robin paulsson

Melodifestivalen 2015: Deltävling N°3: Östersund

Jon Henrik Fjällgren och Isa är i final i Melodifestivalen 2015 - Stina Stjernkvist:SVTPhoto Courtsey of Stina Stjernkvist/SVT

Plagued by the generally boring entires thus far in the year, the hopefuls for this third week of qualifications bring us more… ballads and copycats. But two stick out as appropriate and personal favourites for me this week. I feel loyal to very few this year, and my reflections demonstrate that fully.

Ellen Benediktson – Insomnia
Östersund.01.Ellen Benediktson

When I heard that she would be heading into the competition with a song that is more “her style” I was a bit unsure of what to expect. When one introduces their own style usually that means that it’s not a copy of someone else, but this entry clearly screams Euphoria-wannabe. The chorus and repetition of “insomnia” is annoying, and although the stage presentation appears good, vocals were very nervous to start off but came into themselves. While she can sing, it’s not original enough or good enough to have qualified or to have garnered my respect as a musician. Better luck next time, Ellen.

Kalle Johansson – För din skull
Östersund.02.Kalle Johansson

Another WebJoker entry, this one actually is quite good but failed to gather enough attention. While this entry by far wins the “glitter” award for having the most, I’m a bit surprised that it didn’t rise to be a bit better of a standing than 6th place. The song is good enough, but really doesn’t have enough exciting material to sustain our attention for long periods of time. He can sing, and seems pretty at east with the microphone, but ultimately there are better songs. Thomas G:son and Thomas Karlsson did alright, but I don’t really “get” where they are going lately.

Andreas Weise – Bring out the fire
=> Andra Chansen
Östersund.03.Andreas Weise

With the biggest forehead of the competition, a bit unwelcome to Andreas Weise. Let me be clear, I hate ego and I hate people that think they are the shit. This guy is not the shit and he brings a shit song to the stage. The whole time I felt like it was some sort of pathetic Martin Stenmarck Robbie Williams wannabe track. He’s super bro about how much he loves the song and thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I see right through it and I don’t like what I see or hear. Take your big head (and forehead) home and hit it a few times against the wall, or knock it down a few pegs. Sadly the pubic liked this song; probably because he’s an Idol graduate and he needed up in the second chance round – boo Sverige.

Andreas Johnson – Living to die
❗ Personal Favourite
Östersund.04.Andreas Johnson

This song is a self professed “best song” that he’s ever sung in Melodifestivalen, and I would flat out agree with him. He’s been in the contest a lot but sadly it’s faired quite poorly in recent years and when it turns out that he comes out in 7th place with an actually pretty good song that I was enjoying, I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing him in Melodifestivalen anymore. If we do I’ll make a big kerfuffle about it, but really I doubt it. I liked the performance and the song – simple, strong, and executed to perfection. A bit boring but Andreas isn’t into big shticks and this one is no different. I’m a bit surprised at how big his hands look on camera, but I assume that it’s a light on dark effect. You know what they say about guys with big hands… they engulf small microphones.

Isa – Don’t stop
=> Finalen

I’m going to preface this review with the utmost of respect, because it all goes downhill from there. Having competed in Junior Eurovision Song Contest is wonderful, but what the fuck is this? For a 16 year old, right from the get-go I was thinking “hooker plz” with that incredibly inappropriate costume. Since when do we allow 16 year olds to wear bras and show their belly buttons and tight pants while wearing a huge pink boa that you would see on a stripper, on TV? If SVT had anything to do with promoting this entry, shame on them because the whole performance made her look like a whore. The hips moving, the outfit, the song which is just rubbish, and to top it all off the Swedish public bought into it. I shake my head in disbelief with this one. By the way, did anyone notice how the contoured shape of her nose makes he look like a drag queen? Just sayin…

Kristin Amparo – I see you
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Östersund.06.Kristin Amparo

Came out and owned that stage and delivered a strong peformance that is worthy of putting her directly into the final, and alas she’s relegated to the second chance round. A strong song, with amazing vocals, and an imagine that oozes a classy (unlike the last entry) sex appeal. Frederik Kempe and David Krueger nailed it with this creative and new song that didn’t make me think of anything else. It’s original, it’s fresh, it’s performed amazingly, and it’s sad that it didn’t get the attention it deserves. Here’s hoping that this one makes it out to the final, because it’s a hell of a lot more deserving than the automatic qualifiers.

Jon Henrik Fjällgren – Jag är fri (Manne liem frije)
=> Finalen
❗ Personal Favourite
Östersund.07.Jon Henrik Fjällgren

Bursting out onto the scene a few years back is this Sami reindeer herder who jojks. The closest comparison that westerners would have is a native yodeller. It’s original, it’s fresh, and it’s got an incredibly charismatic and shy singer. I went back and watched his audition for Talang Sverige 2014 when he sang a song inspired by his late best friend’s death. It brought me to tears, and while there wasn’t much going on with this performance it’s captivating. Being an orphan in Columbia and being adopted into a Sami family is a touching story to show that he’s come so far. This is by and far the sentimental favourite so far of the year, and I buy it 100%. While some might think it’s a novelty, I feel it and I respect the image infinitely.

Again suffering from the awkward timezone differences, it’s only further pained due to Filippa Bark’s awkward hosting of the green room. I really hope that SVT fully intended this to be down time that makes me want to pause the stream, because that’s the result. I want to see less of her and more of the artists – you know, like actually them talking.

Melodifestivalen 2015: Deltävling N°2: Malmö

Malmö.00.Sanna Nielsen & Robin Paulsson
A hop and a skip (but not a jump) from Göteborg is Malmö where we continue our pre-selection for Sweden’s Eurovision 2015 entry. This week featured rapping about a neighbourhood in Malmö and more continued awkward green room “interviews” which really consist of a talking comedy skit. Other than that I’ve come to enjoy the awkward singing of Robin – he’s no singer, but he’s given’er and as a result his enthusiasm translates to entertainment!

Linus Svenning – Forever starts today
Andra Chansen
Malmö.01.Linus Svenning

When I remember the charming yet rough around the edges Linus from last year I wondered how it would be presented this time around. Last time it was a single guy on stage with some superimposed images in the background, but I thought “nah that’s too simple” for the year later. Well with some somewhat awkward choreography it’s still Linus singing, but this time with a bunch of catchy drums that move around. I think SVT effectively “graduated” the act from last year, but to me it looked awkward. The song was better than last year and while it had less emotional substance, it’s a better more “cookie cutter” song but what’s up with that English? I would have thought he spoke better English, but it comes across as very “foreign” in this song. Sending him to Andra Chansen was a bit of a surprise to me, as I thought he’d have the fan support but alas there were better choices. 

Emelie Irewald – Där och då med dig

Malmö.02.Emelie Irewald
The Webbjoker entries are always hit or miss. Last year was a huge hit, this year was a bit of a miss. Well executed and sweet, this song just isn’t mean to win. It’s meant to exist on it’s own in a big open space filled with either darkness or glass. Which reminds me, the word that comes to mind with this song is “glass.” It’s delicate and precious, and at times a little too high pitched to support that. I think what bothered me about it wasn’t the execution, or rather boring visual interpretation, but rather the chord progressions and melodies. I just couldn’t really follow it, and it felt a bit off. I guess that’s a fair thing to say given that she wrote the song herself. It’s a nice song but as a result of all previously stated and being pretty much unknown, she didn’t qualify.

Samir & Viktor – Groupie
 Andra Chansen
Malmö.03.Samir & Viktor

This song is one of those acts that gets under your skin. It’s annoying, it’s catchy, and it’s novelty. You either like it or you hate it. I hated it and I thought it would be done better with a few changes. Firstly get rid of Samir. It would have been heaps better with just Viktor and the following reasons are why: Samir’s aura screams “douchebag” from kilometres away, his appearance screams douchebag, and the way he holds himself screams douchebag. Basically he’s a douchebag. The whole song it felt like it was all about him, the whole green room he was fidgeting around and chatting and just plain being rude. It got to a point where Viktor even gestured to him to stop. The way he holds himself just is not in any way anything I would ever associate with. Just ick. Regarding the song, it’s novelty, it will get old, it’s lyrics are horrible and really as a whole it’s something horrible to come from Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad who I generally like. I truly hope that either Samir suffers falling down from one of the blocks and can’t perform thus leaving Viktor, or the alternative is that the song doesn’t qualify out of the second chance round. I swear to God if I get pointed at one my time by Samir I’m going to take his finger shove it up his butt an then into his eye… *shudders in fear*

Neverstore – If I was God for one day

Welcome the punk rock song of this semifinal. It made it to the second round of voting but fell off due to it’s pretty basic nature. I didn’t hear anything new, I didn’t see anything new, I just heard a punk rock song that balances out the rest of the music. It felt even as far to me that SVT balanced out the other songs with this one. It’s not bad, it’s just not new and fresh and exciting. Same look, same feel, but look at it this way: all the straight guys who’s girlfriends made them watch the show had something to enjoy and vote for! 

Marie Bergman & Sanne Salomonsen – Nonetheless

Malmö.05.Marie Bergman & Sanne Salmonsen
Having won Melodifestivalen 3 times, Marie Bergman is no stranger to the compeition, but neither was Sanne Salomonsen, having reached the final back in the 90s. What makes it interesting about this song isn’t really the country nostalgic feel that is really quite boring, but the fact that it scored so low. The song isn’t anything to write home about, despite the artists raving about it. I mean it just makes me think that perhaps they didn’t buy into the song themselves and therefore makes it hard to sell. The act was boring, the singing was good, the harmonies interesting, but it was just plain boring. Marie Bergman didn’t want to ever sing in Melodifestivalen again, and now she has validation as to why that would have been. 

Magnus Carlsson – Möt mig i Gamla stan
 Personal Favourite
Malmö.06.Magnus Carlsson

With something the gays can get behind, Magnus returns to the competition for a staggering 8th time as an artist. He brings back schlager to the competition, which is vastly in need and with a good dance, a great voice, and subtle references to the homolife. Fabulous as always, it’s no surprise that his supporters lifted him directly to the final, and therefore securing excellent chances going forward. What I find fascinating about this artist is how little he’s changed. He looks exactly like he did a few years ago. Now what I did notice is that when the camera pans closer and closer you start to notices the slight imperfections. I’m no supserficial person so it’s not a big deal, but it’s good to know that we aren’t the only people that suffer with age. 😉

Mariette – Don’t stop believing
 Personal Favourite

Compared to as a new Loreen, this artist like many others is trying to make it big without being compared to by others. She’s an individual. She can sing. She can put on a show. She can captivate the audience for 3 minutes, and then again with how she holds herself outside. She’s sweet and modest, and happy and raw. And with those 3 minutes she quickly became a frontrunner and dark-horse for this competition with some major other contenders. The song is great, and reminds me a lot of Lisa Miskovsky’s entry from a few years ago – creative and lovely. Go Mariette Go! 

And there you have it. As you can see there wasn’t much good stuff this week with only two favourites, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Thanks to Sanna and Robin for being fabulous and awesome and for drowning out the borefest and awkwardness that is Filippa. 

Melodifestivalen 2015: Deltävling N°1: Göteborg

Well it’s that time of the year, where the glitter is whipped out, where the wind machines are powered up and are on standby, and the world of music in Sweden is swept up by Melodifestivalen. This year we are off to find the choice for Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.

Göteborg.00-01.Robin Paulsson & Sanna NielsenGöteborg.00-02.Filippa Bark

Last year’s winner Sanna Nielsen joins Robin Paulsson on stage as the presenters, with a very strong Skåne feeling in language and dialogue. Watching at approx. 2am in the morning in China makes for a much different atmosphere for watching, but alas I’m dedicated and the show must go on!

Molly Pettersson Hammar – I’ll Be Fine
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.01.Molly Pettersson Hammar

Bustin’ out in bright red, Molly comes with a strong dramatic beginning to this year’s competition. A warm deep and yet powerful high voice she takes the voluptuous curves of her body and highlights it in her voice. Girl got sass, yo. It’s a good song and certainly didn’t deserve to be thrown under the bus and not qualify – it’s much more quality than some other examples in my opinion. I do think that the low-cut dress brings too much attention to her… chest. The only thing that might have fared better would be better camera work instead of all the far away views, and better management of shadows to make it more agreeable on screen.

Daniel Gildenlöw – Pappa
Göteborg.02.Daniel Gildenlöw

Returning artist Daniel from past computer Pain of Salvation, reintroduces the man bun to Swedish views. I would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that I’ve been rocking the man bun for about 2 years now so I’m ahead of the game in that fad. I found the song to be too similar to last year’s “Bröder” on that theme, and despite Daniel’s attempt to connect to the audience by not wearing any shoes and be laying on the stage, I found the lack of eye contact very disconcerting and therefore threw a wedge between him and the viewers. There wasn’t much going on either, and with a mediocre song it just doesn’t translate well for viewers. As a result this one ended up in last place.

Rickard Söderberg & Elize Ryd – One By One
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.03.Elize Ryd & Rickard Söderberg

The first scandal of this year’s competition, is this gem not qualifying. With a voice like Elize’s and the dramatic tenor sounds from Rickard’s voice this should have been a song to go to final for sure. Honing into the dark misty feeling of the classic Nordic entry this song is not only catchy, but is dramatic and really brings me back to the days of Evanescence. I found Rickard’s angle posture to be very effective on screen and the fact that he’s a performer really shows. His general look is a bit disconcerting as it’s very flamboyant, but I shouldn’t be one to talk. Each time the chorus “Even though you’ think you’ve lost, inside there is a light to guide you” was sung a chill was sent through my spine. The only bad part is the gentle ending, as I was expecting a big bang. Strong contender for me singing this to my school at the end of the year.

Dolly Style – Hello Hi
=> Andra Chansen
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.04.Dolly Style

Viewers unfamiliar with this song festival would be confused by this entry and be wondering “what just happened?” As a long standing fan of this competition, this doesn’t phase me at all. It’s channeling of Aqua in a lot of ways, but this uptempo dance melody has us meeting Dolly, Polly and Molly a trio that pumps out a radio-hit to be sure. It’s catchy, it’s got a wicked ass key change that’s like bringing a song to a new gear for the final thrust to the finale. The only thing that bothered me is pronunciation which may or may not have been intention led us to think that “Dolly Style” is an allusion to “Doggy Style” as the girls thrust their bottoms back and out. With memories of “Je t’adore” and “Shut that door” and that big flop coming into view, I’m surprised that this one made it to the second chance round. I just didn’t think Swedes would buy into it. I liked it, however fake it was.

Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone – Det rår vi inte för
=> Andra Chansen
Göteborg.05.Bihrang Miri feat. Victor Crone

Not really sure how much I like the video effects that make this entry a bit gimmicky, Swedish rap mixed with actual singing brings Behrang back for a second year in a row. I think this mix of rap-pop song left me a bit confused as to why it’s so popular because really it’s difficult to watch. It’s okay to listen to and is an easy radio-hit for sure, but I just really had difficulty keeping my eyes (open) focused. I have nothing against rap, and of all the rap acts that could be, Behrang is one of the better in my opinion but I don’t really think it deserved to make it to the second chance over a few other good songs. They did have the best selfie of the night, however. Regardless it’s sour grapes, I guess…

Jessica Andersson – Can’t Hurt Me Now
=> Finalen
Göteborg.06.Jessica Andersson

No stranger to this competition, nor to the second chance round, Jessica brought her professionalism and took a nice ballad and just delivered it. I just don’t understand why everybody voted for it. I know she’s got a following, but something inside me just clashed with this song – it’s flat out boring and offers nothing in the way of entertainment. It’s one of those 2+2=4 equation songs and it really showed. The whole night I was watching her reactions and in my opinion she looked rough in the green room and in the voting stages. Her makeup was running or not right with the lighting and her puss facial expressions showed that she didn’t think she’d make it, so when the headlines popped out the days after “Jag var help knäckt” didn’t surprise me. She looked like she wasn’t going to make it, and usually that’s how things go, but to get a ticket right to the final – I think not? Good job Jessica, good luck trying not to be in last place next time around!

Eric Saade – Sting
=> Finalen
❗ Personal Favourite
Göteborg.07.Eric Saade

Past Manboy turned Popular artist Eric Saade brings an upbeat song Sting to the mix which is significantly better in terms of songwriting and execution. Deserving of a spot in the final but please God don’t make him win, otherwise I will cry. His “look at me” attention gimmicks make me continue to think that he’s deserving of the age of 8, and his arrogance to media and his fans make him incredibly unattractive to me. Having said that, he channeled Johnny Logan’s outfit from past Irish years, and danced and sung his way into the final. Please knock yourself down a few pegs on the annoying scale and then tweets about you won’t contain messages about you being a twat, a prick, or asshole. Just sayin’…

And that concludes this year’s review of the first semi-final with pictures to come (finally!). What’s weird this year about my review is that there are only 7 entries in each heat, and therefore my well oiled fingers feel like they should be writing more or at least another entry. Sanna and Robin were awesome and very funny, and make me have a little man-crush. Apart from that the interval acts were okay but this Flippa character has gotten old already. Alas onward we forge until next week!