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Malena Ernman, Sweden’s opera star-cum-pop singer, rehearsed for the first time at Eurovision on Sunday, delivering an eccentric performance with simple choreography, bizarre rhinestone-studded masks and a whole lot of sweat (Malena needs to wipe her forehead by the end, for real).

Cool as ice

The performance opens with five female back-up singers swaying around Malena beneath green, alien-esque lighting. Malena emerges wearing an all-white frock that looks like it’s been through a blender a few times. At the press conference after the rehearsal, she explained that she’s meant to look like an Ice Queen and contrast sharply with her black-clad back-up vocalists. (Read: “It’s my time, b*tches! Y’all ain’t stealing my spotlight!”)

Anyway, Sweden’s performance is an interesting contrast to Montenegro. Montenegro features non-stop, violent movement that’s ultimately forgettable, whereas Sweden opts for simple movement that is incredibly effective (see Malena’s sassy arm movements at 1:45—she really works it).

Wiwi’s Prediction: Sweden will easily qualify for the final. However, Malena performs fifth in the first semi-final, so it’s unlikely she’ll win her heat. Instead, look for Malta or Bosnia & Herzegovina to take that honor.

Malena's inspiration

Malena's inspiration

That said, Sweden could do some real damage when the final takes place, assuming they get a good position (read: they perform in the second half of the show). Malena’s performance is a completely original mix of pop and opera, which will help it stand out from the non-stop dance numbers from countries like Romania and Greece. The last time a Scandinavian country won was in 2006 when Finland sent the incredibly original/freakish band Lordi singing Hard Rock Hallelujah.

Plus Malena’s already a world-class opera singer, so we know she’ll be able to perform live. Unlike, say, Finland.

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