Sweden: Stiko Per Larsson wins P4 Nästa 2017 and becomes the first confirmed act for Melodifestivalen 2018

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And we’re off! The long hot summer is drawing to a close and Eurovision season is back round once again, with Stiko Per Larsson becoming the first confirmed act for Sweden’s Melodifestivalen 2018.

The acoustic musician nabbed the much sought after gig upon winning Saturday’s P4 Nästa 2017 — the contest formerly known as Svensktoppen nästa.

Run by Swedish Radio P4, the event aims to find the best of Sweden’s new artists and music. Since 2012, one finalist has also been given a slot in the Melodifestivalen heats. Usually, the winner gets the wildcard, but not always — 2015 and 2016 saw Smilo and Les Gordons head to Mello despite losing out at Nästa.

Stiko won the eight song competition with ease, scooping 55% of the vote. Speaking afterwards, he expressed his gratitude:

I’m very happy and grateful for this award and for all those who voted for me. I feel all respect for the other finalists and I hope they think I deserve this when they look back at it in a year.

On its decision to send him to Melfest, the professional jury had this to say:

With a large dose of charm, stable presence on both the stage and in its artistic expression, the jury has decided to offer Stiko Per Larsson a place in the 2018 Melodifestivalen.

Stiko claimed victory with “Kumpaner (Vi är som)”, but will need to come up with something completely new for the Swedish selection. Eurovision rules ban songs published or performed prior to 1 September of the year before the contest is held.

The eight finalists were:

  • “Kumpaner (Vi är som)” – Stiko Per Larsson (P4 Dalarna)
  • “That’s when we all come falling down” – MIAH (P4 Jönköping)
  • “Drive” – Chris L Svensson (P4 Kristianstad)
  • “If this is love” – Sisanda (P4 Jämtland)
  • “On and on” – Frontback (P4 Kronoberg)
  • “Skyskrapor” – Maija HomHom (P4 Stockholm)
  • “Friday night club escape” – Michi (P4 Malmöhus)
  • “Since” – Jo’ & Eliah (P4 Uppland)

Nästa favourites haven’t always been a good match for the bright television aesthetic of Mello.

The Nästa acts with the best results at Melfest were Terese Fredenwall with “Breaking the Silence” in 2012 and Smilo with “Weight of the World” in 2016. Both acts each placed fifth in their respective semi-finals, narrowly missing out on making the Melfest andra chansen round.

Could Stiko Per Larsson be the first Nästa act to make it out of a Melfest semi? Has he got what it takes to win Melodifestivalen out right? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow all our Melodifestivalen 2018 news.

Photo: Sveriges Radio