gina dirawi

Melodifestivalen 2013: Andra Chansen

As per usual, the Andra Chansen (or Second Chance Round) took place this past weekend in Karlstad to decide the final two spots that go to the final of this years competition. Tough competition and changes in the qualification meant that there was a shorter and more “normal” feeling and not so much of the duel feeling as in past years.

Karlstad.00.Gina Dirawi & Danny Saucedo

All eight songs performed, three were eliminated, and the remaining five were revoted, and the top four went into either duel-1, or duel-2 where their songs were performed again and televoted. Here are the results and my overall thoughts:

Duel 1: Behrang Miri – Jalla dansa sawa vs. Anton Ewald – Begging

Unsurprisingly the winner of this one was Anton Ewald, who’s dance number brought him to tears and a complete inability to talk in the after-show. It was very touching yet very unprofessional in the sense that he couldn’t literally put any words together apart from “yes.” I think that the song is decent, but there were better songs in this competition, like for instance Caroline af Ugglas who’s song still is haunting me, and Cookies N Beans who crashed their burning flags and their chance for the final.

Duel 2: Robin Stjerberg – You vs. Martin Rolinski – In and out of love

A really surprise duel that resulted in Robin qualifying and Martin being disappointed with his amazing disco song. I really think that this was a mistake over all and was a result (like the first duel) of teeny-popper voting for the Idol stars. I don’t really think that Robin’s song was strong, nor was his vocal performance or looks. Martin’s song was more polished, more interesting, and more professional in all respects and fully deserved to go to the final. Having said that, the huge favourite for the second chance round was none other than Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli who failed to even qualify for the four spots. As shocking as it was, I’m very disappointed, and fear that the voting was really flopped.

Overall this means that the final will be a sausage fest, with only one artist being female and the majority of entrants being single-male-singers (with the exception of State of Drama and Ravaillacz). Although doubtful that Louise Hoffsten will come out on top, I really think that the results may be a surprise despite SVT’s obvious promotion of Ulrik Munther being the favourite.

In general I think that the the final selected two songs were the poor choices, and I think that Caroline af Ugglas and Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli were the right choices. However, next week we will figure out who will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 at home in Malmö. Fingers crossed for Louise Hoffsten, Ulrik Munther, or Yohio.

Melodifestivalen 2013: Deltävling N°4: Malmö

Ironically the final heat of the competition, introduces the final eight songs for the competition in the location that will be hosting Eurovision Song Contest 2013. The semi-final is viewed as the most competitive and producing the best music, and produced upsets and surprises on many levels.

Army of Lovers – Rockin’ the Ride
❗ Personal Favourite
Malmö.01.Army of Lovers

As much as I really hate Alexander Bard and his audacious attitude and narcissistic attitudes, this was one of the most interest, strange, and glamourously fabulous entires this year. Despite being a classically awesome Melodifestivalen entry, it crashes and burns the same as Swedish House Wives, which 10 years ago would have assuredly successfully qualified. With strange outfits, regality of La Camilla, and body glitter to the max mixed with tiger, this disco-pop hit is much better than it did. I was confused for awhile thinking that Jean-PIerre was wearing a bodysuit, as it turns out it was all skin, scruff, and body glitter on every single inch of his visible body. He took fabulous into it’s own right, and represented. I just can’t help but wonder how much more the house dancers had to get paid to walk around in skin tight underwear and jock-straps. Also, was it just me or was La Camilla (as fabulous as she is) lip-synching? Alexander Bard and his ugly beard has nothing on them.

Lucia Piñera – Must be love
Malmö.02.Lucia Piñera

A lovely entry but it lost a lot of it’s originality because it sounds like a direct copy of Adele’s Rolling In the Deep, of which any person who’s heard it would recognise the similarities. The act was very simple and straight forward and well executed, but frankly was very boring with nothing exciting.

Robin Stjernberg – You
=> Andra Chansen
Malmö.03.Robin Sjernberg

Another Idol graduate was favoured in this competition and sent to the second chance round, but quite frankly this song irks me and I don’t know what it is. It may be the seeming fake boyishness that Robin exudes, or the fact that I don’t like his style of singing or execution of the song. There is something odd about his guy that doesn’t sit well with me, is it his oddly sharp eyebrows, or his dimples, or the fact that his forehead is huge, or that his smile is super fake? I believe him to be heavily favourites in second chance round, because Lord knows that every teeny-bopper in the world will be voting for him and Anton Ewald in hopes that one day they will get to marry them. Dream on, and stop playing this annoying song!

Sylvia Vrethammar – Trivialitet
Malmö.04.Sylvia Vrethammar

If someone would have told me that this was a Thomas G:son composition I never would have believed it. This is a very strange song, and oddly classic jazzy-pop, but in my opinion not a winner by any means. Sylvia executes the song decently but I found the “SYLVIA” stage props to be a little bit narcissistic. Never a threat, and unsurprisingly ended up in seventh place.

Ralf Gyllenhammar – Bed on fire
=> To Final
❗ Personal Favourite
Malmö.05.Ralf Gyllenhammar

However the negative emotions in the past, Ralf Gyllenhammar brought talent to the competition with an originally rock-pop song that unsurprisingly was a direct qualifier to the final. Almost expecting to qualify, his disgusting dirty moustache and piano-fire act earned him a spot in the final. The song is very powerful and attractive to many people, but really I just think that it won’t have much contention in the final. I just wish that qualifiers had a better attitude about Melodifestivalen from the past, and the ones that don’t who qualify makes it a very unattractive quality. Why even compete if you don’t like the competition? Either way, as Ralf says (oddly) fire is Melodifestivalen.

Behrang Miri – Jalla dansa sawa
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Malmö.06.Behrang Miri

Who knew that rap could be fun and actually sung? This is a fun song with a really enunciative rap-style from Behrang and his ensemble. It’s fun, it makes you want to get up and dance (as the title suggests) and is a good and different addition to the competition. At times I think it’s a bit bouncy and spastic, but really the whole point is to be having fun. I think that the backing singers are very good and provide the rap song with actual music (note that I don’t like rap) which creates a nice blend. I think it will do well in Andra Chansen but won’t eventually qualify.

Terese Fredenwall – Breaking the silence
❗ Personal Favourite
Malmö.07.Terese Fredenvall

A lot of people have been saying that this song is boring, and well in some ways it really is, but it’s a lot better than a majority of the other songs this year. I frankly think that it’s a very lovely anthem and it’s a step above about half of the entrants, but still gets lost in the frizzle. Charming and simple, yet quiet and beautifully executed. Well presented with a good voice, but really didn’t pack enough of a punch.

Ulrik Munther – Tell the world I’m here
=> To Final
❗ Personal Favourite
Malmö.08.Ulrik Munther

Well everyone has this one poked out to be the far-and-away favourite to win the competition and to represent Sweden in Malmö this year. It’s clear that despite Christer Björkman not claiming that he has a favourite, that when it comes down to it it’s clearly going to be the result. As for the song, I think that it’s a good song but it’s eerily like most Coldplay songs. At one point I actually thought that I had heard a song that was similar. The background graphics were fantastic and really made a good and simple impact for the song. I think the thing that Christer wanted for this one was to focus on the song and bring more focus to the talent of the artist, and take away from the “frill” for a winner that has been a Swedish norm for a really long time. A great song, but I’m not an Ulrik Munther fan so I’m hoping for something else in the final.

The fourth and final semi-final heat in the competition produced by and far the best music of the competition and ends up setting up the Andra Chansen round to hopefully produce another female into the final (as for right now only Louise Hoffsten). It’s a sausage fest, and I’m hoping that Caroline af Ugglas can represent! Just a couple of weeks to go!

Malmö.00-01.Sarah Dawn FinerMalmö.00-02.Alcazar

On another note, it’s important to note some cameo appearances by this year’s Eurovision Song Contest host Petra Mede, who’s French is sounding perfect, and a desperate attempt by Sarah Dawn Finer to make an appearance in the show in her fabulous gold sequinned dress. Though the show-stopper was by far the return of Alcazar who performed a medley of their songs including Stay the Night, Alcastar, and Not a Sinner Nor a Saint featuring Danny “Seduco – the Alcaboy.”

Melodifestivalen 2013: Deltävling N°3: Skellefteå

As the Swedish population grapples itself with returning Melodifestivalen to it’s proper home in Norrland, Skellefteå’s Kraft Arena was the host location for this weeks heat which, given the past few weeks was hoping to spice up the competition a little bit and produce some leaders in the competition.

Eddie Razaz – Alibi
❗ Personal Favourite
Skellefteå.01.Eddie Razaz

He looked really familiar to me when I saw him first, and given that I don’t watch Swedish Idol (for somewhat obvious reasons living abroad) I would never have known that he was in it if it weren’t for some research. But then it hit me, he looks a bit like Edward af Sillén (of whom I’m a major fanboy and hoping one day will be my partner in crime and fabulousness (read deeper into that please)) but with a more bad-boy attitude. On a song level it’s very similar to David Lindgren’s entry, but is far superior in a lot of ways. It’s catchier, better lyrics, and actually is frankly a better performance. However, his style was very lacking and he needs a better stylist. Glitter on the knees, really? Christian cross earring, really? You could be so much sexier if you simplified a bit!

Elin Petersson – Island
Skellefteå.02.Elin Petersson

Well this year’s web joker wildcard officially crashed and burned, but at least she got to make an appearance into Melodifestivalen. I really couldn’t get into this generic song and I was just irritated that it continued on with very little attention grabbing details. I usually like to support the under-dogs but this one just couldn’t get any steam and crashed hard!

Ravillacz – En riktig jävla schlager
=> To Final

Fascinating that the somewhat comic relief of the evening ended up qualifying to the final directly versus the favourite. Consisting of Tommy Körberg (who looks 4x his original size), Claes Malmberg, Johan Rabaeus and Mats Ronander they returned us to the schalger dansband times and made every smile with glitter. Really cheesy, but sometimes Sweden likes the cheesy entry by famous people. Though in retrospect is this song really better than that of Swedish House Wives? I don’t think so, and in the grand scheme of schlager-rights the wrong one qualified. However, great to see that some traditions are upheld in the competition!

Amanda Fondell – Dumb
Skellefteå.04.Amanda Fondell

Well the title of the song sums up the whole performance which was, for lack of a better expression a hot mess. The mirror getup was uninspiring and it felt like she was just performing a ridiculous photo-shoot with sexy pouty expressions the whole first part. The song was uninspired to my ear and the lyrics were horribly mispronounced in English. Really, another Idol gone flop, tragic but I’m not going to a cry a river over this one at all!

Martin Rolinski – In and Out of Love
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Skellefteå.05.Martin Rolinski

I didn’t recognize Martin from being in BWO until he opened his mouth and sang. He looks completely different, and somewhat better in some ways and worse in others. What he brought to th evening was a jam-packed performance that was musical and interesting to watch. Very creative, very well executed song that is catchy (as all his other songs are) and quite frankly is better than Andra Chansen. Though it’s odd, that the second chance round is shaping up to be much more dramatic and competitive than the actual Final (strange eh?). I think that the sexy dancing, and coloured paint in boxes is a super sexy-hawt idea, good job Martin!

Caroline af Ugglas – Hon har inte
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Skellefteå.06.Caroline af Ugglas

I quaver with this one when it comes to if I like it or not. As most people know, Caroline has a very distinctive voice and style, and quite frankly I don’t think it suits the song in the slightest. I prefer my ballads extremely strong, or airy light, and not a scratchy jazz-rock feeling that she personifies. Fantastic performance, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just on the fence as to whether it’s a personal favourite. I love Caroline, I think she’s a great performer, and she’s quirky (to say the least), but all in all, it’s a god song and deserves to qualify!

State of Drama – Falling
=> To Final
❗ Personal Favourite
Skellefteå.07.State of Drama

What a completely unexpected turn of events; I actually like this song. It’s classic and catchy, and sufficiently good but truth be told it’s destiny should have been for Andra Chansen for the final, and truth be told I don’t think that thy expected it either. Either way, it’s such a 2000-something hit and I guarantee that it will be a radio hit. It has that “sound” that the radio needs! A pleasant surprise and whoah hot guitarist.

Janet Leon – Heartstrings
Skellefteå.08.Janet Leon

There was a lot of talk about this one, being the song that Agnes denied to sing, and the catastrophe rehearsals and that it was supposed to be the winner this year (this was on several other blogs that I read in terms of predictions). When I listened to it, I was thinking okay this is definitely the style of the songwriter, but it was awkward. Too much of a mix of modern dance song with a pop and slow R&B tempo that at times is too Lady Gaga rip-off for my taste. I had difficulty finding rhythm in the entire performance it left a lot to be desired for me. I wonder now what kind of results the competition will have seeing that the favourite is now out!

Well the north sure knows how to do a party, and things heated up this week on several ways. For one there were better quality songs, and now that we only have eight more songs to hear, I’m praying that the quality of songs improve, and the winning song is found in the final heat. Who knows, we might just have a lacklustre competition this year in Malmö…

Melodifestivalen 2013: Ode to Indie Club

If you’ve never seen what happend when you mix Swedish-dance-pop with Bollywood, you totally missed out on last weekend’s absolutely fabulous mellanact with Danny Saucedo and Gira Diwali doing their own rendition of last year’s failed “In Da Club.” Whoever came up with this idea and choreographed this materpiece deserves a prize.

If you didn’t catch the performance you can click the video below to view it, along with the awesome posted screencaps below.


Göteborg.00-01.Indie ClubGöteborg.00-02.Indie ClubGöteborg.00-03.Indie ClubGöteborg.00-04.Indie ClubGöteborg.00-05.Indie Club

If it’s not clear, Indie Club 12 Points and for the Melodifestivalen Win!

Melodifestivalen 2013: Deltävling N°2: Göteborg

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!