Sweden - Scott Parsons

Live from Malmö came the third installment of the famous Melodifestivalen 2018. Hosted by fan favorite, David Lindgren, and our new favorite co-host, Fab Freddie, semi-final 3 did not disappoint. Up were seven songs fighting for their chance to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in sunny Portugal. Yet, in the end, only two would go directly to the grand final and another two to the second chance round (andra chanson).

Songs chosen to go directly to the grand final:

-       Martin Almgren – Ginger Viking and Swedish Idol winner, Martin Almgren sang the country-sounding “A Bitter Lullaby.” While country music is a staple of Melodifestivalen, we were surprised to find this song so authentic, minus a hat or cowboy boots. The lyrics were relatable and his performance captivating. Martin deserves his place in the final.

-       Jessica Andersson – Eurovision veteran and five-time Melodifestivalen contestant, Jessica Andersson sang “Party Voice.” Clearly a fan-favorite, the arena’s positive energy lifted Jessica to a remarkable finish, going straight to the final. The almost-schlager music was strong and gave us a potential summer hit during the cold days of winter. However, at times it felt like the music was bigger than Jessica’s voice, which could hold it back in the final. Not to mention, sometimes the dancers’ choreography was, well, odd.

Songs chosen to go to the second chance round:

-       Mocho – Son of a Venezuelan mother, rapper Mocho co-wrote and sang the Caribbean-inspired “Cuba Libre.” While giving us the Europeanized ethno-sound we are accustomed to getting from Melodifestivalen, this song could be one of the dance songs of the year. It was nothing short of fun. It was interesting to note that one or more words were censored, which seemed unusual enough to be considered a publicity stunt.

-       Mèndez (aka DJ Mèndez) – Born in the beautiful coastal city of Valparaìso, Chile, Mèndez co-wrote and sang the Latin-infused pop song “Everyday.” Mendez, no stranger to music, clearly enjoyed the spotlight with a lively and entertaining performance. Reminiscent of “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias. The song is poised to be a summer hit, yet with a crowded field of Latin-infused songs this year, it may not be strong enough to make it past andra chanson.

Songs that did not qualify:

-       Barbi Escobar – Barbi’s song, “Stark” came in dead last, but she did her best. The song had all the 2018 musical hallmarks, but her voice couldn’t carry it. There was some inauthenticity of her chola styling and the song choice, and in the end, it fell flat. However, I suspect the produced version will be better.

-       Kalle Moraeus & Orsa Spelmän – It’s not Melodifestivalen without folk, and Kalle & Orsa gave us the folk song, “Min dröm.” Not just a folk song, but a folk stage. From giant Dala horse to painted guitar, this performance had it all. Co-written by the infamous Thomas G:son, it wasn’t as kooky as Edward Blom from week 1, but really well done.

-       Dotter – In yet another Thomas G:son co-written song, Dotter performed “Cry.” Although it may have been too experimental for most tastes as it came in second to last. The song had all the 2018 musical hallmarks and could open the door to other songs with a similar sound. This song was an innovation risk and didn’t pay off… this time.

Although my official prediction for this year’s winner is Benjamin Ingrosso, Martin Almgren may be the dark horse and pull off a colossal disappointment.