Sunday, February 12, 2012

Melodifestivalen 2012 - Deltävling 2: Gothenburg 11.02.12

Unlike last week, we didn’t get straight to the songs but the show kicked off with a brilliant boyband medley by the multi-talented Sarah and Gina who are doing a great job so far this year. No Helena tonight as she was off acting in a play or something? My mum, who’s new to this Melodifestivalen lark, was getting a bit irritated by the long introduction. "When do the songs start?" She asked.

They eventually did, and the first one was "Soldiers" by Ulrik Munther. Firstly I loathe kiddie-pop therefore have completely avoided young Mr Munther’s career so far as I thought he was probably just the Swedish answer to Justin Bieber. So we got a very pleasant surprise on hearing this - he has a very mature tone to his voice. The song is very reminiscent of "All The Right Moves" by OneRepublic and is a real grower, appealing beyond his teen-girl fanbase. Although mum thought he was about 12 years old...."Isn’t there an age-limit for this thing? I thought they didn’t let children compete!"

Sarah and Gina were both beautifully styled this week, Gina in a white fairytale gown and Sarah in a gorgeous black lace dress.

Oh no, it’s Top Cats and "Baby Doll". Mum wondered if there’s a rockabilly revival going on. I try to explain to her that there is a Swedish equivalent of "middle America" which votes for this type of nonsense, although I didn’t see it as a qualifier. Then again my theme song should be "Why Do I Always Get It Wrong". Remember that one, Eurovision fans?

Of course this year the contestants have that pre-song walk (The walk of shame? The green mile?) On to the stage and Sonja Alden walked it in a cape and a robe which she cast off to reveal a pretty pink dress. She also made good use of the little bridge prop on stage and of course the wind machine was fired up :) Mum, who has no Melodifestivalen knowledge beyond hearing me blasting out the odd couple of songs from it every year, immediately loved Sonja’s voice and her schlager ballad. I explain that she’s Melodifestivalen royalty however this might struggle to qualify this week.

There once was a time when Andreas Lundstedt appeared as a solo artist at MF singing in Swedish. But we’ve got so used to seeing him as a member of Alcazar that it’s funny to see him solo/singing in Swedish once again. Dressed in a gold jacket, he performed "Aldrig, Aldrig" which was good but lacked a strong hook unlike so many Alcazar songs.

Melodifestivalen is not just home to established artists but also to unknown acts. Some of these will never be heard of again, then there are others who will take the stage one year as an unknown but will become big-league MF stars on their return. Like Loreen, for example. Then there is the world’s most glamorous folk band, Timoteij, who made their MF comeback to one of the biggest cheers of the night, taking the pre-song walk to AC/DC (!) "Stormande Hav" isn’t "Kom" of course, but it’ll do. I loved the intro, and there was even some mid-song strutting and the obligatory key change. An absolute qualifier.

So, who will be the breakthrough star of MF 2012? After last night, the smart money will be on David Lindgren. He appeared as the young Tomas Ledin in Tomas’ recent ‘Showtime’ run in Gothenburg, and has also been in stage versions of "Hairspray" and "High School Musical". So yes, he can sing. If "Shout It Out" was a stick of rock it would have "Danny Saucedo" written all the way through it - this would be the "To The Sky" song which Danny was originally earmarked to sing this year. It’s the little brother of "In The Club" and had lots of Danny-style choreography. David looks more like a bank clerk than a pop star, however he performed brilliantly and as for the breakdancing....well you didn’t expect that, did ya?? As Sir Terence of Wogan used to say, "this one went big in the hall" and I confidently predicted it to qualify, putting the cat among some very established pigeons this week!

Next on stage, Mimi Oh with "Det går för långsamt". It lacked a strong hook and all that yellow hurt my eyes, but it was an energetic performance although never looked like qualifying. I think we’ll hear more from her though, but I prefer Norway’s Minnie-Oh who won the battle of the "Ohs" this year for me.

Finally, Sweden’s worst-dressed man. I explained to mum that Thomas Di Leva’s been around for years but has never been in MF till now. I also explained that he always wears those kaftan/gown thingies, but he really excelled himself tonight in bad styling. "Ge Aldrig Upp" was a U2/Coldplay-styled anthemic builder with a good chorus but less impressive verses. I felt that he would miss out on qualification despite being a famous and established artist.

Before the votes were counted I predicted Ulrik and Timoteij to Globen and David and Sonja to Andra Chansen.

While the votes are being counted there's a comedy sketch which I really don't get. It also went on a bit too long.

However I did love Gina’s sign on her dress when she was talking to the contestants. After last week’s bum-grabbing incident - she made sure it wouldn’t happen again!
First of the evening’s "WTF" moments when the five acts were announced for the next round of voting. Top Cats???? Why????? Very sad that Sonja didn’t make it, but there now seems to be a schlager-ballad curse in MF I guess.

On to the Tredje Chansen segment. Some good songs this week up for voting, but it was one of my least favourite - "Elektrisk" which was re-imagined this week by DJ Håkan Lidbo. Sorry folks, but this segment just isn’t doing it for me. Good to see Jessica Folcker back again though. Mum didn’t like this part of the show either and was glad when it was over.

Finally, the results. No surprise as Ulrik was the first qualifier to Globen. However, I really don’t understand why Top Cats grabbed an AC place. Oh well....
Timoteij didn’t get that automatic Globen spot either and had to settle for a place in Andra Chansen. They may have got the biggest cheers earlier in the evening, but by voting time there was no doubt who the most popular act of the night was. Shout it out - Melodifestivalen has a new star and his name is David Lindgren, and he’s going direkt till Globen! He certainly deserved a place in the final. Of course I want Danny to win this year (if the song’s good enough of course) however my concern is that Danny and David’s songs may split the vote and kill each other, leaving the way open for another winner.

Mum managed to sit through the full show, however she’s less enthusiastic about "another 4 weeks of this???"

Next week the MF circus is off to Leksand and I’m looking forward to seeing Mattias Andreasson making his solo MF debut. Next week also sees the debut of hotly tipped Youngblood, the return of Love Generation, Molly Sanden and recurring regular Andreas Johnson. However be afraid, be very afraid as Bjorn Ranelid, the man with the tan, will probably provide the week’s "WTF" moment.

(All the above photos are courtesy of SVT)

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