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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tobson predicts: Melodifestivalen 2018 - semi 4

"Everything sounds the same so you can't even tell the songs apart!" That was the most usual criticism launched against melodifestivalen as I grew up. People who didn't listen properly thought everything was too streamlined and lacking in variety. I hated to hear that year after year.

Yet here I am, finding myself thinking the same thing. Most of the entries of 2018 seem to be hatched out of the same egg. They are all similarly produced, they are all born out of the same ideas. Write a slick, slightly generic, radio-friendly song and get a slice of the Melodifestivalen success cake.

To me it seems that the effort made this year is to get to the final and have your song played on the radio. Not a single song gives the impression that anyone tried to write a winner. I thought 2017 was lukewarm but that was just a start. Semi four does very little to change this impression.

01. Emmi Christensson / Icarus
A piece of beautifully sung but totally pointless fluff. Like a leftover from a local musical or a reject entry for Melodifestivalen 1994. Possibly a contender for fifth place if the viewers go for someone who can actually sing, like they did previous weeks.

02. Elias Abbas / Mitt paradis
This is the entry I pin my hopes upon tonight. Not because it would be sheer brilliance but because Sweden would need a star like Elias Abbas - a young and positive and adorable talent from the "problematic suburbs". I wish for him to take Sweden by storm and establish himself as a household name even though that's rare for new MF talent these days.

03. Felicia Olsson / Break That Chain
Another echo from a time gone by. This song is similar to "Killing Me Tenderly" - but a whole lot weaker - and that only made 7th place in its semi back in 2009. Felicia herself is really good but that won't help at all.

04. Rolandz / Fuldans
There hasn't been as many humour entries this year after all but here comes the one that might knock Sweden over. It is really warm hearted and likeable - and also there is a pretty good song in there as well - but the whole dansband parody concept feels a bit worn out. Nothing new and nothing that will shake the audience and that is perhaps what we've been missing the most this year.

05. Olivia Eliasson / Never Learn
This one makes me think of Serbia's entry in Kyiv 2017. You won't remember that one. Few people will. It was flawless in many ways but didn't have a drop of personality. Same story here. Fine as long as it goes on but what is the point of it being here when it has nothing to say?

06. Felix Sandman / Every Single Day
This is what Salvador Sobral sounded like to a Swedish audience? It is very nice indeed and Felix is a good vocalist but maybe this is a bit too much of a copycat so soon after the Portuguese victory and a bit too far removed from what kind of song Swedes would identify as their own at the ESC.

07. Mariette / For You
In many ways it would be Mariette's turn to win. She is an excellent performer and a bubbly personality. However - her song is good but not outstanding. Should be a clear finalist this week but would Mariette be better off not having to go to Lisbon?

Tonight's prediction is this:
Final: Mariette and Elias Abbas
Andra Chansen: Felix Sandman and Rolandz
5th: Olivia Eliasson
Out: Emmi Christensson and Felicia Olsson

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