Melodifestivalen 2020 Final: The Preview

Posted: 01/03/2020 in Eurovision 2020, National Finals Reviews

Ow, is it March already? As spring slowly creeps around the corner and the end of on-season approaches rapidly, it’s time to gaze into our crystal ball for this year’s Melodifestivalen final. Who’ll get the ticket to Dotterdam Rotterdam? Då kör vi!

Wake up, Dimi. Wake. UP! That’s right, I àm saying that in a Rupaul-talking-to-Pearl way. It’s not by any means a reference to our very own 2019 entry for Eurovision, which many of you will probably have to Google to even know what I’m referring to. Hashtag shade.

Anyhew, 2020 had a bit of a rocky start planned for me and due to medical reasons I’ve not been able to post anything on here just yet. But my body seems to come through now that winter is slowly making room for spring, just in time for one on-season post and of course it has to be this year’s preview for the MF final.

This will be the 16th MF final I’ll follow live (as in: thanks to the internet) and it feels like the field has never been this open. Because it’s all a tad mediocre you say? In Melodifestivalen? Surely not! No really, there are a couple of really catchy gems in there. But I’m fully prepared for a surprise winner. Let’s see who could be in with a shot…and who’s not.

All rights of the videos below belong to SVT.

1. Victor Crone – Troubled Waters

The Song: This sounds like a it could have been the fifth single from Måns’ 2015 album. That contained no real exciting stuff besides his winning ESC song. The chorus is so lazy it’s annoying and the verses are just there.

The Voice: Victor’s 2019 ESC performance wasn’t exactly my favorite, and he doesn’t manage to turn the tide (ha!) with this one. The high notes are barely convincing, if he’s even singing them at all. Plus, there’s so much behind-the-scenes support that it feels really weird having him on stage alone…

The Performance: …especially with those straight-white-male dance moves. If you can call them dance moves at all. The Måns-like animation at the start is nice enough, but then it goes nowhere.

In one line: Muddy waters.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: I could try and find a fake arugment for argument’s sake, but computer says no.
Why it won’t win: It’s simply not very good, is it? How did this even make the final?

2. Paul Rey – Talking In My Sleep

The Song: Sounds really current, if a bit unexciting. But then I’m not really prone to go for gospelpop (see: Austria 2018). The verses do add another layer, so I have to admit it does have a certain je ne sais quoi.

The Voice: That vocal performance in Andra Chansen was BANG on the money and catapulted it to ‘dark horse’ status in my book. So my question is: why is this put at the dreaded number two slot?

The Performance: Even though he’s all alone on stage, he manages to fill it quite easily on his own. The choreography is somewhat unexpected but it works. There’s something about the combo of the black outfit, the heavy boots and the way he moves that fits the lyrics and the mood of the song perfectly.

In one line: I hear the secrets that you keep…
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: It’s got everything that worked the past couple of year at Eurovision.
Why it won’t win: It’s not that instant, and it’s in the number two slot (again, why?).

3. The Mamas – Move

The Song: It’s a bit weird having this on right after Paul Rey, I feel they could be cancelling each other out. Sure, the gospel sound is interpreted in an entirely different way but it’s still in the same realm to me. Also, what is it with songs that only have half a chorus this year? I quite like the girl power vibe, but it’s totally undermined by those light weight ‘uh oh ooh’s. Dunno, I wanted and expected a bit more oomph from this powerful trio.

The Voice: Speaking of which. Yes, they are vocal powerhouses and yes, they deserved their own song. But for a group that got promoted from backing to front vocalists, they sure lean a lot on help from backings. That are hidden. That’s a bit of a weird…eum…move.

The Performance: Nothing out of the ordinary here. Liking the armography. Could do without the winking.

In one line: Doesn’t exactly move me.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: Sweden is still on a Lundvik-high.
Why it won’t win: Sweden remembers Lundvik did not get that high. (With televoting.)

4. Mohombi – Winners

The Song: There’s something quintessentially generic about this song and I cannot for the life of me put my finger on it. Might be the average latin beat underneath. Might be the message that’s a bit meh. Might be the thirteen-in-a-dozen chorus. Might be the combo of it all.

The Voice: Mohombi has a peculiar nasal sound that is almost Muppet-like. It takes some getting used to, to be honest. Not ideal in a three minute song.

The Performance: Also a bit on the generic side. It feels like there’s no real story being told, no link to the song. It’s just a backdrop. Mohombi’s moves are cool, but I feel like his attempt last year left more of an impression than this one.

In one line: The definition of ‘meh’.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: The title alone is enough to convince people.
Why it won’t win: The title alone is enough to put people off.

5. Hanna Ferm – Brave

The Song: Sounds like something that could’ve been picked by Azerbaijan five years ago. Which means it’s something Sweden could’ve picked ten years ago. Woohoo. It’s catchy though, at least it’s got that going for it.

The Voice: Hanna is very brave attempting that high note. Especially since the other bits were already just a bit wobbly to begin with.

The Performance: The color scheme, the flirtatious looks in the camera, the slight desperate feel of it all. This couldn’t be more Zafura if it tried.

In one line: Drip drop, woohoo, drip drop, woohoo.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: Pretty little white girl being brave makes Sweden piss their pants.
Why it won’t win: It’s up against some other powerful women that’ll stomp all over it.

6. Méndez ft. Alvaro Estrella – Vamos Amigos

The Song: Again, I might be too influenced by my weekly Zumba classes but this is such fun! Latin-schlager at its best, even if that is still a bit of a weird combo for MF. I know, stereotypes much? I mean, it’s nothing groundbreaking but it’s three minutes of fun and quite frankly that’s what we needed in this final.

The Voice: Perfect combo, these two. They each have their own specialty and it works. And it sounds like they’re having fun at least.

The Performance: Just a bit too busy for my liking, I could personally do without those stairs and the constant running around. But bits of it really work, especially when they have a kind of dance off in the middle.

In one line: It’s as if Mendez was just released from prison and decided to throw a party.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: Sweden needs something caliente.
Why it won’t win: It’s not Sweden-does-Eurovision enough.

7. Dotter – Bulletproof

The Song: So, can we use SIA as a reference again or is that name off the table for the years to come? Actually, they used it themselves in the songwriter interviews, so screw it. This has a very, VERY effective chorus that grabs you in the snap of a finger. The verses provide a nice counterbalance and the bridge only adds to the catchiness of it all. It’s not all gold that shimmers though: there’s only one Bulletproof (hi, LaRoux) and the lyrics are a bit on the ‘wtf’ side once you start dissecting them…

The Voice: …once you get to understand them, that is. Meaning: once you’ve Googled them. Cause there’s a bit of work to be done on that annunciation, miss D! Other than that: awesome stuff. Much like Mohombi it all sounds a bit on the nasal side, but the trickery that comes out of that throat is nothing short of impressive.

The Performance: Armography? Check. Hairography? Check. Simple but effective idea to blow viewers off their socks? Check check check. Loving everything about that stage act. Too bad Moldova does something similar, even if it’s only one tenth of what we get here.

In one line: Mirror mirror on the chest, tell me who does SIA best?
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: It’s got it all, really.
Why it won’t win: It’s got too much of it all, possibly.

8. Robin Bengtsson – Take A Chance

The Song: Quite a peculiar package, this. It sounds fresh and familiar at the same time. Might have something to do with the hints of ABBA, not only in the title but also in the last part of the song. The build-up to that could have come earlier in the song, as far as I’m concerned – while the second verse could have been shorter. It takes a bit long to get there, and the pay-off is a bit too short. But it’s a nice and nifty package all in all. Could’ve done without the slightly weird London references though. But I guess Leicester Square sounds just a bit more familiar to Europe than Gamla Stan.

The Voice: We know what Robin is capable of by now and he lives up to expectations. The way he dodges the high note in the video I put up here is a bit of a letdown. But all in all a very secure performance, possibly maybe because he doesn’t have to move all that much…

The Performance: …and even in those few moves he has to do during those first two minutes it’s all too clear he’s not the most natural of movers. But they manage to distract from that in the cleverest of ways with all of that visual trickery going on. The switch to the light effect in the last minutes is quite abrupt but it matches the switch in tempo I guess. Bonus: Robin is still a dreamboat.

In one line: If you change your mind, I’m the first in line – honey I’m still free, take a chance on me.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: It’s pretty much the total Eurovision package.
Why it won’t win: Sweden needs a bit of girl power at Eurovision.

9. Mariette – Shout It Out

The Song: Perfect little pop song with motivational lyrics to match. A bit on the safe side in terms of sound, but a nice and quite Swedish sounding package.

The Voice: Mariette is one of the best vocalists in this final and she doesn’t disappoint here.

The Performance:  It’s a bit of a mystery why we’d need the reverse effect a decade later. Mariette has had better, if at times too complicated, acts in the past. This doesn’t even fit the feel of the song. I like the part with the shadows though. If only that would have been developed into a full act! Right now the act doesn’t do the song any service. Like, at all.

In one line: This your life, my friend, but you don’t need a guitar and a microphone stand.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: Ten years ago, a childwoman won and all she needed was a disappearing guitar and Sweden loves a reverse trip down memory lane.
Why it won’t win: Ten years ago, a childwoman won and all she needed was a disappearing guitar. Why would we need the reverse now?

10. Felix Sandman – Boys With Emotions

The Song: Gosh, so much to say. Where to begin? First of all: it’s all a bit on the nose. From the title itself to the flow of the lyrics, I wonder if it really needed to be so literal. I’d rather prefer the emotions to speak for themselves, kinda like his previous entry that got him to silver two years ago. I mean, I respect what they’re trying to do here and I can only applaud it. And maybe you need to be so literal for boys to understand they have emotions. Some boys, anyway. Don’t particularly care for the chorus, needless to say: too much repetition, especially towards the end of the song. And finally: just a hint of Pocahontas’ ‘Colors of the wind’ in the run-up to the chorus there. Could just be my brain though.

The Voice: Felix already proved he’s a good vocalist. I just don’t really hear it happening here. Granted, the song requires a different approach. But I never get to the point where he really manages to pull me into the song. Also, I hear a lot of backings helping him out. A couple of those dancers would have to wet their chests if this gets the ticket to Rotterdam.

The Performance: Great visual effects and ditto choreography, if a bit distracting at times. A bit of a mental institution feel at times, and I’m even if I’m not all that sure they were actively going for that effect I quite appreciate it.

In one line: I do have feelings. I have all of them!
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: Sweden’s feeling emotional.
Why it won’t win: Sweden feels like it’s okay to keep those emotions to yourself.

11. Anna Bergendahl – Kingdom Come

The Song: This is okay, if a tad unexciting. For a slice of country pop it’s quite catchy, but that chorus is so generic it almost evaporates while it’s on. It’s a logical predecessor to Ashes To Ashes, but it feels a bit like a watered down version of it.

The Voice: Anna’s an excellent vocalist, there’s no doubt about it. I just wish she’d be able to sell it a bit more, to make it exciting and pull the audience into the song. It’s all a bit singing by numbers, somehow.

The Performance: Loving the armography, loving the dancers coming out of nowhere, loving the ‘queen and her army’ kinda feeling. However…it doesn’t really match the song and lyrics, so it all feels a bit sterile. It’s good, it’s just not gripping.

In one line: This does everything the ideal Eurovision recipe says…except it forgets the seasoning.
PERSONAL TOTAL:
Why it could win: Sweden decides good enough is good enough.
Why it won’t win: Sweden needs a bit more flavor.

12. Annis Don Demina – Vem E Som Oss

The Song: Let’s start with the obvious: Macklemore called and wants his sound back. No seriously, this sounds almost exactly like Can’t Hold Us. But I guess it’s better to steal in a clever way than to invent something stupid. I guess. That said, it’s a song that bursts with joy and life and that alone is enough to embrace it in this line-up.

The Voice: Not really a singer, is he? It would have been great to have the actual singers on stage with him. But he does what he has to do, and quite well at that.

The Performance: Clever stuff, those magazine covers with some pop-arty effects. Fits the idea of the song to a T. Also: that purple velvet track suit is nothing short of awesome and I must have one.

In one line: ‘Vem E Som Oss’ means ‘Who Is Like Us’. Easy: Macklemore.
PERSONAL TOTAL:  
Why it could win: It’s different from anything else in this final and being different does make a difference.
Why it won’t win: It’s not thàt different in the outside world. Why? What do you mean, why? Did you not read the above?

So, on to the Big Question: who will come out on top? I think it’ll be Dotterdam all the way. I don’t really see Hanna or Anna threatening her. If anyone’s gonna grab the win from her, it’ll be someone more unexpected like Paul Rey or Robin Bengtsson. Wishful thinking, you say? Me? Never!

Who do you think’ll win? And who is your favorite? Vote below!

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