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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Review: Måns Zelmerlöw and Carola in 'A Grand X-Mas'

Måns and Carola performing their show 'A Grand X-Mas' in Jönköping / Photo credit: Johanna Svensson

For any Eurovision fan watching one Eurovision artist live is mostly likely going to be a great experience, but watching two Eurovision artists, both former winners in a Christmas-themed show, you know you are definitely in for a treat! And what a treat it was!

As I travelled throughout Europe this winter, experiencing snow like I never had before, I got the chance to get tickets to 'A Grand X-Mas'.

'A Grand X-Mas' is a Christmas show headlined by Eurovision 2015 winner Måns Zelmerlöw and three time Eurovision artist and 1991 winner Carola (pretty much the Queen of Swedish Eurovision), who travelled across Sweden to 11 different cities and towns from November 24 to December 17 2022.

Over 40,000 fans got into the Christmas spirit to watch Måns and Carola perform Christmas classic songs, covers of big hits and share their stories about Christmas.

I went to the show on December 15, located in Linköping, Sweden over an ice hockey rink at the Saab Arena.

It was my chance to see one of my favourite Eurovision artists ever, Måns Zelmerlöw, perform live for the second time. The first time was at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' 2020 on the Gold Coast.

The duo were joined by a 13-piece orchestra band who were located on an enormous stage with a huge lighting setup as the backdrop.

Both Måns and Carola had sparkles in their eyes, you can just tell they were both in their element and ready to entertain. From the get go the show was a burst of fun! The pair performed Christmas songs in both Swedish and English and sung duets and also sung solo.

They sung songs like 'Winter Wonderland' to 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' which just made you feel like you were set up in front of a fireplace with a big burning log while sitting comfortably in a recliner with an eggnog in hand (ideal for the snowy conditions I endured throughout my European trip).

To my surprise the pair sung an anthemic cover of John Farnham's 'You're The Voice'!

The song is a huge anthem in Australia, and their rendition had me in tears with feelings of nostalgia, especially being over 15,000km away from home.

'You're The Voice' has had a resurgence of late within Scandinavia. Just last year Loreen covered the song for the Swedish show ‘En kväll för vår planet’ and Alexandra Rotan from KEiiNO performed the song for Norway's 'Stjernekamp 2021'. Both Eurovision winners belted out 'You're The Voice' and even held the mic out to the crowd where we heard everyone join in on the "Oooooohhhh Woahhhhhh", to my delight!

They also covered 'The Prayer' by former Eurovision 1988 winner Celine Dion and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. To those in Australia the song became a huge hit in 2004 when contestant Anthony Callea performed it during his run on Australian Idol. His performance earned him a standing ovation and the "Grand Royal Touchdown" from judge Mark Holden. I myself wanted to give Måns and Carola a "Grand Royal Touchdown" after their epic rendition.

A huge highlight of the show was the performance of their new single 'Let's Sing (It's Christmas Time)' released specially for the Christmas tour. The song has now passed over one million streams on Spotify and is currently charting on the Swedish singles chart.

The song is written by David Lindgren Zacharias, Peter Kvint and Sharon Vaughn. David has contributed to many Melodifestivalen entries including 'Behöver inte dig idag' by Clara Klingenström and 'Innocent Love' by Robin Bengtsson just to name a couple. Peter has also written songs for Melodifestivalen and has worked with the likes of Australia's own Bachelor Girl, Britney Spears and even Eurovision winner Sertab. Sharon has a few Eurovision songs in her pocket, having written entries for Greece, Moldova, Estonia and Russia. She has also previously worked with Delta Goodrem.

Måns and Carola ended the show with a Christmas classic 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' with the pair walking off the stage. The crowd cheered on for more and the pair returned for a very special encore!

We were all in for a treat on their return when stools were brought onto the stage and they both sat under a spotlight with the piano playing and Måns started singing his Eurovision winning song 'Heroes' with shrills of excitement from the crowd, then Carola started singing 'Främling' her Eurovision entry from 1983!

I felt like I just died and went to Eurovision heaven never ever would I have expected that I would get to witness the pair perform a stripped down version duet of both of their epic Eurovision entries! Then when "snow" started falling from the ceiling it made the performance all that more special.

A day after wrapping up the tour the pair revealed that 'A Grand X-Mas' will be broadcast on television for everyone to enjoy, and I would say it is a must for any Eurovision fan!

'A Grand X-Mas' will be broadcast on Christmas Day at 8.00pm (Swedish time) on Sweden's free-to-air channel, TV4.

'A Grand X-Mas' setlist (per 'Aftonbladet')

1. 'Hallelujah'

2. 'Winter Wonderland'

3. 'Det blir nog bra till slut' ('Baby It’s Cold Outside')

4. 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'

5. 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)'

6. 'Tomten jag vill ha en riktig jul'

7. 'River'

8. 'Kära Vinter'

9. 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'

10. 'Nu tändas tusen juleljus'

11. 'Jul jul strålande jul'

12. 'I denna natt blir världen ny'

13. 'Himlen i min famn'

14. 'When You Believe' Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston cover

15. 'Tro' Marie Fredriksson cover

16. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' Simon & Garfunkel cover

17. 'Children of Tomorrow'

18. 'You’re The Voice' John Farnham cover

19. 'I Pray On Christmas'

20. 'Jesus'

21. 'This Little Light of Mine'

22. 'Go Tell It on The Mountain'

23. 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)'

24. 'The Prayer'

25. 'Let’s Sing (It’s Christmas Time)'

26. 'Heroes / Främling'

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