This afternoon we spent the day immersed blissfully in Melodifestivalen land. Or the Heat 2 rehearsals to be more exact.
It’s SUCH a strong heat. And very pop, at that. Good in that it means we’re gonna get a great show on Saturday night. Bad because it points towards a result of heartbreaking proportions for us!
Tomorrow night you’ll be able to watch the whole thing live wherever you are in the world, on SVT’s website, at 7pm UK time. SVT will also keep it online for a couple of days afterwards. For now though, they’ve uploaded minute long clips of each of the rehearsals (yesterday’s rehearsals) here. And tomorrow afternoon they’ll be uploading the studio recordings of all songs in full, right here.
Here though, is what we saw and heard during today’s rehearsals for tomorrow night’s big show.
Ulrik Munther – ‘Soldiers’
(Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, David Jackson, Ulrik Munther, Johan Åberg)
This is one that we were a little bit appreheansive about, to put it politely. We do like Ulrik. But his music has never really captured us as much as we would have liked it to.
So perhaps that’s why we were so pleasantly surprised by ‘Soldiers’. It’s not the dull-fest that we feared. Instead, it’s actually got a good kick to it. A mid-tempo jaunt with a heavy beat in its chorus. Not quite strong enough to have us belatedly leaping onto the already chugging Ulrik Munther bandwagon with our tail between our legs. But definitely our favourite song of his so far.
Will it qualify? Probably. Girls like him. Mums love him. And even Scandipoptarts such as ourselves have warmed to him a little thanks to this song.
Top Cats – ‘Baby Doll’
(Lina Eriksson, Mårten Eriksson, Susie Päivärinta)
Here’s another one that we weren’t expecting too much from. Rockabilly just isn’t our thing. And with it being of that genre, there’s really no point in describing the song either – everyone knows what an up-tempo rockabilly song sounds like. This one’s an inoffensive toe tapper.
We do prefer it to last year’s rockabilly entry, ‘The King’ by The Playtones. But that’s not really the highest praise coming from us. We detested that song.
These chaps are at least quite nice to look at though. Not a minger amongst them, you might be pleased to learn! (on stage more so than in that unflattering image below)
Sonja Aldén – ‘I Din Himmel’
(Sonja Aldén, Bobby Ljunggren, Peter Boström)
In contrast to the previous two songs, this is one entry that we were really looking forward to and had high hopes for. And God bless you Sonja – you didn’t let us down.
Yes, it’s your standard schlager ballad, but it’s one that’s done remarkably well. It’s definitely one of the better ballads that have been in the contest in recent years. Helped probably because of a noticeable lift in production that’s been given to it by Peter Boström, who normally produces the better club tracks of the contest. It’s beautiful AND it’s catchy. It doesn’t take much to remember the chorus, even though the whole thing has an understated class to it. The sound of the middle eight, playing out in the arena, was a tiny little bit breathtaking, we have to admit.
On the other hand, the performance certainly isn’t understated! But this is Melodifestivalen after all. She lords over the stage in a flowing frock that’s complicated with layers. And our favourite shot is of her walking across the bridge, where the camera captures the arena audience behind her.
It’s amazing. We love love love this.
Andreas Lundstedt – ‘Aldrig Aldrig’
(Randy Goodrum, Niclas Lundin, Maria Marcus)
We also really really like Andreas Lundstedt’s song. A lot! It’s got a gorgeous, string heavy production to it. And it’s a song that creeps up on you after a few listens to reveal how fantastic it is. In its three minute duration, it’s also got lots of intricacies that we love, playing alongside each other. There’s the aforementioned deeps strings, an amazing hand clapping post-chorus after the first refrain, something of a glorious key change, and then a slow outro.
Its intricacies and the repeated listens it takes to fully appreciate it, might be something of a problem though – given that he’s only got one chance to impress on Saturday night. But we hope it’s not an issue for viewers. This is definitely up in the top half of the songs in this heat, in terms of quality. It certainly deserves to qualify for one of the next stages.
Even if he doesn’t manage to progress any further in the contest though, we can see this as being a big favourite beyond it. ‘Aldrig Aldrig’ is a fantastic addition to the competition this year.
Timoteij – ‘Stormande Hav’
(Kristian Lagerström, Johan Fjellström, Stina Engelbrecht, Jens Engelbrecht)
We wanted another ‘Kom’. We got ‘Kom’ being bundled into a nightclub. We’ll take it!
Like ‘Kom’, this captured us from the intro, straight away. And it doesn’t let go until the final glory note at the end (which we hope Cecilia will be ok with on the night). The beat is a lot more club orientated than ‘Kom’. That’s not to say that it’s a club track though. Of course it’s not. It’s still very much Swedish folk crossed with a hearty helping of schlager. But it’s definitely the sound of the girls two years later.
It’s the look of the girls two years later too. The neutral Nordic threads have been replaced by the silvery sparkly adornments of a fabulous girls night out. They’re dressed like actual real life girls this time around. And they look even more gorgeous than ever. And quite sultry too, the minxes.
Yes there’s a key change and yes it’s immense. This is our favourite song this week.
We were also quite taken by the chaps cavorting about enthusiastically behind them. You’ll see what we mean.
David Lindgren – ‘Shout It Out’
(Fernando Fuentes, Tony Nilsson)
David Lindgren was one that we didn’t know what to expect from. What’s he all about?
Well both his performance and his song brought one thing to mind – a High School Musical production of Danny’s ‘In The Club’ from last year. He’s SO Troy Bolton channeling Danny Saucedo. But in our books that’s not a bad thing, even though it sounds like it should be! And so this is yet another one that we really liked today.
We found out this afternoon that this song was originally called ‘To The Sky’, and was actually supposed to be Danny Saucedo’s entry this year. Being Danny fans though, we’re kind of glad it’s not. Yes it’s a good song, but it gets swallowed up in between the two superior up-tempo songs that precede it, and the song that comes after it too.
Bonus points to David for his breakdancing. Although he’ll need to fix the hole in the arse of his trousers that said breakdancing caused today – and continued to make grow bigger and bigger as he rehearsed two more times! Oops. Nice underwear though.
More bonus points for the David Guetta ‘When Love Takes Over’ intro.
Mimi Oh – ‘Det Går För Långsamt’
(Niclas Lundin, Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad)
Mimi Oh was a very pleasant surprise today. Yes, we already knew she was ace, but as a debutante we really had no idea how she was going to do on stage. We’ve never seen her live before. But thankfully (and surprisingly, given the stage she’s on) she’s really really confident. The vocals were all present and very much correct – to the point that halfway into the first verse we actually wondered if she was singing live or if it was playback. Which is a good thing, we guess. And as for her presence, well she skips merrily around the stage with a beaming smile on her face. Something which might not sound very difficult to do, but it’s a lack of confidence that has seen so many Melodifestivalen first-timers come unstuck in the past.
The song itself – it’s yet another one that we love this week. Pleasing in that it’s obviously a strong heat, but frustrating in that they’re all in the same heat – thus limiting each other’s chances of progressing any further from it.
Anyway, this is pure schlager, with Mimi Oh giving it the expected 80′s twist that we expected her to. The verses have a militant and rousing beat to them, and give way to a supremely catchy chorus and post-chorus. It’s all quite lush. And to view, it’s very fun. All dressed up in neon. Like Andreas, this will probably be a big favourite beyond the contest – even if it ends up not being fully appreciated on the night.
Thomas Di Leva – ‘Ge Aldrig Upp’
(Thomas Di Leva)
This is a difficult one to comment. It might well be a good song, but after the five songs that have come before it, it just sounds so utterly dull in comparison!
It was a pretty large comedown to finish the heat on. Sitting in the arena after witnessing and hearing what we just had, it was difficult to judge this objectively. But we’ll try.
New age Coldplay minus the epic sound. There.
Sorry, but it’s been a long day of seeing some amazing new pop. This just doesn’t touch the sides as far as we’re concerned. Although we have a sneaking suspicion it’ll take the place of one of our actual favourites, and end up getting to either the final or andra chansen.
Nice use of the stage, we might add. But even then, we’d say Mimi Oh used it miles better!