SEMI-FINAL 2: MALMÖ
The second Semi-Final of Melodifestivalen 2017 is upon us. Seven more songs battle it out for two places in the Andra Chansen (“Second Chance” wildcard round) and two places to go Direkt till Final in Stockholm Friends Arena.
Melodifestivalen airs on 11 February at 20:00 CET on SVT1, it can be viewed live on SVT’s online streaming website, SVT Play, where it can also be repeated on-demand until Tuesday, 14 February.
Just like last week, we are joined by a mixture of Melodifestivalen veterans, some returning artists, some winners, and a handful of debuting contestants. Who will possibly duel off against Boris René and De Vet Du? And who will join Nano and Ace Wilder? Please enjoy this preview and enjoy the clips while you can until the show broadcasts.
Nu kör vi!
Mariette – A Million Years
Mariette returns to Melodifestivalen after her debut and third place finish in Melodifestivalen 2015. Her dark previous entry “Don’t Stop Believing” was one of my favorites from 2015. Mariette also competed in Sweden’s 2009 edition of Idol where she finished fourth. This year she returns with a surprisingly upbeat song that she has co-written with a team including Eurovision Song Contest winning songwriters, Thomas G:son and Peter Boström. From the arena rehearsal clip, we see that Mariette has once again chosen a dark and blue/strobe light theme with fog. Accompanying her on stage she has at least four dancers swinging around on a bungee cord type rope (or maybe some leftover streamers from Lisa Ajax’s entry last year). The song starts off slow, but by the time the chorus starts, it seems like it could be very radio friendly and danceable.
Roger Pontare – Himmel och hav
Another returning veteran, Roger Pontare, returns to the competition with a Thomas G:son song “Himmel och hav” translated to “Sky and Sea.” Roger Pontare has represented Sweden twice at Eurovision, first in 1994 with the song “Stjärnora” and in 2000 with “When Spirits Are Calling My Name.” Roger Pontare last competed in Melodifestivalen 2006. He is known for folk songs with a Sami-inspired theme. The preview clip shows Roger Pontare on stage surrounded by a hallway of signature flame-lit torches. The song sound very strong and powerful, it sounds very dramatic.
Etzia – Up
Etzia makes her Melodifestivalen debut with an uptempo song that she has co-written titled “Up.” Her style is described as a mix of urban, reggae, and dancehall. Etzia is active in an organization called Femtastic, which is dedicated to promoting gender equality in the music entertainment industry by encouraging women to take an active role. “Up” sounds like a dancehall song with heavy pop influences, it is very easy to dance to. It reminds me of summer and late 90s/early 00s. For her performance, the stage is lit in purple and green lights, she has dancers on roller skates circling her.
Allyawan – Vart har du vart
Allyawan makes his debut in Melodifestivalen with a song that he has co-written with Masse Salazar, who is best known as part of the Salazar Brothers, a hip hop production team in Sweden. Allyawan has mentioned that this song is about a recent difficult time in his life. Performed in Swedish, the song will be a mid-tempo song and roughly translates to “Where Has Been.” The studio version sounds a lot more like pop than what I expected, almost like a Chris Brown song. The rehearsal video, definitely sounds rougher and definitely closer to hip hop. With his raspy voice, we are treated to a 30 second preview spinning in a circle with Allyawan on stage with a shadowy female dancer surrounded in pink and gold lights.
Dismissed – Hearts Aligned
The rock band Dismissed makes its Melodifestivalen debut with a song co-written by Ola Salo, winner of Melodifestivalen 2007 and co-host of the Andra Chansen round of Melodifestivalen 2016. The group describes the song as a rock song with both soft and hard elements. The song is a very pop-rock song, something similar to the early 00s-- it’s reminding me a lot of Yohio’s 2014 entry “To The End.” The band, dressed in traditional women’s clothing, paired with instruments surrounded in gold spotlights.
Lisa Ajax – I Don’t Give A
Lisa Ajax is a returning artist from last year’s edition of Melodifestivalen. Her 2016 entry “My Heart Wants Me Dead” finished seventh. The eighteen year old has previously competed in Lilla Melodifestivalen 2012 (Sweden’s selection for Junior Eurovision) and was the winner of Sweden’s 2014 edition of Idol. Her entry includes a songwriter team including Melodifestivalen and Eurovision songwriting veterans Linnea Deb, Joy Deb, and Anton Hård af Segerstad. This is a contemporary pop radio-friendly (except for the occasionaly explicit language outbursts in the chorus). The song starts off with Lisa being paired with a piano before other instruments kick in for the first chorus. It is clearly going to be an empowering song about defending a relationship that has garnered a lot of haters. From the rehearsal preview, we see Lisa in front of a giant LED screen showing a mashup of clips, closeups of Lisa dancing or smiling.
Benjamin Ingrosso – Good Lovin’
Benjamin Ingrosso’s style is described as a mix of pop and soul. This will be his debut year in Melodifestivalen, but represented Sweden in MGP Nordic 2006 with the song “Hej Sofia.” He has co-written his debut entry which is described as an upbeat song about a reluctant break up. The studio version preview is reminiscent of another radio-friendly pop song with a funky/soul like dance groove. It reminds me of Justin Timerlake’s Eurovision 2016 Interval Act song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” except performed by someone who you can tell is very young like Shawn Mendes or San Marino’s Michele Perniola. Benjamin is joined on a stage of golden lights and screens, with at least two dancing backing singers, and some breakaway golden foil walls.