Today the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – had a domestic and split up to travel to Sweden separately. Some of us take the train across the Oresund Bridge to Malmö, some of us caught the early morning flight to Stockholm and some of us took a ferry to Norway and then drove over land to Gothenburg. Feeling down about ourselves and crushed about the row we all vented by lip-synching for our lives to Sanna Nielsen’s song for Sweden, ‘Undo’. Did Sanna undo our pain or just make us wish we could hit undo on the Melodifestivalen result? Read on to find out!
Vebooboo: I’ve been in love with Sanna since 2007, when she wowed me with her cheesy schlager rendition of “Vågar du, vågar jag” in Melodifestivalen. But what a difference seven years can make. Like our favourite San Marinese jazz singer Valentina Monetta, Sanna has undergone a major facelift in recent years and turned into a full-grown vixen. She was robbed in 2008 when Perrelli stole her MF crown, so when she edged out the teenage-appeal of Ace Wilder this year I literally teared up in the Friends Arena. ‘Undo’ does not have the heart-breaking emotional appeal that ‘Empty Room’ had, but it has been flawlessly produced in a way that perfectly highlights the range and quality of Sanna’s voice. Furthermore, it is one of the only songs this year to build consistently throughout the song–a soft and subtle Sanna turns into a passionate and desperate biyatch halfway through. If Sanna can control her nerves, and if the staging can accentuate key transition moments with precision I think we may have a winner here.
Angus: ‘Undo’ could be about a number of things. Avenging Sweden’s disappointing result last year, vengeance for Sanna’s mutiple failed attempts at Melodifestivalen, getting through the Swedish winter or being brave enough to move away from a past lover. Regardless of what ‘Undo’ is about it’s unquestionably one of the strongest ballads in Copenhagen this year. The staging looks to be mesmerising. The only problem for Sanna as with Scandinavian acts every year is blending their vocal with live backing rather than tracks they’re allowed at National Selections. Fortunately there’s little question that Nielsen will nail her vocal and put Stockholm back where it belongs in the Top 10.
Bogdan: Mr. Kempe, the songwriter, screwed up with this one. I liked the first version of “Undo”. The lyric “undo my sad” didn’t phase me – on the contrary, I loved the poetic license of turning the adjective into a noun. (The verb “unbreak” does not exist in English, yet that didn’t stop “Unbreak My Heart” from exploding as a worldwide hit.) “Undo my sad love” makes no sense, ruins the poesy and the change reeks of desperation and panic. I also don’t like the fact that the beginning of second verse sounds like a rip-off of “Wrecking Ball”, but I love that Sanna sounds not like a Miley, but like a Céline Dion. Sanna Nielsen has an amazing voice and I hope she will rescue this song on the stage, although I don’t really want Sweden to win. Scandinavian fatigue, anyone?
Billy: That’s sweet! Sweden always keeps it high as regards Eurovision. I love Sanna Nielsen (anyway she would represent her homeland one day – after all 7 participations in Melodifestivalen) as well as her beautiful voice and presence on stage. The truth is, that at the beginning “Undo” really reminds me of the beginning of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” (of course Sanna is more talented). I also liked that dramatic light show, which hints back to “euphoric” moments. However, the Swedes could do something about the stage presence, maybe bringing some dancers or some instrumentalists. In addition the lyrics after the word “undo” are a little strange, and they are too many for that matter. Yes, I refer to “Undo my sad love”. It’s nothing new, but is certainly something beautiful.
Katie: Oh Sanna, you have such a lovely voice. Very melodic and “Undo” compliments it perfectly. It’s just a shame that the most powerful, memorable part of the song is the lyric “undo my sad” which makes no sense whatsoever! It’s not a song that I would typically expect to win Melodifestivalen so it took me a few listens to get into it, but I really like it now. I’m not sure how memorable it will be against some of the more uptempo songs, but if Sanna gives everything she’s got when she performs, it will be VERY memorable!
Deban: Vocally, this is epic. The song is well-crafted, and although the formula is predictable, Sanna Nielsen’s performance keeps the mood authentic. The song has also been grammatically enhanced. Frederick Kempe provides the Swedish star with a beautiful composition that’s perfectly suited to her range. Note to styling, hair and wardrobe: Sanna is in her 20’s, please don’t age her. Notwithstanding, Sanna proved to Melodifestivalen voters that the seventh time’s a charm. This lucky charm, hard work and stellar composition could find a spot in the Top 5 at the Eurovision Song Contest, this year.
Padraig: My relationship with “Undo” has been a strange one. At first I thought it was a pleasant, if somewhat unremarkable, ballad. But then I developed an urge to listen again… and again … and again. And now it’s one of my favourites. Anyone who says you should always go with your gut instinct is clearly speaking baloney. There’ll be no “Ctrl Z” for me, “F5” all the way.
James L: “Just another ballad” this one is not. It starts inconspicuously, but the moment Sanna gets to that first “uh-uh-uh-undo” you know this one’s got it going on. Sanna’s strong vocals, the simple staging, and the pumping electro-chords give this entry some major oomph, and the heart beats in the bridge still give me chills. I get the feeling we might just be going back over the Øresund bridge next year.
Zach: I’m at a crossroads here. Sanna is my favorite act this year and I would LOVE for her to win, but at the same time I really want to get out of Scandinavia! But focusing on the song, it’s brilliant. Sanna’s vocal is sublime, mellow in the beginning where it needs to be, unleashed into powerhouse status later on in the explosive chorus’. The beat of the song is so cool too, the instrumental alone is something I could listen to repeatedly. Yes “undo my sad” isn’t grammatically sound, but TEO has a million mistakes in his song and nobody bats an eye. The Nordic’s only woman this year is likely going to be their only enviable placing, and maybe Sanna will win it all just two years after Loreen. If anything Sweden will be in the top 5. I’m so excited for the staging as well, if it’s “Melodifestivalen only bigger and brighter”, that’s cause for excitement!
Wiwi: Sanna Nielsen has always been way too old-fashioned for my taste. I have always felt that she’s stuck in 1987, both in terms of her fashion (hello shoulder pads!) and music. But in this glorious number she updates schlager with some R&B flavour. This is a difficult song to sing, but she manages to stay in tune and on point. There’s a reason Swedes love her, and it’s on show for us with this song. She is a diva and a darling, and her voice can sure pull on heartsrings. Love.
All 19 jurors review each song but we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining 9 scores.
William C: 8.5/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 2 and a high of 10.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 8.35/10
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