A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tobson predicts: Melodifestivalen 2018 - semi 1

Hello Melodifestivalen and hello my old blog. A new job and a full focus on my other blog - Tobson och alla bidragen - leaves me little time to write anything in English. But in order not to have the grass grow all over this place, I will be predicting Melodifestivalen and then have a look at the previews. Like I did last year too.

This first review should come with a bit of a warning and a disclaimer. I am feeling more distanced and more detached about the Swedish final than I have in many years. I don't feel a need to be overly critical - SVT still puts on an effort that most other countries couldn't even imagine - but the musical direction of the whole thing is not exactly tickling my senses.

Having said that, I listened to the minute-long clips on the SVT website and scribbled down a few thoughts.

01. Sigrid Bernson / Patrick Swayze
A very energetic opener is never a bad thing. People will enjoy this and maybe even vote for it without paying attention to the pretty weak voice (again hidden in layers and layers of prerecorded backing vocals) and some pretty lazy songwriting. Won't Sweden ever get tired of all the ooo's and aaa's and woohoo's thrown in instead of real lyrics?

02. John Lundvik / My Turn
A traditional and well-crafted ballad - so much better songwriting all of a sudden - that attracted a surprisingly positive reaction from the audience in the dress rehearsal. It is attractive with singers who can actually sing and hopefully that will pay off in the end.

03. Renaida / All The Feels
Another entry that doesn't really do anything wrong. However, it only consists of bits and pieces from other already existing songs thrown together for the occasion. The song sounds like a million other songs and the singer sounds like a whole bunch of other singers. Enjoyable but it adds nothing of its own.

04. Edward Blom / Livet på en pinne
Basically the visuals of the 2013 Swedish Smorgasboard interval act condensed into three minutes. Happy and upbeat but also puzzling. Why is this a competing entry and not a sketch between the songs? And will the Swedes really vote for a performance as mediocre as this?

05. Kikki Danielsson / Osby Tennessee
An artistic high point for Kikki who gets to showcase her new Americana self on prime time television and will make more people discover the terrific album she released the other year. Not mainstream enough to do really well but that is hardly the point either.

06. Kamferdrops / Solen lever kvar hos dig
The entry that has everything stacked up against it: a thin voice from a performer who is clearly not Swedish and who insists of hiding behind a mask, packaged in a confusing and unfocused performance. Shark feed in the voting but possibly a personal favourite in the making for me.

07. Benjamin Ingrosso / Dance You Off
Benjamin is a terrific singer and he also has a brilliant visual concept behind him. An easy qualifier tonight unless people find the thing a bit too slick and a bit too cold. The songs also needs to take off properly it some point - the "cute guy with a weak song but great visuals" was last year's trick.

Tonight's prediction is this:
Final: Benjamin Ingrosso and Edward Blom
Andra Chansen: Sigrid Bernson and John Lundvik
5th: Renaida
Out: Kikki Danielsson and Kamferdrops

However, I hope that John will steal the final spot from Edward Blom and that Kikki would manage to make it into fifth place. And if Kamferdrops would somehow make it into top five, then I'd be all smiles all night.

I will live tweet during the show - please share your thoughts with me.

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