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One week into the six week stage fight, and Melodifestivalen already has two potential Eurovision winners in its final. That’s quite a strong start to the whole thing, isn’t it?

To the final: Ace Wilder – ‘Don’t Worry’, and Robin Bengtsson – ‘Constellation Prize’
To the second chance round: Samir & Viktor – ‘Bada Nakna’, and Albin & Mattias – ‘Rik’
5th: Mimi Werner – ‘Ain’t No Good’
6th: Pernilla Andersson – ‘Mitt Guld’
Disqualified: Anna Book – ‘Himmel För Två’

You can watch the whole show again for the next 7 days, over at SVT’s site.

Ace Wilder was always the most likely to qualify on name alone, but thankfully she didn’t just rest on her former contest glory. Instead she returned with a song just as brilliant, and delivered it via something which truly resembled a Eurovision winning performance. She sailed through to the final.

Robin Bengtsson was never one of the big favourites this week. Until last night when he stepped out onto the stage and showcased a song which could very well be a number 1 hit in the UK right now. And when he got to perform it a second time, it started to feel just as worthy a winner as Ace Wilder’s song. A massive result for him, but completely deserved.

No vid for Robin on YouTube, so watch the full show on SVT at the link above!

Samir & Viktor returned this year with an even stronger song than last time. But despite this, AND the fact that they got their tits out, they once again have to go through the Andra Chansen round if they want a place in the final. That instrumental breakdown is intensely good though – they’ve got another 20 million Spotify streams on their hands right there.

On the other hand, Albin & Mattias debuted in the contest with a weaker version of their 2014 hit ‘Din Soldat’ (which Albin performed and Mattias wrote). Whereas ‘Din Soldat’, the biggest hit of that year in Sweden, would have been a finalist, ‘Rik’s inferior status was left to contend with Andra Chansen. But personally we think even that was too kind. Not a bad song by any stretch, but it did feel like a bit of a swizz. When even Samir & Viktor up their game stylistically and sonically, you sort of wonder why these two couldn’t.

The shock of the night, was just how damn good ‘Ain’t No Good’ by virtual unknown Mimi Werner was! Her modern up-tempo countrypop was a lot of fun, and totally deserved at least an Andra Chansen place. We really hope that this song isn’t just a Melodifestivalen version of Mimi’s sound, and that we get more pop jams like this from her in the future.

And finally, dead last was Pernilla Andersson’s ‘Mitt Guld’. And entirely deserved was that dead last finish too. As dead as the tempo, and as dead as the grey heart in the bottom left corner of the screen to symbolise app voting. It’s obviously not a bad song out of this context and to the ears of her fans. But what on EARTH was it doing in Melodifestivalen?!

One song that DID belong in Melodifestivalen however, was Anna Book’s ‘Himmel För Två’. The utter ridiculousness of it, and of her performance, brought back memories of the kind of artists, songs and performances that made Melodifestivalen such an inimitable and enjoyable source of entertainment ten years ago. It’s a different contest these days, with a much more up to date sound. In 2016 it’s not on a playing field with Europe’s choices for the Eurovision Song Contest anymore, it’s doing pop songs to be global hits. And you only need listen to the two finalists to hear how that’s a good thing. Yes we miss the golden schlager years of the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Melodifestivalen. But as great as it was then, it’s a different kind of great now. True, it feels like the contest is now mostly resulting in the sort of pop music you hear on the radio, whereas it used to be the place we all looked to hear that very special kind of music that nowhere else in the world does as well (HEJA SCHLAGER!). And that’s why it’s so good to have Anna Book and Linda Bengtzing (who returns with a schlager banger in Heat 4) still brought back. ‘Himmel För Två’, while certainly no ‘Evighet’, was a three minute reminder of why this contest is the biggest and best music AND television event of the year. Not just to Sweden, but for those of us around the rest of the world who love to follow it too.

In the end, it was the best result possible for Anna Book. That song wouldn’t have made it any higher than 5th place. And instead of having to compete last night and face an embarrassing elimination, she got to perform her iTunes number 1 single on stage to an adoring arena who gave her a standing ovation. She’s going to be able to dine off this mess for years to come. And she will! Starting with her guaranteed slot in 2017’s Melodifestivalen. And we can’t fucking wait!

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