 Entry

Sweden had a weird result at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest. They racked up 253 points from the jury, but only received 21 points from the televote. Did the slick staging leave viewers cold?

This year, Sweden responded by overwhelmingly selecting a song that relies on the likeability of its singer rather than elaborate stage props. See, Europe, they do remember when it was just a song contest!

John Lundvik won a bronze medal in the 4×100 meters relay at the 2005 Swedish Championship before becoming a songwriter. His big break came when he co-wrote “When You Tell the World You’re Mine” for the wedding of the Crown Princess of Sweden. He finished third at last year’s Melodifestivalen with “My Turn” and co-wrote this year’s United Kingdom entry “Bigger Than Us.”

There is a lot to like here. “Too Late for Love” is effervescent and joyful, belying the desperation in the lyrics. John is a charismatic singer with a sparkling stage presence. We enjoyed seeing him interacting with his backing singers during his Melodifestivalen performance instead of relegating them to the side of the stage.

We also love the fact that backing singer Ashley Haynes quit her job and moved to Sweden when her boss in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t give her time off to participate. Which sums up a lot about Washington, D.C. actually.

By itself, “Too Late for Love” is a good song. When we start comparing it to the other entries that speak to us this year, it begins to suffer a bit. It lacks the grit of “Soldi,” the emotion of “Arcade,” the snarl of “Chameleon,” the grandeur of “Better Love,” the pop of “She Got Me,” or the pomp of “Scream.”

That’s an elaborate way of saying that we like it, but we like other songs better. That doesn’t mean we aren’t chair-dancing along when it comes on in the car.