Moving along to Scandinavium in Göteborg for this year’s preselection brought some interesting events, and quite frankly a lukewarm heat for this year’s competition. As usual Danny and Gina were fantastic, and I think they looked fantastic also!

The mellan-act was the absolute most amazing thing I’ve seen in a long while. First of all it started with Ann-Louise Hanson, Towa Carson and Siw Malmkvist lypsyncing their “C’est La Vie” song, like really? but then it was upstaged by Imaginethis: In Da Club Bollywood style and you get Indie Club, which as far as I’m concerned should have gotten a direct golden ticket right to Globen. Fantastic singing, fantastic music, fantastic colourful dancing, a 100% winner in my book.

Anton Ewald – Begging
=> Andra Chansen
Göteborg.01.Anton Ewald

Danny Saucedo backing dancer turned singer with a desperate attempt to charm Sweden with his innocent charm. He quite frankly looks and sounds like a Eric Saade double which in my books doesn’t play to his favour, and when it comes down to the song I think it’s a major flop. He’s a very weak singer, and frankly is a much better dancer. I’m quite convinced that the majority of the singing was backing and he just sang along as not a featured artist. It’s harsh of me, but really that’s what I think happened.

Felicia Olsson – Make Me No 1
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.02.Felicia Olsson

Where the hell did this shy girl come from with a voice like Adele? She’s raspy and deep, smooth and cool like Baileys and has a song that I think she pulls off extremely well. She’s clearly comfortable on a stage, but looks very unsure of herself everywhere else. The fact that she made it to 5th place kind of shocked her, but furthermore I think she just flat out surprised Sweden with her song. I don’t like the lyrics, and I feel like the music was “too strong” in comparison to the balance of her voice. I think it was a strong entry, and certainly a step up from Sean Banan.

Joacim Cans – Annelie
Göteborg.03.Joacim Cans

Well this was flat out a flop; he wanted to do well and being a lead singer from HammerFall power metal band would seemingly play in his favour but it didn’t work at all. The song left much to be desired, and I didn’t really get it. It might appeal to other people but quite frankly it would have been more effective sung by someone else with more a presence.

Swedish House Wives – On Top of the World
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.04.Swedish House Wives

This year’s fiasco so far; with the hopes of all the schlager fans on their shoulders, Pernilla Wahlgren, Jenny Silver, and Hanna Hedlund head out to glammify and rock us off our socks. I think they succeeded that and pulled off a fantastic performance, but it didn’t stick for the tele voters. I really am at a loss that they would chose Sean Banan over this, and not even allow it to go into the Andra Chansen round. Maybe there is a wave or a change in the culture, but as far as I’m concerned schlager music, fun songs, glittered up outfits, and love trump all else.

Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli – Hello Goodbye
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.05.Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli

I really think that Erik was afraid that he wasn’t going to qualify because he looked ridiculously stressed. Always singing about Goodbye, and former member of EMD which of course took the competition by storm and still lost, does a sweet duet that I didn’t expect. I really thought it was going to be some rap-type song that would crash and burn, but this pop song was actually really well executed. I think they have a good chance in the second chance round and hopefully Danny’s friend Erik can make it through with his Norwegian counterpart!

Louise Hoffsten – Only the Dead Fish Follow the Stream
=> To Final
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.06.Louise Hoffsten

One of Swedens most recorded and decorated artists, Louise brought her very odd country-pop song to the competition clearly expecting it to go nowhere. With odd lyrics, and being assisted to move around due to her multiple sclerosis, she put on a show for the crowd and impressed the televoters to send her right to Globen, and justly so. The first time she shows up in the competition may just be the time she actually wins. It might be a long shot, but I really think that this would be a great entry for Sweden to represent itself at home. So far my dark-horse winner.

Rikard Wolff – En förlorad sommar
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.07.Rikard Wolff

I will get boo’ed for this one but really there is something simple and sympathetic about this piece. Maybe it’s the pathetic aspect of it that appeals to me, but who doesn’t love summer? I think it’s a miss mash between a cute ballad, and Thorsten Flink, but done poorly because his vocals are deep and raspy but not very convincing. I was enrapt by the backing and imagery, but that’s just me. I liked it, and I’ll burn in hell for it !

Sean Banan – Copacabanana
=> To Final
Göteborg.08.Sean Banan

Well it’s no surprised at all that they sent Sean to the final again with a ridiculously grandiose parody show that is almost a cookie-cutter copy from last year. The song even sounds the same to be perfectly honest. It’s a funny play on words, and supposed to be a parody but Sweden just eats it up, and to think that they chose this over schlager? It’s sacrilegious as far as I’m concerned. I understand he’s super popular and people love him, but I just don’t “get” it like many other people. It’s just, trashy, and tacky with all the colours and craziness.

What a crazy fiasco of an evening. Lip-synching, star-studded powers, upsets, schalgerfiasco, Sean Banan’s craziness and a shocked Louise Hoffsten. I think that the bar was raised just a little bit from the last week, but we have room for improvement. Hopefully the next two heats will produce something superfantabulous!

It’s that time of they year again; breaking out your microphones, dust off your dancing shoes, and get ready to be glitter-bombed. Melodifestivalen 2013 is here and with 6 weeks of fierce competition to represent Sweden at home in Malmö the artists this year are all vying to double their efforts and win again. Given the results of the first week, I’m not so sure this could actually happen.

Karlskrona.00.Danny Saucedo & Gina Dirawi

Our DJs for the year are Danny Saucedo (who’s probably bitter about not winning all the times he’s tried), and Gina Dirawi (who’s not a singer but a comedian and therefore doesn’t need to worry about not qualifying for Eurovision herself). As it turns out she’s actually a lot better of a singer than I remember! An entertaining show as always, here’s what I think happened.

David Lindgren – Skyline
=> To Final
Karlskrona.01.David Lindgren

It’s really no surprise that David qualified for the Final and will be singing in Stockholm, but what surprises me is how bland the entry is. I got tired of last year’s song by him really quick, and this one is of the same genre and leaves the same taste in my mouth. It’s a dance song, but last years song is superior in my opinion, and this one just felt a bit awkward. Quite honestly the whole getup is more about dancing than actually singing, and it was just too busy. It got cheesy fast for me and was much less than I expected.

Cookies N Beans – Burning Flags
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Karlskrona.02.Cookies N Beans

Cookies N Beans are awesome, but this song is just a little too “much” for me. What do I mean by “much?” Well I just find it too harsh and loud, where a more gentle tone backing and less forceful rock-country style would fit it better. Overall it’s a great song and really deserved to be in the final ahead of David Lindgren, but alas to Andra Chansen. The style is good, but the overall presentation is just too bombastic to me.

Jay-Jay Johanson – Paris
Karlskrona.03.Jay-Jay Johanson

Well here is the year’s first “go home” song, because this left me with nothing to be desired. I see a gremlin struggling to sing, with atrocious English and French lyrics. I understand that he wrote his own song and he’s all synth pop an well established, but really this song was a bore for me. Poor lyrics, poor musicality, poor presentation; go home!

Mary N’diaye – Gosa
❗ Personal Favourite
Karlskrona.04.Mary D'diaye

I have to admit, despite the iffy singing and repetitive lyrics, I really did enjoy this song. She’s a great dancer and clearly had a lot of fun with song that is straight out of Carribanna-Africa mix. It’s repetitious “gosa” tag line just gets a bit annoying, but the funky dancing and hand movements really are catchy. It’s great that she made it to 5th place, but happily bowed out in the large scheme of things.

Eric Gadd – Vi kommer aldrig att förlora
=> Andra Chansen
Karlskrona.05.Eric Gadd

You have got to be kidding me with this one. Right from when he walked out I was not liking it, and the song leaves a much to be desired poppy-dansband type of lyrics and sound. I really am bitter about hearing this again in Andra Chansen but who knows, I might luck out and not have to really worry about it qualifying. It’s a bit unpolished, and the guitarist with the afro bothered me, flat out.

Yohio – Heartbreak Hotel
=> To Final
❗ Personal Favourite
Karlskrona.06.Yohio

I think most of the people watching didn’t really understand what they were seeing. Get this, a Swedish skinny androgynous boy (that literally looks like he could be broken in half) singing a J-glam-rock song in English about heartbreak. He’s got brown eyes, blonde hair with pink tips, and is dressed (frankly) like a transexual. Believe it or not, this sells massively in Japan and that’s where he’s had all his success. He gave Sweden a try, and quite honestly it’s a good catchy J-Glam-Rock song that qualified directly to Globen. I’m happy, but I think a lot of people were left wondering what the hell they just saw!

Anna Järvinen – Porslin
❗ Personal Favourite
Karlskrona.07.Anna Järvinen

I am absolutely gutted about this entry; having worked with many artists in the past like Melody Club, Håkan Hellström did not qualify for anything. I absolutely love Finnish-Swedes, as this one is from Helsinki, and she sings a beautiful ballad that she dedicates to her mother. It’s sweet, and rough in the right parts, with a beautiful ensemble behind her with the aesthetic simplicity of what works in my books. Everytime she see-saws back and pulls a little back, I feel my heart being retched out of me and being pulled back to her. The only negative about this performance (though some will say it’s boring which I disagree with) is that her clothing was very bland and drab. Quite honestly it would have been more effective with an evening gown, but I highly doubt that she would wear something like this. I’m still gutted, this was a winner.

Michael Feiner & Caisa – We’re Still Kids
Karlskrona.08.Michael Feiner & Caisa

Truth be told, Michael Feiner is much better apart of the Attic, and as a saxophone player than he is an actual singer and performer in Eurovision. The title of this song irks me and I’m not exactly sure what about it makes me a bit iffy, but perhaps that it’s just lacking a little something here and there. It’s something that I would expect Amy Diamond to sing, and the more I watch it the more I’m irritated by Caisa and her singing. It’s a bit of a disaster like Suss von Ahn in 2000 where she couldn’t pronounce anything or stay on key; but even worse than that she didn’t know where to look ever, and seemed to have more energy to focus on dancing. Michael Feiner is incredibly hot (especially rocking out the saxophone) but admittedly he has a weird smushed nose; what’s really cute is when he is dancing around with the hugest smile on his face like he’s a kid again. Well wait, that’s the title of the song, now I get it!

Well despite some technical difficulties with the snabb-repris a few times and phone numbers being incorrect for the songs, SVT got everything right and they luckily had a funny comedian to save the show. Lena Philipsson and Kristian Luuk made a cameo in the mellan-act while Lena Peho molests Danny; no joke. Overall a lukewarm beginning to the preselection but here’s to hoping the other three semi-finals have something worth winning!

Stockholm.00.Helena Böstrom, Gina Dirawi & Sarah Dawn Finer

So we have come to the pinnacle of the Melodifestivalen season where Sweden decides it’s fate and attempts to put it’s best foot forward to Eurovision with an attempt to win. At the onset of the final, there were two songs that stood out, and the rest tied for last place or varying degrees thereof.

David Lindgren – Shout it out
Stockholm.01.David Lindgren

A fourth place finish is hardly surprising as fresh out of the gate David was the first one to perform. His song seemed to have changed slightly in an attempt to sway the televoters and international juries. All in all an energetic performance of a song that will be played in the discos for years to come. He appeared to have a little more facial hair this time, maybe going for sex appeal?

Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern – Jag resar mig igen
Stockholm.02.Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern

I didn’t like it but the public did and ranked it third in televoting, leaving it in eight place overall. Kind of funny that the public carried it so much and yet it ended up third to last? The song is dark and deep but when it comes to actual appeal of it I don’t see it at all. Even when he received his televotes he didn’t look terribly concerned or interest, and even disappointed. It would have been tragic to see him at Eurovision, quite frankly.

Dead by April – Mystery
Stockholm.03.Dead by April

I don’t like hard rock like in the semi-finals, but this song grew on me after a few listenings. Good vocals and a much more engaged performance led the group to seventh place. Unsurprisingly the performance wasn’t much different, and there wasn’t much change expected from the prior performance.

Lisa Miskovsky – Why start a fire
❗ Personal Favourite
Stockholm.04.Lisa Miskovsky

Hands down in my opinion the absolute best song in this years competition. It’s simple and sweet, empathetic and perfectly executed with the most simple of backing dancers to add some flare. A lot of talk was going on around this particular song and why it was voted directly into the final. I can’t say much on that subject, but I’m surprised with it’s finishing ninth. People didn’t get what the hype was about, but mostly because two other singers had the hype surrounding them like a cyclone. Terribly underrated, and again my favourite for the year.

Top Cats – Baby doll
Stockholm.05.Top Cats

Boring rock song that I’m sick of hearing. I had to hear it once in the semi-final, twice in Andra Chansen and all of the snabb-repriser, so needless to say I wasn’t really digging it. I did start to notice ears a little bit more and how much they stuck out, which made me more interested in watching semi-attractive people dance around on stage trying to convince us to vote for them.

Loreeen – Euphoria
=> Winner
❗ Personal Favourite
Stockholm.06.Loreen

The bookies called it at the beginning of the competition and as a result, it won. It was the strongest performance and dances despite illness, but really made for a slightly boring year in Melodifestivalen. The last few years it’s been obvious who will win and there is no last minute voting shockers to give us some more interest. Shocked that she won, and slow getting up on stage resulted in awkward commentating by Sarah Dawn Finer (good job by the way), and a star-struck winner. I do think that she’s a great representative and the best song to win at Eurovision, but I think the introverted nature of Loreen will play against her on the European stage.

Ulrik Munther – Soldiers
=> Second Runner Up
❗ Personal Favourite
Stockholm.07.Ulrik Munther

Having turned 18 since his last performance, as Sarah Dawn Finer diligently pointed out, pedophiles around Sweden and the world weeped tragedy at their loss. A pretty face, with a good masculine song, and a harmonica for the bonus, but he was no match for team-Danny/Loreen and finished a strong third.

Björn Ranelid feat. Sara Li
Stockholm.08.Björn Ranelid feat. Sarah Li

I’m thankful that this received the lowest international jury votes, and third lowest televoting votes. The writer had his moment in the semi-final, which will likely be the apex of his musical career, and in the end finished last (thank God) as crushed by the onslaught of the popular artists.

Molly Sandén – Why am I crying?
Stockholm.09.Molly Sandén

This song is like nails on a chalkboard for me and doesn’t have any bite to it at all. I ripped it apart in the semi-final review and therefore won’t do it again. I don’t like Molly, I don’t like her ballads, and I don’t like her outfit. It’s a recipe for disaster for me, and as a result this song was a complete non-issue for me this year. The only other artist at this point that would have turned me off from Melodifestivalen would have been Amy Diamond.

Danny Saucedo – Amazing
=> Runner Up
❗ Personal Favourite
Stockholm.10.Danny Saucedo

Nothing can match the on stage performance that this piece presented; it simply was the best. The message of the song was uplifting and people bought into it. It garnered the second highest televotes and the second highest international jury votes. It’s result is justified, and will only make people love him more. The question is however, if he will turn into Måns Zelmerlöw and not show back up to the competition because of his loss, or will he brush his shoulders off and take the second second place finish in two years and improve to first?

Overall the competition was a success, the right song won, everyone celebrated and professed how much they love Loreen, and life goes on without next to no drama. The highlight of the show for me was the fantastic Sarah Dawn Finer taking the total piss out of the UK doing a parody about their possible ignorance in regards to Baku and Azerbaijan (not even being able to pronounce it; and having no fucking clue where it is). Not only did it make me seriously think it was bang on, but it also made me laugh because everyone could still tell that she was taking the piss!

This is the critic in me signing off until the trip to Baku (which I obviously won’t be making), but will in spirit!

Dubbed as the Semi Final of Death by most analysts, the evening proved to be quite deathly for at least one of the better five songs, where only four spots were available to proceed.

Charlotte Perrelli – The Girl
❗ Personal Favourite

Malmö.01.Charlotte Perrelli

Charlotte is back and with a huge punch. Rumoured to not be able to afford doing the production again, perhaps it’s just as well she didn’t qualify, but really in all honesty I firmly believe that this song was cheated out of qualification. Schlagertastic, and nearly the only true schlager hit of the year, Charlotte sounded great, looked amazing, and embraced the “Go Big, or Go Home” attitude. She looks the same as she did 10 years ago, and she sounds better even still. I think it’s a tragedy that she didn’t qualify as she clearly deserved spot in lieu of, say “Don’t Let Me Down.”

OPA – Allting blir bra igen

Malmö.02.Opa!

I really was at a loss for words for this song and what it was doing in the competition. I can see that it would appeal to southern Mediterranean people, but it’s not really a song for Sweden, even though it’s sung in Swedish. There isn’t anything that stood out for me, and at the end of the evening the only thing I could really remember abut it as they they all scream OPA like the typical Greek people (or people trying to imitate Greek people). Further to this, I was slightly more drawn to watching the bass player, than the actual singer on whom the camera was focused.

Dynazty – Land of Broken Dreams
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite

Malmö.03.Dynazty

I’m really not sure what to say about this one. It’s a melodic rock song, and against all odds I believe it should have been to the final. However, I think there should only be one rock song in the final, and since there already is one, it’s a shame that the better one of the two (this one), likely won’t qualify. And if they do, the boyfriend of the teenyboppers will spilt the hard rock vote. I did enjoy this number, however I don’t really think it should go anywhere.

Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren
=> Andra Chansen

Malmö.04.Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren

Well we got exactly what we all expected: cheese. This song is the absolute reincarnation of the cheesy number. My mother and aunt listened to it, thought “wow this is horrible” and my response to that is “you know, the older generation will eat it up” and sure enough they did. The lyrics are ridiculous, but Lotta and Christer are staples in the cultural world of Melodifestivalen so it does make sense that they were put into Andra Chansen. Having said that, I hope it burns it’s bright flame there and is never spoken of again…

Hanna Lindblad – Goosebumps
❗ Personal Favourite

Malmö.05.Hanna Lindblad

I like Hanna’s high energy. I liked her as a dominatrix a few years ago, and I like her in neon yellow with a steroids induced performance. The song is catchy enough to possibly be a radio hit but I think that the lyrics were a bit of a miss-step on this one. A lot of ‘repetition’ of the same word to me implies that the songwriters couldn’t find any words that rhyme or make sense in the song, and for that I give less points but I still love the enthusiasm and the performance that Hanna always seems to put on for the people.

Axel Algmark – Kyss mig

Malmö.06.Axel Algmark

I’m really not sure what to say about this one because it’s just so typical. Typical guy with the same typical Swedish voice, with the same typical not-sure-what-he’s-doing performance. I felt like I was watching an 18 year old that knew somewhat how to sing, but didn’t really have any purpose or drive other than jumping around on stage and then falling onto the ground at the end. With my low quality bandwidth I couldn’t really see what he looked like, but I’d guess he’s somewhere in his 20s, and a song like this doesn’t really fit to his age. I say this because moments after I made that assessment his hat came off to display a lot of balding… I was left confused in general.

Lisa Miskovsky – Why Start a Fire?
=> Globen
❗ Personal Favourite

Malmö.07.Lisa Miskovsky

Yes, yes, and yes. This song is by and far the best song of the competition. It’s so simple, (read not boring like other people are saying) and it speaks to me and surely it speaks to other people. Lisa has been a radio star for quite a few years, and before she came on stage I wasn’t sure what to expect. Who knew that you could turn bedsheets into something interesting to watch, yet not draw away from the talent of the song. Quite honestly I can say that this song brought me to tears, and it features some awesomely rare sounds from instruments that I can only guess as wind-pipes or a billabong?! Bring it on, baby!

Danny Saucedo – Amazing
=> Globen
❗ Personal Favourite

Malmö.08.Danny Saucedo

Tipped by the bookies to be a winner this year, there is no doubt that this entry was qualifying. It was the most packaged show of the year, and it deserves to be in the final. He wants to win, and despite looking like he didn’t think he would qualify, I think deep down there was too much press around it to not go. The performance, was however flawed. Singing issues, matched with creative and funky dancing and wardrobes, it will be a lasting favourite in the final. Everyone thinks that Danny is Amazing, and instead of him telling us that we are amazing, we are telling him that he’s amazing instead!

So the semi-final of death progressed with little to no controversy, depute Charlotte and her “situation” which I will mourn for years to come. Now we all fight it out in Andra Chansen for the final two spots. Off the top of my head (since the draws haven’t been announced), I want two of the following to qualify: Timoteij, Sean Banan, or Dynazty.

Weird, but yes that’s how I feel.