Swedish Hard Rock Band THE POODLES Among EUROVISION Finalists

When the hard rock band THE POODLES (photo) entered the Swedish Eurovision song contest, they were seen as a joke by the critics. On Saturday (March 4), they surprised everyone by winning one of the four qualifying rounds with their '80s-style hard rock anthem "Night of Passion". THE POODLES are now one of ten finalists in the running to become Sweden's official representative at the Eurovision song contest in Athens, Greece on May 20. The Swedish final will be held in Stockholm on March 18.

THE POODLES is comprised of vocalist Jakob Samuel (THE RING, ex-TALISMAN, JEKYLL & HYDE), guitarist Pontus Norgren (THE RING, ex-TALISMAN), bassist Pontus Egberg (ex-LION'S SHARE), drummer Christian Lundqvist and Mats Levén (KRUX, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, AT VANCE, THERION) on backing vocals. "Night of Passion" was co-written by Matti Alfonzetti, former vocalist in JAGGED EDGE and SKINTRADE.

"It's so great that the critics can be wrong. This is prove that hard rock is alive and well in Sweden," drummer Christian Lundqvist told the Expressen newspaper.

March 4 is a date Lundqvist will never forget. On that date one year ago he had a close call with death. He intervened between two women fighting at a bar when one of the women stabbed him in the stomach with a knife. Both the stomach and liver were torn up.

"The doctor told me I was lucky to be alive," said Lundqvist.

After five weeks the drummer was released from hospital and went on the road.

"Then my stomach ruptured and I had to go back in and get stitches," he said.

After six months Christian Lundqvist was back on his feet again and is now enjoying success with THE POODLES.

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