Throughout the week SVT unveiled the 32 artists who will be competing in Melodifestivalen 2014, and the songs they’ll be singing. There are a lot of big names returning, as well as some interesting debutantes.
Here’s the lowdown on all 32;
Heat 1: Malmö 1/2
Artist: Mahan Moin
Songwriters: Mahan Moin, Anderz Wrethov
A Swedish singer who rose to fame by competing in Persian Idol, as one does. We featured Mahan Moin back in 2012, when she released her single ‘Morning Light‘ – a retro flavoured soulful ballad. We’re not expecting more of the same here though, mainly because the song’s co-composer Anderz Wrethov knows his way around bizarre up-tempo pop songs. From Arash and Behrang Miri, to Ch!pz and Markoolio. And The United’s ‘Stay Young‘ from earlier this year.
Artist: Alvaro Estrella
Songwriters: Jakke Erixson, Jon Bordon, Lauren Francis, Kristofer Östergren
A former backing singer and dancer who launched his own pop career in late 2012 with ‘Till The Stars Come Out’, which we wrote a bit more about here. It all went a bit quiet after that though, but after announcing his signing with Universal Music two weeks ago, now he’s in Melodifestivalen with a song that he describes as a “flirty and fun pop fest“. Written by two members of Melody Club, and the producer behind Alex Saidac’s first three hits. The whole backing-dancer-turned-lead-singer angle worked out quite well for Anton Ewald this year. Alvaro Estrella will obviously be hoping to repeat that level of success. The Universal Music press release described his music as a cross between Bruno Mars, Miguel, and Kim Cesarion.
Artist: Linus Svenning
Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe
Fredrik Kempe let slip earlier this year that he was working with Linus Svenning, back then calling him one of the most talented people he’d ever recorded with. Linus made a name for himself on YouTube, performing cover versions of other people’s songs, and has amassed 30,000 fans on his Facebook page. Fredrik wrote ‘Bröder’ (‘Brother’) for Linus after hearing him speak of his grief for his deceased brother, Jim. So this one is going to pull on the heart strings quite a bit. Here is Svenning’s own song tribute to Jim.
Artist: Sylvester Schlegel
Songwriters: Sylvester Schlegel
Sylvester here is a former member of the massively successful The Ark. And so in that respect, he’s already won Melodifestivalen once. One would expect his entry not to stray too far from the sound of his old band. At the very least, it’s bound to be a guitar track, right?
Artist: Elisa Lindström
Songwriters: Ingela ”Pling” Forsman, Bobby Ljunggren, Jimmy Jansson
Lead singer of super successful dansband Elisa’s, and the lady herself has just won the most recent series of Körslaget. There’s a lot of public favour towards this girl, thanks to her smiley, girl-next-door disposition. Elisa’s have been responsible for some incredible schlager tracks, most notably ‘Linjen i Min Hand‘ (itself a Melodifestivalen reject). And this time around Elisa promises an up-tempo pop song that she describes as happy and beautiful.
Artist: Ellen Benediktson
Songwriters: Sharon Vaughn, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren
18 year old Malmö resident Ellen caught Christer Björkman’s attention in May this year, while she was the stand-in singer for France at the Eurovision Song Contest. He was so impressed with her voice, that he personally invited her to come and compete in Melodifestivalen. Her song is written by a bunch whose credits range from ‘Release Me’ by Agnes, to ‘Jag Ljuger Så Bra’ by Linda Bengtzing. But we shan’t allow that to get us too excited. Yet.
Artist: Helena Paparizou
Songwriters: Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Karl-Ola Kjellholm, Sharon Vaughn
Like she needs an introduction. Former Antique member who went on to have big success as a solo artist – a career which saw her win the Eurovision Song Contest for Greece in 2005. She came back to music this year with the sublime ‘Save Me (SOS)‘, and we’re hoping for more of the same with ‘Survivor’. Writers Bobby and Henrik were behind Carola’s ‘Invincible’, Sharon Vaughn has written everything from American country music to a Swedish Idol winner’s song, and Karl-Ola Kjellholm produced Helena Paparizou’s own Kylie-esque ‘The Groove Is The Solution‘ earlier this year.
To the End
Songwriters: Andreas Johnson, Johan Lyander, Peter Kvint, YOHIO
The chap who only went and won the public vote at this year’s Melodifestivalen final, finishing second overall. His song ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ however, proved to be something of an anomaly on his otherwise uncommercial and quite frankly unlistenable album. Although with Andreas Johnson and Peter Kvint on board as songwriters this time around, ‘To The End’ is unlikely to be anything other than commercial enough for Saturday night entertainment. He’s already being tooted as a favourite to win, but perhaps people aren’t taking into account just how unpopular he can be with the public vote too – only last month he finished bottom in his semi on SVT’s Alla Tiders Hits’.
Deltävling 2, Linköping 8/2
Songwriters: Johan Hirvi, Mats Lie Skåre, Nebeyu Baheru, Njol Badjie, Pa Modou Badjie
These fellows had a huge hit on their hands with ‘Dansa Pausa’ last year. And with ‘Efter Solsken’, they’ve promised another Panetoz-esque track that’s going to be big in the arena, and with which they can spread as much fun and energy as possible. We’d be very surprised if this didn’t go straight to the final.
Songwriters: Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb, Melanie Wehbe, Charlie Mason
We’ve written about Swedish X Factor graduate Manda a couple of times before. Phenomenal voice, and someone whom we’ve always thought looks like a great popstar. She describes her song as an uplifting and positive pop song that’s a little bit Katy Perry. And of course given that two of its composers, Joy & Linnea Deb, actually won Melodifestivalen this year as songwriters, ‘Glow’ should well be one to watch.
I Am Somebody
Artist: Pink Pistols
Songwriters: Joakim Törnqvist, Nestor Geli, Per Ivar Hed, Susie Päivärinta, Tord Bäckström
Pink Pistols are a new group comprising two members of drag act After Dark, plus the duo Straight Up! So it’s fair to say we know what to expect here. They describe the song as a modern show number, and a combination of everything that feels good. Co-written by Susie out of Lili & Susie. This is probably even going to out-camp Alcazar’s comeback two weeks later.
Songwriters: Thomas G:son, Peter Boström, Julimar ”J-Son” Santos
Written by the two guys behind Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’, and one of Eric Saade’s main songwriters and collaborators. So X Factor group JEM are already off to a good start in terms of aligning themselves with Melodifestivalen success stories. Their debut single ‘Zoom’, which we wrote about here, was a dancepop track, and we’re expecting more of the same from ‘Love Trigger’. They finished 5th on X Factor – above the two other X Factor graduates competing in Melodifestivalen 2014, Oscar Zia (7th) and Manda (6th).
När Änglarna Går Hem
Artist: Martin Stenmarck
Songwriters: Andreas Öhrn, Alexander Bard, Martin Stenmarck, Peter Boström
Collaborating with Gravitonas, plus Peter Boström with whom he previously made mega hit ‘Sjumilakliv’ and ‘Tonight’s The Night’, Martin Stenmarck is back in Melodifestivalen for the first time since winning the whole thing back in 2005. He promises a cool number with a massive production. And he will probably do quite well with it too.
Set Yourself Free
Artist: Little Great Things
Songwriters: Charlie Grönvall, Cristoffer Wernqvist, Felix Grönvall, Adam Dahlström
40 years after ABBA won Melodifestivalen with ‘Waterloo’, Benny Andersson’s grandchildren will be competing in the same competition. Charlie and Felix Grönvall make up half of Little Great Things, a brand new group and a Melodifestivalen debut. They call their entry ‘Set Yourself Free’ a strong, up-tempo pop rock song with a serious tone. And the fact that Nanne Grönvall’s children are competing in the same heat as the man who pipped her to victory in Melodifestivalen in 2005, is not lost on us. Bravo SVT.
Artist: The Refreshments
Songwriters: Joakim Arnell
A traditional rock n’ roll group, for the Swedes love them so. We however, probably won’t. Surprise us, boys.
Artist: Sanna Nielsen
Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed “K-One” Pirouzpanah
Sanna Nielsen is back with a song written by her old duetting partner Kredrik Kempe, and a man who has written songs for every boyband from Backstreet Boys to Boyzone, and Westlife to Youngblood. She says that she was persuaded back to Melodifestivalen by the song, which just “feels right“. She’s in a tough heat, but we hope that the song is good enough so as not to break her past record of making it to the Melodifestivalen final every time she has competed.
Deltävling 3, Göteborg 15/2
All We Are
Artist: State of Drama
Songwriters: Göran Werner, Sanken Sandqvist, Emil Gullhamn, Sebastian Hallifax
We really didn’t need to see these dullards back so soon after they contributed to the pop blood bath that was Heat 3 of Melodifestivalen 2013. However, their song obviously struck a chord with a lot of people, so it’s no surprise that they have been asked back.
Around the World
Artist: Dr Alban & Jessica Folcker
Songwriters: Dr Alban, Jakke Erixson, Karl-Ola Kjellholm
Dr Alban, eh? Wonders will never cease when it comes to this contest. He’s been attempting a comeback for the last few years though, so it’s not much of a surprise that he’s turned to Melodifestivalen in an effort to finally get it off the ground. Kudos to him for inviting Jessica Folcker along for the ride, even if we’d much prefer she was competing on her own instead. The song is described as typical Dr Alban song, which will appeal to anyone who liked the pop music of the 90s. Songwriters Kjellholm and Erixson have each done great things in Swedish pop music over the last couple of years, so we’re looking forward to hearing this one.
Artist: Shirley Clamp
Songwriters: Bobby Ljunggren, Marcos Ubeda, Sharon Vaughn, Henrik Wikström
Shirley’s back with a song she describes as being typically Shirley Clamp, with a modern twist. It’s fabulous to have her return to the contest on which she built her career. And after the experimentation with ballads and those Angels, it’s nice to hear she’s sounding like Shirley again.
Busy Doin’ Nothin’
Artist: Ace Wilder
Songwriters: Ace Wilder, Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb
A newcomer whom we’ve been loving a lot this year thanks to her two mega pop singles ‘Do It‘ and ‘Bitches Like Fridays‘. She’s written ‘Busy Doin Nothin’ together with Robin Stjernberg and Ulrik Munther’s scribers. And based on the title, we’re expecting another attitude laden song in the same vein as her second single. Unlike a lot of the other debutantes this year, we’ve actually yet to see what Ace Wilder is like when she performs live. Here’s hoping she’s more Agnes than Anniela.
Songwriters: Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb, Anton Malmberg Hård Af Segerstad, Outtrigger
This group first came to people’s attention when they released a metal cover version of Robin Stjernberg’s ‘You’ onto YouTube. And ‘You’s songwriters liked it so much, they invited them to write a song together. ‘Echo’ is that song, and obviously it will be the aim to replace the aforementioned ‘You’ as the next Melodifestivalen winner.
En Enkel Sång
Artist: CajsaStina Åkerström
Songwriters: CajsaStina Åkerström
A hugely successful singer and songwriter who has gotten round to releasing a dozen albums throughout her career but enters Melodifestivalen for the first time. Will it go the way of Louise Hoffsten or Anna Järvinen? She describes ‘En Enkel Sång’ as a ballad.
Songwriters: Linnéa Deb, Joy Deb, Anna Lidman, Hannes Lundberg, Michael Ottosson
Winners of the Svensktoppen-nästa contest, like Therese Fredenwall was last year. They’ve written the song together with reigning Melodifestivalen songwriting champions, The Debs. And we’re hoping that these guys will be the first of their kind, who don’t really have that in-Melodifestivalen-because-they-won-a-competition feeling to them.
Yes We Can
Artist: Oscar Zia
Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed “K-One” Pirouzpanah
X Factor graduate Oscar Zia competes in Melodifestivalen for the first time as a solo artist, after giving Behrang Miri a help with the vocals on ‘Jalla Dansa Sawa’ earlier this year. He’s since gone on to launch his own pop career with ‘#Fail‘ and ‘Without You‘. ‘Yes We Can’ is described by the man himself as fun, poppy, and with lots of speed. He also calls it old fashioned but with a modern twist. Ok Oscar.
Deltävling 4, Örnsköldsvik 22/2
Blame It On The Disco
Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed “K-One” Pirouzpanah
The last time these guys staged a comeback, we got ‘Stay The Night’. No pressure. The group who called it quits in 2011 are back already, via their most suited stage to perform on – Melodifestivalen. One would think/hope that they wouldn’t reform so soon unless they had a song that was so amazing it simply couldn’t be passed up. And so here we are. Andreas Lundstedt from the band calls ‘Blame It On The Disco’ a real party song, and says that it’s Alcazar through and through.
En Himmelsk Sång
Artist: Ellinore Holmer
Songwriters: Ellinore Holmer, Vanna Rosenberg, Åsa Schmalenbach, Josefina Sanner, Henrik Wikström, Amir Aly
Nada, sorry. Would anyone like to help her get more than 160 likes on her Facebook fan page though?
Fight Me If You Dare
Songwriters: Albin Nicklasson, Nicklas Laine, Louise Frick Sveen
I.D.A are a pop rock group who have been around for a while, although they’ve actually been pretty quiet for the last few years, which makes their sudden participation quite surprising. They’ll be singing the song that won the ‘Allmänhetens’ competition, in which the public can submit an entry. They call it a rock song about revenge, a strong track with an in-your-face attitude about it.
Artist: Josef Johansson
Songwriters: Peter Boström, Thomas G:son, Josef Johansson, Peo Thyrén
We wrote about this chap back in April after we fell head over heels with his brill ‘Baby Baby‘ single. Obviously we’re hoping for more of the same from him. And it’s pleasing to see that he’s got ‘Euphoria’s songwriters on board with him this time too. He says that his song is arena pop and bombastic, while sounding a little bit like Enya and R Kelly too. Bloody hell, how does that work then?!
Artist: Janet Leon
Songwriters: Karl-Ola Kjellholm, Jimmy Jansson, Louise Winter
After ‘Heartstrings’ in Melodifestivalen 2013, and ‘New Colours’, which was Stockholm Pride’s official song this year, Janet Leon is back again. Janet describes ‘Hollow’ as quite different to ‘Heartstrings’ though, an emotional song about losing someone special to you. She says that it as a new chance to show Sweden what she can do. She was a favourite of ours this year, we hope that we feel the same way in 2014.
Artist: Anton Ewald
Songwriters: John Lundvik
Unsurprisingly, Anton Ewald is back again after his successful debut in 2013 with ‘Begging’. And this time around he’s unashamed in his admittance that he’s in it to win it. He’s playing coy about what kind of a song it is, other than that it’s awesome and that he likes it a hell of a lot. But then you’d hope so, wouldn’t you. The songwriter behind ‘Natural’ is the same chap who wrote ‘When You Tell The World You’re Mine’ with Jörgen Elofsson for Agnes and Björn Skifs. And last year he was also responsible for the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix entry ‘On Hold’ by Shackles.
Raise Your Hands
Songwriters: Jari Kujansuu, Thomas Johansson, Calle Kindbom, Mikael de Bruin
We would personally have preferred an act called AmylTrack, but hey ho. These guys are representing the hard rock genre. And three of them are shockingly fit.
Artist: Linda Bengtzing
Songwriters: Nicke Borg, Jojo Borg Larsson
She’s back! And this time with a song written for her by the same guy she qualified with from Heat 4 of Melodifestivalen in 2011. Nicke Borg has used the words pop, rock, AND disco to describe the song, so there you go. Whatever it sounds like though, you just know that Linda Bengtzing is going to perform the living shit out of it. And we’d hazard a guess already that we’re gonna love it.