I can’t decide if it’s come around quickly or not. When the first heat was held in Malmö back on 1st February, hardly any Eurovision entries had been selected, and MF felt like the start of the season in earnest. But now it is finally finishing with the selection of Sweden’s representative for Eurovision in Denmark, the season is only a week from finishing.
The national’s capital Stockholm is the venue for this spectacular final, in the colossal Friends Arena. The eight acts that came top 2 in their heats, as well as two 3rd & 4th placers that qualifed for the final via second-chance round Andra Chansen, make up the final ten.
Juries play a part for the first time though, with a international juries awarding half the points, while a public vote gives their half of the points in a (curiously unique) proportional manner. In other words, the televote winner isn’t just lumbered with 12 points vs the distant 2nd getting 10. This gave interesting results last year, as YOHIO won a landslide on the televotes but it wasn’t quite enough to overtake Robin Stjernberg’s massive lead.
With the first ever Andra Chansen entry winning Melodifestivalen last year, anything could happen. So let’s find out! If you want to catch up on my other reviews of Melodifestivalen, here are Heat 1, Heat 2, Heat 3, Heat 4 and Andra Chansen.
That intro!! Probably the most epic eight minutes of the year so far, taking in a hi-octane recap of the series so far and introductions for the ten finalists against the backdrop of the enormous crowd in Friends Arena.
Also we had a wonderfully overblown rendition of “Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen” by former Eurovision winner and twice Melodifestivalen winner Charlotte Perrelli, in the role of the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen. But alas, Ursula the sea-witch has stolen her original face! She kept the amazing voice though, and after a waltzy first act, she reprised a gay dance remix of it, flanked by scores of Neptune’s sexiest dancers.
Anton Ewald – Natural
Not sure if coming on first is going to scupper his chances but you never know with performance order. I just hope he catches the mic when he’s supposed to. Did he just fluff the words? A bit shaky but I love this song, and he’s probably the best dancer in the running, even if his voice isn’t his selling point. I think he just about nailed that, well done lad.
Ellen Benedikson – Songbird
One of the unexpected qualifiers from Heat 1, but I think it’s a solid no-gimmicks ballad, better than the similar ones that didn’t make it, and one of the few ballads left in the running which will play in her favour. I like her voice and the melody, but I don’t remember her having such an affected accent at the start.
It’s not a winner for me, but perfectly pleasant for variety between Kempe’s Europop, there’s a bit of country in there. She’s a likeable performer and she sings really well.
Alcazar – Blame it on the disco
I’m surprised this made it to the final really, I thought it might be a bit full-on, especially in context of the schlager fatalities suffered this year, but here they are for yet another final, could they surprise us and take it all the way to Eurovision? I’m not sure how I feel about it – good for them, but I think there’s a strong chance it will die on its arse, but of course make an impression.
The performance is as fabulous as expected, and the song has won me over as more than just a “Stay the night”. At least I can accept they are singing after the pre-record frenzy of their heat. I’m still not sure who’s singing that chorus! I hope for a good result, it could do well in Copenhagen, who knows! The bigger stage is convincing me more now. DISCO! DISCO!! DISCO!!!
Oscar Zia – Yes we can
What was that about Obama? Maybe it’s the shared slogan. Bless him, such a sweet face. I like the song but I’m not sure it’s got quite enough to get it all the way. That TV prop thing is amazing though. The song is super-catchy for all its inane lyrics, and at least isn’t an instant hit.
I can’t make my mind up about this one, but I really like it. Can’t help but think it would be a bit of a non-descript winner though, especially with some of those less-than-amazing glory notes.
Linus Svenning – Bröder
Accusations have been levelled at this for taking advantage of Linus’s brother’s death for votes, but indications are that it didn’t go totally to plan when it ended up in Andra Chansen, but it beat the amazing Martin Stenmarck in AC to reach the final eventually. I’m not sure I want this to do well.
I mean he’s a decent singer, but it just doesn’t sit right with me to use his brother as a vehicle to fame. He didn’t even write the song, what am I supposed to think? It’s a strong chorus, but as one the only Swedish-language entries left I don’t fancy its chances. His rougher vocals are just drowned out, and the home video stuff? Hmm.
Helena Paparizou – Survivor
From one AC survivor to another, and a biggie – former Eurovision winner Helena won for Greece but she’s Swedish-born. Could she follow Robin as an underdog AC qualifier to win Melodifestivalen? Her performance has been really selling it more than the song itself, her vocals are on top form too.
I’d love to see her back on the Eurovision stage, a flame-haired nemesis to three-time entrant Valentina from San Marino. I don’t think the song is quite good enough but she’s a great performer and I suppose that’s what counts. Good luck Helena!
YOHIO – To the end
The Manga-faced androgynous YOHIO very nearly took Melodifestivalen victory last year, and I much prefer this song to “Heartbreak Hotel”. It’s a bit of a rush – rocky but not hardcore, with some really euphoric pop melodies in there. I’m a bit spooked by those contact lenses though.
It’s crept up on me as one of my favourites of the season, though I think it might struggle to reach the heights of last year’s public support. I could see it as a great Eurovision entry at least, and something everyone will be talking about. I love that last bit too! Hope he does well.
Sanna Nielsen – Undo
Its status as the one to beat is starting to crumble, but it’s clear she has big public support, and she’s another one who can really sell a song. She’s reached six finals before, and always finished in the top 8 – in difference positions, except for 6th and 1st. Could she finally manage it? It might not be the most modern thing but it would be a fine entry.
I love her voice, she can handle the quieter stuff just as well as the big finishes, a tall order for some acts. I love that timid “gotta get out through the rain” in the first chorus. It bursts in a surprisingly stadium-filling second half for such a stripped-down. I am really rooting for her, if only for her patience and consistency at this contest, it’s a great song.
Panetoz – Efter Solken
No idea how this one is going to pan out – I suspect they finished second in their heat behind Sanna, but they bring so much joy and energy to the stage, how can you not like them? I mean it’s not as though I listen to this sort of African-slanted music all the time, but what a fun track!
I’m less convinced it could be an entry for Eurovision, but it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of it. Some of the vocals are a little iffy but I’m willing to turn a blind eye on this occasion.
Ace Wilder – Busy doin’ nothing
I don’t then even Ace expected to get a Direkt Til Finalen ticket in Heat 3, but she got one. She’s now perhaps one the main challenge to Sanna to win the whole thing, who knew? It’s been a success on the charts since then, so this might have much more momentum than anyone thought.
I still don’t QUITE see it, but it’s very catchy and contemporary. If this is what Sweden’s listening to now, why shouldn’t it represent them? It’s poppy, punky & fun, and could easily make a good impression at Eurovision. Her vocals need a bit more polish, I can hear her backup singer mirroring her in the back. But still, it really comes together, and it might just work!!
The voting has opened, I would be happy with most of these as winners, with the exception of maybe Ellen, Linus and probably Panetoz. The rest could be decent entries, I think this is one of the strongest finals in a long time. I am rooting for Helena & Sanna but there are plenty of worthwhile winners here.
A full-on ABBA tribute for the 40th anniversary of “Waterloo”, if only there was a reunion! Sigh… Instead we get a medley by former MF winners. Marie Bergman? A bit before my time. Nutty Malena Ernman from 2009 gives an operatic rendition of “Chiquitita”, before Charlotte Perrelli returns for “Gimme Gimme Gimme”. Finally Robin Stjernberg returns to round things off with “Thank you for the music”.
OMG IT’S THE RESULTAT!
So, after the juries we have a top 3 of, incredibly, Ace Wilder in first, Sanna a close second, and Alcazar in third. Linus & Alcazar really hit & miss with the juries, flipping between 12s and zeroes through the voting. Looks like it’s a two-horse race, unless Helena or Alcazar have a landslide vote up their sleeves. I think Ace might have this one though… I can’t call it. Poor Anton though, hardly anything for him! Still, the public vote is still open (I’m not sure that’s OK…), so who knows.
Ugh, it’s that Clara woman with her jump-cuts. CLEAR OFF! I’m almost relieved to see Nour and Anders doing another skit, this time reprising Robin Stjernberg’s winning entry “You” from last year. Whose idea was this? Dreadful!! But enough of that, it’s the public vote! Is it? They are stalling… but finally they arrived.
And the winner is… SANNA!!! Oh my God my heart is racing, what a silly thing… it was the narrowest of margins too, TWO points, Ace and Sanna took nearly half of the public vote between them, but Sanna very narrowly got enough of a lead to clinch the win. What a nailbiter! wow… I feel a bit bad for Ace but I think she might be back, and she’ll be amazed she got as far as 2nd.
Other results were no surprise, roughly in line with the jury it turns out, I was amazed Anton totally flopped, poor bugger. Helena didn’t have quite the backing I expected but still secured 4th behind Alcazar. What a night!! What a fairytale, well done Sanna, this should be one to watch in Copenhagen, could Eurovision really come back to Sweden so soon?