Thursday, 15 November 2012

Why 'Så Mycket Bättre' should come to the UK

Så Mycket Bättre is one of Sweden's most popular TV shows, with a premise so simple and obvious that not only is it astonishing that nobody thought of it before, but it's incredible that the format hasn't found its way across the world yet, and I wonder if it ever will. Translating as 'so much better', the show basically features seven popular Swedish artists each series, who in turn cover songs by each other, in their own unique style. The most popular breakthrough acts from the previous series' were September, already an international star with a UK top five hit, Cry For You, and quirky indie-pop singer/songwriter Laleh. September was undoubtedly so popular because whilst being known and pigeonholed as a dance act, the show gave her a platform to show off her live vocals and adaptability by performing in a different style each week. Her take on rapper Petter's Mikrofonkåt became the biggest hit of her career and she has since dropped the September moniker, releasing a recent Swedish #1 album under her birthname Petra Marklund, with a more radio pop/MOR sound than her September material. With near two million viewers a week, almost a quarter of Sweden's population, it's clear that the idea is a popular one and it's a wonder that it hasn't been picked up in the UK yet. 

Prime time music shows are few and far between these days, with only The X Factor particularly thriving, but Så Mycket Bättre is a novel idea that I really think that the UK might take to. The only problem would be persuading big names to sign up to it. Whilst Sweden enjoy some of their biggest stars performing each others hits - Darin, Miss Li, September and Lena Philipsson to name but a few - would anybody want to see Dane Bowers take on Lisa Scott-Lee's Electric or Kavana having a go at Javine's Real Things. But with the right names it could be a perfect launchpad for newly solo artists (Shane Filan?), a way to relaunch a career by being back in the public eye every week and showing everybody why we loved them in the first place (Leona Lewis?) or even a way for an already successful artist to show how grounded they are by leaving egos at the door to cover hits by other artists and reaping the rewards with critical praise and hit singles. 

Every performance on Så Mycket Bättre goes straight onto iTunes and many of the good ones go on to dominate the charts and radio playlists for months to come. What better a way for an artist to get back into the public eye than potentially scoring seven consecutive top five singles, and then putting an album out with public interest at a high. Imagine a potential line-up of Leona Lewis, Gary Barlow, Tinie Tempah, Shane Filan, Jamelia, Dido and Daniel Bedingfield, some may be long washed up but the novelty of seeing Tinie Tempah doing a rap version of Flying Without Wings or Dido taking on Pass Out would surely entice viewers. And who knows where the odd gem or surprise might surface from? Imagine Daniel Bedingfield wowing everybody with a raw stripped back take on Bleeding Love and having an instant but unlikely career revival!

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