If you smell pyrotechnics don’t be alarmed: Rehearsals for the third semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2015 kicked off in Östersund this morning. The line-up features five-time #melfest veteran Andreas Johnson, #mello 2014 breakout star Ellen Benediktson, and Svensktoppen winner Kalle Johansson. So who’s up and who’s down? Let’s take a look at the 30-second snippets SVT has released and make sense of all the fabulous…

Deltävling 3, Östersund 21/2:

1. “Insomnia” – Ellen Benediktson

What a difference a year makes! Last year Ellen was the slightly shy newbie singing a charming (albeit meloncholy) song called “Songbird”. That song gave her lift, but “Insomnia” helps her take flight! This is modern, dark and intoxicating electronica which tells the story of a woman trying to hide her pain. “Putting on a show, So no one will know, That my heart is constant low, I can’t shut out the night, I can’t shut out your lies, And I’m waiting for you, I’m waiting for you.” That explains why she can’t sleep. The staging has real edge: six backing dancers surround Ellen on a series of platforms. If it rains, no bother: their black body-con outfits are made of pleather.

Read the lyrics to “Insomnia” 

2. “För din skull” – Kalle Johansson

Kalle is this year’s wildcard, having won Svensktoppen last fall, and I’m afraid to say it shows. The song itself is flat and forgettable, and the staging lacks the gloss we saw in Ellen’s performance. I’m not convinced they gave him a choreographer (walk, stand, clap, walk). That said, the lack of polish may be what helps this in the end. He is incredibly likeable, he isn’t yet a diva, and he manages to stir warmth in you when he flashes those baby blue eyes. I’m skeptical about his chances to make Andra Chansen. I’m more confidant that he can come back in a few years and properly shine.

Read our interview with Kalle.

Read the lyrics to “För din skull” 

3. “Bring Out the Fire” – Andreas Weise

I’m sure Andreas is a nice guy, but he comes off a little pervy in this video, saying, “turn me on, bring out the fire.” I think I’ll bring a fire extinguisher instead. The song has flashes of disco, but in that annoying, we-have-heard-this-before kind of way. He can sing and he can move, so it saddens me that he’s singing this dated lounge music. Second chance? No chance.

4. “Living to Die” – Andreas Johnson

Andreas is a veteran and it shows. He could sing “Happy Birthday” and he would still deliver it with presence and command. It’s difficult to judge the song based on this snippet, but this much is clear: it really suits his voice. At times he sounds like the frontman of U2. There’s a smouldering quality to his voice. The rasp when he sings “I’m still by your side” gives me tingles. At times the stage appears to swallow him, and he’s kept the staging (or at least the part we see) very simple. I’m slightly underwhelmed — perhaps it’s because I just watched the non-stop energy that is Isa — but it’s definitely too early to rule this one out.

Read our interview with Andreas.

Read the lyrics to “Living to Die” 

5. “Don’t Stop” – Isa

Isa’s hips don’t lie and they’re telling me she is fierce. She promised us Super-Bowl-sized entertainment, and she delivered. This is a high-octane number that requires her to have all engines blasting. Fortunately she has a lot of juice in her tank to see it through. The stage is filled with pinks and purples and oversized boom boxes. Dancers give this a frenetic pace and Isa knows exactly went to thrust, pout and bend. She’s telegenic, y’all. The progression to the chorus is nice and when it finally hits I can’t help but bob my head. Watch out for this one.

Read our interview with Isa.

Read the Don’t Stop lyrics.

 

6. “I See You” – Kristin Amparo

Reports emerging out of Sweden suggest that she’s a real dark horse to take this semi-final. After watching the snippet we can see why. Her staging is simple but engrossing, grand and opulent yet somehow warm and familiar. While the snippet only shows her working those dark, melodious bits — and Adele-style, we might add — she’s apparently going to be throwing down every inch of the register, from low to high. This may be the classiest number in this semi-final.

7. “Jag är fri (Manne Leam Frijje)” – Jon Henrik Fjällgren

Jon is representing Sweden’s Sami minority — and he does it with aplomb! If this is indicative of Sami music, then I need Christer Björkman to open a recording studio in the Sami capital. This is my indigenous jam, y’all! It has real soul — not the manufactured stuff we’re used to hearing on the radio — and you can tell that Jon is singing from the heart. The staging recreates a Sami village which, judging from the title, gives Jon a sense of freedom and purpose. He provides the heat musicaly — that voice is so rich, so warm, so melodious — and the staging compliments it with an artifical campfire that pumps out smoke. In a contest where the artificial and superflous so often reign, this stands out for keeping it real.

Semi-final three preview

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Photo: Pierre Broad Stone Lien / SVT

44 Comments
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Just being honest
Just being honest
5 years ago

Wow Ellen just did a 180 from Songbird to Insomia. I think she’ll qualify since her fanbase has increased since participating last year.

Charles
Charles
5 years ago

“I See You” was the only one that I liked despite having a hard time accepting the song was written by Kempe, who I never liked. Very disappointed with the way Ellen chose to present herself specially soundwise, selling herself for the electro-pop-crap that everybody else can also do? … Uninteresting song and with a title that immediately reminds you of Euphoria … not a nice look to be in a picture after the authenticity and honesty of “Songbird” …

jasmine
jasmine
5 years ago

@CookyMonzta That is indeed correct! 😀 Although, I’ve got to say that it feels a bit odd that we cut back to 7 entries a week and yet increased the final by adding 2 spots. Would be pretty neat if we could give one of the extra spots to an entry that isn’t still in the competition anymore. Like Molly or Rickard & Elize, like a wildcard, something along the lines of a “regret-card”. But 2 extra Andra Chansen entries is awesome as well, ’cause there’s always that third artist you really want to progress to the final, but can’t… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 years ago

@jasmine: So, in other words, this year’s final will have 12 qualifiers:

8 Direkt till Final + 4 Andra Chansen

Is that right?

ggmlr
5 years ago

I’m not feeling any of these songs. Hoping the 4th semi final will be better

jasmine
jasmine
5 years ago

@CookyMonzta

There will actually be 4 qualifiers from Andra Chansen this year. So I’m hoping that Linus Svenning, Ellen and Isa all qualifies from AC.

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 years ago

Whoever gets to Andra Chansen will probably end up fighting for ONE spot in the finals, because I’m betting on Linus Svenning to take the other spot.

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 years ago

After listening to all 7 clips again (somehow, on my machine, Jon Henrik’s clip has disappeared), I think Kristin will be the easiest qualifier for the finals, with Jon Henrik to follow. Ellen will go to Andra Chansen, with Isa fighting off Kalle to get the other Andra Chansen spot. Andreas Johnson will finish 6th, and Andreas Weise bringing up the rear.

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 years ago

@Jan: You beat me to it. The comparisons of Isa’s song with Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” (which itself sounds reminiscent of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”) will decide which way she goes. I’m thinking it won’t hurt her, and she’ll make Andra Chansen, at the very least.

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
5 years ago

The song in Sami is particularly interesting (linguistic diversity!)
Kristin’s melody is also very strong, and she appears to be a great singer
Andreas (Johnson)/Ellen/Isa are alright, hope two of the three get to Andra Chansen

the pervy song is exactly that
Kalle aka the one song in Swedish is a bit dull, not much going on there
that’s my take on the semi-final… Mariette is still #1 in my book

Jan
Jan
5 years ago

Isa with “Don’t Stop” is just like “Shake It Off” sung by a little Ace Wilder.

My favourites are Ellen, Isa and Jon :3

Alex
Alex
5 years ago

“INSOMNIA” – ELLEN BENEDIKTSON the best of this semifinal.

davved
davved
5 years ago

For me it is apparent that Kristin and Jon will make the final directly. and the two second chance spots are up for grabs

blondboybc
blondboybc
5 years ago

Jon Erik is the stand out here for me! Definitely a finalist, along with Kristin, but will have to see the entire song. The others will all be fighting for spot in Andra Chansen. 🙂

Calum Macleod
Calum Macleod
5 years ago

“I See You” sounds great!

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
5 years ago

I have to go with those last 3 and maybe Ellen. The rest, out.

Kristin – Finals
Jon Henrik – Finals
Ellen – Andra Chansen
Isa – Andra Chansen

a
a
5 years ago

@bavarson why Azerbaijan (might understand that, but they can also flop)? why Russia? (yeah, right, IF they return) why Armenia? (one time in top 3 = powerhouse? don’t think so) why Greece? (they won’t have money to compete next year sry they gotta save save save)

a
a
5 years ago

clearly, you are new to MelFest, then. This year might not be the best, but OH MAN it isn’t the worst. Far from it!

bavarson
bavarson
5 years ago

I think 2015 will be the last good year for Sweden in Eurovision, because they will be represented by Eric Saade. Since 2016 Sweden will have no chance against Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Greece.

bavarson
bavarson
5 years ago

This will be the WORST semi-final in history of Melodifestivalen.

Mar
Mar
5 years ago

All of these songs are awful??? Can’t really say for sure, cause it’s only 15 secs, but the only song I’d like to see in the final is the sami one. The only other decent song is Imsomnia, but like someone else said, it’s trying too hard to be Euphoria 2.0 and she sounds out of breath the entire time.
As for the rest of them, I wouldn’t even send them to andra chansen, kick them all out and bring back Molly and Elize.

Dhani
5 years ago

i think this will happen

Jon – to the final
Kristin – to the final
Ellen – andra chansen
Andreas – andra chansen
Isa – 5th place

Ian
Ian
5 years ago

This seems to be a pretty strong collection of songs.

Personally I’m rooting for Jon, be it to the final or andra chansen.

Adams
Adams
5 years ago

Come on, Sweden!

Ian D
Ian D
5 years ago

Andreas and Kristin are the only ones I’m really liking in this semi. The rest aren’t awful, but from the snippets sound a little meh.

Kamil
Kamil
5 years ago

Jon to the final, please! It is really different and warm song.

Timselvision
Timselvision
5 years ago

I love Isa´s, Ellen´s and Jon´s snippets, so I hope they´ll qualify. I don´t like Kristin´s snippet but I´m always sceptical towards power ballads. :p

YoungsterJoey
YoungsterJoey
5 years ago

Not really feeling this semifinal….although some sympathy to the dancers tho, I see the same faces for many singers including the first two semifinals. They must have good stamina cause I’d be exhausted.

Bring back One by One, lol.

a
a
5 years ago

I wish:
ELLEN BENEDIKTSON and KRISTIN AMPARO to the Final
ISA and ANDREAS JOHNSON to Andra Chansen
but that’s judging ONLY on the snippets

but, since it’s Sweden we’re talking about, then probably this weird song number 7 will go through, taking a spot

Eugene ESC UK
Eugene ESC UK
5 years ago

Heard all 7 snippets now………………wow how disappointing……………but they are only snippets………….will have to wait for the full live versions to decide this one, this is the closest so far but that does not mean the best???!!!! FAR from it!!

D
D
5 years ago

Now that they’re all released. What I Want to Happen: 1) Ellen Benediktson with “Insomnia” – To the final – I love this image change in Ellen. “Songbird” was still amazing and one of my favourites from last year but this sounds like a great song and the type of music I’d listen to outside of ESC. Very excited for the full studio version. 2) Jon Henrik Fjällgren with “Jag är fri (Manne leam frijje)” – To the final – Sami music is an ultimate guilty pleasure of mine (although I don’t feel that guilty about it). The staging is… Read more »

Thiefo
5 years ago

Wow, just from the snippet I’m loving Kristin’ song! Very powerful voice.
I’m also I loving Ellen’s change, I really didn’t like her last year but she made a complete turn this time, and I’m loving it!

a
a
5 years ago

Kristin’s song is actually pretty good, but the staging (or actually lack of it) makes it mediocre. But that’s just judging on the snippet (on MelFest FB site, since there’s no link here yet). I can see her going straight to the Final, along with Ellen. And Isa to Andra Chansen. 2nd AC spot is up for grabs

Eugene ESC UK
Eugene ESC UK
5 years ago

Fredrik Kempe co-wrote Kristin Amparo’s “I See You”, so expectation is very high after his first two offerings, (Eric and Linus). 3rd and final time lucky perhaps?

D
D
5 years ago

Based on just the names I’d predict Kristin and Jon Henrik to the final and Ellen and Isa/Andreas Johnson to andra chansen. This might change after I hear all the snippets.

Eugene ESC UK
Eugene ESC UK
5 years ago

As I have said before SVT usually, but not always, put their favoured songs in the second half particularly the last 2 or 3 songs. Strangely songs 6 and 7 have BOTH gone directly to the final in BOTH semi’s, so I’m going to say 6 and 7, (and I have not even heard them yet, hehe!!!)

a
a
5 years ago

I actually love that semi so far! So much better than the 1st one. Similar to the 2nd at the moment.

jasmine
jasmine
5 years ago

I’m so pumped! Week #3 is the week I’ve been waiting for since they first announced the entries. Two of the most famous Mello-journalists (Tobbe & Trus) said that Kristin Amparo’s song is told to be one of the strongest songs this year and a possible winner. Now, I’ve seen Kristin Amparo live and she is probably by faaaar one of the most talanted singers we’ve got here in Sweden. So I can’t wait until saturday. Likewise when it comes to Jon Henrik Fjällgren. ‘Cause I just know it’s going to be something special. And it would be really cool… Read more »

No Name
No Name
5 years ago

According to the journalists, the last 4 songs are the best ones in this semifinal, especially Kristin and Jon. So I’m sure it’ll be better!

PP
PP
5 years ago

Ellen Benediktson Insomnia is very weak try to be Euphoria 2

Calvin
Calvin
5 years ago

Kalle is a talented singer with a good song who desperately needs a pep talk. Here’s one.

Kalle. This isn’t Svensktoppen anymore. Your audience is best counted in thousands, and your viewers are best counted in millions. You can’t get away with any awkward sauntering anymore – no. This is the big leagues. You’re competing against people like Ellen Benediktson and Andreas Johnson who have mountains of presence, and they’re going to eat you alive without mercy if you can’t start singing with the courage of your convictions. Got it? Good. Now go out there and perform your heart out.

jr esc nl
jr esc nl
5 years ago

i like ellen benediktsons song what a change!

PP
PP
5 years ago

I think that this semi final wili be weaker than second semifinal. I m sorry becuase we have so many great songs in first semi final , and two good songs is out I ll be fine, and One by one.

bavarson
bavarson
5 years ago

even worse entries than in the previous semi-finals