Monday, April 27, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015: a look back

For the first time in many years, I didn't watch the Melodifestivalen heats live this year - choosing to watch some other national finals on Saturday nights instead! - however I thought I'd just take a very brief look back at the Swedish 2015 national selection.

Heat 1 - Gothenburg 07.02.2015  a.k.a. 'the one with the wonky app'

1. "I'll Be Fine" – Molly Pettersson Hammar
2. "Pappa" – Daniel Gildenlöw
3. "One By One" – Elize Ryd and Rickard Söderberg
4. "Hello Hi" – Dolly Style
5. "Det rår vi inte för" – Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone
6. "Can't Hurt Me Now" – Jessica Andersson
7. "Sting" – Eric Saade

Week one turned out to be a pretty disappointing selection.  There was one foregone conclusion (Eric Saade to the final); one surprise (the success of Hello Hi) and there was one wonky app.  SVT in all its wisdom decided to introduce a voting app, but there were big problems with it.  Despite a strong performance, former Swedish Idol contestant Molly failed to even make it to Andra Chansen - and her failure was attributed to that app. I was happy to see Behrang and Victor's song progress to Andra Chansen - Behrang co-wrote this song with a certain Måns Zelmerlöw (more about him later), as well as Albin of "Din Soldat" fame, and Tony Nilsson. Jessica made it to the final, however IMHO she's had much better songs in this competition and this is probably my least favourite of them.  

But back to "Sting": at the time of the first semi-final, I completely hated this song and quite frankly thought it was "gonna stink soooo bad....."  I would change my mind later on though.

Heat 2 -Malmö 14.02.2015 a.k.a. 'the one with Magnus' triumphant return'

1. "Forever Starts Today" – Linus Svenning
2. "Där och då med dig" – Emelie Irewald
3. "Groupie" – Samir and Viktor
4. "If I Was God For One Day" – Neverstore
5. "Nonetheless" – Marie Bergman and Sanne Salomonsen
6. "Möt mig i Gamla Stan" – Magnus Carlsson
7. "Don't Stop Believing" – Mariette

What did we learn from week 2?  Well, we learned that Linus can do uptempo Avicii-lite, even if he hasn't shaken off the dodgy dress sense. We learned that televoters still love their tabloid favourites Samir and Viktor.  We learned that Sweden does still love its schlager after all, with a delightful result for the returning Magnus Carlsson.  We learned that no.2 in the running order is probably never going to deliver a qualifier.  And we learned that Mariette became a serious contender to win Melfest, with her dramatic and powerful performance of "Don't Stop Believing".

Heat 3 - Östersund 21.02.15 a.k.a. "it's all about that joik, 'bout that joik"

1. "Insomnia" – Ellen Benediktson
2. "För din skull" – Kalle Johansson
3. "Bring Out the Fire" – Andreas Weise
4. "Living to Die" – Andreas Johnson
5. "Don't Stop" – Isa
6. "I See You" – Kristin Amparo
7. "Jag är fri (Manne Leam Frijje)" – Jon Henrik Fjällgren

So, Melodifestivalen veteran Andreas never even made it to Andra Chansen - will we ever see him back here again?  Isa with her 'Shake It Off'-inspired pop song had an impressive debut but week 3 was all about the joik. Jon Henrik's song failed to resonate with me, and I thought the staging was pretty ridiculous too.  Oh, and wonderful Kristin Amparo deserved a better song, and I would hope to see her back in a year or two with either a big uptempo "Din Soldat"-style banger, or a smashing big ballad.

Heat 4, Örebro 28.02.15 a.k.a. 'what do you mean Midnight Boy didn't qualify?'

1. "Don't Say No" – Midnight Boy
2. "Black Swan" – Caroline Wennergren
3. "Building It Up" – JTR
4. "Guld och gröna skogar" – Hasse Andersson
5. "Make Me (La La La)" – Dinah Nah
6. "Ett andetag" – Annika Herlitz
7. "Heroes" – Måns Zelmerlöw

The final group of songs in this year's contest delivered an absolutely terrific 80s Dead or Alive-style stomper.  "Don't Say No" turned out to be this year's "Red" - a non-qualifier which will become one of my favourite songs of the year. JTR went direkt till Friends *but it should have been Midnight Boy!!!*

Much was expected from the last song in the last heat.  What we hadn't expected though was the stunning visual effects accompanying "Heroes".  Aww, those little stick men were just so cute (and Måns wasn't too bad either in his leather trousers...!)  Of course in the weeks that followed, the final chapter of the Melodifestivalen story for 2015 would be written.

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