This Saturday sees the fourth and final heat of Melodifestivalen 2016 take place. With two more finalists and two more andra chancers to be plucked from the last seven songs of the contest.
Of the seven artists, four of them have been finalists before (with one of them being a four-time finalist, and one even going on to win the whole thing). And we’ve got two debutantes and a super popular group who debuted in last year’s contest.
Wherever you are in the world, you can watch Heat 4 live on svtplay.se at 7pm UK time on Saturday night. And if you’re one of the keener Melodifestivalen fans, you’ll have listened to the 30 second clips of each of the songs that SVT released last week for 24 hours.
Here though, is what you can expect from each of the artists and songs, in the order that they’ll perform on Saturday night (and you can watch clips from Thursdays’ rehearsals over on SVT’s YouTube channel);
Eclipse – Runaways
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. Their team informed us that it’s an up-tempo rock track with huge hooks, and a huge chorus – melodic rock at its best. And in fairness the 30 second clip did make it sound like it was one of the better examples of this genre at Melodifestivalen. To get a fuller 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.
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 last year with their debut ‘Hello Hi’, and its follow up singles. This time though, they’ve been teamed up with the behemoth duo that is the Eurovision winning writers behind 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! The preview clip promised another kid-friendly ear worm. So we’ll be surprised if these three don’t make it to Andra Chansen for a second year running (at the very least). It’s barely worth noting that two of the three girls are different to the line-up we were introduced to in February. Let’s be honest – no one’s gonna be able to tell the difference, are they?
Martin Stenmarck – Du Tar Mig Tillbaks
Everyone’s least favourite Melodifestivalen winner of the last ten years (well, to the Nanne fans at least) 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. The preview clip sounded to us like an underwhelming bore-fest. But to others it was more like an understated beauty. It’s fair to say that in the three heats so far this year, the more mature artists haven’t thrived with the introduction of the new app voting format. So Martin, while admittedly nowhere near his twilight years and still FIT af, is already facing an uphill struggle due to the era he’s come from as an artist.
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 called 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 four entries in Melodifestivalen (and all finalists, at that), 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. The preview clip hinted towards a more modern version of her very first Melodifestivalen entry ‘Alla Flickor’. And we’re down with that.
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. The preview clip was the most difficult to go off. Was it contemporary tropical pop, or misjudged reggae pop?…
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. We actually didn’t bother listening to the clip, sorry.
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 previous 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 made her the favourite to win as soon as she was announced. And despite us having heard all of the songs from the other heats now, she’s still the clear favourite to win. The song was rush-written (by her own admission) after the tragic Paris massacre late last year. And the fact that it was written, submitted, and accepted with such a tight turnaround (one week) stayed with us somewhat when we listened to the 30 second preview. It sounded like it was all over the place! She’s pretty much a guaranteed finalist on name alone, but we’d be surprised if bookies kept her as the favourite to win the whole thing beyond Saturday night. We have some VERY strong songs already in the final. Though we’re big Molly fans here, and we’d welcome the full song meeting the high bar that this year’s final has already set.