Saturday, February 7, 2015
Sweden: Melodifestivalen, semi 1
Melodifestivalen is at us again, as mighty as ever even if the SVT has cut down the number of participants to seven per heat instead of eight. Otherwise the procedure will be the same as in recent years: after a first round of voting, five songs will advance to the second round from which two songs will be sent to the final, two songs will be sent to the Second Chance heat, and one song will be out.
The big change comes in Andra Chansen, where four of the eight candidates will make it to the Stockholm final, where there will be twelve entries in competition.
Every Thursday, SVT reveals thirty seconds of each song and those clips are what I listened to. So I won't pass regular grades since I didn't hear the songs in full, but I will predict an outcome.
01. Molly Pettersson Hammar - I'll Be Fine
The honour of opening the whole show goes to Robin Stjernberg's ex-girlfriend who almost made a name for herself taking part in Pop Idol a few years back. She has a good voice and the song seems promising enough, even if the preview clip contains a bit too much wailing and too little melody for my taste.
02. Daniel Gildenlöw - Pappa
A sentimental low-key song in Swedish about a son calling his estranged divorced father, asking him why he never comes home. I found Linus Svenning's "Bröder" a bit too much already last year and can't say I look forward more to this one pulling every heartstring in existence until the audience is fully exhausted.
03. Elize Ryd & Rickard Söderberg - One By One
The coolest rock babe around meets the country's most outspoken opera singer and I am really looking forward to the outcome. Had this been Ukraine's ESC entry, we'd be talking top five placings already. Not too sure the Swedish audience is too easy to please, but Rickard Söderberg is a hero in my book. Keeping my fingers crossed.
04. Dolly Style - Hello Hi
Three colourful dolls hopping out of their music boxes to sing a ridiculously catchy song about nothing? Fine by me. Ridiculous doesn't scare me, sometimes it's the best thing you can have on stage. I just feel this idea was never fully developed, that the song is annoying more than catchy and that the girls won't fully deliver.
05. Behrang Miri & Victor Crone - Det rör vi inte för
The short clip failed to convince me, honestly. It felt a bit too jaunty, like rap in Swedish sometimes does. But Behrang is a charming dude, Victor can really sing and people on location have started to fully love bomb this entry. So the question remains: is it a real grower or is it the kind of song you get blinded by during rehearsals?
06. Jessica Andersson - Can't Hurt Me Now
Nobody can blame Jessica for not trying - after winning in 2003 as one half of Fame, she has been back several times with several different styles and still has quite a following. Her last attempt didn't fare too well in the final but became her biggest hit to date afterwards. Probably it makes sense following one ballad up with another, but this one unfortunately feels uninspired more than heartfelt.
07. Eric Saade - Sting
Young Master Saade is back in the saddle and even though he is pretty divisive in his own right, you only have to hear a couple of seconds of this to realise he's this week's king of the hill. Unbeatable. Not convinced the EBU would be particularly happy with his lyrics but that's a later problem. Tonight he will crush all resistance and make it straight to the final.
Eric Saade will gather all the young votes (when he appears on screen, the kids are likely to forget about the dancing dolls) while Rickard Söderberg has a strong fan base among more mature audiences that grew to love him through various entertainment shows.
Final: Eric Saade and Elize Ryd & Rickard Söderberg
Andra Chansen: Molly Pettersson Hammar and Behrang Miri & Victor Crone
5th: Jessica Andersson
Out: Dolly Style and Daniel Gildenlöw
From 14:00 CET you can hear the songs in full (almost) at the Melodifestivalen website.