A little delayed, but here I am with my musings on the final heat of Melodifestivalen hopefuls. Malmö was the venue for possibly the most anticipated of the heats, housing one hot favourite and one double MF winner. Things haven’t gone exactly as expected, unless you are a hardcore MF pessimist, although from what I’ve seen there are MANY OF THOSE.
10 Danny Saucedo – Amazing – Hot on last year’s near miss with “In the club” that had to settle for 2nd place in the MF final behind eventual bronze-winning Eric Saade, Danny is hoping to capitalise on his success and take his brand of power pop to Baku. It’s very instant, very uplifting, very… Guetta? This sort of euphoric dance music is doing well across the world at the time, so this is a pretty big factor, even if the lyrics are pretty banal. On the night his voice was a bit ropey, but I have faith that he can deliver in Stockholm to stand his best shot at winning his long sought-after chance to represent Sweden in Eurovision. At SINGING this time, he did the Eurovision Dance contest too…. Anyway, the costumes are a bit unflattering but the gimmick of the light-up suits was pretty great, pretty awesome etc.
05 OPA – Allting blir bra igen – Is this Swedish? Did they mean to get into the Greek national selection? A weird folky song, totally old-fashioned and a little irritating. Their voices aren’t that good, and the chorus is really quite grating. It’s listenable enough as it’s only 3 minutes, but I’d happily never hear it again.
09 Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren – Don’t let me down – Since the UK is now being represented by walking antique Engelbert Humperdinck, I can’t exactly criticise this for sounding like it’s from the 70s. That said, it’s totally adorable, bum-clenchingly naff, but really catchy. Dripping with romantic syrup, with some lines so terrible they still raise a smile: “your little wrinkles are not visible at all, not from a distance, you’re still HOT”. It’s impossible to hate this I think, and really warm-spirited.
09 Hanna Lindblad – Goosebumps – Sorry, were we in the middle of a modern pop contest? (apparently not). But Hanna still seems to have got the idea, with a lovely synth-string led sugar rush of a pop song. She doesn’t sound particularly distinctive, but it does have that certain Swedish something that seems to only be used sparingly this year. It would never have been a contender but it’s really catchy and uplifting.
04 Dynazty – Land of broken dreams – Oh for Christ’s sake, what is the obsession in Scandinavia for possible-ironic-but-you-get-the-feeling-it-isn’t throwback 80s rock songs? It seems to be come up time and again, and it’s really flogging a dead horse now. This at least sounds slightly modern if you try not to listen to the lead singer’s screechy vox. It sounds like a bad Bon Jovi cover at a time when Bon Jovi are their own tribute act. People say pop will eat itself, but Christ knows it’s not as bad as shitty rock music.
05 Axel Algmark – Kyss mig – You know, I’ve listened to this octet of semi-finalists a lot this week, but I can never remember this one. Hard to pigeonhole this one in a genre, but it’s not a good one. Shaky high-pitched male vocals doing a sped-up Motown track, or something. It’s just irritating, it doesn’t put a smile on my face, just a grimace. It’s not the worst I’ve heard in this heat, but it really just rubs me up the wrong way.
08 Lisa Miskovsky – Why start a fire? – A gentle dreamy intro, and a pretty chilled out female vocalled track. Her name is familiar, and this heat now tries frantically to recall some relevance in modern music. It’s a nice song, not particularly inspiring but she’s got a nice voice and the chilly production feels suitably Nordic. Kind of reminds me of Lene Marlin (though I have no idea what she sounds like these days). Pleasant.
10 Charlotte Perrelli – The Girl – Now for the Melodifestivalen titan, Charlotte won the contest in 1999 and 2008, and managed to secure Sweden’s last Eurovision win with her 1999 entry “Take me to your heaven”. One name-change and several questionable surgery jobs later, she’s back back BACK. The song is very instant, reminiscent of Kylie’s Get Out Of My Way, with a dash of Mamma Mia’s plinky-plonk percussion. It does sounds totally fresh, and her performance was really mesmerising. A worthy successor to her fantastic 2008 entry “Hero”, and just about as brilliant as I could have imagined.
So the results? Well, as expected (despite the dodgy vocals) Danny Saucedo qualified for the final, surprisingly alongside Lisa Miskovsky, but that’s not bad. Lotta & Christer got their second chance ticket to Andra Chansen, but horrifyingly Dynazty are going too, leaving poor Charlotte Perrelli in 5th place. A travesty of course, and a worrying wrong-turn for the contest this year, but I couldn’t see Charlotte making it far in Baku, but it was deserving of a place in the final.
Andra Chansen is tomorrow, with the eight acts who came 3rd or 4th in their heats duelling for the final two tickets to the final in Stockholm’s Globen theatre next week. It’s a pretty uninspiring bunch, but I hope Timoteij and Lotta & Christer get through.
Keepers for the iPod: Danny Saucedo, Lotta & Christer, Hanna Lindblad, Lisa Miskovsky, Charlotte Perrelli