From iTunes downloads to Spotify streams to the odds thrown down by betting agencies, it would seem that the Melodifestivalen 2014 final is a tale of two singers: rising star Ace Wilder and Schlager Queen Sanna Nielsen.
They bring two dramatically different styles (and two different shades of blonde). It’s a battle playing out on the front pages of newspapers across Sweden. When Wiwi opened his copy of the Metro on Friday morning, this is what he saw.
The Swedish headline translates roughly as, “Mello-Theme: A fight between pop and schlager”.
It’s an assumption built on some solid foundations. Sanna, the seven-time finalist, is always the bridesmaid but never the bride. Older voters have grown accustomed to seeing her at #melfest, and surely she is their sentinmental favourite. But young voters now dominate the televote, and they are perhaps too young to remember even “Empty Room.” Ace may be older, but she looks younger. Even with the dark mascara there is something highly relatable and warm about her. She’s the unfinished, slightly messy foil to Sanna, the somewhat programmed, always-on-brand Miss Sweden type.
Momentum appears to be on Ace’s side. In the hours leading up to the Melodifestivalen final, she had pushed Sanna aside in nearly every poll and ranking we could find. Let’s review.
Ace Wilder tops Melodifestivalen artists on Spotify
Swedes are streaming Ace’s “Busy Doin’ Nothin'” almost as much as they are streaming Katy Perry’s single “Dark Horse”. Ace finished the week as the third-most streamed artist in Sweden with 977,806 plays. Sanna Nielsen was all the way down in 13th position with 605,115 plays. Linus Svenning was 21st with 458,229 plays of his song “Brothers”.
Note: It’s true that most of the people who use Spotify are 15 to 30 years old. But those people also vote at Melodifestivalen, so it seems to offer some insight into how Saturday might go down.
Ace is trying to remain calm.
Does iTunes signal a win for Ace?
Ace also overtook Sanna on iTunes earlier this week. At the end of the day on Thursday, Ace had climbed to #4 with “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”, which put her just ahead of Sanna and “Undo”. The only other Melodifestivalen act in the Top 10 was Helena Paparizou, who sat in position #8.
On Friday morning Ace released her hot new video. That may have played a role in her rising popularity. By the end of the day she had climbed to #3 on the charts. Sanna fell to #6 and Helena stayed steady at #8. Perhaps some of y’all saw how sweet and charming she is in our interview.
Melodifestivalen betting odds
Following #melfestrobotgate, Swedish betting agencies pulled the plug on all Melodifestivalen betting. But betfair, a betting exchange, still has its odds listed. I know some of you technical folks will point out it’s not a classic betting agency, but the exchange is still telling. Ace and Sanna appear to be the only ones with any chance of winning.
This is how betfair had them listed on Friday evening before the dress rehearsal. Sanna was on top and Ace was second.
1. Sanna Nielsen 8/11
2. Ace Wilder 7/5
3. Helena Paparizou 23
4. Oscar Zia 24
5. Yohio 26
6. Alcazar 39
7. Anton Ewald 43
8. Ellen Benedikston 51
9. Linus Svenning 89
10. Panetoz 94
After the rehearsal Ace had taken the lead for the first time since Melodifestivalen started.
1. Ace Wilder 8/11
2. Sanna Nielsen 5/6
3. Helena Paparizou 24
4. Yohio 35
5. Oscar Zia 43
7. Alcazar 51
7. Anton Ewald 51
8. Ellen Benedikston 66
10. Linus Svenning 94
10. Panetoz 94
Melodifestivalen rehearsal: The Exit Poll
Following Friday night’s dress rehearsal, Sweden’s Melodifestivalen Club conducted a survey of 507 audience members as they left Friends Arena. Once again Ace came out on top. Note: We assume Panetoz came ninth, but the results, published in Aftonbladet‘s Schlager Blog, leave them out.
1. Ace Wilder (131 röster, 25,8%)
2. Sanna Nielsen (78 röster, 15,4%)
3. Alcazar (67 röster, 13,2%)
4. Oscar Zia (60 röster, 11,8%)
5. Anton Ewald (41 röster, 8,1%)
6. YOHIO (37 röster, 7,3%)
7. Linus Svenning (30 röster, 5,9%)
8. Helena Paparizou & Panetoz (27 röster, 5,3%)
10. Ellen Benediktson (9 röster, 1,8%)
SVT fan poll
Ace has also won SVT’s fan poll. Helena Paparizou finished second, and Sanna was third.
Can Ace ride her momentum all the way to victory? Will the jury’s help Sanna or Ace more? Let us know in the comments box below!
See our #melfest reviews and rankings on the Wiwi Jury page. You can also keep up-to-date with the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.
Photos: Courtesty of SVT