Melodifestivalen came to Leksand this week, but the foregone conclusion seemingly wasn't that foregone after all...
Host Petra Mede was in fine form - I'm getting used to her style now, of course she's still not as good as Kristian Luuk but her spiky and sarcastic gags are beginning to grow on me.
"The Queen" - Velvet: I was very impressed by this on the night, more than I expected. Very September-ish with huge hit potential, written by Tony Nilsson - good pedigree! - and she sang it very well. So why didn't it quallify then???
"I Need U" - Rigo & Topaz Sound featuring Red Fox: lively, enthusiastic and professional. I like the staging this year, and it certainly did this act a favour.
"Så Vill Stjärnorna" - Molly Sandén: a little reminiscent of "I Have Nothing" in places, although less hysterical. She may only be 16 years old but I was impressed by her controlled and mature vocal style. Oh and Melodifestivalen being what it is, there's always a wind machine thrown in....this had 'winner' written all over it and is possibly the first contender to present serious competition to Måns.....
"Baby, Goodbye" - E.M.D.: a.k.a. re-enactment of Sam Sparro's "Black and Gold" video....still if you're going to borrow then borrow from the best I say! I loved what I heard of this although lost half of it to buffering. Vocally spot-on, very catchy and I was cheering this all the way to Globen tonight.
"Du Vinner Över Mig!" - Mikael Rickfors: written by schlager-king G:son, don't you know! A bit of the "My Sharona" to this one, he did his best but I didn't really get it.
"Här För Mig Själv" - Maja Gullstrand: pleasant enough bossa-nova flavoured interlude although still had no-hoper written over it. Can't deny it was quite sweet though.
"Alla" - Sofia: This didn't do anything for me, energetic though it was. That Greek-flavour had lost its taste a long time ago, as everything post-"My Number One" has a lot to answer for and has annoyed me in recent years at ESC.
And so to the act and song I really wanted to see...."You're Not Alone" - BWO: quite a haunting, spellbinding ballad, in the same vein as last year's ESC winner "Believe". An atmospheric song, staged with laser-sticks and page-boy haircuts, and Martin was lovely as ever, however that grey spacesuit did him no favours.
To the superfinal....
Rigo & Topaz Sound
Poor Velvet! It seems she is destined never to get to a final or even an Andra Chansen. I thought she did very well tonight too....
Interval Act - the weekly MF flashback reached the 1980s - you could tell with all that big hair - Style's "Dover-Calais" for example.
This week's live number was a very different (and surprisingly very good) version of Lena Philipsson's MF classic "Dansa i Neon" - featured on here a couple of weeks ago, and interpreted tonight by Gränslöst featuring Kalle Moraeus. I enjoyed this tonight, although I'm still missing Bjorn Gustafsson :)
Results: Rigo etc etc and E.M.D. to duel no.1: happily it's E.M.D. to Globen, with Rigo & co to Andra Chansen.
Duel no.2: Molly vs BWO - completely unsurprising result as Molly goes to Globen, with BWO (I blame those grey outfits) to Andra Chansen. Still, at least I'll see Martin again there....!
What really shocked me tonight was that international jury vote. What did they see in "Alla" by Sofia? Is it just me?