Monday, May 02, 2016

Notes from National Finals: Melodifestivalen 2016 - Week 2

Week 2: Malmö, 13.02.16.

Another week, another "skandal".  Charlotte Perrelli was due to be Gina's co-presenter this week, but had to take a much lesser role due to conflict of interest as she is also appearing in an ad campaign.

By week 2 there was already a lot of talk about the "death of schlager" so the "save the schlager diva" interval act sketch was very timely indeed - and then Charlotte went on to perform a storming schlager-diva anthem, a Swedish-language re-write of Helene Fischer's "Atemlos Durch Die Nacht" (which I always think of when I hear this year's Danish entry "Soldiers of Love")

Direkt till Friends:
"Save Me" - Wiktoria (aka any Avicii-style dance/country/hybrid crossover song)
"We Are Your Tomorrow" - David Lindgren (aka "Sun is Shining" by Axwell and Ingrosso)

Wiktoria - a new name getting some promotion in the fabled "pimp slot".  However, the use of light projections onto clothing is now getting a bit old.  Time for some new gimmicks eh? Meanwhile David Lindgren - or should that be "Lind-groan" as that was the reaction from many of the fans - mad his big comeback with a stupid song title, lots of lasers and oodles of plagiat.  The similarity of this to "Sun is Shining" nearly had me falling off my chair.

Andra Chancers:
"I Will Wait" - Isa
"Hunger" - Molly Pettersson Hammar

Prior to this heat, two of last year's returnees were tipped to qualify to the final.  But Isa and Molly Pettersson Hammar had to settle for a spot in Andra Chansen.  IMHO, Isa made a big mistake coming back so soon with a ballad.  She should have returned with another uptempo song in a different style from "Shake It Off" oops I meant "Don't Stop", then missed a year, then returned with a ballad.  The staging of "I Will Wait" was just too dark, it wasn't much of a song and all in all it was a missed opportunity.  With a large number of songs in this year's selection, the Debs-and-Anton are in danger of becoming the next Freddie Kempe and spreading themselves too thinly.  There should be a rule in all song contests, not just Melfest, that a songwriter or songwriting team should only be allowed one entry.

As for Molly, victim of the app-skandal of 2015, she came back with "Hunger" what for me was an intensely irritating song, a repetitive scream-fest, the kind of song which the fanboys lap up.  Yes we know she can sing, but there is just something missing here.  There seems to be a lack of sincerity, it's all very cold and clinical, and I just didn't - and still don't - like this song at all.

Going home:
"Faller" - Krista Siegfrids
"100%" - Victor och Natten
"Håll mitt hjärta hårt" - Patrik, Tommy and Uno

In another time and another place Krista (pictured above) could be the next schlager queen-in-waiting, but with schlager apparently on its last legs, that post remains vacant. I quite liked this though and I don't think we've seen the last of her in a song contest.

As for "100%" by Victor och Natten, well I thought that was a nice catchy song which deserved to do better.  It was the type of song I could see Albin and Mattias doing.

These are not good times for the "oldies" at Melodifestivalen.  Hasse Andersson bucked the trend last year, but what's the point of having the combined talents of three of Swedish pop's 'elder statesmen' Patrik Isaksson, Tommy Nilsson and Uno Svenningsson enter to go and spoil it all with a snoozeworthy toilet-break song like "Håll mitt hjärta hårt"?

Conclusion: a disappointing week in a so-far disappointing year at Melfest.  Would week 3 be any better?

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