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On Monday we got to learn the names of the 28 artists who will be competing in Melodifestivalen 2016, the titles of the songs they’ll be singing, and the writers behind all of them.

We of course won’t hear a note until the first week in February when Scandinavia’s greatest annual music and TV event kicks off. But we can sure as hell start speculating.

Throughout the week we’ve been reaching out to the artists, writers and labels and asking for whatever info they can give us about their songs. And here’s what we can sum up for you, based on those descriptions and on previous form;

HEAT 1
Mimi Werner – Ain’t No Good
(Mimi Werner, Göran Werner, Marcus Svedin, Jason Saenz)
A Melodifestivalen debutante. In fact, a total debutante – in that she only released her debut single on Monday, ‘Forever Again’. She’s described ‘Ain’t No Good’ as a country song with great warmth, and it was written in Nashville. So we imagine a listen to ‘Forever Again’ sets up expectation for ‘Ain’t No Good’ pretty accurately. Fun fact: former Melodifestivalen winner Jill Johnson is related to her.

Samir & Viktor – Bada Nakna
(Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Anderz Wrethov)
Arguably the breakout stars of this year’s Melodifestivalen, and they make an unsurprising return to the contest a year later. This time though, they’ve got Melodifestivalen winning songwriters behind them. Not that we’d expect ‘Bada Nakna’ to sound too different to ‘Groupie’. Any why would it? They scored their biggest hit to date this summer with another soundalike – ‘Saxofuckingfon’ (which is amazing and which we won’t hear a bad word said about). It’s been described as an up-tempo party track. No shit, guys! This one’s about skinny dipping though, which might make for some interesting staging. These boys have never released a single that’s clocked in at under 15 million streams on Spotify. Money is on them improving on last year’s 8th place in the final.

Robin Bengtsson – Constellation Price
(Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Mark Hole, Martin Eriksson)
We’re not sure if the title is meant to be ‘Consolation Prize’. Or perhaps ‘Constellation Piece’? Or maybe when the full song unfolds on the Melodifestivalen stage in February, ‘Constellation Price’ may make more sense. In any case, it’s an exciting addition to the year’s line-up. The former Idol finalist turned into a proper great popstar, B Robin. And the fact that he’s teamed up with the writers behind some of the best Melodifestivalen songs of all time adds to the appeal of Robin being here. He’s described the song as modern, slightly tropical, and with a very catchy chorus.

Ace Wilder – Don’t Worry
(Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Anton Hård af Segerstad, Ace Wilder, Behshad Ashnai)
She’s BACK. And with the same writers she created ‘Busy Doin Nothin’ with. No ballads here – ‘Don’t Worry’ has been described to us as an up-tempo dance track where swing and blues meet CLUB. Oh God yes. Despite missing out on being the Melodifestivalen 2013 winner by a mere TWO points, and going on to score one of the biggest hits of the year, Ace struggled to keep any sort of momentum after her previous #melfest experience. We’re blaming that entirely on the people behind the artist overthinking everything to the point where far few releases followed. Two singles in two years off the back of THAT impact, does not a successful popstar make. And so we’re hoping that both Ace and the team behind her can capitalise on this experience much better this time around. In fact we hope she goes and wins the whole thing. We expect her to be coming to this contest with a mega hit that can translate over to all of Europe – if the Swedes give it the right platform to.

Anna Book – Himmel För Två
(Sven-Inge Sjöberg, Lennart Wastesson, Larry Forsberg, Camilla Läckberg)
The lady behind the legend that is ‘Samba Sambero’ (ok, and ‘ABC’ – which will be 30 years old in February) has been given another shot at shining on the Melodifestivalen stage. We’ve been advised to abandon all hopes of a latino tinged schlager thrill-athon. However, we CAN look forward to an infectiously upbeat disco track apparently. And we’ll take that. Mainly because it’s all that’s been offered to us from her in about eight years. The song has been written for her by some of Melodifestivalen’s classic songwriters, and a newcomer to the contest Camilla Läckberg – better known to Swedes as a super successful crime novelist (and a massive schlager fan too apparently).

Pernilla Andersson – Mitt Guld
(Pernilla Andersson, Fredrik Rönnqvist)
Returning from a successful Melodifestivalen in 2011, Pernilla Andersson is back with a song that she says has no traditional chorus. Can’t wait!

Albin & Mattias Andréasson – Rik
(Albin Johnsén, Mattias Andréasson)
Back in 2014, Albin became the biggest new artist in Sweden (bypassing Melodifestivalen to do so, as it happens) thanks to his stonking great hit ‘Din Soldat’ featuring Kristin Amparo (and written and produced by his duet partner here Mattias Andréasson). A few much smaller hits have followed, and so Albin now finds himself competing in Melodifestivalen 2016 in the hope of once more experiencing the joy of not being able to turn on a radio without hearing the sound of your own voice. Mattias Andréasson will be hoping for a repeat of 2009 when he went straight to the Melodifestivalen as part of EMD. And hoping to avoid his result in 2012 when he stalled at 5th in his heat as a solo artist. Albin has described ‘Rik’ as being much in the same vein as his previous singles – so expect the results of a radio-ready banger formula that has already proved popular with the Swedish public.

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HEAT 2
Victor och Natten – 100%
(Dag Lundberg, Melker, Jesper Lundh)
Most known for his previous singles merging Swedish pop and rap, Victor describes ‘100%’ as a high energy pop tune with a lot in common with what people have heard from him before. He debuts in Melodifestivalen, along with all of his songwriters.

Krista Siegfrids – Faller
(Krista Siegfrids, Gabriel Alares, Magnus Wallin, Gustaf Svenungsson)
Most well-known to Swedish TV viewers as the Finnish Eurovision entry in 2013 (‘DING DONG’!). Since then, she’s turned into a fantastic popstar with an impressive catalogue of (much better) tunes – most recently the Taylor Swift single worthy ‘Better On My Own’. She’s co-written the song herself, along with one of the guys behind Russia’s Eurovision entry this year ‘A Million Voices’. A very exciting song description was given to us by one of the names behind it: “it has a flavour of old fashioned good up-tempo schlager, but it’s also an infectious and modern, very radio-friendly pop tune. A bit like something Jakob Karlberg could do if he was a girl”. YES.

Molly Pettersson Hammar – Hunger
(Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Lisa Desmond, Anton Hård af Segerstad, Molly Pettersson Hammar)
The poster girl for this year’s voting FIASCO at Melodifestivalen, Molly Pettersson Hammar just HAD to come back again next year for a fairer shot at the title. She impressed by following up her Melodifestivalen entry ‘I’ll Be Fine’ with an equally brill second single ‘Something Right’. And we’d love more of the same this time around too. She’s got MZW’s songwriters behind her, plus Lisa Desmond who penned both of Molly’s previous singles. ‘Hunger’ has been described to us as an upbeat and soulful pop track that’s crossed with chill house, and an obvious radio hit. Get learning how to app vote this time around, yeah Sweden?

Patrik Isaksson, Tommy Nilsson & Uno Svenningsson – Håll Mitt Hjärta Hårt
(Patrik Isaksson, Tommy Nilsson, Uno Svenningsson)
Hanson, Carson and Malmkvist it ain’t. And nor is it a Kikki, Bettan and Lotta. But chances are it could prove to be even more popular with the Swedish public than those two acts were. These three chaps have a hugely successful trio of careers behind them. And while they’re an unlikely winner (and no – we don’t need to hear the song before we work that one out), they’re the most likely finalists of the acts in this heat. They came together for a tour of Sweden last year, and have described this song as containing an element of each of their own sounds.

Isa – I Will Wait
(Anton Hård af Segerstad, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Nikki Flores)
After this year’s explosive debut, Isa makes a hugely welcome return to Melodifestivalen. We’ve been told that ‘I Will Wait’ is a “magical” ballad which Isa will be able sing with all of her heart and voice, showing off another side to her artistry than what Swedes got to see this year. She promises the same energy this time around though, but expressed in a different way. She also describes the song as a youthful ballad with a bit of the cool factor thrown into it. And you’ll notice that this time around she’s paired up with the songwriters who triumphed over her at this year’s Melodifestivalen by penning ‘Heroes’. Also in the songwriter line-up is Nikki Flores, who delivered this tune and a half as a popstar herself about a decade ago.

Wiktoria – Save Me
(Jens Siverstedt, Lauren Dyson, Jonas Wallin)
“Wiktoria”, you ponder? Why it’s the new popstar from the same management team behind Anton Ewald! The more studious Scandipop reader will recognise her from her time as a member of pop duo Dash4 – whose greatest triumph was incidentally covering a song from this year’s Melodifestivalen winner. She’s yet to release her debut single – and so we assume ‘Save Me’ will be precisely that. “An up-tempo song with a very modern and energetic sound to it” is how it’s been explained to us. And one with a memorable stage show. That’s gonna help – as Wiktoria is up against THREE other pop girls who are better known than her, in this heat alone.

David Lindgren – We are Your Tomorrow
(Anderz Wrethov, Sharon Vaughn, Gustav Efraimsson)
After two dancepop entries ‘Shout It Out’ and ‘Skyline’ (both of which made their respective Melodifestivalen finals), David Lindgren returns with what he says is a more stripped back song. Though he insists on some dancing during the chorus apparently. He’s positive about his song’s chances, stating that it’s a worthy winner – or at the very least top three. Songwriting wise, we have the lady behind ‘Release Me’ by Agnes, paired with the gent behind Hasse Andersson’s runner-up from this year. So there’s that.

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HEAT 3
Oscar Zia – Human
(Oscar Zia, Victor Thell, Maria Smith)
Oscar has teamed up with the writers behind Molly Sandén’s big pop comeback singles of late, to come up with a song that has been described to us as a mid-tempo ballad with some personal lyrics that reflect Oscar as the young man he is. A biographical arena anthem. And so on song description alone, it’s sounding like another finalist for him. Though we’ll take another ‘Ballare Con Me‘ from you any time Oscar.

SaRaha – Kizunguzungu
(Anderz Wrethov, Sara ”SaRaha” Larsson, Arash Labaf)
SaRaha is a Swedish artist who has found fame as a popstar in Tanzania (where she grew up). The song is half Swedish and half Swahili, and SaRaha herself describes it as “Afropop”. Arash is involved in the making of the song, so it’s pretty safe to assume that we can expect us a massive banger.

After Dark – Kom Ut Som En Stjärna
(Sven-Inge Sjöberg, Lennart Wastesson, Larry Forsberg, Lina Eriksson, Kent Olsson, Calle Kindbom)
As if the return of drag show After Dark wasn’t enough to warrant a gay scream of excitement, a look at the songwriter credits reveals a mash-up of the people behind After Dark’s first Melodifestivalen entry ‘La Dolce Vita’, with the people behind the most recent Melodifestivalen entries from both Magnus Carlsson and Kikki Danielsson. A typical After Dark song and show has been promised, though quite frankly we don’t believe anyone would settle for anything less. And anyone in doubt that After Dark can still churn out a tune ten years later, need only check out last year’s single ‘Let’s Go Party’. Nurse – fetch the amyl!

Lisa Ajax – My Heart Wants Me Dead
(Linnea Deb, Joy Deb, Anton Hård af Segerstad, Nikki Flores, Sara Forsberg)
The most recent winner of Swedish Idol recently released her proper debut single ‘Blue Eyed Girl’, which we LOVED. ‘My Heart Wants Me Dead’ has been described to us as a mid-tempo pop track with r&b elements to it. It’s the fourth and final song this year that’s been contributed by the most recent Melodifestivalen (and Eurovision!) winners, plus Nikki Flores on co-writing duties on this one. But perhaps the most noteworthy name on the songwriter credits is that of Sara Forsberg – aka Finnish popstar Saara of awesome ‘Ur Cool’ notoriety. That whole combination gets us very excited about this entry.

Boris René – Put Your Love on Me
(Boris René, Tobias Lundgren, Tim Larsson)
Boris is a professional footballer who has meddled in music before – normally sharing vids of himself covering other people’s songs. Now he debuts in Melodifestivalen with a song he describes simply as soulpop. That description makes sense when you see he’s worked on it with two guys who were behind this year’s ‘I’ll Be Fine’ by Molly Pettersson Hammar.

SMILO – Weight of the World
(Arvid Ångström, Dennis Babic, Oscar Berglund Juhola, Anton Göransson, Robin Danielsson)
These chaps come to Melodifestivalen from winning the Svensktoppen Nästa contest earlier in the year. Their usual style of music is tropical house, much like their previous single ‘Goosebumps’. For ‘Weight of the World’ though, they say we should expect something a bit more upbeat – albeit still within the same genre. It’s undoubtedly been the sound of 2015, and will most likely translate well onto the Melodifestivalen stage. Sweden have every right to be proud of the house music collectives they’ve previously exported – and these boys could well be looked upon as the next in line.

Swingfly feat. Helena Gutarra – You Carved Your Name
(Jocke Åhlund, Andreas Kleerup)
Despite taking to Twitter during last year’s Melodifestivalen final to smugly tell the world just how pleased he was not to be taking part in the contest, here he is back again with tail planted firmly between legs. In fairness though, he brings with him quite the army. On the composition side he is joined by Jocke from Teddybears and ACTUAL FUCKING KLEERUP. And on the performance side, he’s roped in Helena Gutarra as his featured vocalist. Helena Gutarra is an awesome popstar. And kudos to Swingfly, the last time he came to Melodifestivalen he brought a proper tune to the party. So we’re pleased to see him back again. Just ease off on dissing your bread and butter in future, yeah mate?

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HEAT 4
Martin Stenmarck – Du Tar Mig Tillbaks
(David Stenmarck)
Everyone’s least favourite Melodifestivalen winner of the last ten years is back and once again in it to win it. He describes his song as a beautiful and melodic track that pays tribute to the classic soul songs that Martin and his brother (who wrote it) listened to when they were younger.

Panetoz – Håll Om Mig Hårt
(Jimmy Jansson, Karl-Ola Kjellholm, Jakke Erixson, Pa Modou Badjie, Njol Badjie, Nebeyu Baheru)
The Panetoz chaps return after a successful debut in Melodifestivalen 2014, at which they reached the final (but finished 9th). To this day we can’t fathom the popularity of that song (or any of their other ones, for that matter). But this time around they’ve teamed up with three of our favourite Swedish songwriters and producers (Jansson, Kjellholm, Erixson), so our interest in these boys is piqued more than ever. It’s been described as a high speed party track.

Frans – If I Were Sorry
(Oscar Fogelström, Michael Saxell, Fredrik Andersson, Frans Jeppsson Wall)
16 year old Frans debuts in Melodifestivalen after rising to fame as a 7 year old with a novelty pop song dedicated to footballer Zlatan (Google it if you want to – we certainly can’t be arsed). While one of the writers here was behind 2012’s ‘Mirakel’, with ‘If I Were Sorry’ we’ve been told that we can expect a more calm and downbeat listening experience. They have big plans for the staging, apparently.

Linda Bengtzing – Killer Girl
(Mattias Kallenberger, Andreas Berlin, Linda Bengtzing, Dag Öhrlund)
Don’t be fooled by the title – it’s a Swedish language track. And one which Linda herself has described as a “schlagerfest”. It’s been described to us as an energetic song that is very Linda. And Linda too is quick to point out that it’s very much in the “Linda Bengtzing genre”. As well as composition contributions from acclaimed crime novel author Dag Öhrlund and Linda herself, it also features production from Pitchline – the guys behind Velvet’s bestest hits and Magnus Carlsson’s ‘Pop Galaxy’ era. After a cracking great first three entries in Melodifestivalen, Linda disappointed somewhat with her most recent entry ‘Ta Mig’ – which (quite deservedly if you ask us) left her languishing in her heat for the first time ever. We want to see and hear her back to her former glory.

Dolly Style – Rollercoaster
(Thomas G:son, Peter Boström, Alexandra Salomonsson)
The Dolly Style girls make an unsurprising comeback to the contest after making quite the impact this year with ‘Hello Hi’ and its follow up singles. This time though, they’ve been teamed up with the Eurovision winning writers of Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’. We’ve been told to expect something quite different to what we’ve heard from them before – but relax, it’s still an up-tempo dance track. “It´s about a rollercoaster in that life goes up and down but always forward, and so you just need to keep doing what you want and to be yourself”. And you thought ‘Cherry Gum’ had a message! It’s barely worth noting that two of the three girls are different to the line-up we were introduced to in February – no one’s gonna be able to tell the difference in all honesty.

Eclipse – Runaways
(Erik Mårtensson)
It wouldn’t be a Melodifestivalen without someone defiantly representing the hard rock genre. And this year that job falls to Eclipse. ‘Runaways’ was written by the singer Erik Mårtensson. We’ve been told it’s an up-tempo rock track with huge hooks, and a huge chorus – melodic rock at its best. To get an idea of what to expect we’ve been pointed in the direction of previous single ‘Stand On Your Feet’. Not our sort of thing at all – but blimey does it go down well with Swedes. These boys will be attempting to be the very definition of slaying your faves.

Molly Sandén – Youniverse
(Molly Sandén, Danny Saucedo, John Alexis)
The former balladeer has turned into a fantastic popstar over the last 18 months. And so while her former Melodifestivalen credentials are questionable (she’s reached the final both times she’s participated, but never come close to the top half of the leaderboard either time), her inclusion here is nonetheless a big coup for SVT. This time we’re getting something new from her though, as it’s the first time anyone will get to hear the music she’s been working on with her boyfriend Danny Saucedo. It’s been described as a modern pop song that will really push her vocally. A song that builds and builds into a climactic finish. Bookies have already made her the favourite to win.

 

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