We are on to the second week of Melodifestivalen, the music bonanza that has the Swedes benched in front of their TVs on Saturdays for six weeks straight. The whole thing is geared to find the Swedish representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Malmö this May.
There are another six acts up for voting this week and those gaining the first and second position will go straight to the final. Those on third and fourth places will still have another chance in a vote that takes place after the fifth heat.
We were given a sneak peek at the rehearsals for Heat 2 ahead of Saturday’s live show, so below you can read a little bit about what to expect from the competitors this week.
1) Maria Sur – When I’m Gone
Maria Sur ended up in Sweden two years ago after fleeing the war in Ukraine. Once settled here, she made a big impression at a big charity show raising money for Ukraine, which lead to a record deal and a spot in last year’s Melodifestivalen. Unfortunately she was given a big ballad that was riding on sympathy votes instead of trusting her popstar talent, but all that is rectified this year, when she gets to front a modern electronic pop banger. The chorus is instantly catchy and she has the capacity both for the vocals and for the moves. The laser light show looks very effectful as well. This needs to go straight to the final.
2) Engmans Kapell – Norrland
Engmans Kapell is filling an age-group quota at Melfest with their dansband meets gubbrock meets folk. They are telling a story about seeing the world when they were young, but realising London has nothing on Norrland. No, no, no. no, no… The staging is basically the band playing as they normally would, with some graphics praising Norrland in warm colors in the background.
3) Dear Sara – The Silence After You
Dear Sara or Sara Mutti has included both her Sami roots, growing up in Karesuando, and her more recent experiences of city life in Stockholm in her music so far. To the Melfest stage she is bringing a contemporary pop song, which showcases her fragile voice but has a stronger chorus. It’s nice to see a Sami artist can join the competition without having to do the traditional jojk. She is alone on stage, with lights and LED graphics providing the backdrop and creating the atmosphere.
4) C-Joe – Ahumma
C-Joe was born in Sierra Leone, but raised in Sweden and he can be called a pioneer of Swedish afrobeat. His music is generally energetic, fun and warm. The song he brings to Melodifestivalen does sound a bit Mellofied, or like something out of Lion King. One would have wished he brought a sound that was closer to the afrobeat you can currently hear on the radio and in the charts, since the genre is hugely popular around the world right now. The staging relies on colorful graphic patterns on the big LED screens and six dancers (as Melfest allows one more person on stage than Eurovision Song Contest does).
5) Liamoo – Dragon
The Year of the Dragon begins on Saturday and Liamoo brings a song called Dragon to the Mello stage – coincidence? He is participating for the fourth time and is again one of the bigger favorites beforehand. Unfortunately the song does not sound strong enough to take him to victory this time either. He is alone on stage, correctly trusting his charisma. The martial arts inspired moves look a lot more natural than his dance moves last time around. He sings about breathing fire, so of course that is accompanied by pyro, lots of pyro – even some fire on the palm of his hand…
6) Fröken Snusk – Unga & Fria
Fröken Snusk has had plenty of chart success but all that has been called into question now when it was revealed there were manipulated streams on her tracks, and they were removed from Spotify for some time recently. So who’s to know how popular she really is? In any case, the EPA Dunk genre in general has been big to the dismay of music fans like myself. But she does bring some chaos to the otherwise so predictable Melfest… Her stage show goes in neon colors with the dancers dressed in pink dirndl-inspired latex. The masked Fröken herself is mostly sitting on a Dala horse (big surprise, not) which seems to have caused her some grief as she was having a bit of a meltdown in rehearsals. The song itself is more child-friendly than the rest of her material, so hopefully she will not repeat the expletives in the televised version.
Be sure to catch Melodifestivalen Heat 2 at SVT1 or SVTPlay on Saturday the 10th of February at 8pm
All photos: Stina Stjernkvist / SVT