The show opened with a rendition of "Skyfall" by Gina Dirawi and her two co-hosts for the evening - Peter Jöback and Ola Salo. It's not the first time Andra Chansen used a Bond theme to ramp-up the duel-drama: how could we forget Melfest 2010 and Mr Zelmerlöw's take on Duran Duran! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5T4mkBHruI
Peter and Ola also performed a smashing uptempo pop song called "Sing Me Out" in the interval act, which for me was much better than many of the songs in this year's Melodifestivalen - The Ark may be gone but this sounded like the great lost Ark song, with its pounding and dramatic chorus and finale.
The other big interval act this week was Hasse Andersson, perhaps in recognition that he qualified from Andra Chansen last year. He also showed up this year's entries, many of which are just too calculating and cynical and lacking the warmth and fun of "Guld och gröna skögar"
I used to hate Andra Chansen because of the repetition of the songs in the duel/knockout format but the current format is much better: 4 duels, with the winner of each duel earning a place in the final.
"Håll om mig hårt" - Panetoz vs "Hunger" - Molly Pettersson Hammar.
Ha! I got great pleasure from this result. No offence to Molly, but her over-singing of this non-song just irritated me. Panetoz on the other hand brought fun and energy and absolutely deserved that place in the final. Oh, and they retweeted one of my Twitter comments so I will probably love them forever! This song also received the most votes of any in Andra Chansen this year.
"Rik" - Albin and Mattias vs "Put Your Love On Me" - Boris René.
Winner: Boris René.
There was only one song I wanted to win this duel - and sorry Albin and Mattias, but it wasn't yours. Maybe I would love Rik more if it wasn't such a shameless re-write of Din Soldat. I like them though, and would hope that either or both of them would return in future with a better song.
"I Will Wait" - Isa vs "Kizunguzungu" - SaRaha.
The most closely-fought of the duels, with not much of a margin between the winner and loser. The voters made the right decision, sending a catchy and fun song - which has gone on to be a big radio hit in Sweden - over a disappointing ballad which would just have got lost in the final anyway.
"Rollercoaster" - Dolly Style vs "Bada Nakna" - Samir and Viktor.
Winner: Samir and Viktor.
An unsurprising win for the darlings of Swedish tabloid-land, making a splash on stage. Just like last year, they qualified from AC to the final. But novelties wear very thin very quickly, as S and V were about to find out in the final. As for Dolly Style, I just wonder if this is it for them, or will they return to a future Melfest in yet another incarnation of the group?
So the final line-up was known, and Friends Arena prepared for the big showdown. Who would get to represent Sweden as defending champion in this year's ESC?