So Melodifestivalen finally kicked off last weekend, with Cornelia Jakobs making a big impression and Robin Bengtsson getting to join her in the final. On the negative side, the app voting crashed, so we didn’t get to see the new and improved counting of the votes – so we have something to look forward to this week in terms of building up excitement with the result…
But let’s take a look at who is competing this week in Heat 2. We have a returning Melodifestivalen winner, as well as two previous Idol winners – and the first ever trans artist in Melodifestivalen history.
Liamoo – Bluffin
Liamoo is the Idol winner of 2016, who has graced the Mello stage already twice before. First in 2018 by himself and then in 2019 in a duet with Hanna Ferm. He’s been building momentum through those popular entries and is one of the favourites for the trophy this year. In the very least, he is the most definite finalist from this week’s crop.
The song is smooth and contemporary pop, like something you would hear on the radio. The number builds on Liamoo alone, and he does have the charisma to pull it off, but the movements look a bit too rehearsed. The most effective part of the staging are the rows of lights above and below.
Niello & Lisa Ajax – Tror du att jag bryr mig
A duet pairing, who have actually made some music together before this as well, with Ingen annan from 2021. Niello has leaned quite a bit towards rap in his own production, with some pop tendencies thrown in. This is his debut in Melodifestivalen. Lisa Ajax on the other hand, has already competed three times before, and has that Idol victory from 2014.
The staging is quite clever with two separate pastel-coloured “rooms” for the arguing exes. The chemistry is not quite there between the artists, though. Niello is not the strongest singer, which becomes even more clear when Lisa is so strong vocally. The song sounds like the stuff that has been popular in Sweden (but not on my playlists) in recent years, like something in the vein of Norlie & KKV or Hov1.
Samira Manners – I Want to Be Loved
Samira Manners is a 21-year-old indie/folk/pop singer-songwriter, whose debut single came out back in 2020. She cites Tracy Chapman, Julia Michaels and Maisie Peters as her influences. Samira comes from Skåne, and her father is from England, which you will hear in her lovely British accent.
The number starts with all attention on Samira and her guitar, building up to include her all-girl band as the song progresses. She has genuine emotion in both her voice and her expressions, giving off very fragile feels. This is really nice and genuine, but not giving the same kind of WOW-effect as Cornelia did last week.
Alvaro Estrella – Suave
Alvaro Estrella returns to the Melodifestivalen stage for the third year in a row, and the fourth time in total as a singer (ie. not counting his numerous turns on the Mello stage as a dancer).
It is no surprise we get a Latin pop tune, with a very suave dance number, including four male dancers in nice suits, bare chests and Spanish style hats. This feels better than his earlier Latin schlager tunes in Mello, like a bit more mature and leaning more towards reggaeton-light. Also, it is great to have more actual Spanish lyrics in the song, and not just the usual Mamacita, Señorita and Hasta La Vista sprinkled over the English text.
Browsing Collection – Face in the Crowd
With Måneskin’s Eurovision victory, it was very predictable that there will be plenty of rock in the national selections this year. So Melodifestivalen 2022 has no less than three rock entries, and Browsing Collection is the first of them. They are an all-girl band, which of course gives them an extra edge of coolness.
The band’s sound is mixing melodious metal guitars with more straightforward singalong pop-punk. Which is quite on trend after Olivia Rodrigo et al. have made guitars OK again on the Billboard charts. The staging is basically a rock show with appropriate elements like headbanging, hair flips, flashing lights, smoke and pyros.
John Lundvik – Änglavakt
John Lundvik is returning to Melodifestivalen just three years after his victory with Too Late for Love, which got a very decent 5th place in Eurovision Song Contest 2019. What is different this time around, is that he has switched his singing language to Swedish. It’s basically a very huge trend in Sweden that everybody is singing in Swedish and pretty much all chart successes by Swedish artists are in Swedish. So, there may be some commercial considerations about launching his Swedish-singing era here rather than aiming for the ESC.
John really is the nicest person, so I’m sorry to say the song is basically quite a boring ballad. The staging builds solely on his stage presence, which has of course worked for him before. So it’s just John (barefoot) and the lights…
Tone Sekelius – My Way
Melodifestivalen gets its first ever trans artist in Tone Sekelius. Before this, Tone is best known as a YouTuber, with around 300 000 subscribers. The upbeat song is something of a Pride anthem, encouraging everybody to go their own way. As Tone’s vocals are not the strongest, the production could have used more energy, so this could have sounded more inspiring and stronger.
Tone can be seen on stage in full-on diva styling, with a dress reveal in the middle of the song. It is very evident that she doesn’t have very much experience of being on stage, so hopefully there is enough time for practice. And let’s also hope those heels don’t cause trouble in the live show.
Melodifestivalen Heat 2 on SVT1 and SVT Play at 20.00 on Saturday 12th February
All artist photos: SVT / Janne Danielsson