Earlier today the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—caught a bus to Stockholm to sample our favourite Swedish delicacy: the 7-11 hot dog. After we were done eating we reveiwed Anton Ewald’s Melodifestivalen song. Did “Natural” feel organic to this dancer-cum-singer? Or did it feal fake, phony, faux? Read on to find out…
Deban: Anton Ewald’s budget has doubled this year: he had two backing dancers last year, and four now. Apparently they are being paid per second, hence the staggered approach to presenting them bit by bit. I’ve grown to like Anton. Last year’s song was much stronger in my opinion, but this track shows off his range. The Africa-American sounding gospel choir adds a little magic to the elevated key change.
Angus: The resemblance to Eric Saade really is uncanny here. The only difference is Anton has stolen outfit inspiration from Alex Sparrow and choreography to boot. ‘Natural’ is serviceable dancepop but the similarity of the entry to ‘Yes We Can’ I suspect will see both cancel each other out in terms of the scoreboard, much like Eleftheria Eleftheriou and Ivi Adamou did in Baku in 2012. The only thing that might swing it for him is the bridge.
Zach: I never thought he’d sink lower than “Begging”, but I was proven wrong. I can understand why he was just a backing dancer/vocalist in years previous, that’s honestly where he belongs, maybe not even vocalist either, he’s better with his mouth shut. Yes he can dance, but it’s the Eurovision SONG Contest, and he’s less than mediocre in that area. The song is just bad, the backing beat is really bland, the lyrics are boring and don’t honestly make a lot of sense, and his vocals are drivel compared to pretty much everyone else in the final. He won’t do as well as he did last year, especially with the international juries. His reliable teenage fan girl base may also shrink a bit, some of them might also be die hard Oscar Zia fans as well and will split off, leaving both with less votes. Plus he’s going first, and that’s never good.
Ramadan: This is my second favourite song in Melodifestivalen. I really enjoyed “Begging” last year. He had swagger and confidence—and he seems to be an even more confident performer now. It’s a bit of a re-tread of “Begging,” but it has a good chorus backed up by a stand-out performance. Unfortunately I believe the juries will hit this hard. But hopefully he will get a good televoting result. I’d like him to finish Top 2, but I think he’ll have to settle for fifth or sixth.
Padraig: Last year Anton wore a pair of Simon Cowell’s pants. They must have been magic because “Begging” was brilliant, whereas “Natural” is anything but. I’d recommend he procures himself a fresh pair ASAP (although it’s already too late for this year). Until then, the best option might be just to put the tv on mute and appreciate the view.
Anthony: Back into the final for the second time and another shot at Melodifestivalen glory. He’s bound to be a popular one with all the teenage girls for obvious reasons, but the rest of the Eurovision fan community might see him as an Eric Saade wannabe, following the singer’s Eurovision success in 2011. As Adelén found out at last year’s Norge Melodi Grand Prix, the downside is vocal issues while dancing at the same time. If Sweden aren’t careful, they could find themselves having their very own Tooji moment at Copenhagen this year, a hit with the televoters but a disaster with the juries.
James: I have admitted to other WiwiBloggers that I think Anton has a rather stroke-able face – I mean, no one, straight, gay, whatever is going to say that he is ugly. He is very, very handsome. But this is not the point and I must remember this too. The song – yes, the song; this is a song contest. The song is forgettable and I honestly believe that last year’s attempt with Begging is far better than this, musically and rythmically. This doesn’t have a rhyme, a tune – anything that makes it an instant earworm, this ‘Natural’. So I must only rate Anton on his face.
Sami: I love “Begging”, I love Anton’s A-EP, so I think I have to love this too. When I first heard it, I was a little dissapointed. Sure it’s not as good as “Begging,” but after some (or hundreds) of listens I started to love it more and more. I don’t like the gospel part and the performance has basically the same moves as “Begging”, but I think it would be the best representative for Sweden. It’s a nice song with a good-looking guy and with some small improvements, the performance would look great too. I just think that the gospel part wouldn’t work live, unless they get rid of the dancers and get some gospel singers to the stage.
Franceska: We get it, Anton, you’re trying to be Sweden’s Michael Jackson. I’m not even a big MJ fan and I can tell that Anton is not doing a good job. Then it goes into this generic dance music bit that will surely succeed in the clubs of Sweden, but should not represent Sweden in Eurovision. “Begging” was better, for lord’s sake. Just hope that those teenage girls will fall for your generic dance moves and crotch-grabbing. Trust me, you’ll need it.
Patrick: He sure does like to touch his private parts. Anyway, I’m really dissapointed with his song. The chorus is so outdated and annoying and his vocals are so bad that I want to throw a music book at his face. Seems that Mr. Wannabe Elvis Presley thinks that the performance is enough to win Melodifestivalen. But I’m sorry, Anton. Having a voice is a big part of Eurovision too. Many people consider him to be a winner but I think Sweden knows what good music is. But hey, there is no chance for him to ruin this. It’s bad enough to begin with.
Wiwi Jury Verdict: 4.75/10
Final ranking: #9 of 10