Now I heard the full-length clips of tonight's eight contenders, and will do my best to predict the taste of my countrymen. Not the easiest thing to do.
But here goes:
1. LINDA SUNDBLAD - Lucky You
Had her big break twelve years ago as lead singer of Lambretta, and ever since I have wanted to see her in MF. She is not disappointing me at all, delivering a bang-on positive happy pill, good-natured and enthusiastic without feeling banal. Efficient little hook and the mere presence of Linda makes this a top contender for me, but maybe not for the average viewer.
2. SIMON FORSBERG - Tid att andas
A sharp turn from radio pop into the forest of the never-changing eurovision ballads. This is classical and clean-cut, polished and inoffensive, but also sticking strictly to an old formula 1A for pompous belters. Could have been OK, but the pretentious lyrics are just too much. I hope the audience will agree with me on this one.
3. SARA LUMHOLDT - Enemy
As part of A-Teens, she conquered the world long before she had the right to vote. Her solo career hasn't really taken off, but now she has a possible radio hit on her hands. If she manages to deliver, that is. According to press reports, her rehearsals have been a bit of a bumpy ride but her chorus is clear and graspable. If she nails the cameras and notes, this could be a bit of a surprise.
4. THE PLAYTONES - The King
A little bit of rockabilly. Something I could have found slightly charming before The Baseballs filled the quota for years to come. People will like it, I will twist in agony when this beats a bunch of better songs tonight. Next one, please.
5. SHIRLEY'S ANGELS - I Thought It Was Forever
The last time Shirley Clamp entered MF, she ended last in her semi final, something nobody would have predicted. Is the love between La Clamp and the people restored? The answer will be delivered tonight, when she has teamed up with Vera Prada and Jessica Marberger to form an explosive trio. At least I hope they will be explosive - the song in itself is good but maybe not direct enough to hit home on a first listening.
6. SEBASTIAN - No One Else Could
The disappointment of the lot for me. The short clip sounded so promising, but the song never seem to take off like I would have wanted it to do. Maybe my high expectations ruin it for me, maybe it won't be a problem tonight, especially given what a strong stage personality Sebastian is.
7. SARA VARGA - Spring för livet
A relief - among all modern beats, there is still room for a quiet and shy little bossanova in Swedish about running away from an abusive relationship. Unlike song number two, the lyrics land on the right side of the heartfelt/pathetic border, even if the chorus contains a few words too many for comfort.
8. ERIC SAADE - Popular
Here he comes - the winner tonight and quite possibly the winner in the end. Saade wants to win and Fredrik Kempe has written his best entry since "Hero" for the boy wonder. Unless the whole package becomes a bit too much before the last note is over, this should be completely unthreatened tonight.
As most other reviewers, I pin point this semifinal's big question as to who will join Eric Saade to the final.
Since I have absolutely no idea (but a feeling the audience won't go for my biggest favourites) I say the second finalist will be Shirley's Angels. The Swedes probably miss loving their Shirley.
Andra Chansen: Sebastian and The Playtones.
Fifth place: Sara Varga.
Of course I hope that my favourite Linda will knock out the rockabilly nonsense, but I will believe it when I see it. And I would be most surprised if anyone could challenge Simon Forsberg when it comes to landing the last place.