This morning SVT held a press conference to announce the 28 artists who will be competing in Melodifestivalen 2018, the songs they’ll be competing with, and the writers behind them.

In the artist line-up we have only ten acts who have competed in Melodifestivalen before, which must be a record since the new Melodifestivalen format started in 2002. And with that, we have eighteen acts who have never taken part before.

We have quite the range of artists. Two Swedish Idol winners, two Melodifestivalen winners, three TV personalities, a Polish hit maker, a Norwegian hitmaker, a Let’s Dance pro dancer, a boyband member launching his solo career, and an assorted mish-mash of other talents. All in all, it’s very exciting that we’re now officially entering Melodifestivalen season once more.

But who are the artists? What have they done before? And what do the songs they’ll be competing with sound like?

Here’s your guide to the whole circus that is Melodifestivalen 2018 (and Swedish language readers can get some more insight over on SVT’s blog);

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HEAT 1: Karlstad (Feb 3rd)

Renaida – All The Feels
(Laurell Barker, Jon Hällgren, Peter Barringer, Lukas Hällgren)

Renaida Braun progressed quite far in Swedish Idol 2016. And with it, already proved that she can perform a Melodifestivalen winner rather well, thank you very much. She’s now Sweden’s answer to Jade Ewen – in that she’s starring in the musical Aladdin. Though since her time on Idol she’s been working on music a lot too. We’re looking forward to seeing what she comes out with on the Melodifestivalen stage in Feb.

Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
(Benjamin Ingrosso, MAG, Louis Schoorl, K Nita)

Benjamin made a big impact upon his Melodifestivalen debut in 2017 with ‘Good Lovin‘, though it’s his follow up singles that have impressed us more, ‘Do You Think About Me‘ and ‘One More Time‘. Given that he’s improving with every new single, things bode well for a Top 3 finish at the 2018 final. Sweden seems to love him, and we can hear why. Benjamin has described ‘Dance You Off’ as a minimalist club track with lyrics that are a little bit darker than his previous Melodifestivalen entry.

Edward Blom – Livet På En Pinne
(Edward Blom, Thomas G:son, Stefan Brunzell, Kent Olsson)

A cook-turned-TV personality. I mean………ok, whatever.

John Lundvik – My Turn
(Anna-Klara Folin, John Lundvik, Jonas Thander)

John Lundvik has been bubbling under Swedish music stardom for the best part of a decade now, never really reaching the heights his talent (and looks, if we do say so) deserves. But that will hopefully change on February 7th. We’ve really enjoyed his last two singles ‘All About The Games‘ and ‘With You‘. And his current single ‘Christmas‘, is most likely the best original new Christmas song you will hear this year. Of ‘My Turn’, John says that it’s a modern ballad that starts in one tempo, and finishes in another.

Kikki Danielsson – Osby Tennessee
(Sulo Karlsson, Kikki Danielsson)

The schlager legend enters Melodifestivalen for a tenth time, having won it twice. Though schlager will be the last thing on her mind, we imagine – given how her career has been so country music centred over the past decade. There’s a lot of good will towards her at the moment, thanks to her current stint on Så Mycket Bättre. And that should serve her well. In ALL honesty though, Så Mycket Bättre tracks included, we’ve not enjoyed a Kikki Danielsson song since 2006’s Melodifestivalen finalist ‘Idag och Imorgon‘. So forgive us for not being so pushed on this addition to the line-up. Get Bettan and Lotta back on board, and we’ll be back on board too.

Sigrid Bernson – Patrick Swayze
(Andrej Kamnik, Josefin Glenmark, Peg Parnevik, Sigrid Bernson)

A Dancing With The Stars pro-dancer who became a popstar. She scored a huge dance hit in Sweden over the summer with the superb ‘This Summer‘. And we’d be very surprised if her Melodifestivalen entry didn’t follow the same sonic blueprint – just like its predecessor did. Well, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it. This morning, Sigrid confirmed that her song is full of energy, and flirts with the Dirty Dancing theme. She’s compared it to Icona Pop, which excited us greatly.

Kamferdrops – Solen Lever Kvar Hos Dig
(Herbert Trus, Danne Attlerud, Martin Klaman, Krstoffer Tømmerbakke, Erik Smaaland, Kamferdrops)

A Norwegian artist who loves herself a bit of schlager. Let’s hope she’s as good at creating it as she is at re-interpreting it though. Her reworking of Kikki Danielsson’s ‘Jag Trodde Änglarna Fanns‘ has been one of the biggest hits in Sweden over the past six months. So well done to SVT for getting her to agree to compete in the 2018 Melodifestivalen, rather than in 2019 when the novelty and its resulting hits will inevitably have dried up. Also well done to SVT on sneakily plonking her in the same heat as Kikki! Kamferdrops has confirmed that her song is a Swedish and Norwegian language blend of dansband and tropical house. Authentic to the dansband sound, but most definitely modern.

HEAT 2: Göteborg (Feb 10th)

Ida Redig – Allting Som Vi Sa
(Yvonne Dahlbom, Jesper Welander, Ida Redig)

It’s a bit of a coup for SVT to have landed this Swedish darling of the indie scene. We’ve not featured her on these pages since 2015’s ‘Ghost‘, as she kind of stopped appealing to our (admittedly quite narrow at times) tastes. But we’d be surprised if she doesn’t pull something big out of the bag for her Melodifestivalen debut. You just would, wouldn’t you?

Jonas Gardell – Det Finns En Väg
(Calle Kindbom, Jonas Gardell, Mats Tärnfors)

Writer, director, and once-upon-a-time Melodifestivalen host is now an artist. In fairness, he’s earned his right to do whatever he wants at the contest, thanks to his phenomenal year-2000 film Livet Är En Schlager (which is all about – Melodifestivalen, as it happens). But what exactly he’s going to do – we’re not so sure. What we do know is that we’re not impressed with his attitude so far. This morning he’s said that he probably won’t make the final as he’s too old, and that Melodifestivalen is all about younger artists these days. He’s also confirmed that his song isn’t for everyone. Thanks for your efforts Jonas – though with that approach, perhaps you should have declined your slot in favour of one of these younger artists you speak of?….

Margaret – In My Cabana
(Anderz Wrethov, Linnea Deb, Arash Labaf, Robert Uhlman)

Polish superstar Margaret has reunited with the same team behind ‘Cool Me Down‘ and most recent single ‘What You Do‘ – both of which took off really well in Sweden (what with all the Swedish songwriters behind them and that). In a way it makes sense that she’s in Melodifestivalen, because she’s guaranteed another hit single in Sweden as a result. But is she really in it to win it? For a country that isn’t her native Poland? We can’t imagine that going down so well in the country where she’s got her career based in for the most part…..

Liamoo – Last Breath
(Liam Cacatian Thomassen, Morten Thorhauge, Peter Bjørnskov, Lene Dissing)

Since winning Swedish Idol in 2016, Liam Cacatian Thomassen has released three superb pop tracks in ‘Playing With Fire‘, ‘Burn‘, and ‘It Ain’t Easy‘. It’s fair to say that the most recent two haven’t lit up the Spotify play counts in the way that we thought they would, and in the way they deserved to. So it’s no surprise that he’s been put forward for Melodifestivalen by his label. We just hope that it’s with a killer song. The Swedish public fell in love with this guy not so long ago. Time for a big-stage reminder of just why.

Samir & Viktor – Shuffla
(Andreas ”Stone” Johansson, Denniz Jamm, Costa Leon, Samir Badran, Viktor Frisk)

Say what you will about these two boys, but they’ve managed to clock up over 100 million streams across eight absolutely banging hits. They ALWAYS deliver. And Melodifestivalen 2018 ain’t gonna be any exception. The duo have said that their song is energetic and will make you wanna dance, but that you shouldn’t expect ‘Bada Nakna’ part two. They say they’ve upped their game.

Mimi Werner – Songburning
(Göran Werner, Mimi Werner, Niki Niki, Carl Varga, Johan Åsgärde, Oliver Lundström)

Despite crashing out in its heat, Mimi Werner’s ‘Ain’t No Good‘ ended up being one of the more endearing and enduring songs of Melodifestivalen 2016. We’re very pleased to have her back, and hope she hasn’t changed her country-pop sound one little bit while she’s been away. Mimi’s confirmed that the song will be in the same genre AND tempo as the last time she took to the stage.

Stiko Per Larsson – Titta Vi Flyger
(Stiko Per Larsson, Emil Rotsjö)

The winner of the P4 Nästa – the contest to earn a place in this line-up. His sound is acoustic rock mixed with folk. Our expectations are low.

HEAT 3: Malmö (Feb 17th)

Martin Almgren – A Bitter Lullaby
(Josefin Glenmark, Märta Grauers)

The winner of 2015 Swedish Idol, Martin has gone down the country music route with his career post-contest. Things started off quite well and we featured the first few of his releases. But his next few lost the pop somewhat, and we’ve not been bothering with him. If he’s set for Melodifestivalen though, we reckon he’s pulled his socks up again. Particularly with those writers on board. Josefin has been behind the hits of Peg Parnevik, and Märta has contributed hits to Alcazar, Agnes, and Le Kid.

Dotter – Cry
(Linnea Deb, Peter Boström, Thomas G:son, Johanna ”Dotter” Jansson)

We’re big fans of Dotter here on Scandipop, having covered all of her releases. And while it’s her first time at Melodifestivalen as an artist, she did make an appearance at last year’s contest as one of the songwriters for Mariette’s ‘A Million Years‘. As for the writing behind this tune, Dotter has hooked up with what’s probably the most successful trio of names on this whole list. We’re expecting big things.

Moncho – Cuba Libre
(Jimmy Jansson, David Strääf, Markus Videsäter, Axel Schylström, Moncho)

The brother of one of Sweden’s biggest hip hop stars today, Dani M. And he’s a hip hop artist in his own right, is Moncho. Both as a solo act and as part of the group Löst Folk. We’d be surprised to hear him veer away from that sound, though with a title like ‘Cuba Libre’, we’re hoping for a spicy production with flare. In his description of the song, he’d defied anyone to stand still while it’s one – it’s an energetic dance track with flavours of soca, reggaeton, and hip hop.

Mendez – Everyday
(Leopoldo Mendez, Jimmy Jansson, Palle Hammarlund)

At the start of the century this chap was churning out the summer-time hits, even extending his novelty charms to two Melodifestivalens, in 2002 and 03. And now that arguably the biggest summer hit the world has ever seen has just happened – in ‘Despacito’ – his talents have been called upon once more. Apparently he’s been told not to shy away from creating an exact replica too – we LOVE the bare faced cheek of SVT sometimes. He’s teamed up with Dolly Style’s usual writers too, just in case you wanted this entry to be any more ridiculous.

Kalle Moraeus & Orsa Spelmän – Min Dröm
(Thomas G:son, Alexzandra Wickman)

These two old-timers and Benny Andersson Band collaborators last graced the Melodifestivalen stage in 2010, with the underbart ‘Underbart‘. A vaguely comical but mostly rather enjoyable slice of old-man-schlager. We’d be lying if we said we wanted anything different from them this time around. And this morning they’ve pretty much confirmed that we’ll be getting another dance-able folk track. Bliss!

Jessica Andersson – Party Voice
(Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Niklas Carson Mattsson, Jessica Andersson)

Y’all know Yessica by now. But in recent years you’ve known her as a balladeer. And a successful one at that, with two Melodifestivalen finalists and a phenomenal Svensktoppen run with said ballads. However, all credit to her, she’s returning to up-tempo schlager pop!!! In the words of Dr Alban on the Melodifestivalen 2014 stage; “YES JESSICA”!

Barbi Escobar – Stark
(Barbi Escobar, Costa Leon, Andreas ”Stone” Johansson)

An R&B and soul artist who moved to Sweden from Chile. She’s got huge experience as a backing singer, so we’re looking forward to the vox on this one. She describes her track as an up-tempo pop song with urban influences and a melancholic tone.

HEAT 4: Örnsköldsvik (Feb 24th)

Felicia Olsson – Break That Chain
(Bobby Ljunggren, Kristian Lagerström, Henrik Wikström, Joy Deb)

We loved our introduction to this lady back in 2013, when she debuted in Melodifestivalen with ‘Make Me Number 1‘. And were dismayed to have never heard from her again. But she’s back, looking fabulous, and hopefully sounding just as good too. We’re massively overjoyed to see the schlager writing legends Ljunggren and Wikström on board as well. And a Deb is always a good sign. Felicia promises that she’s bringing a really strong song to compete with.

Felix Sandman – Every Single Day
(Noah Conrad, Tony Ferrari, Parker James, Jake Torry, Felix Sandman)

Him out of FO&O. Not the pouty one. Or the one with the electro-shock platinum hair. The other one. While the band are on a break, he’s been in TEN Music’s LA studios working on tunes. And let’s face it, nothing bad ever comes out of TEN’s studios, does it?

Mariette – For You
(Jörgen Elofsson)

After two entries that both ended up very high on the Melodifestivalen final leader board, it feels like Mariette is due a win this year. Particularly, in our opinion, given that her summer single this year – ‘Louder‘ – would have been a worthy contest winner itself. It’s quite exciting that Jörgen Elofsson is behind this song, as he’s recently been responsible for the a pair of ten-out-of-ten singles by Swedish artist Rhys – ‘Last Dance‘ and ‘Too Good To Be True‘. This morning Mariette herself confirmed that she’s competing with what she believes is a winning song.

Rolandz – Fuldans
(Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Robert Gustafsson, Regina Hedman)

On paper we should like this. A dansband track penned by Kempe and Kreuger amongst others. However, Rolandz is a parody dansband created by comedian Robert Gustafsson. Let’s hope they don’t forget the importance of the melody in a dansband song, while trying desperately to make a nation of Swedes halfway through an evening of Lördagsgodis fall about laughing.

Emmi Christensson – Icarus
(Thomas G:son, Christian Schneider, Andreas Hedlund, Sara Biglert)

A young lady who has already been making a name for herself in the musical world, starring in productions such as Mamma Mia, The Sound of Music, West Side Story and Les Miserables. Emmi has said that she’s going to be performing a mid-tempo song, with ‘Icarus’ having an air of the epic and the cinematic to it.

Elias Abbas – Mitt Paradis
(Anderz Wrethov, Hamed “K-One” Pirouzpanah, Sami Rekik)

15 year old chap Elias debuted earlier in the autumn with ‘Min Queen‘. Which we neglected to feature on here as we weren’t really a fan. He’s hooked up with the same team again for ‘Mitt Paradis’ (which is presumably where ‘Min Queen’ resides). And he’s confirmed that it’s an up-tempo pop track with dancehall vibes.

Olivia – Never Learn
(Anton Ewald, Jonas Wallin, Trond Smeplass)

From the same management stable as both Wiktoria and Anton Ewald (who has co-written this song), Olivia Eliasson has previously delivered the goods on 2016’s ‘Do You‘, and 2014’s ‘Meet Your Mother‘. And we’d expect ‘Never Learn’ to sound more like the former of those two songs, as she’s confirmed it has both pop and tropical house vibes. Anton and Wiktoria have made the final both times they’ve entered. So it’s fair to say that Olivia’s team know a thing or two about sending a song to Melodifestivalen.

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