POP WINS!

For the first time in an absolute age, Sweden sends the two pop songs straight through to the final from one heat. RESULT. Of course, it helps that those two songs were incidentally both two of the top three songs in terms of quality last night – but when was the last time Sweden got it so right? We’re struggling to remember.

Last night was a triumph for the type of good music that Sweden is so infamous for producing and exporting. And it was all done while allowing two up and coming pop stars to get their break. So, through to the final we have the Cheiron inspired ‘Yes We Can’ by Oscar Zia, and also the Icona Pop/Avicii/Iggy Azaelia hybrid that is ‘Busy Doin Nothin’ by *AHEM – SCANDIPOP AWARD WINNER – AHEM* Ace Wilder.

Let’s start with Ace, as her result was arguably the biggest surprise of the night – or of quite some time – what with the Swedish bookies predicting her to finish in 7th place. In fact no one looked more surprised than she did, which made her victory all the more enjoyable. ‘Busy Doin Nothin’ is an infectious, raucous number that’s modern, fresh, relevant, and everything else that Melodifestivalen is trying so hard to be these days. And in one night, they got it right with Ace Wilder. Regular readers of Scandipop will already be familiar with what’s come before from her. And last night’s result means that we’re already hugely excited about what’s to come in the future from her. This one’s got no need to worry about the potential stigma of being a “Melodifestivalen artist”. There’s so much more to her than that. And we hope that this is the start of a grand love affair between Sweden and Ace.

Less of a surprise, but no less of a pleasing result, was seeing a song like ‘Yes We Can’ heading straight to the final. Austin Mahone prematurely started off the Cheiron revival last year with ‘What About Love’, and now Oscar Zia brings it to the Melodifestivalen stage. That’s some serious Swedish heritage he was paying homage to last night. And we love that the Swedes were proud enough to vote it through. Oscar Zia put in a suitably respectable pastiche of that sound which is infamous to all pop fans. He’s only 17, but he turned in a top performance, a fine vocal, and a deserved place in the 2014 final. ‘Yes We Can’ is a tune and a half, and he did it justice.

Heading to Andra Chansen were the two acts widely expected to make the final, or at the very least make up the top three along with Oscar Zia. Perhaps they somewhat cancelled each other out. Or maybe the type of Melodifestivalen voter who normally calls in for this kind of thing wasn’t watching Melodifestiavlen last night, as there was an Olympic hockey match playing on the other side (and that would certainly explain the fact that last night’s MF had the lowest voting figures since 2002). But as a result, the final is (for now) spared its token rock act and its token metal act. And the villainous Outrigger and State of Drama instead get to taunt our favourites in Andra Chansen – probably beating them all and making the final anyway. Unless…….Will the Winter Olympics still be on then?! Or does anyone fancy challenging Sweden’s national football team to a friendly?

Out of the competition by the skin of their noses in 5th place, were Dr Alban and Jessica Folcker’s ‘Around The World’. A good song with a bit of a bizarre performance. We’d say that the whole thing would have been a lot better without Dr Alban, but then the song would have finished even lower without his involvement fronting it. What a sorry state of affairs when something like this is Jessica Folcker’s only ticket into the competition. But she looked like she was having fun anyway. Still, all that good work she put in with her splendiferous (if unsuccessful) pop comeback in 2013 may well have been undone by this. And she’s back to the start. Or rather, the end. Unfortunately.

Also waking up this morning and wondering what’s next for her career will be Shirley Clamp, who finished 6th with ‘Burning Alive’. She needn’t worry though. It’s not over til the fat lady sings. And as the face and body of Swedish Weight Watchers over the last couple of years, Shirley is seeing to it that the singing isn’t ever going to be coming from a fat lady. She’ll be back in Melodifestivalen again. Next time though, she needs to abandon all notions of dignity, class, and being age appropriate. And she needs to enter with the Mother fucker of all schlager belters. Seriously. That’s what EVERYONE wants from her. And if even that ends up flopping on its arse, then yes – it’s time to give up. But Christ she’ll have done it in (a certain kind of) style. We can’t help but wonder if the writers behind both songs had given Shirley the option to sing Helena Paparizou’s ‘Survivor’ instead of ‘Burning Alive’. Would we have seen Shirley go DIREKT?! Possibly. But as it is, ‘Burning Alive’ is a great song. One of the best in the contest this year. So we’re glad it exists as a Shirley Clamp track. But this can’t and won’t be her Melodifestivalen exit. There’s something much more ridiculous to come. Much more Shirley Clamp.

Finishing in 7th with ‘En Enkel Sång’ was Cajsastina Åkerström, and in 8th with ‘Red’ were EKO. Nice, likable songs, both of them. But doomed to get lost amongst the fresh, the crazy, and the familiar above them.

8 songs. And the first heat in ages where we actually *liked* pretty much all of them in some form or another. Say what you like about every other aspect of this year’s Melodifestivalen, but they’re getting it right with the songs.

Ah yes – the every other aspect of this year’s Melodifestivalen. Hosts – still shit. Scripts – still widely off the mark. Gags – still embarrassingly unfunny. Oh, they attempted a humorous interval act this week – but no, that didn’t work either. What the actual fuck was that? And when even Björn Gustavsson comes on and manages to die on his arse by having to take part in a sketch that went on for much longer than it should have – then yes, it’s a write off. We’ll be back next year though. SVT won’t allow this to ever happen again.

The songs and performances that got eliminated;


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