Four long weeks ago, Swedish broadcaster SVT set out on its mission to find a song to send to Eurovision. Melodifestivalen is the TV event of the year in Sweden, with 28 songs battling it out across four weeks of preliminary rounds, before a second chance round for the songs that didn’t quite make it the first time (Andra Chansen) and, finally, the final, to be held this year on 14 March in Friends Arena in Stockholm.
It’s a massively entertaining show but, of course, the song quality varies. Of those 28 songs, a large number were guff that we think you don’t need to waste your time with. But, as you’d expect from the land with pop music running through its veins, there were also some absolute corkers. And here they are.
First up we have Midnight Boy, with his song Don’t Say No, which criminally came last in its heat. It’s a deliciously camp Eighties throwback that more than slightly resembles the Pet Shop Boys and Dead or Alive, but is utterly thrilling in its own right. Midnight Boy is pretty new to the scene so we hope the result doesn’t stall his fledgling career – although the song does seem to be faring far better in the charts than it did in the contest.
Finding more success was Isa, who went straight to the final with Don’t Stop. It was probably written before the world heard Shake It Off, but the similarities are striking. Not that that’s a bad thing. This won’t win the competition, but it could have launched a great new popstar.
Mariette also went straight to the final with the dramatic mid-tempo number Don’t Stop Believing. This was mooted as a potential winner and would be a very good choice, but the buzz seems to have faded. The presentation is strikingly modern, not a million miles away from the same aesthetic Loreen had with Euphoria back in 2012.
Sadly, live vocals are pretty important when it comes to these things, and they’re not the strong point of Dinah Nah, but her song Make Me (La La La) is a massive banger that virtually reeks of poppers. It’s modern and cool and recalls Ace Wilder’s brilliant runner up Busy Doin’ Nothin’ last year. She made it to the final through Andra Chansen and this is this year’s cool entry that actually sounds like stuff you hear in the charts. Whichever way it goes on Saturday night, we’ll be keeping an eye on this lady in the future. (Although the video is *a little* bit like a Romanian Eurovision entry.)
They’re our top four, but not the only highlights. You should also check out Molly Pettersson Hammar‘s powerful potential chart smash I’ll Be Fine, Magnus Carlsson‘s enthusiastic and very catchy schlager Möt mig i Gamla Stan, Kristin Amparo‘s sorrowful Adele-style ballad I See You (which should definitely have made it to the final), Caroline Wennergren‘s jazzy soul number Black Swan and the two big hitters, and favourites to battle it out for victory (alongside a Sami entry that’s just a bit of a cheesfest to non-Swedes): Eric Saade with Sting (generic but competent dance pop) and Måns Zelmerlöw with Heroes (generic but competent dance pop that rips off David Guetta something chronic). Both boys are super pretty and have a large army of teen fans who will be voting their little fingers off, but expect Måns to snatch victory.
But for heaven’s sake, whatever you do, don’t listen to Groupie.