Sunday, July 02, 2017

Melodifestivalen 2017: Week 2, Malmö 11.02.2017

This week: three returnees (Mariette, Lisa Ajax and former winner Roger Pontare) and four debutants.

As ever, the Swedish tabloid press was keeping a close eye on the proceedings, monitoring every line of every script and every musical number.  This week's opening number, "Han är en skåning" was a tribute to the unique accent Hasse Andersson and the area of southern Sweden where heat 2 was taking place - but the general view of the press was that it was cringeworthy.  I didn't really enjoy it either and it overstayed its welcome.

"A Million Years" - Mariette.

Mariette made her long-awaited debut with something more uptempo than her debut song.  She absolutely deserved her qualification.  She was one of the most talented artists in this year's contest, although the staging for me left a lot to be desired: backing singers/dancers hanging from bungee cords, were later to be mocked in Daniel Norberg's annual "Parodifestivalen" sketch. 

"Himmel och Hav" - Roger Pontare.

Fire! Traditional clothing!  Dramatic Swedish anthemic music!  Yes this could only mean one thing - the return of the legendary Roger Pontare to the Melfest stage.  Many (myself included) were of the view that Roger should have at least got a place in Andra Chansen, This was Roger effortlessly doing what he does best.   

"Up" - Etzia.

An energetic debut for Etzia with a song with a similar style and feelgood factor to "Kizunguzungu" from last year.  Dancers on roller skates.  A lively and enjoyable song, but the vocals let it down in places.  I hope we see her again though.

"Vart Har Du Vart" - Allyawan. 

Despite being very contemporary, r'n'b or rap doesn't travel very well in Melfest and I think it would be fair to say that Allyawan delivered one of the most off-key performances since Jemini. Actually, scrap that, nothing even comes close to them.... 

"Hearts Align" - Dismissed.

As the picture above proves, Dismissed have a very strong androgynous image and they also had a rather good song which was written by none other than Ola Salo and Peter Kvint.  This certainly deserved its qualification place although the visuals maybe just overshadowed the song a bit too much.

"I Don't Give A" - Lisa Ajax. 

Lisa Ajax made a quick return after last year's debut with an ill-advised potty-mouthed song by team Deb, this time co-written with Ola Svensson.  Combined with the egotistical backing screens (which would inspire many a Eurovision participant to later plaster their own face all over the backing LED screens in Kyiv), everything about this was just wrong for me.

"Good Lovin'" - Benjamin Ingrosso. 

From a family of Swedish showbiz royalty - the Wahlgren/Ingrosso clan - Benjamin Ingrosso made his debut as a well-known face.  Yet his song was just a pale attempt at emulating "Can't Stop The Feeling", accompanied by some very low-budget staging.  This is another one I can't watch without thinking of the Norberg 'parodi' version.

If week 2's songs were a bit of a rather disappointing mixed bag, the real highlight of the evening was to come.  This week's interval act was David Lindgren's "Mellokavalkad", a quickfire and quick-change medley of Melodifestivalen hits, which showed off his impressive vocals and proved he has a great sense of humour too, although that Tommy Nilsson was just a little too cruel for my taste!

There's nothing Melfest likes more than self-referencing these days, so the second interval act was a song called, I think, "Tack för alla röster".

Vi har ett resultat:

To the Final:  Mariette and Benjamin Ingrosso
To Andra Chansen: Dismissed and Lisa Ajax
5th - Roger Pontare
6th - Etzia
7th - Allyawan.

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