Last week saw Tusse and Charlotte Perrelli advancing straight to the final, and now we are getting to see and hear the last seven of this year’s contestants. That means by the end of the evening we will have heard Sweden’s Eurovision entry – but we’ll still need to wait two weeks before finding out who it actually is! Tusse and Dotter are looking strong so far, but is this week bringing challengers to the throne?
This week’s hosts are Pernilla Wahlgren and Per Andersson, who are promising to bring quite a bit of musical-tinged fun. They are true entertainers… You can also be prepared for some fun and deep-drilling artist interviews.
But let’s have a look at the artists in more detail in Saturday’s running order.
All artist photos courtesy of SVT / Jan Danielsson
1) TESS MERKEL – GOOD LIFE
Swedish disco defenders Alcazar called it quits a few years ago, after 20 years of entertaining us. Fellow Alcastar Lina Hedlund made her solo debut in Mello 2019 (with a song co-written by Dotter) and now it is finally time for Tess Merkel to launch her solo effort on the Melfest stage. She is bringing us disco beats that are more in the Studio 54 vein than what Alcazar used to be, and also a bit like what Kylie Minogue has done on her latest Disco album. The spoken part is golden! The staging has been done by the always fabulous Zain Odelstål and Dennis Brøchner (who have actually staged the previous four Melodifestivalen winners). You can look forward to cool lasers and fabulous-looking dancers in yellow latex suits.
2) LOVAD – ALLTING ÄR PRECIS LIKADANT
Indie pop artist Lova Drevstam has had some streaming success previously, especially with her collab with Albin Johnsén (who is also one of the songwriters on her entry), Vi gjorde vårt bästa. Before that she actually started releasing music under the name lova, but as another Lova started out on the Swedish music scene around the same time, I’m assuming she had to add that d to her name. So Lovad is making her debut on the big stages now with a ballad sung in Swedish, which is quite naturally drawing comparisons to the likes of Molly Sandén or Miriam Bryant, who have been ruling the Swedish charts with similar music as of late. The staging has Lovad alone on stage and her dancer superimposed on the image, filmed in a separate room at a Corona-safe distance. The ballads have not faired very well at all this year, and this is unlikely to change that, I’m afraid.
3) EFRAIM LEO – BEST OF ME
So Efraim Leo may be yet another young nice-looking pop guy – the kind Eurovision fans are tired of seeing Sweden send to Eurovision, but the kind who always tend to make their way to the final one way or another… He brings a song and staging that draws parallels to boybands like One Direction, with his energy and the backup dancers. The catchy and happy tune has a couple of very cool pop girls in the songwriting team though, Cornelia Jakobsdotter and Amanda Alexander, so that definitely gets some extra points from us.
4) THE MAMAS – IN THE MIDDLE
The Mamas of course famously won Melodifestivalen 2020 with just one point ahead of Dotter – but did not get the chance to represent Sweden in Eurovision as the main event was cancelled. Ashley Haynes, Loulou Lamotte and Dinah Jonas Manna are back with another fine gospel-tinged song, with Melfest 2013 winner Robin Stjernberg in the songwriting team. The staging has a cool effect in the start, that ties this year’s entry perfectly with last year’s one. The Mamas also get to move around a bit more (than with Move), since they are able to take advantage of not having an audience and getting to use fun camera movements and angles. It remains to be seen whether people will sympathy vote for the fact that they missed their trip to Rotterdam, or will the novelty aspect have worn off…
5) SANNEX – ALL INCLUSIVE
Sannex purport to be “Dansband 2.0”, but I’m not quite sure they live up to that. The song could be more in the vein of fun numbers of the type Samir & Viktor or Det Vet Du have done in previous years, but the stage show is not up to that energy level and the band is lacking a sense of fun. The most interesting part about this are the rumours concerning the songwriters though. Greta Svensson and Hans Thorstensson are such clear pseudonyms that people are pretty sure the acclaimed song-writing duo Smith & Thell are behind this one. Being a big fan of their music, I do kind of get why they would not want to own up to this song – even though it’s not their fault this isn’t really working…
6) CLARA KLINGENSTRÖM – BEHÖVER INTE DIG IDAG
Clara Klingenström is making her debut in Melodifestivalen with a song she has penned together with Melfest veteran Bobby Ljunggren as well as David Lindgren Zacharias, who has co-written a lot of Darin‘s more recent hits. And the craftmanship shows in this fine tune. Clara is alone on stage, looking très cool in her pink hair, short glittery dress and Doc Martens – and wielding her guitar. I have not previously been completely sold on Clara’s recorded music, but this shows that she really has something about her live, even without an audience.
7) ERIC SAADE – EVERY MINUTE
Eric Saade doesn’t really require any introductions, having broken through with Manboy in Melfest 2010 and going on to win the whole thing with Popular in 2011. Reaching third place in Eurovision cemented his international popularity. Having released somewhat more mature and downbeat pop in Swedish recently, he is now back in Mello with an English-language pop effort. The expectations are high and he does deliver, unless you are expecting that same harmless pop he brought ten years ago. The sound is contemporary electro pop with dark undertones. The change in Eurovision rules allowing pre-recorded backup vocals has been used to great advantage (well it’s been allowed in Melodifestivalen before as well, but the Eurovision version has had to recreate it live). The staging is streamlined and effective, looking like a music video, a bit like Drake‘s Hotline Bling or something.
Tune in on Saturday the 20th of February at 8pm on SVT1 or or SVT Play – viewable online from anywhere in the world!