It’s that time of year again. Eurovision season is well and truly underway thanks to multiple nations having kicked off their national selections. And few countries take the process of finding a song for Eurovision as seriously as Sweden do.
This Saturday sees the launch of the most ambitious selection process in the continent – with the 28-song, six-week Melodifestivalen circus rolling into town. Gothenburg, to be precise.
The first heat takes place on Saturday night, with seven songs battling for two slots in the final, or if that doesn’t work out for them – two slots in the second chance round.
But who’s in contention this week? Below you can read our guide to the first heat’s line-up, with a little bit of background into each artist and some info on what their song is gonna sound like.
Further developments will happen later in the week – such as rehearsal clips being released, songs being made available online for a few hours, costumes revealed, and undoubtedly more drama and details besides. So follow us over on Twitter (@Scandipop) so as not to miss out on anything.
THURSDAY UPDATE: You can listen to one minute of each of the songs right here.
FRIDAY UPDATE: You can watch clips from yesterday’s rehearsals right here.
For now though, here’s who you can look forward to seeing on Saturday night;
Chasing Rivers – Nano
The last time this guy entered Melodifestivalen (with ‘Hold On’ in 2017), he ended up winning the public televote. In the final! Alas, he only managed a second place finish. But hey – that means there’s room for improvement, right? His most recent single ‘Love Is The Reason‘ is a tune, and he returns to Melodifestivalen precisely where he left off – ‘Chasing Rivers’ has been described as ‘Hold On’ part 2, but with every element that made that song great turned up a notch.
Songwriters: Lise Cabble, Linnea Deb, Joy Deb, Thomas G:son, Nano Omar.
No Drama – High15
These girls were put together for Sweden’s Got Talent and released the relentlessly excellent debut single ‘Adios‘ last year. We’re very happy to see them here in Melodifestivalen, and are fully expecting a song that we’ll be playing for months afterwards. They arrive to the contest armed with an up-tempo pop tune with bundles of energy, and sounding every inch the 2019 chart staple.
Songwriters: Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Kate Tizzard.
Not With Me – Wiktoria
The nation’s sweetheart, or at least in the context of Melodifestivalen anyway. This ain’t no country banger, like we’re used to, and is in fact a big ballad. No sweat, we know she can pull off ballads with major aplomb. Going into this year’s contest, Wiktoria is one of the favourites to end up with a high-table finish by the time the final comes around. So it will be quite the surprise if she ends up as anything other than ‘direkt til finalen’ on Saturday night. She’ll be looking to captivate Sweden with her vocals, and stand-out as the only ballad of this week’s line-up.
Songwriters: Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Wiktoria Johansson.
Mina Bränder – Zeana feat. Anis Don Demina
A former Idol contestant (she finished twelfth, but made the live shows at least) featuring the guy who featured on Samir & Viktor’s INCREDIBLE ‘Put Your Hands Up For Sverige’ last summer. All signs point towards that very banger being the blueprint of sorts for ‘Mina Bränder’ – with a huge party track promised for the Melodifestivalen stage on Saturday.
Songwriters: Thomas G:son, Jimmy Jansson, Anis Don Demina, Pa Moudou Badjie, Robin Svensk.
Mina Fyra Årstider – Arja Saijonmaa
The living legend herself. It’s been so long since she released any new music, that Christ knows what it is going to sound like. For now though, she’s at least promised a stonking great melody and bags of old-fashioned romance within this number. And early reports suggest that it’s fun, up-tempo, and surprisingly modern.
Songwriters: Göran Sparrdal, Arja Saijonmaa.
Hello – Mohombi
At the start of this decade, Mohombi enjoyed a couple of huge hits, thanks in part to his work with RedOne, who at the same time was riding the wave of Lady Gaga’s imperial phase. Since then, he’s released plenty of songs. Some bangers, some clangers, but not a hit amongst them, unfortunately. As a result, expectation probably won’t be too high on him in 2019. He’s apparently coming to the contest with a song that’s actually much slower than we’re used to for him, so all bets are off as to what we’re gonna be hearing on Saturday night.
Songwriters: Alexandru Florin Cotoi, Thomas G:son, Mohombi Moupondo, Linnea Deb.
Ashes to Ashes – Anna Bergendahl
Back in 2010, she won Melodifestivalen with ‘This Is My Life’ – YAY! Then she went to Eurovision with it and crashed out in the semi finals – oh dear. The only time that Sweden have EVER missed the Eurovision final – oh Christ, make it stop. Since then, her music has largely been ignored in Sweden, and Anna herself has remained something of a punchline (and at worst, a metephorical punching bag too) for Eurovision fans. In 2018, however, she returned with a brand new EP of some exceptionally top-quality tunes. If you’ve heard them, then all previous perceived pop sins that were commited should be forgiven and forgotten. And if she heads to Gothenburg with a song of the same calibre (and apparently she is – ‘Ashes To Ashes’ is described as a rousing mixture of country, pop and schlager), then she can hold her head high and hope for another Melodifestivalen final. Maybe she could even set her sights on a Eurovision final. Yes? Yes, why not.
Songwriters: Thomas G:son, Bobby Ljungren, Erik Bernholm, Anna Bergendahl.