This weekend sees the return of Sweden’s biggest TV programme and music event of the year. Melodifestivalen. We’ll be presented with 28 songs over four weeks. And this weekend it’s the first heat. Seven songs in total, of which only two will make it to the final, and another two make it to a second chance round. Who proceeds in the contest depends on viewer votes. And who the viewer votes for depends on just how well the artists present their song!

Below we’ve done a run through of the seven songs you’ll be hearing this weekend, along with the seven artists performing them. All of the artists have given some insight into what the songs sound like, and we’ve also weighed up our own expectations based on prior form.

Also, today SVT have released 60 second clips of all seven of the songs, plus  30 second clips of each of today’s rehearsals.

Right here is where you can listen to the song clips. And right here is where you can watch the rehearsal clips.

So here’s what you can look forward to seeing on Saturday night. And follow us over on Twitter (@scandipop) for updates between now and Saturday, including links to listen to the full songs when they’re released, and to where you can watch the whole thing play out on Saturday night.

HEAT 1: Karlstad (Feb 3rd)

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 follow-up single did. Well, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it! Sigrid has confirmed that her song is indeed full of energy, and flirts with the Dirty Dancing theme. She’s compared it to Icona Pop, which excites us greatly.

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 Saturday. We’ve really enjoyed his last two singles ‘All About The Games‘ and ‘With You‘. And his most recent single ‘Christmas‘, was THE best original new Christmas song released last year. Of ‘My Turn’, John says that it’s a modern ballad that starts in one tempo, and finishes in another.

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 on Saturday. She’s promised an up-tempo track with bags of energy.

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

A cook-turned-TV personality. Hmmmm, ok. Edward describes his track as a big-band number with influences from the 60s. Sentimental in the verses, but uplifting in the chorus.

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 recent 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, get Tomas G:son in as a songwriter, and we’ll inevitably be back on board too.

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‘ was one of the biggest hits in Sweden in 2017. So well done to SVT for getting her to agree to compete in this 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 – and right after her performance too! 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.

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 another top tier 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.

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