Melodifestivalen 2014 kicked off last night with a strong first heat. Well, in terms of songs and performances anyway – but we’ll get to the rest later.
A rock ballad, a retro ballad, a dansband schlager, a contemporary schlager, a Persian Princess, a psychedelic mess, some visual kei swagger, and a Scandipop ‘Moves Like Jagger’. Quite the eclectic mix of songs on offer, but delightfully only one of them ended up being shit. And that finished last, so justice was served in that respect.
Whether justice was served at the top of the score board is debatable. One very good song went through (‘Songbird’ by Ellen Benediktson) and ok yes, one other very good song also qualified to the final (‘To The End’ by YOHIO). But it’s a little harder to give him credit as A) it’s such a rip off of a song from last year’s contest, and B) he’s such an unlikable little cretin so long as he’s in that YOHIO character mode.
So yes – two very good songs through to the final. But should they be there at the expense of one of the songs which had to settle for a place in the second chance round? Hell no. Helena Paparizou’s ‘Survivor’ – in terms of both the song and the performance – was in a different league last night. ‘Survivor’ was even better than anything in last year’s whole contest. An almighty pop song that came on last and diminished the impact of everything that was performed before it. Or at least that’s how we saw it anyway. Clearly two songs before it did indeed maintain their impact enough to make Sweden throw more votes their way ahead of Helena. Oh well – after only one week, the Andra Chansen heat is already unmissable.
Linus Svenning got the other ticket to Andra Chansen, meaning that we had to say goodbye to Elisa Lindström and her classic dansband schlager ‘Casanova’ (she’s been turned down for the contest TWICE before with better songs than this, but we still adored every minute of her OTT performance), Alvaro Estrella and his sexy, catchy, pop song ‘Bedroom’ (obvious vocal issues when you compare his performance to the studio version, but it came across as a big tune last night regardless, so we don’t know what went wrong), Mahan Moin and her Middle Eastern flavoured Eurovision-esque ‘Aleo’ (this would have worked for so many other countries at Eurovision, but it’s not Sweden, and the Swedes know it), and Sylvester Schlegel’s ‘Bygdens Son’ (no surprises with that result at all).
Elsewhere in the show is where it all really fell apart. Not that great hosts with not a lot of confidence and even less chemistry. Comedy which was quite off the mark. And NO BLOODY INTERVAL ACT?! Sweden has a wealth of every kind of music artist on offer, that could have taken to the stage last night and done something. Anything! But instead we got more unfunny attempts at comedy. We hope they can pull something better out of the bag for future weeks. They really don’t have to look very far, let’s face it.
Here, are the performances of the eliminated acts from last night;