16 Jul 2024
Melodifestivalen 2023 kicks off with Heat 1
Festivals Music News

Melodifestivalen 2023 kicks off with Heat 1

Can you believe it’s already time for Melodifestivalen?! The six-week music extravaganza is finally back on tour and the first heat of four is going to be held in Gothenburg on the 4th of February. So we will get to see the first seven of 28 entries competing for the Mello crown and for that ticket to Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May. Be sure to tune in on SVT1 or SVT Play at 20.00 CET on Saturday night.

The hosts this year are Farah Abadi and Jesper Rönndahl, who are doing a good job. Especially Farah is a natural in her inserts with the artists before their songs.

And the first heat is definitely worth watching just to see last year’s winner Cornelia Jakobs do a smashing version of her winning song with a full band on that big stage…

But let’s get down to it and take a look at the contestants of the first Melfest week.

1) Tone Sekelius – Rhythm of my Show

Tone had a breakthrough in last year’s Melodifestivalen with her debut My Way. Tone had previously made her name as a YouTuber and was the first transgender artist on the Mello stage. This year she brings something completely different than last year’s Pride anthem of an entry, namely a dance pop number with quite a bit of choreo. Obviously Chanel set the bar for this type of numbers so incredibly high in last year’s Eurovision, that nothing can come close to it. But still, nice to see something like this at Melfest, as well, we haven’t been spoiled with too many of such numbers.

2) LouLou Lamotte – Inga sorger

It was rather predictable, that someone from The Mamas would make a solo apperance on the Melfest stage sooner or later. LouLou gets to be the first one, singing in Swedish like in the couple of previous solo songs she has released. And when I say Swedish, I mean her fine Scanian dialect with those uvular Rs. The song has a very nice melody, and the sound is peppy and up-tempo, actually pretty close to what Myra Granberg and countless other female singers singing in Swedish are currently doing. The number doesn’t really have any special gimmicks but rather trusts her voice and the song to carry the message.

3) Rejhan – Haunted

This young singer got his breakthrough at Sweden’s Got Talent, making his way to the final in 2021. His Melfest debut is also his first single release. Rejhan brings a rather timeless ballad, but it doesn’t really seem to lift to any higher levels of emotion. The softer parts of the vocals don’t really seem to work very well live and the stage presence is not coming through the lens very strong, I’m afraid.

4) Elov & Beny – Raggen går

This duo has had their fair share of Spotify hits recently, so SVT will certainly be very happy to have recruited them for Melfest this year. Their type of catchy redneck pop, known as “EPA Dunk” is having its moment in Sweden, and it looks like they have got more than just the raggare in the countryside partying. In any case this song steers quite a bit towards schlager as well, so it will likely do very well in the public tele/app vote.

5) Victor Crone – Diamonds

Victor Crone returns to Melodifestivalen with a song that is very much in the same ballpark as his previous Melfest entry Troubled Waters as well as his Estonian Eurovision entry Storm. Nice and radio-friendly but rather anonymous, with that country-tinged EDM sound that sounded very fresh ten years ago when Avicii did it. The stage presentation includes some nice light effects, showcasing the possibilities of this year’s Mello stage.

6) Eva Rydberg & Ewa Roos – Länge leve livet

Eva and Ewa charmed the audiences with their Rena Rama Ding Dong in Melfest 2021, but it is still a bit of a surprise to see them back again so soon. I think there could have been other options in the older demographic of artists that could have been given a chance as well. This time around they are bringing the 1920s to the 2020s, so expect a bit of flapper dancing and some doo-di-dabba…

7) Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Sávežan)

Jon Henrik is returning for his fourth Melodifestivalen, having ended up second, third and fourth in his previous attempts. So he is clearly a favorite of the Swedish public, having also won Sweden’s Got Talent and Let’s Dance. This time around he is joining as a part of a collaboration, where his Sami jojk is combined with EDM sounds. Feels like that combination held more promise on paper than in practice, but from this week’s rather weak heat this still has a good chance. In any case, the Eurovision fans would really like this type of a mash-up of genres.

Photos courtesy of SVT / Janne Danielsson

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