Eurovision News 2014: Sweden starts, Spain premieres, Finland and Switzerland select

Ellen Benediktson Melodifestivalen Songbird

February just started and that means that many European countries are about to decide which song and artist they will send to the Eurovision Song Contest. In the next few weeks I will pay attention to some of the national finals that will take place and write some reviews on the songs that will represent their country in Copenhagen in May. This weekend Sweden started off with their huge national final Melodifestivalen, Spain premiered their five songs and both Finland and Switzerland chose an entry.

Sweden: Melodifestivalen heat 1
The first heat of Melodifestivalen 2014 was always going to be a big event as last year’s runner up Yohio and former Eurovision winner Helena Paparizou both participated. Yohio performed his song ‘To The End’, which is in the same style as last year’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, but slightly better. No surprise that he made it to the final, although his vocals weren’t all that. I would have preferred to see Helena Paparizou in his spot in the final, but her power pop track ‘Survivor’ only made it to the second chance round. ‘Survivor’ is nowhere near Paparizou’s best songs, but it is a nice enough, catchy track and her performance, although a bit too stripped back, was powerful. Accompanying her to Andra Chansen, is Linus Svenning with his decent ballad and performance for his brother who passed away.

Helena Paparizou Melodifestivalen Survivor

Sylvester Schlegel deserved to end up in the last place with a song that did not go anywhere, accompanied by a poor performance. Mahan Moin’s ‘Aleo’ was not a bad track, although totally cliché Eurovision, but her visually and vocally weak performance killed all hope that was left for that track. Elisa Lindström’s song and performance were just outdated and Alvaro Estrella actually had a modern and funky song, but his weak vocals kind of ruined the potential. There was one young girl that did steal the show and that was Ellen Benediktson who managed to go directly to the final. Her ‘Songbird’ is a sweet little song with a captivating chorus. Her delivery is fragile, beautiful and endearing. My favourite in this year’s Melodifestivalen so far!

Spain: The songs
The Spanish broadcaster RTVE decided to put their five songs online that will compete in the national final. To be fair, all five songs are at least of a decent quality. Raúl’s ‘Seguir Sin Ti’ is an alright traditional ballad and Jorge González will try to win the Spanish votes with a slightly outdated, but still catchy slice of Spanish Eurovision pop. La Dama also tries to impress with a dancey up tempo track and although it is not a bad song, Spain has not been lucky with this type of music in Eurovision recently. If the Spanish people choose wisely, either Brequette or Ruth Lorenzo will go to Copenhagen. Ruth, who gained fame in the UK for participating in X Factor, sings the beautiful and current ballad ‘Dancing In The Rain’. The classy bilingual track showcases her vocals nicely. Brequette also sings in both English and Spanish on her power ballad ‘Run (Más)’. In comparison to Ruth’s track, Brequette’s song is a little more powerful and makes more of an impact on first listen. The chorus hits hard and is very memorable. Still I believe, both Ruth and Brequette could give Spain a nice result in the next Eurovision Song Contest.

Finland: Softengine to Copenhagen
While Sweden and Spain just started their national selections, Finland already chose their representative in a show on Saturday night. Pop/rock band Softengine managed to win the show with their track ‘Something Better’. It could be described as a big guitar pop song with a powerful chorus. The singer of the band manages to convince in a live setting as well. Still I cannot help but feel that this track misses an edge to really stand out between all the other countries in Denmark. In my honest opinion, Mikko Pohjola’s ‘Sängyn Reunalla’ that finished in second position, does have a little more personality and stands out a little better. The cute little song would definitely have done well with the juries. At the moment of writing this, Mikko’s song was at the first spot in the Finnish iTunes chart, while Softengine only placed at the sixth position.

Switzerland: Sebalter wins
Switzerland decided to send Sebalter to Eurovision with his song ‘Hunter Of Stars’. The song is catchy but the whistling is border on annoying and the performance at the national final looks quite amateurish. I kind of get the feeling that the song is going nowhere and the performance just does not come across well on screen. It could well be that Switzerland makes the same mistake as last year, when the catchy but clumsy ‘You And Me’ by Takasa did not make it to the final.

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