A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Sweden: Melodifestivalen, semi 2

Last week was a good and safe start for Melodifestivalen in many ways: pretty safe songs, pretty safe hosts and pretty safe results with violently increased voting numbers compared to last year.

Unfortunately the flood of new votes come from the new app that allows people to give a maximum of five votes for free to each song - but only during the duration of the song. The flaws of this idea has turned into a hot potato and a heated debate that almost seems to eclipse the contest itself at times.

If the first three songs do badly also this week, you can be sure there will be a medial outcry beyond reason that could possibly even start damaging the Melodifestivalen trademark. Linus Svenning, this year's number one, could have good reasons to start sweating over the results already.

I took a listen to the short clips published on the Melodifestivalen site after the first stage rehearsals and these are my first impressions.

01. Linus Svenning / Forever Starts Today
Last year he made it all the way to the big final - now Linus had a change of language and style, and even though I like the song I'm not convinced this is what his fans would expect him to do. The song is good but is Linus the right person to perform it? If it puzzles his audience - will they forget to use the app?

02. Emelie Irewald / Där och då med dig
The typical female debutant with a sentimental and sensitive ballad that is not bad but would probably fit better in a musical than here. Emelie has clearly listened to (and been influenced by) Swedish Queen of musicals Helen Sjöholm but is unlikely to hit home with the voters.

03. Samir & Viktor / Groupie
The reality tv celeb and the fashion blogger and a song that makes Dolly Style's "Hello hi" feel like an epic masterpiece in comparison. This is where I come out as a tired, grumpy, humourless old grandpa and admit to really disliking this. I promise to grumble when this one makes it straight to the final.

04. Neverstore / If I Was God For A Day
Pleasant radio rock with no sharp edges, makes me think of Beagle's "The Things That We Say" - a good single back in 1992. This one isn't as good but possibly enough to trigger that large section of the audience longing for rock bands.

05. Marie Bergman & Sanne Salomonsen / Nonetheless
Quality singing and a song clearly aiming for a more adult audience. Could have been a contender had there been only televoting but my guess is that the younger app voting generation won't warm to it.

06. Magnus Carlsson / Möt mig i Gamla stan
A modern take on the classic schlager and I really like it. In my dream scenario, Sweden will have missed Magnus Carlsson as much as I have and vote heavily for this hit in the making. It's been a while since he had a hit single and he does deserve one.

07. Mariette / Don't Stop Believing
Mariette has a great voice and an intriguing presence, nailing the cameras with her eyes. The song is suggestive, possibly suffering from the verses being more interesting than the chorus. If it develops well during its three minutes, this could be a strong contender too.

So, how does one conclude? I have a feeling the songs I like the most are not necessarily the ones that will get the audience going and vice versa. And who really uses the app? Are quality songs doomed to lose out against more gimmicky ones?

Tobson predicts:
Final: Magnus Carlsson and Samir & Viktor
Andra Chansen: Mariette and Linus Svenning
Fifth: Neverstore
Out: Marie & Sanne and Emelie Irewald

(Although personally, I'd send Magnus and Mariette to the final, Marie & Sanne to Andra Chansen and Samir & Viktor any place where I wouldn't have to hear of them again.)

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