This took place on Saturday night and thus launched what has become our favourite six week stretch of every year! Readers of this site last week will know that we were quite underwhelmed by the clips of the songs that were previewed on Friday, but in the end, SVT pulled off a great 90 minute show, and we found ourselves really liking the majority of the performances, and the songs themselves. However, even putting aside our re-evaluation of the songs, the show was still spectacular – thanks solely to the opening act that was organised. Charlotte Perrelli, Nanne Gronvall, and Sonja Alden performing a drama disco cover of an old Bonnie Tyler hit! Whilst wearing barely there, metallic gold and silver mini dresses. Absolutely inspired – the perfect answer to all the schlager fans who had complained about the lack of old favourites in this year’s line up of 32 artists.

Genius;

WOW. Just, wow!

As expected, and as deserved, Salem Al Fakir scored the highest votes out of the eight songs, and thus won a place in the final. His song ‘Keep On Walking’ doesn’t appear to have gone down too well with fans of the contest, but we loved it. It’s so melodic, and the music in it is rapturous! He was joined in the final by Ola. And as much as we like Ola, we’re just not completely sold on ‘Unstoppable’. It’s just nowhere near as great as his previous musical output. And we just don’t think it deserved to go to the final, when his much better song from 2008, ‘Love In Stereo’ could only manage to reach as far as the second chance round. Still, we seem to be in the minority in this, so we’re looking forward to hearing it a few more times and it finally clicking! However, after seeing the below video of him drinking champagne from the bottle and dancing to ‘Single Ladies’ a few hours after the results, we’re not going to begrudge him a place in the final!!!

The two positions in the second chance round were awarded to Jessica Andersson and Pain of Salvation – the two big ballads of the night. Jessica’s song, ‘I Did It For Love’ had a certain sort of beauty, but like Ola’s track, it was just missing something. Melodifestivalen ballads are usually amazing, but this lacked any sort of spark to make it as memorable as it needed to be. Two ballads from last year that came eighth in their heats (Shirley Clamp and Susanne Alfvengren) were miles better than this. The Pain of Salvation song, ‘Road Salt’, did however etch itself into memory. It was a beautiful, haunting performance that we actually thought would guarantee them a place in the final. It’ll certainly be one to beat in the second chance round. We’re not sure we’ll be liking it as much on record, but live – it’s great.

Like last year, SVT have banned all performances of the top four placing songs, onto youtube – so as to prevent the songs competing in the earlier heats, having an unfair advantage over the songs in later heats. However, the bottom four are all on there, and here they are (in order of where they finished, from fifth to eight place), along with our thoughts;

Amazing performance, amazing live vocals, and amazing key change – but the song was just too dull. There was nothing special or catchy about it whatsoever. It was probably the song we were most disappointed in, as we had the highest hopes for it. It’s a shame really, as Linda deserved so much more, for all she put into the performance. But the song just totally let her down. We hope to see her back in the contest one year with a proper schlager number, and not something which even Sofia would turn down.

Along with Salem Al Fakir, this tied as our favourite from the night. We just loved it! The melody was there, the vocals were there, and the performance incorporated something that looked like it had come from a West End musical! How could it only have finished sixth?! We’ve been listening to it a lot this today since the studio versions leaked, and we especially love the elongated, drama filled finish!

This really isn’t our kind of thing at all, but we did absolutely love the bassline in it! But that was about it unfortunately. It was dire otherwise.

And then there was this. And we just don’t know what to make of it at all! On paper, it’s got everything we love; a dance beat, a vocal from a lady that’s clearly got her own sense of style, and it’s in Melodifestivalen. But we didn’t like it at all! The song is disappointingly forgettable, and the performance was just a bit cringeworthy – as though it was trying to appear odd for the sake of appearing odd. And it just didn’t work. Jenny herself has said that the song takes a few listens for it to appeal – well then a show like Melodifestivalen, where you only have once chance to apeal to the voting public, really isn’t the right outlet for it then is it?! This does appear to have been very popular with fans of the contest though, so perhaps it’ll be come a sizeable enough hit. After all, the songs which finished eighth in Heat 1 of the 2009 contest, went on to be a number one in the Swedish singles chart!

And on to next week then! Can’t wait.

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