Melodifestivalen made its highly anticipated return last week and things are naturally looking rather different than usual in the age of the pandemic. The music and the artists have taken the main role, as they well should, when there is no live audience. The first heat saw Danny Saucedo and Arvingarna go straight to the final, while all the girls were sent packing. That will not be repeated this week, mind you…
But let’s get straight down to the participants in the second heat, which may not look quite as tight and strong as the first one, but includes of course our dearest Dotter.
All artist photos courtesy of SVT / Jan Danielsson
1) ANTON EWALD – NEW RELIGION
Anton Ewald is one of the pretty boy popstars making a return to Melodifestivalen this year. He made an impact in Melfest 2013 with Begging, but less so in 2014 with Natural. After that he hasn’t really been seen much in Sweden or in the music scene, as he has been mainly working as a model in the US. But now he is reintroducing himself with that flashy smile and cool dance moves. Among the songwriters we need to put focus on Maja Strömstedt, who is making our favorite kind of pop music herself as Maja Kristina. Shame on SVT for only mentioning her famous parents in her bio and nothing about her own career.
2) JULIA ALFRIDA – RICH
Julia Alfrida was hand-picked by Melodifestivalen producer Karin Gunnarsson from the finalists of last year’s P4 Nästa competition. The entries from P4 Nästa have never done really well in Melfest, but this one really is the best of the lot so far. The song is a contemporary pop tune in the vein of someone like Lorde and it really is catchy. That may be down to Julia enlisting Jimmy Jansson and Melanie Wehbe for her songwriting team, both of whom have already a lot of cred as younger generation of Melodifestivalen royalty. The staging is rather effective with a line-up of all kinds of people singing along behind her on the big screen.
3) WAHL FEAT. SAMI – ’90-TALET
Both of these guys have a past in hip hop, WAHL in the group Södra Sidan and SAMI in the duo Medina. What they are bringing to Melodifestivalen can’t really be called hip hop or rap though. It’s more similar to what Samir & Viktor have done before them plus the song has a fashionable 80s beat, even though they are singing about the 90s. The staging is filled with pastel colors and the lyrics are filled with 90s references for the 40+ age group – but the dance moves are more aimed at the kids. Compulsory side note: Sami Rekik is a Sweden-Finn and therefore gets extra plus points.
4) FRIDA GREEN – THE SILENCE
Frida Green first made an impression with her impressive voice on Sweden’s Got Talent in 2018 and she was also seen briefly on Swedish Idol 2020. We can also note her cute environmental anthem What Would Greta Do? For Melodifestivalen she brings a ballad with some country influences, which is kind of no wonder, seeing as Anna Bergendahl is one of the songwriters. The most notable thing in the staging is bringing her great backup singers on stage – and the pyro.
5) EVA RYDBERG & EWA ROOS – RENA RAMA DING DONG
These ladies have been friends for over 50 years, and it certainly shows on stage. Eva Rydberg is a comedian/entertainer and Ewa Roos a singer/actress/entertainer, and they have done several stage shows together – and are probably planning one right now (what better advertisement than joining Melodifestivalen). Looks like Eva has enlisted the help of the whole family, since her son is one of the songwriters and her daughter has come up with the choreography, where the ladies do the high kicks themselves while the actual dancers look more octogenarian. This is definitely a whole lot of fun and the kids will love it. And the Eurovision fans will also eat this up because of that Ding Dong (Ja! Ja!). Riskgroup pop, is what our favorite Melfest commentators Schlagerprofilerna called this.
6) PATRIK JEAN – TEARS RUN DRY
The songwriting trio behind last year’s winner – Move with the Mamas – has churned out another tune and they are sending one of their own to perform it. Patrik Jean has been releasing nice pop tunes for a while now, but he is still not very well-known for the broader audience. The song is soulful mid-tempo pop and his performance is oozing confidence. On stage he is backed up with male dancers kitted in flowers and long hemlines.
7) DOTTER – LITTLE TOT
Ain’t this the one everybody has been waiting for (not just me)? After charming the Swedes and the Eurovision fans alike last year with her Bulletproof, and ending up just one point behind the Mamas, Dotter is back with another amazing song and number. Johanna “Dotter” Jansson has written Little Tot herself with her fiancé Dino Medanhodzic and the song is pop perfection, taking unexpected turns and surprising you when you thought you knew where it was going. Everything is ON POINT for the performance, the styling, the dancers, the confident attitude and the popstar aura. The song’s theme is also topical and deals with climate issues, telling the children not to be like us when they grow up. I may have my rose-colored fangirl glasses on, but this really does give off those winner vibes.