The end of on-season approaches rapidly, which can only mean one thing: time to travel to
Globen Friends Arena for the grand Melodifestivalen final. We’ve seen all participants, but who will get the ticket to Tel Aviv? Hello, crystal ball?
As I am writing this, I’m rereading my preview post for last year’s MF Final and there’s one obvious thing that jumps out: the experience couldn’t be more different. Last year I had a hard time sitting through the semis and was quite surprised by how acceptable the final was, this year is quite the opposite. The semis were, even if they had their occasional flaws, almost an actual pleasure to sit through and now we end up with a final that doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Not that those ever lead up to anything remotely positive, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this playing field is so leveled that literally anything can happen. It’s quite the juxtaposition: it’s exciting cause who knows what the result will be, and at the same time it all puts the Meh in Melodifestivalen, with only a few exceptions to rattle Dimivision’s cage. Då kör vi one more time!
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1. Jon Henrik Fjällgren – Norrsken (Goeksegh)
The Song: Quite happy this goes on first so we can get it out of the way to make room for more exciting stuff. It ticks all the wrong boxes for me, it feels like a mash of clichés from yesteryear’s MF stuff and I’m not having it.
The Voice: JH always seems so nervous when he actually has to sing, doesn’t he?
The Performance: Copy-paste from above. (I really don’t feel like wasting too much time on this, can you tell?)
In one line: Thank you, next.
Why it could win: The Swedes are in the mood for something traditional(esque).
Why it won’t win: This is not even his best attempt, let alone the best thing in this final.
2. Lisa Ajax – Torn
The Song: As sparse as it can be. The production is mostly limited to a heartbeat and two notes on a piano which creates the most peculiar atmosphere. Fits the depressing lyrics to a T, it’s just all so…erm…depressing.
The Voice: Lisa doesn’t get a lot to bounce off of so this is really difficult to sing – kuddos to her for being able to pull it off anyway. Still not a fan of the way she conquers the high notes towards the end, but maybe that’s just personal taste.
The Performance: The ‘sparse’ theme is continued and it kinda works. Kinda. Still too gloomy for me. I usually don’t mind dark stuff, but I’ve recently conquered a burn-out so I’m more in the mood for colourful bouncy things. Sorrynotsorry ’bout it.
In one line: I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel, I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor.
Why it could win: Sweden feels empathic.
Why it won’t win: Sweden needs something bouncy as well. Also: position 2 – we all know that’s the kiss of death.
3. Mohombi – Hello
The Song: The first one in the line-up that I actively listen to and whenever it comes on I am totally oblivious as to which song it actually is. Until the chorus starts and I’m grinding my hips to it (you can have that visual for free). I wonder how much of a negative impact those invisible verses will have, even if I think the chorus will make up for a lot.
The Voice: As if the verses aren’t fragile enough, on comes Mohombi to add a touch of fragility – I sure hope he’ll grab them by the horns on Saturday. He makes up for it in the chorus though – it’s as if his vocals translated my thoughts above in the semi. He’s had a bit of time to practice, so fingers crossed.
The Performance: Probably the best feature of this entry. It’s Måns 2.0 and I for one really digg it. Bonus points for combining dancing and singing like that (in the chorus).
In one line: Is it me you’re looking for?
Why it could win: It’s got everything to charm anyone…if everything is spot on.
Why it won’t win: It might not be instant enough to win over the Swedes.
4. Lina Hedlund – Victorious
The Song: Your quintessential Swedish disco stomper that you either love or kinda-like-but-doesn’t-actually-do-too-much-for-you. While my besties are fiercely falling in the first category, I’m to be found in the latter. I can see the attraction, it’s simply too rehashed to get me going. I’m getting ‘Glorious’ and ‘Amazing’ vibes – not the greatest of references in my book.
The Voice: Nobody has to teach Lina how to sing, that’s obvious – at least one element where’s actually victorious.
The Performance: Quintessential MF disco vibes. Excellent use of the stage there, except obviously for those gargantuous stairs that almost seem to beg for a spectacular fall. It’s all nice enough, not getting that much needed ‘ooh ah ah’ sensation though. *waves at Monique Heart*
In one line: Tonight we can be… glorious!
Why it could win: Lina is so convincing you simply cannot refuse her the ticket to Tel Aviv.
Why it won’t win: We need something more surprising.
5. Bishara – On My Own
The Song: So my brain starts to sing Norway 2001 every time I read the title, oops. Luckily this song is miles better, but is it really memorable? It’s not the kind of thing that draws you in from the first time, is it? It’s a bit of a washed down version of Bulgaria 2017 in my book – charming as it may be.
The Voice: The boy can definitely sing, even if his first-timer-nerves managed to get the better of him in the semi at times…
The Performance: …but I’m quite confident that his first stage exeprience will give him more confidence on Saturday. For a 16 year old he does quite an amazing job, so I’m curious to see how he’ll do. Apart from that it’s quite a simple presentation and it does fit the song. But really exciting? Nah.
In one line: I’m oooon my ooooown again, left aaaall alooone, where I belong…
Why it could win: He makes teenage girls (of all ages *wink*) melt like Olaf in Frozen
Why it won’t win: It all needs a bit more of an actual identity to do that.
6. Anna Bergendahl – Ashes To Ashes
The Song: Lovely Swedish Schlagery, it really is one of those instant MF classics. Much as I want to shrug my shoulders, it’s got that instant tapping along beat that hits until you give in. The production is really on point. The lyrics are a bit on the cringy side but fit the current trends and timeframe really well. And Anna’s comeback as well, for that matter.
The Voice: Even if it almost borderline being mechanical you can’t deny that Anna’s a great professional vocalist. Her sound could be something you need t get used to though.
The Performance: Unlike many fans I quite like the forest setting for this entry. The trees at the start are a bit of a riddle, but it all makes sense when Anna wanders into her own Garden of Eden. It doesn’t really relate to the lyrics but at least there’s no forced modern dancing going on for a change. I could perhaps do with another outfit though, it doesn’t fit the surroundings. But now I’m nitpicking – as per usual, yes.
In one line: Rise like the Phoenix you are, darling.
Why it could win: In a year without an obvious stand-out, this has enough familiar elements to get the Swedes on her side.
Why it won’t win: It’s timeless, but is it the best of times to be timeless?
7. Nano – Chasing Rivers
The Song: This only grabbed me by the neck in Andra Chansen, even if I still think it’s a bit of a watered down version of his first MF-entry ‘Hold On’. It’s still a breath of fresh air in this line-up though, even if the lyrics leave me with a bit of a heavy feeling.
The Voice: If he manages to repeat that strong performance from Andra Chansen, he’ll surely be competing for a top three spot.
The Performance: No non-sense performance, which is exactly what this needs. Love the inclusion of the backing vocals. Much like John Lundvik. Actually, I only now realize how much of a competitor this is for JL. Hm, that puts things in a whole different perspective…
In one line: I, on the other hand, will follow rivers.
Why it could win: This sad teddy bear manages to win over the hearts of those cold Swedes.
Why it won’t win: Is it touching enough? It wants to be, but is it?
8. Hanna Ferm & LIAMOO – Hold You
The Song: It’s a nice ballad, as far as nice ballads go. I don’t mind it while it’s on, but it’s not really thàt engaging. I’m just jealous of their love, you say? Damn, you read me like a book. Or not.
The Voice: Hanna sure is a little firecracker and totally stumps all over Liamoo. I could do with more of those delicious harmonies in the chorus though.
The Performance: So I’m really hoping they’re gonna replace the hanging-my-washing-out-to-dry concept from the semi because WHAT? Artisanal household chores aside, they’re really quite cute together. He said without grinding his teeth. (No, really!)
In one line: Hold me, just unfold me, unchain my soul, give me love, make me whole
Why it could win: This might just tick enough boxes that other songs don’t to come out on top.
Why it won’t win: Really exceptional it isn’t.
9. Malou Prytz – I Do Me
The Song: This year’s ‘In My Cabana’ for me. This is the kind of colourful bouncy pop I need in my life right now – as I said before, I’ve been influenced too much by the likes of Anne-Marie and Sigrid the past couple of months and this fits the trend neatly. Not only songwise, also in terms of lyrics – this kind of self affirmation is all the rage and I’m here for it.
The Voice: Teenage power – and sometimes lack thereof. She can get away with it thanks to her youthful charm.
The Performance: All OK-ish in a MTV kind of way. Loving the yellow-and-black tartan by the way, I’ll have a pair of pants and a jacket like it, tack.
In one line: You do you, boo.
Why it could win: It’s got the bounce and the youthful spark, so who knows?
Why it won’t win: It doesn’t feel like it’s her time just yet – too Junior, eller hur?
10. John Lundvik – Too Late For Love
The Song: I much prefer this upbeat side of mr. Lundvik in comparison to that gospel ballad from last year’s edition. It’s really engaging and the way it keeps on accelerating towards the end is exciting.
The Voice: Probably the best vocalist in this year’s line-up, which IS saying something.
The Performance: Much like Nano, I really appreciate the inclusion of the backings – especially for a song like this you NEED the feeling of an entire group selling this. Too Sister-Act-cliché, you say? Get outta here!
11. Wiktoria – Not With Me
The Song: Not for me. This is the type of ballad that makes my skin itch.
The Voice: Not for me. It’s so Christina Aguilera I *really* want to put it on mute. It’s full on, all of the time and it’s basically just exhausting.
The Performance: Not for me. It is consistent in the way it all goes overboard like it does in style and vocals though. All it needs is a bottle of shampoo to make it an old skool Tahiti commercial, but hey.
In one line: Not for me. (But maybe you got that already.)
Why it could win: The spirits in the sky decide to mock me and give me a result that is the complete opposite of this review.
Why it won’t win: It’s too oldfashioned, right?
12. Arvingarna – I Do
The Song: he surprise of this line-up for me. It’s your typical Dansband entry and for some reason it works for me. It’s got bounce, it’s got joy… In other words: it makes me “lycklig, lycklig”. Never thought I’d say that about a Dansband entry. Maybe I need help.
The Voice: So on the nose it actually makes me jealous. Casper really nails it, as do the other three – who sing surprisingly high. It’s kinda really impressive.
The Performance: Sliding, rhythmic posing, dropping down to the knees – you name it, they have it. It could all feel really dated, but it doesn’t. How do they manage to do that? I feel like I’m losing the plot. Anyway: this is a nice addition to the final and a real banger to close with.
In one line: I really do.
Why it could win: It offers something completely different.
Why it won’t win: It’s too Swedish. But really, that would make it a refreshing choice. (Who am I? What kind of evil spirit has taken over me?)
So, on to the Big Question: who will come out on top? My bet is still on John Lundvik, even if I can totally see Anna Bergendahl doing a Robin Stjernberg. I wouldn’t count out Hanna & Liamoo either.
Who do you think’ll win? And who is your favorite? Vote below!