For those who have been wondering why Sweden always does so well in Eurovision, Melodifestivalen is the answer. Their national final is incredibly popular and taken seriously by many artists. The show has been on for weeks with four heats and a second chance round, in which Loreen, former winner of Eurovision, shockingly had to leave the competition (read more about her ‘Statements’ and the future of her career on A Bit of Pop Music). Although a lot of us Eurovision fans might still be sad about her exit, we have to look forward to the final now. Coming Saturday Sweden will choose a song and A Bit of Pop Music will guide you through the participating artists with reviews and predictions.
To be honest, this year’s Melodifestivalen does not feel like a particularly strong one, but still about half of the tracks could reach a more than decent result during the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev in May. Let’s have a listen!
01. Ace Wilder – Wild Child
Ace Wilder is on to her third melfest participation this year. Her previous efforts in 2014 and 2016 led to 2nd and 3rd places, but this year it seems like top 3 might be out of reach for her. For her infectious, poppy and upbeat ‘Wild Child’, which I personally prefer over last year’s ‘Don’t Worry’, Ace has to properly sing in the chorus and it shows off her vocal weakness a bit too much. At this stage she is one of the least downloaded and streamed finalists and there is hardly any buzz around her as a candidate. She has proven to be a juries darling though, so a decent result is still very much possible for this ‘wild child’ in her 30s.
02. Boris René – Her Kiss
Boris René rightfully proceeded to the second chance round from his heat and got lucky with his duel, because his swinging but also kind of bland track ‘Her Kiss’ probably wouldn’t have made it if teamed up against a stronger contender (read Loreen). It seems very unlikely he will play any role of importance during the final results, but at least we get to enjoy his warm vocals and dance moves once more.
03. Lisa Ajax – I Don’t Give A
Personally I would have prefered Lisa Ajax not making the final, because her song this year seems like such a lazy choice after last year’s pop perfection ‘My Heart Wants Me Dead’. The chorus is awfully repetitive and the swearing seems forced. Lisa is a promising pop star with a great image and a good set of pipes, but this doesn’t show at all in this performance. I can’t see her top the 7th place she reached last year, so she better come back with something better in two years time.
04. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
Robin Bengtsson is the first of the favourites to perform during the big night. After last year’s fifth place with ‘Constellation Prize’ he is back for more. With a slick and eye catching act for the contemporary, upbeat pop number ‘I Can’t Go On’ he is meaning business. I’m expecting both juries and televoters to fall for him and based on his streaming and download numbers, he seems to be heading for a top 3 finish. When I listen to the song I don’t hear a winner yet, but a better result than last year seems very much possible.
05. Jon Henrik Fjällgren & Aninia – En Värld Full Av Strider
Jon Henrik Fjällgren participated in Melodifestivalen before, in 2015, when he finished second, behind the eventual Eurovision winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Het gets help from Aninia this time. She delivers a catchy chorus in Swedish and I’m sure the Swedish public will love this, but the challenge will be to get the international juries behind this as well. I don’t think this would do particularly well on the Eurovision stage, but in terms of diversity, it is great to have this track in the final.
06. Anton Hagman – Kiss You Goodbye
To me Anton Hagman still feels like ‘the one who kicked Loreen out’, but to be fair, his streaming numbers have been high ever since his first performance and obviously he is loved by the teenage girls of Sweden. His song is predictable radio pop, but the extremely catchy kind. I would not play it myself after the contest, but especially in terms of televoting he seems to be a dark horse.
07. Mariette – A Million Years
Mariette was our favourite in 2015 and she is again in 2017. ‘A Million Years’ is a perfect pop song with lovely lyrics, a great build up and an explosive chorus. The production is very contemporary and I am certain this could do extremely well on the Eurovision stage if they perfect the act. Unfortunately the Swedes don’t seem all too impressed as the track didn’t gather many streams and downloads. The international juries will probably make sure she gets a decent result, but winning seems unlikely.
08. FO&O – Gotta Thing About You
Boyband FO&O made their way to the final by winning their duel in the second chance round. They have got quite a few fans who have been playing their song on repeat on Spotify, but for me personally the song does nothing. It is typical boyband material with a decent chorus but lyrics that fall flat from start to finish. Their staging isn’t particularly memorable and vocally they could improve. They should be satisfied with a spot somewhere in the middle of the scoreboard.
09. Nano – Hold On
Nano is definitely one of the favourites after the first semi final where he got everybody talking about his bombastic track ‘Hold On’. The song is blessed with a huge chorus and a fine drum and bass production. This is one of the tracks that could actually become an international hit if it would go to Eurovision, as it sounds quite contemporary. The sober staging works, but vocally Nano seemed to struggle a bit with the big notes. Hopefully he improved this over the past few weeks and then I could honestly see him flying the flag for Sweden in Kiev.
10. Wiktoria – As I Lay Me Down
Sweden’s very own version of a young Taylor Swift, Wiktoria, seems to be the one to beat at the moment, as she is having the most streams and downloads. Last year she finished fourth with the juries and second in televoting with her ‘Save Me’ and it seems likely she will do even better with ‘As I Lay me Down’. This pop track with a slight hint of country and a catchy chorus has something endearing. It is super sweet and almost a bit cheesy, but you can’t really help but sing along with her strong vocals. My oh my! I’m sure she would give Sweden another great result if she wins Melodifestivalen and ups her game when it comes to the staging, that seemed a bit messy during her first performance.
11. Benjamin Ingrosso – Good Lovin’
Benjamin Ingrosso delivers a swinging tune that balances between some retro elements and contemporary pop. The chorus swings and is very catchy, but at the same time it is nothing we haven’t heard before. I appreciate the track and performance but there are definitely more ear and eye catching options for Sweden to send to Kiev.
12. Owe Thornqvist – Boogieman Blues
SVT saved the lolz for last. Owe Thornqvist gives an endearing performance and the song is not even that bad, but of course this should not be allowed anywhere near the Eurovision stage. I’m sure he will gather some points from the televoters, but that will be about it.
Quick prediction of the top 3:
03. Robin Bengtsson