Last night's third MF heat kicked off with Kristian Luuk in fine form - he is really growing on me and I am beginning to get his humour although I can't understand much Swedish. I'm also loving those little in-between-song segments with Kristian competing against the contestants in sporting challenges which are good fun. Under-fire interviewer Nour El-Refai is also trying her best with the post-song interviews but I think that's a rather pointless segment. I've also had my reservations about comedian Bjorn Gustafsson in the past, but I thought he was funny last night.
BWO kicked off the proceedings with "Hung Up" oh sorry I mean "Lay Your Love On Me". Admittedly I am biased as I like them anyway, but this screamed "Qualifier" from the beginning. It's not perfect - not as instant as "Temple of Love" - but it's more than good enough for the final. Shallow Alert! I love Martin!
The presentation of Mickey Huskic's song just reminded me of all that Zeljko/Hari type Balkan power ballad stuff which always does well at ESC. Not a qualifier, although (slight) Shallow Alert! He was quite nice to look at for a while.
Frida Muranius featuring Headline: their feelgood song also screamed "Qualifier" to me, a real crowd pleaser even if the backing singers' evening wear didn't match the street fashion of the main singers. She was very bubbly and I quite liked her last night.
Thérèse Andersson was surprising. Everyone will remember her as a member of Pay TV, but that whole schlager meets opera sound came as a real shock to me. I didn't see "When You Need Me" as a qualifier but there you go....and what about that dress?
Although Patrik Isaksson isn't the most visually appealing act, I really liked "Under Mitt Tunna Skinn" because to these ears it sounded like a blend of "When The Night Comes Falling" and the fabulous "Varlden Utanför" - how good a recommendation is that. I'll probably play it a lot more too when I get the CD.
I know that Caracola have their fans, but "Smiling In Love" was just too much for me. Terrible, terrible lyrics and for me this is Melodifestivalen at its worst. As they sang it I had this fear that it would qualify, and it did.
Based on the clips, I saw Ainbusk qualifying but that was until their dire rendition of their Pling ballad-by-numbers. They looked like "Desperate Housewives" and their performance (and result) was pretty desperate too.
Finally, Eskobar. "Hallelujah New World" was OK, but was a fish out of water at MF. One of the lines went "searching for something good to come out of this" which I suppose summed it up. Despite being a wild card - and therefore usually a foregone conclusion to qualify - it finished last.
So BWO and Frida featuring Headline are off to Globen, with Thérèse and Caracola to Andra Chansen. I've had time to think about it now - Patrik was robbed.
Above: BWO, Frida and Headline celebrate their passage to Globen.
Above: he may have missed out on qualification but Patrik Isaksson still manages a smile.
Next week: the battle of the schlager-divas, ding ding, seconds out, round one - it's Charlotte versus Linda!!