After a subdued quartet of heats, Melodifestivalen is rapidly approaching its conclusion for another year. Eight finalists were picked from each heat, but Andra Chansen (Another Chance) gives two of the 3rd & 4th placers from the heats a ticket to the final.
I sort of get why, for the sake of completeness. 3rd place in a super-strong heat would have otherwise missed out against the 2nd place in a terrible heat. But as far as I’m aware, an Andra Chansen winner has never won Melodifestivalen… but I suppose there’s a first time for everything.
This year’s Andra Chansen roster looks more appealing than the final, with many of my preferred tracks from the heats ending up there (or worse). Typically the two I like the least will qualify, which in this case would be Eric Gadd and Caroline af Ugglas, so I’m happy to take literally ANY other result. If I had to commit to two, it would be Robin Stjernberg and Anton Ewald, or possibly Martin Rolinski. I’m a little surprised to say Anton, but since the Melodifestivalen CD came out I’ve really enjoyed his track. But let’s see what happens…
Robin Stjernberg – You
This not qualifying last week was one of the big disappointments of the season, and I have loved listening to this over week since. I still love those semi-yodelling vocals, particularly the “Yoooh hoohh whooa haahhaaaaa” ones in the choruses.
A lot of national finalists from around Europe seem to have heard David Guetta & Usher’s “Without you”, haven’t they? Still, I love that song. Robin might not be the typical popstar, I gather he came from one of the Idol shows. But he can handle some of those crazy notes that some of the power-pop artists at Melodifestivalen can’t. Hope to see him reach Stockholm, his vocals were really flawless this time.
Eric Gadd – Vi kommer aldrig att förlora
He wasn’t really a favourite in the first heat, but the song’s got a nice energy to it. That little sparkly piano riff is my lasting memory of it, which is perhaps isn’t a great sign. He looks like Derrin Brown from the future.
Anyway, for an oldie artist (shamelessly ageist there) I’ve heard a LOT worse. I don’t begrudge him a place in Andra Chansen but I have so many more preferred songs I want to get through to the final. I can see the appeal though, and I’ll probably even keep this one on my iPod after all this is over.
Caroline af Ugglas – Hon har inte
Can’t say this one made much of a lasting impact, other than the interesting staging with lookalikes doing various other activities. It’s like she’s trying to make a pop video with special effects in real time. Still think she looks like a female Iggy Pop though.
Not saying I don’t like the song, for a ballad it’s got that sentimental production. Really feel like she should be wearing a nice dress though, rather than a miniskirt, Vans and a chain. She’s not Ke$ha’s mum is she?
If she wanted to sound like her voice is cracked and emotional, mission accomplished, but I suspect it might be because her voice isn’t that strong. OK I feel like I’m being overly negative, there have been many less interesting ballads at MF this year. This just doesn’t do it for me, as much as fellow AC entrants.
Hang on, where did the lookalikes go? Was that a completely different song?!
Behrang Miri – Jalla dansa sawa
This has been steadily irritating me all week. Not because it’s a bad song, but because it’s SUCH a shameless ripoff of Jesse Matador’s “Allez Ola Olé” that represented France only 3 years ago. Honestly, listen to the two! Some of it’s even in bloody French!
Behrang also doesn’t quite convince me with his styling, maybe because he reminds me of someone else. He looks a little strange in a baseball cap and braces. No, something about all this just rubs me up the wrong way.
Don’t the two backing singers who do pretty much all the chorus singing (and more) not get a credit? They even get solo screen-time, isn’t that odd? Nice to see him abusing the Sean Banan loophole about only having a maximum 7 performers on the stage at once, while others evacuate to the catwalks . Non Non Non!
Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli – Hello goodbye
This seems to have a lot of buzz. OMG how did I not notice my dear Måns Zelmerlöw was one of the songwriters? <3. It’s a bit MOR, even if it’s a rather unconventional love song between two one-night-stands. It helps that the pair are insanely gorgeous.
I love their harmonies, it’s almost a country song isn’t it? It’s very likeable, they look and sound lovely, and the song has a great warm feeling to it. I could have even seen potential for this as a Swedish entrant for Malmö but I guess being stuck in Andra Chansen probably puts paid to that, even if they make it out. LOVE IT though.
Anton Ewald – Begging
Can I hear them hoovering up the glitter in the background of the introduction?? They are getting through a lot of glitter tonight, I hope they recycle.
Now THIS has been a real grower for me. I had it down as an auto-qualifying but generic dancepop track, and I suppose the latter is true, but it’s clicked with me now. Maybe it’s just now that I’ve realised there aren’t many better in this year’s contest.
Still hate the hair and the outfit, but he’s definitely got the moves. Sounds a bit flat, but it’s a decent performance. I like how the dancers just appear from the smoke, that works really well. God, I love this, and the crazy dance routine blows anything David Lindgren did.
He might not be the most gifted vocalist, but I expect him to return next year even stronger, unless he pulls off a miracle and wins Melodifestivalen.
Cookies ‘N’ Beans – Burning flags
I think I just love Swedish people saying their name. “Kookiz and Binzz”. They are a bit of a motley crew, but likeable and stereotypically Swedish-looking aren’t they? I’m still not entirely sure what burning flags have to do with anything. Are they having an anti-West protest of the heart?
It’s not going to go down as classic I suspect, but I love their voices together, the drama. It’s guitar-pop from an older act, but still totally appealing. I’m rooting for them, if there’s a surprise qualifier from Andra Chansen, I hope it’s these.
Martin Rolinski – In and out of love
Now I’ve established it’s that guy from Bodies Without Organs, I finally have an existing artist to get behind. This is totally typical BWO fare, but in a great way. After hearing their GH I was struck by how little variation there was in their types of songs, but when they got it right, they really did.
This might rely on an artpop arrangement of paint-throwing and perpex, as well as Martin being super-hot, but it stands well as a great scandipop track. That’s despite slightly cringey lyrics that are beyond basic.
His voice is an acquired taste, it’s very nasal, but I love a bit of falsetto, especially delivered by gorgeous floppy-haired Swedes. I would love this to qualify since it’s in the pimp slot tonight. I really am just expecting the worst aren’t I? Hope we get an album out of him though.
So now begins a rather contrived format to select the two qualifiers. A phone vote to decide the top 5, then inexplicably another vote to decide the top 4. They are split into two duels, the winners of which will complete next week’s final in Stockholm.
Falling at the first hurdle go Eric, Caroline and Cookies n Beans. Amazingly that’s a good result, apart from Cookies n Beans making way for Behrang but I won’t lose sleep over it. The next vote (which only took a few minutes, wtf?), interrupted by an ill-advised between the hosts and Jedward picked Behrang and Anton for the first duel, with Robin and Martin filling the second duel. Poor Erik & Tone didn’t get make it though … come on Anton, he’s the only way to get a great result from AC.
The winners of the duels were Anton (thank fuck) and – was happy with either – Robin. That’s pretty much my ideal result I think! Good job, Sweden!
So that leaves us with the ten finalists for next week’s final in Friends Arena, Stockholm. SVT have decided the running order too:
Ulrik Munther – Tell the world I’m here
David Lindgren – Skyline
State of Drama – Falling
Anton Ewald – Begging
Louise Hoffsten – Only the dead fish follow the stream
Ralf Gyllenhammar – Bed on fire
Ravaillacz – En riktig jävla schlager
Sean Banan – Copacabanana
Robin Stjernberg – You
YOHIO – Heartbreak hotel
I can’t say it was the ideal lineup, with many of my preferred tracks ending up in Andra Chansen. I would have preferred Erik & Tone to get through Heat 2 instead of Sean Banan. From Heat 3 I think Martin Rolinski or Janet Leon would have been better than Ravaillacz, with perhaps State of Drama getting the AC qualifier. For Heat 4 I think Robin deserved a final slot, though he made it in the end anyway. Eddie Razaz would’ve been good too because … well, you know.
No massive disasters though, I think the more pressing issue was the lack of any amazing tracks. It all comes down to the winner though. I’d be happy to see Ulrik or Robin getting the ticket, but I’d accept a few alternatives as acceptable outcomes. Ravaillacz really isn’t one though… we’ll see what happens.