Today SVT kicked off rehearsals for the second semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2015. The acts slipped into their tightest pants and tested their wind machines inside the Malmö Arena, which some of you will remember fondly as the host venue for Eurovision 2013. Among the acts rehearsing today were heartthrobs Samir & Viktor and Melodifestivalen veterans Linus Svenning and Magnus Carlsson. Here’s how things went down. The acts are listed in the running order.
Deltävling 2, Malmö 14/2:
1. “Forever Starts Today” – Linus Svenning
A lot of people expected another ethno-ballad in the mold of last year’s “Bröder”, but today Linus proved he’s not a one-trick pony. The song smacks of perseverance and moving on, and could be read as a thematic extension of Bröder, which discussed losing a brother: “I close my eyes and count to ten, I realize that I can breath, that I can breath again.” The staging is decidedly urban with drummers baning on oversized drums STOMP style, and it has shades of Luminita Anghel’s Eurovision performance from 2005 (which Europe loved).
Read the “Forever Starts Today” lyrics here.
2. “Där och då med dig” – Emelie Irewald
If there’s one thing Melodifestivalen doesn’t need more of, it’s women screaming. Emelie’s song translates as “Then and there with you”, and she is coming off as a little stalkerish: “Wait, I want to go with you, I am afraid, afraid of the dark, Let me take you, have a chance in our last dance.” Psycho-obsessive aside, the stage is filled with hundreds of incandescent lights. They’re really magical and, in the tradition of Ellen Benedicktson, this could surprise. We just haven’t heard enough to know.
3. “Groupie” – Samir & Viktor
Judging from the Groupie lyrics, this is meant to be a clever play on the two meanings of “groupie”—as in someone obsessed with an artist, and a group photo. The guys look great and they sound surprisingly good too. At times Victor seems to struggle to find his light, but I’m sure he’ll sort this out by showtime. This is more sophisticated than the numbers dropped by Sean Banan in years past, and yet this still feels somehow silly.
Read the “Groupie” lyrics here.
4. “If I Was God For One Day” – Neverstore
In a recent interview with wiwibloggs, alt-rock band Neverstore told us that their song “is about losing someone and wanting to turn back time and to get another chance.” The lyrics capture the meloncholy inherent in that message: “If I was god for one day, I’d chase the shadows away and lead you back to my heart.” Awww. We seriously love when guys with tattoos can express their emotions like that. In any event, their stage show is rock without being offensive, and it has a sweet centre that endears them to the audience. The clip isn’t that dynamic, though, so this may get lost in the mix.
5. “Nonetheless” – Marie Bergman & Sanne Salomonsen
“A wild coyote in a prison” makes for an interesting lyric, but sadly it’s the only thing I can remember. This clip is a disaster. It sounds as if they’re playing the song back in slow motion. It has no energy or life and at times I worry that the ladies don’t have a pulse. Marie and Sanne (not Nielsen) need to fire their stylist. Cowboy chic doesn’t work on them.
6. “Möt mig i Gamla Stan” – Magnus Carlsson
Magnus, you can sing whatever you want as long as you sing it with those dance moves! The choreography was on point and Magnus proves, once again, that you can’t slow him down — even if you throw out some tricky steps. The melody is schlager-tastic and really gets stuck in your head. As ever, he’s singing about love and letting go: “Like a mirror, you were close, there is no one else who has seen me so.” Oh, to be that mirror! In my mind this is an automatic qualifier. But I thought the same thing about Andreas Lundstedt’s “Aldrig Aldrig” a few years ago and look how that turned out…
Read the “Möt mig i Gamla Stan” lyrics here.
7. “Don’t Stop Believing” – Mariette
I would not let this woman babysit my kids or catsit my kitten. She is scary, y’all! But I mean that in a good way, as this was perhaps the best overall package of the day. Mariette is definitely feeling every verse of her song, and the smoke, lightning, and dancers wearing black all foment a dark and eerie atmosphere. Interestingly, I get the sense it’s meant to be uplifting. In the lyrics she seems to suggest that breaking up doesn’t mean the end of love: “And no matter what people say, from today we’re strong enough to smile and walk away.” If she came at me in that outfit I would RUN.