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!

Göteborg.00-00.Gina DirawiGöteborg.00-01.Sarah Dawn Finer

With a week since the last semi-final, we move onto Scandinavium in Göteborg with a semi-final that heats up the quality of music by quite a bit. With an opener of Sara Dawn Finer dressed as a boy-band heartthrob like the Backstreet Boys, it’s hard not to laugh, especially when she’s out of breath dancing. Embrace it baby!

Ulrik Munther – Soldiers
=> Globen
❗ Personal Favourite

Göteborg.01.Ulrik Munther

When Ulrik appeared on stage, my aunt said “Wow he’s young” and my response to that was: “Wow, he looks Norwegian.” Despite my obvious forwardness with judgements, I was surprised to hear a song that actually was well composed and beautifully executed. The boy is frankly too skinny (as if I’d ever say that…) but his voice has this raspy feeling that shows a bit of soul. I don’t see it lasting long enough but the greater appeal wins over. I mean, he’s alright looking, has a meaningful song that he wrote partially himself, and despite sharp features he appears dreamy.

Top Cats – Baby Doll
=> Andra Chansen

Göteborg.02.Top Cats

This song offends me on several levels: it’s a near copy of the song by the Playtones in past years, with the same style, the same beat, and the same bass line musically. I started watching it and I thought, okay Sweden will buy into it, and sure enough they did. I predicted that it would be “bought” but not for the same reason that others think. The song would appeal to an older generation of people for nostalgic purposes, but I don’t buy it, and I don’t think Eurovision in Baku would buy it either. There is absolutely nothing exciting about this number: it’s simple and predictable, with lots of hair gel. I don’t dig it. Further to that, as a musician I’m horrified and offended that one of the members thought it was appropriate to stand on his bass… That bass should be taken away from him.

Sonja Aldén – I din himmel
❗ Personal Favourite

Göteborg.03.Sonja Aldén

When I heard that Sonja was coming back to the competition months ago I got all excited because anything by her is hands down fabulous. I wasn’t disappointed with her very minimalist and empathetic ballad this year. Sadly the Swedish televoters thought differently and voted for inferior songs, in my opinion. In a beautiful dress, with smoke and a bridge going to nowhere, they didn’t buy it, but I sure did. With a spine shivering, and the hairs on my skin raising, I couldn’t help but be so enchanted by it, but deep down I kind of knew that the public wouldn’t go for it. I wore black in mourning for this song not qualifying; Sonja has just had horrible luck with Melodifestivalen.

Andreas Lundstedt – Aldrig aldrig
❗ Personal Favourite

Göteborg.04.Andreas Lundstedt

Andreas has been around for a really long time, longer than I care to remember, and I didn’t really think of it until my aunt asked me how old he was. I looked it up and was horrified to learn he was 40. Then I thought, oh yeah okay that’s actually somewhat possible because he’s been around the block. What amazes me that throughout his entire career his voice has stayed the same and is quite presentable. This song is fresh, catchy and will no doubt be a radio hit but it didn’t really fly with the telemeters. I don’t exactly know why my three favourite songs ended up in the bottom, but it just doesn’t seem fair. One thing I criticize is the fact that there is far too much crotch grabbing; it would have been good enough without that.

Timoteij – Stormande hav
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite

Göteborg.05.Timoteij

As with two years ago, a catchy folk dance tune with a huge beat. It’s totally predicable, and quite frankly I don’t give a flying fuck if it sounds similer to “Kom” but alas this has enough personality to be it’s own song. Presentation was more or less the same but this time with actual dances (drool @ last years dreamy dancer(s)) that make it a better overall production. What horrifies me is that this goes to Andra Chansen and did not qualify directly. I fear that the may get lost, but their fabulousness and folk feel works totally on me and I’m sold! Plus they are hawt!

David Lindgren – Shout it out
=> Globen

Göteborg.06.David Lindgren

Direct to Globen? You’ve got to be freaking kidding me! As good as his voice is, the frank fact that this is a complete rip off of last year’s runner off makes me kind of sick. He’s charming yes, and has a good future in the industry ahead, but I don’t really see the greater appeal for this act? It may end up being a strong contender to win, but if this is sent to Eurovision, then Sweden will end up losing… badly.

Mimi Oh – Dët går för långsamt
❗ Personal Favourite

Göteborg.07.Mimi Oh

I expected big things from Mimi Oh, and despite the song being original enough it was flawed. I liked it anyways. New to the scene, singing out of range, and singing a super repetitive song, it screams that it’s destined for the radio (with a better studio edited version). I think what made me the happiest is the energy that was filled with everything, but it’s the bright florescent yellow dress that was worn with the pink and green pants on the others. My “mystery” dancer again makes me drool, and the song makes my toes tap but it’s not surprising that it ended up last place. I just mourn the loss regardless.

Thomas di Leva – Ge aldrig upp
❗ Personal Favourite

Göteborg.08.Thomas di Leva

This one really baffles me in so many levels. On the first level, the man has the weirdest sense of dress and reminds me a bit of Roger Pontare, and in all fairness he marches to the beat of his own drum. The hair, makes it all go a little more weird, but I just keep returning to the idea that he’s wearing a dress with a lightning bolt in it. The song is okay, but then I’m distracted again by the extreme effeminate eyes that makes me wonder if it’s really a man. He’s accomplished, I won’t deny that, but the older populations must have been paying attention to vote this ahead of my three favourites. There may have been a vote split, and despite the positive and inspiring lyrics, I was unsold from the beginning to end. Again.. a dress..?!

And that was the day; huge disappointment for music, great thing for the radio scene with clearly a few new pop songs to hit the waves, I can only hope that Andra Chansen fairs well for my favourites instead of the crazy Swedes that seem to make different decisions than me.