This afternoon we sat through the rehearsals for heat 3 of Melodifestivalen. A joy in parts, a struggle in others. But all in all, very entertaining. Hooray!

The show will be streaming live tomorrow evening on SVT’s website at 7pm UK time. And SVT have already uploaded clips of the rehearsals online here. Just don’t judge and dismiss songs based on 60 second clips. That’s what a lot of people seem to be doing every week. C’mon – you all know better by now. Wait until after Saturday’s performances before writing the whole heat off.

And HARK – the Melodifestivalen 2012 CD is already available for pre-order through our online store. Featuring of course, all of the below songs you’ll be hearing this weekend;

Here’s what we saw and heard during today’s rehearsals;

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Youngblood – ‘Youngblood’
(Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger)

Gosh they truly are very young! The big stage really does show them up as the little tykes they are.

Having said that, they put in a good performance. The first rehearsal was a little bit nervous. But by the third rehearsal they were having a lot of fun on stage. And that’s what their show sets out to be – a fun pop number. They definitely succeed where that’s concerned.

As for the song, well we had high hopes for this. Perhaps too high. It’s the spunky number we thought it would be, with a great big kick up its arse. But that chorus just isn’t catchy enough for our liking. It’s more of a chant than a melody. And even a “whoah-whoah” post chorus didn’t help it to stick in our head after three run throughs. We much preferred their debut single.

It IS one of the highlights this week though. The whole package is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Maria BenHajji – ‘I Mina Drömmar’
(Nanna Sveinsdóttir, Thomas Cars)

We’ve not got a bad word to say about this lady or her song.

We really like it. We just don’t love it. And it really does pale in comparison to last week’s ballad ‘I Din Himmel’. It’ll be one that we listen to beyond the contest though, there’s no doubt about that.

She’s got a cracking set of pipes on her. And she’s not afraid to let rip with them either. The staging is gorgeous too – all candles and lights. So at least she’ll go down with a fight. But she will go down – we can’t really imagine any other outcome for her.

Mattias Andréasson – ‘Förlåt Mig’
(Mattias Andréasson)

Mattias from EMD! Like Youngblood, here’s another one that we were expecting to like in a big away. We really do need to drop our expectations next week!

It’s ok. It’s not bad. But it’s not exactly amazing either. His bandmate Danny Saucedo did the mid-tempo r&b thing much better on his most recent album last year. But since none of those tracks were ever made singles, at least most of Sweden won’t be comparing them to ‘Förlåt Mig’. Lucky Mattias.

It’s good. But we don’t think it deserves the automatic progression from this heat that we assume his fanbase are going to give him.

The staging’s quite nice too. Quite nice doesn’t really cut it though. This gets stomped on from a great height by Youngblood, which is slightly worrying since even Youngblood wasn’t all that and a bag of biscuits!

We love you Mattias! But you’re better than this.

Love Generation – ‘Just A Little Bit’
(RedOne, John Mamann, Jean-Claude Sindres, Teddy Sky, Yohanne Simon, Bilal “The Chef” Hajji)

Well thank GOODNESS for these girls who have perked up the afternoon good and proper. Their caped entrance to the stage, strutting up the catwalk to the sound of Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love’ is already better than anything that has graced the stage so far today!

The song is the rockier run-through of their usual RedOne sound, that they’ve been promising. It’s very catchy and infectious. The first song today that we were humming after one rehearsal. Hell – the first song today we were humming after three rehearsals.

The staging of it is magnificent. The set of lights that are wheeled onto the stage were almost blinding to those of us sat in the front rows. And the girls make full use of the catwalk during the second chorus. Making full use of a catwalk is always a good thing in our books. What’s more, there’s a dance break-down in the middle eight that sees the girls’ catsuits glow under a UV light. And then for one last element of show, there’s the big schlager finish.

Both the song and performance are even better than last year’s ‘Dance Alone’. That’s something that even we of high hopes hadn’t allowed ourselves to dream of!

Carolina Wallin Pérez – ‘Sanningen’
(Martin Bjelke, Michael Clauss, Carolina Wallin Pérez)

It’s difficult to know what to say here. After three performances we can appreciate that there probably is a good song in there somewhere. But it might just take another dozen or so listens to find it.

It’s nice, but hugely forgettable. We’ll persist with it though. We have a slight suspicion we’ll be rewarded for our efforts.
Oh, and hers is probably THE most awkward and exruciating entrance to the stage so far this year. C’mon woman – act like you deserve to be here!

Andreas Johnson – ‘Lovelight’
(Andreas Johnson, Peter Kvint)

This isn’t our kind of thing at all. But it’s undeniably catchy. Frustratingly so. This will probably get the ‘grown-up’ vote of the night too. Well, those grown-ups who aren’t falling over themselves about Björn Ranelid anyway.

Ok, two listens in and we’ve underestimated it. It’s actually quite good. “la-la-lalalala-lala“!

Ok, three listens in and we love it!

The staging is nice. We like the red lights. And the whole cast have a look of elegance about them as well. It’s like a high class evening party populated by those grown-ups we speak of. Andreas looks quite dashing in his three piece suit.

Molly Sandén – Why Am I Crying
(Aleena Gibson, Molly Sandén, Windy Wagner)

Molly!!!

Oh God, this is heartbreaking. A break-up anthem, but one that hankers for healing rather than emraces independence. And given that Molly’s just come out of a high profile relationship, this will be striking many chords on Saturday night.

It’s a classy pop ballad rather than a typical schlager ballad. It’s catchy, but not intrusively so. And it’s got a fitting fragility to it.

The performance begins quite understated and stripped back. Then heavy spotlights are introduced for the second verse. And then an almighty wind machine is brought into play for the final chorus.

The standout element of the whole package though is Molly’s vocals. Wow.

Björn Ranelid feat. Sara Li – Mirakel
(Fredrik Andersson, Björn Ranelid)

Erm…….

Ok.

Well, it’s basically brilliant. Seriously. But what, the actual, fuck?!

It’s a high energy cheesy dance production. With Björn muttering a spoken word verse, and Sara trilling a schlager melody over the chorus, while cavorting with her troupe of dancers.

Very bizarre. But yes – quite brilliant. Kudos to whatever seriously fucked up mind dreamt this shit up and actually decided to go ahead with it.

Do we want Sweden to vote for it? Well on the one hand we don’t want it to take away votes from the likes of Love Generation and Molly Sandén. But on the other hand…..we would really like to see it performed again in Andran Chansen or *gulp* the final. That last sentence is gonna come back to haunt us.

 

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