Week two of Melodifestivalen 2011, and this time we’re in Gothenburg. And bizarrely, there’s even more snow down here this week as there was last week in Luleå! Despite the freezing temperatures in Luleå over the festivities of the first heat, we still had an absolute riot. And so Heat 2 has a lot to live up to.

This afternoon we sat through the rehearsals of each of the eight songs competing. They all get approximately 30 minutes each to perfect whatever it is they’re aiming to do on stage (it’s always more than just a simple sing and dance, isn’t it?!). And that means three run-throughs of their song in full. Giving us plenty of scope to judge everything about them.

And here are our thoughts!

Brolle: ‘Seven Days and Seven Nights’
We’re really sorry readers, but truth be told, we just can’t judge this song fairly. We find this man so unbelievably and incredibly attractive that we’re unable to think rationally. And as a result, he could be singing the alphabet on stage and we’d still be sat in a contented state of agog.

*swoon* etc etc

There’s lots of swagger across the stage, and a fair bit of raised eyebrow smiling to the camera. We established that much at least.

As for the song, it’s catchy enough, but after the rest of the songs were played, we found it difficult to remember this one in particular. But maybe that’s because our mind was elsewhere during its performance!

Loreen: My Heart Is Refusing Me
This is the most intriguing song of the lot. We like it, but we don’t know why. We don’t even know what it is! Electro ballad? Hard house anthem? Whatever it is, we’re enamored with it. And we get the feeling we’re gonna be listening to it a lot after this. We’re also hugely impressed with her vocals. They really are something special. We don’t know how it’s going to fare on the night of the contest, but it’ll certainly be one of the most memorable songs of this heat. And it definitely won’t be the last we hear of her. Those vocals will see to that! Our only critique is that it takes a while to get going, and only really comes into its own during the last minute or so. And that might just go against it.

The performance is just as intriguing as the song itself. With an outfit to match. It’s very much a woman mad with love, going from being down on her knees to staggering across the stage. There’s a lot of emotion there.

Babsan: ‘Ge Mig En Spanjor’
Babsan! We didn’t want this to be subtle in any way, or underplayed. We wanted massive, OTT, balls out (unfortunate metaphor in this case, admittedly!), hot mess-ness, with no cliche left unused. And she’s given it to us. In droves! The performance has got everything from a moving staircase, to a video screen coming to real life, to frock changes, to four men dressed as matadors – who also partake in a bit of frock changing themselves.

Admittedly, the song isn’t as amazing as we’d hoped, but it’s still giving us plenty of enjoyment. It’s got the most joyous middle eight section this side of ‘Samba Sambero’ (the choreographer by the way, is Anna Book’s main squeeze in that very MF 2007 performance), and that key change, that glorious and oh so reliable key change. Plus, a big old dramatic finish. It’s a refreshing drop of old-fashioned camp schlager, just as we were beginning to feel parched.

Elisabeth Andreassen: ‘Vaken I En Drom’
Oh we LOVED this!

A typically Nordic schlager ballad, both rousing and epic. It’s got a beautiful melody to it, classic and traditional. Although said melody is also quite complex in parts, and one concern is that the song is extremely challenging, vocally. And while Elisabeth did manage to sound fantastic in rehearsals, one slip up on the night, and it’s going to really show. We think she’ll be alright though – she’s a seasoned pro, and you can tell.

The performance starts off plain and simple with her alone at the mic stand. But halfway through, as the song builds and builds, we get six backing dancers who surround her in a worship-like stance. It’s a bit like the performances of Suzzie Tapper’s ‘Visst Finns Mirakel’ or Anna Bergendahl’s ‘This Is My Life’, but given more punch.

And fans of the wind machine will be pleased with this one.

Sanna Nielsen: ‘I’m In Love’
It’s the homecoming Queen! And she’s come back just how we wanted her to. Not with a big ballad (sorry, ‘Empty Room’), but with a full on, up-tempo schlager number that thrills us to our core. It’s more modern schlager than say, last week’s Jenny Silver, and with a touch of modern day disco to it too. The best part is of course the key change. As it approaches, the beat is taken away temporarily, before it’s brought back with a massive triumphant thud!

The performance is pretty unique. For most of it, she’s locked inside this contraption that looks like a cross between a cage and a Terry’s chocolate orange. And inside it, she’s getting a work-out to boot, on a moving runway (not that she needs it, she’s looking more fab than ever these days!). As the key change approaches, she’s removed from her cage and allowed to shine uncompromisingly for the final chorus. There’s a lot going on on stage when you think about it, but it’s not a bad thing. It only serves to captivate you even more, and compliments the anthemic, triumphant feeling of the song too. Although the element at the end in which the dancers are lifted to and hung from the ceiling MIGHT perhaps be a bit too much!

Outfit-wise, it’s her best Melodifestivalen wardrobe yet. Glitter, glamour, silver, and pink.

It’s our favourite song this week.

The Monikor: ‘Oh My God’
We almost didn’t want to like this, if only to add some balance to this otherwise ridiculously gushing review that we’re doing of this week’s show. But it really does have lots of charm to it. It’s catchy, and the performance is bonkers, endearingly so! Sanna’s moving runway makes a return already, and the 60’s Carnaby Street get-up looks fantastic.

It’s not one of our favourite songs in this heat, in fact it’s actually our least favourite. But it’s by no means a toilet-break moment, unlike three of the songs in last week’s heat. Not the kind of music we’d listen to normally. And not something we think we’d ever write about on this website if it was a standalone release. But in the context of this contest, on that stage, we enjoy it.

Anniela: ‘Elektrisk’
Schlager music goes clubbing. With The Saturdays!

Christ alive, this is yet another one that we love! It’s right up our street in so many ways. Seductive verses and a chanting chorus are placed over a dance track that veers slightly into electro territory. And it’s got a cracking key change too. We can’t really comment on her vocals, as she has a really sore throat today and mimed her way through the rehearsal (unless we’re mistaken and her live vocals sound that good, even with a sore throat!). But hopefully she’ll be all better by tomorrow night, to give the song the stonking great performance it deserves.

EDIT: She sang live for the final run-through today, and actually sounded fine. Although it looked like her confidence had been knocked a bit.

As for the performance, well for most of it it’s pretty standard fare. Except for the beginning when she’s lowered down from a horizontal platform, and at the end when she simulates electrocuting herself. Elektrisk indeed!

Christian Walz: ‘Like Suicide’
And why not go all in and say we really like the final song too – and we do. It’s an uplifting and dramatic ballad, heavy on the piano and on the strings. Like something from the most recent Darin album, which makes sense as two of this song’s composers, Tony Nilsson and Henrik Janson, were behind a lot of Darin’s album too. We’d be surprised if this failed to qualify tomorrow night-

The performance is classy, like Pernilla Andersson’s last week. Our only concern are the vocals. Perhaps he was holding back this afternoon in preparation for tomorrow, but they didn’t sound very strong. At all.

We did like his look a lot though. Even the brave pearl necklace he sports!

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All in all, we’re once again impressed at how strong the heat is, especially given that so many genres have been covered. All things taken into consideration, they’ve put together a really decent show. And an impressive collection of songs, around six of which we can see ourselves hammering on the scandipop iPod. And in the end, that’s really all we want from each heat isn’t it – a few good songs!

Last night, SVT uploaded minute clips of each of the songs’ rehearsals yesterday, which you can view here.

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