Ah, Melodifestivalen. I remember when I was excited for it to begin. Curious to discover what those curious Swedes would come up with next. How times have changed. For MF as well as for me…
Of course I still get excited for MF, don’t get me wrong. I’m just finding myself to be much more apprehensive than ten, or even five, years ago. Age, you say? Go wash your mouth! I’m blaming it on the formulaic approach MF has taken. The mix has become a bit predictable and the selection feels too safe for comfort – of course if it’s comfort you want, then safe is the way to go, but you catch my drift.
Last year however, semi 1 brought us the eventual winner. A song that ended up being my favorite in Lisbon, one I still put on repeat. So who knows what 2019 could bring? Let’s dive in:
- Nano – Chasing Rivers: Nano was saying he thinks of this as his comeback after getting to 2nd place in 2017, which isn’t all that long ago to be talking of a real comeback. He gave a nervous and insecure impression, and wasn’t able to shake that off during his performance. The massive chunk of confidence from 2017 has transformed into a fragile flower and it’s a bit of a shame. Didn’t help that his song sounds like a 2nd rate version of his first attempt. Don’t see this as a contender for now, he’ll be lucky to survive Andra Chansen.
- HIGH15 – No Drama: So. Confession time. Margaret has damaged my soul last year. She, and the likes of Anne-Marie and Sigrid, have completely worn me down with cheerful, powerful tunes with a thin layer of street cred. Which makes it nothing of a surprise that High15 was the only thing I actively liked in last night’s semi. Sure, they’re way too young and sure, you can ask yourself why they’re saying they only want to drink and skip the drama. They’re probably too young to know that drinking results in drama. But hey. Margaret totally should have sung this. High15 did a swell job though – loved the choreography, and their Little Mix attitude. A bit more practice and I’ll gladly see them back in a year or two. Or five. Now where’s my Bacardi Breezer?
- Wiktoria – Not With Me: Not for me. I feel like I’ve heard this ballad about a hundred times before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Aftonbladet revealed at some point that the likes of Sanna Nielsen and Sonja Aldén have friendly declined the offer to sing this. Wiktoria is a great vocalist, there’s no doubt. But she goes overboard Christina Aguilera-style and it simply makes me nervous. Add to that the ridiculous waterography and you have a firm no from me. So of course this went DTF. I know my pipi-pause for the 9th of March already.
- Zeana ft. Anis Don Demina: Hvala, ne. This. Was. Atrocious. On all levels. She was constantly off-key, he was charming but had no real point in being there and that chorus was so generic even Mendez was probably like ‘qué?’.
- Arja Saijonmaa – Mina Fyra årstider: Ah, Arja. *insert heart-eyed emoji* She was already iconic thanks to Högt Över Havet, took it to another level with Vad Du Än Trodde Så Trodde Du Fel and yesterday she topped it off with that weird ecological political mother earth hymn. I was really impressed with how she was stating that she’d always been politically and socially engaged throughout her career, especially at the beginning, and how she felt she wasn’t done yet so she’d come full circle with this song. Her confidence is an example and made up for…well basically not sounding that great. Her little world didn’t really fit into the MF universe, but I admire her even more for it. Keep Arja-ing, my dear – mother earth can use it.
- Mohombi – Hello: Is it me you’re looking for? Sorry, automatic musical brain reflex. Though it could apply as an opening line on Tinder when matching with Mohombi. Cause: how you doin’? Being a fine piece of manflesh is one thing though, having a convincing package is another. (Hm, package.) And he kinda does. Kinda. The song is lovely poppy, especially in the chorus, and the performance takes the Måns gimmick to another level. Enough to justify enthusiasm, you say? Yes, and no. Mohombi’s vocals were at times on point, and at times there was no point in sight. Especially in the higher regions he was shaky at best. Nothing that can be fixed of course – this was ‘only’ a semi. Plenty of time to practice. But it needs to be spot on in Stockholm or this will not be in the shake-up for the ticket to Tel Aviv. But overall a nice idea and an okay three minutes.
- Anna Bergendahl – Ashes To Ashes: With a title like that you’re not really making your life any easier now, do you? As she was stating herself in the interview, she’s taking a bit of a gamble by coming back – after all, she IS the one Swedish candidate not being able to pull through to the final in Eurovision. She was stating how she really believes in this song and that was clear: she felt it with her entire body and her vocals were mesmerizing. The presentation was quite lovely as well, like a mix of Portugal 2017 and Italy 2016 – but the latter was less of an art school project feel to it, luckily. The thing is: the song is nice, but nice doesn’t really cut it anymore. It’s schlagertastique and you can’t help bop along to it, but where’s that je-ne-sais-quoi? That element that lifts it out of the days gone by, and brings it to a surprising new level? This could be this year’s Something In Your Eyes: a classic in the heart of the fans, but forgotten by the rest of the world.
All in all a pretty MEH semi. Color me amazed. Thank god for Eric Saade vogueing his lovely behind off in that Dana International outfit. Amazeballs. Side note: four presenters? Why?
Still looking forward to the next semis. Especially semi 2. Will Margaret be able to make me go ape in her cabana again? Oh boy oh boy!