We’re into Week 2 of Melodifestivalen now. And after a strong first heat that gave us a lot to like in a variety of different genres, Heat 2 is looking a tad more one sided. Two singer/songwriter girls with guitars will go up against a pair of would-be rock chicks from the previous generation. They’ll be joined by a rock group, and a male vocalist who made his name with a rock ballad. So it’s a bit odd that SVT have lumped those five acts all together in the same heat. And we can’t imagine it will do any of the acts any huge favours either. Thankfully though, we have some schlager relief in the form of a very likeable veteran, and we have contemporary dancepop from a new act who scored a massive debut single last summer. And those two artists probably will reap the benefits of somewhat standing out sonically.
Let’s meet the seven artists in the order that they’ll be performing on the night;
EDIT: On Wednesday evening the Swedish press had their first listens to all of the songs. And on Thursday we had the first rehearsals. Info below updated with a summary of the press’s opinions. AND HERE YOU CAN WATCH THE CLIPS OF THEIR FIRST REHEARSALS.
Linus Svenning – Forever Starts Today
Låtskrivare: Aleena Gibson, Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad, Fredrik Kempe
After an impressively successful debut last year, where he finished 5th in the final, Linus Svenning was always going to be the most obvious contestant to return this year. The more cynical amongst you will be pleased to know that he’s changed the direction of the song themes he went for last year (he released a song about his brother, another about his Father, and ANOTHER about his Mother) this time around though. The song is a more upbeat number about being able to look ahead positively and let go of all the crap that has happened to you. He’s promised that it’s a completely different kind of song. And it’s not a ballad either. Everyone loves Linus anyway, but we can actually see even more people getting on board with him this year as well. It’s worth noting that two of the song’s composers, Aleena Gibson and Fredrik Kempe, were each behind both of the two finalists in Heat 1. According to the Swedish press: Celtic folk influenced, very Eurovision, and some big arena pop. This is suddenly looking quite good for Linus Svenning.
Emelie Irewald – Där Och Då Med Dig
Låtskrivare: Emelie Irewald
Virtually unknown in Sweden, her only time in the limelight so far is when she finished 4th in the short lived and poorly rated TV talent show True Talent in 2011. And even then she’s probably still more famous for being Danny Saucedo’s ex. A singer/songwriter debuting with a self-composed song is a sure-fire way to capture the hearts of a voting nation though (if they all download the app in time for Emelie’s performance that is…). On paper Emelie Irewald is just as likely to be a shock finalist in the same vein as Ellen Benediktson as she is to be the 7th place finisher. And her untested form means that she can’t be ruled out as the dark horse of the week. According to the Swedish press: A morbid and quite drippy ballad. Boring.
Samir & Viktor – Groupie
Låtskrivare: Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad, Kevin Högdahl, Maria Smith, Viktor Thell
The duo (a reality TV star and a fashion blogger) behind one of last summer’s bigger hits ‘Success’ are using Melodifestivalen as a platform to launch their second single. They’ve said that anyone who loved ‘Success’ will feel just as enthused about ‘Groupie’, and they’ve even brought the same songwriters and producers back for a second time. ‘Groupie’ relates to a group selfie, as opposed to an over-zealous fan. And the stage show for this promises to be a bit of an unprecedented eye-catcher. No one else in this heat will take the ‘youth vote’ over them, and for that reason alone they are the most obvious finalist out of this lot. According to the Swedish press: Yeah – it’s basically ‘Success’ part two. Although less club orientated, in that it uses more instrumentation this time around.
Neverstore – If I Was God For One Day
Låtskrivare: Thomas G:son, John Gordon, Jacob Widén
The boys have described ‘If I Was God For One Day’ as a powerful rock song in the same vein of their earlier songs ‘Summertime’ and ‘LYD’. They’ve also promised that they will offer a grand stage show. All very well of course, but if you’re not a fan of rock music then you probably won’t be swayed by what’s going on on-stage. Rock songs are notorious for doing well at Melodifestivalen though, particularly these days when there are so few of them. It’s arguable whether Neverstore still have the large fan base they had behind them five years ago. But the songwriters on board bode well – one of them being behind the winning Eurovision song in 2010, and another being behind the winning Eurovision song in 2012. According to the Swedish press: Yeah it’s a rock song. You’ll know beforehand whether you’ll like it or be indifferent to it. But it will probably do well.
Marie Bergman & Sanne Salomonsen – Nonetheless
Låtskrivare: Andreas Stone Johansson, Allison Kaplan
A cool ,intensive, timeless and suggestive ballad. Apparently. Marie in particular has a lot of goodwill towards her in Sweden, and has in fact already won Melodifestivalen three times. She hadn’t planned on ever entering again, but says that she couldn’t refuse when this song was given to her. Admittedly though, we hear that story at least once a year from the artist line-up. But while it’s unlikely to be anything ground breaking, that didn’t exactly hinder Jessica Andersson’s case last week, did it? According to the Swedish press: A country-pop ballad in the wake of the success of the Netherlands at Eurovision last year. Flavours of First Aid Kit?
Magnus Carlsson – Möt Mig i Gamla Stan
Låtskrivare: Thomas G:son, Lina Eriksson
His 8th time competing in Melodifestivalen, and yet it still feels like Magnus Carlsson has been away from the contest for far too long. So it’s good to have him back, for the first time since 2007. He returns with a song that’s a nod to old fashioned schlager. Speaking about the song, Magnus had this to say; “Möt Mig i Gamla Stan” is an up-tempo song by Thomas G:son with lyrics by Lina Eriksson. It’s another of those classic love songs, BUT with some twists and turns and an odd, almost comedic choice of words, and it gets to you quite easily. It has a happy feeling to it, and some fast beats. It’s going to be speed, lights and full action on stage”. And THAT ladies and gents, is why we’re pleased to have him back. As one of the last remaining purveyors of schlager music, it’s actually quite important to the future of the genre how well this song does on Saturday night. If it goes straight to the final, SVT will have no choice but to start reintroducing this kind of song to the competition. But if flops – that’s going to be quickly taken as one of the final nails in the coffin. Sweden – your disco needs you. According to the Swedish press: More Barbados than Alcazar, but still quite disco. And VERY fast paced schlager. Magnus Carlsson is this year’s saviour of schlager music.
Mariette – Don’t Stop Believing
Låtskrivare: Miss Li, Sonny Gustafsson
She competed in Idol in 2009, finishing 4th. And since then has been responsible for releasing this incredible song. Last year she toured around Sweden with Ace Wilder, providing backing vocals and playing guitar. ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ has been described as a pretty calm song that’s ballad-like – kind of mysterious, and very beautiful. With that song description one wonders if it won’t suffer from being in the same heat as some of the other songs, which seem like they’re all going to be reaching for the same kind of voter. But the ace in Mariette’s deck is that she has Miss Li on board as a songwriter. And it’s a pretty big deal that Miss Li is competing in Melodifestivalen, even as a composer. According to the Swedish press: A mid-tempo ballad, but with quite a cinematic, film soundtrack feel. Very likeable. It’s drawing comparisons with Loreen. And none to Miss Li.
You can stream the full show wherever you are in the world, over at svtplay.se, at 7pm UK time on Saturday. Or check back here on Sunday for our review of the show, plus a link to the stream on catch-up.
You can pre-order the Melodifestivalen 2015 CD, featuring all 28 songs, over in our store.