During the first heat of Melodifestivalen 2016, lights flashed, smoke rose and pyrotechnics shot into the air. And from that cloud of fabulous Ace Wilder and Robin Bengtsson emerged victorious, qualifying direkt till final. Samir & Viktor and Albin & Mattias may join them in the March 13 final, as they have another shot after qualifying for Andra Chansen — the second chance round.
Semi-final 1 qualifiers: Direkt till final
It’s part mambo, part funk and 100% Ace Wilder. The clever and irreverent lyrics make reference to being drunk in church and having crap wi-fi and there’s definitely a danceable beat. Sadly this never reached the heights of “Busy Doin’ Nothing'”, “Riot” or “Stupid” — but the staging was amazing. The series of digital installations made this memorable, even if it won’t make it a Melodifestivalen winner.
Robin Bengtsson – “Constellation Prize”
“Constellation Prize” — a pun on consolation prize — remains one of the most cringeworthy titles of the year. But Robin made us forget that when he fulfilled his promise to take us higher. The act opened with him staring straight at camera surrounded by black and with a spotlight making his white shirt glisten. We were swimming in his eyes within seconds. Subsequent shots showed him standing on a box with golden lights — simple, magical, amazing. He used the harmonica to great effect, giving us a modern sound tinged with soul and blues. Great debut!
Andra Chansen qualifiers
Albin & Mattias Andréasson – “Rik”
Albin is adorable but painfully awkward. He looks too sweet and baby-faced to be a rapper. His contributions really drag the song down. Thank God Mattias was there to drop some confidence and star quality. Pretty sure Melfest producers didn’t believe in this as the staging consisted of a few spotlights and blue and purple strobes. The camera angles gave this a bit of life but the lack of backing dancers created the impression they were singing to each other, which is slightly awks.
Samir & Viktor – “Bada nakna”
They ripped their shirts off and the crowd went wild. But before they rubbed water on their gym-honed abs, they dropped a rather anthemic party song. A brash and bold opener, it relied heavily on shots of dancers splashing in water and seemed to lack the drive and energy of “Groupie.” No matter — it’s a lot of fun.
Fifth Place: Mimi Werner – “Ain’t No Good”
If anyone makes barnyard fashion look chic it’s Miss Mimi Werner. Rocking bell bottoms and a cowgirl shirt with fringe, she was pure energy and sass. She worked a killer Texas sidestep and kept the attention on her even as her dancers whirled and twirled around her. The three minutes sped by — driven by her star quality, fierce vocals and some amazing production. I don’t know what else to say but “You go girl!”
Sixth Place: Pernilla Andersson – “Mitt guld”
Good thing they didn’t put a commercial break after this — advertisers would have been pissed because half of Sweden likely fell asleep. She looked great and her vocals were as sultry and magical as ever, but the song is almost non-existent. Where the verse ends and the chorus begins remains a mystery to us.
Disqualified on Thursday
Anna Book – “Himmel för två”
In recent days Melfest fans have been tweeting messages of support for this Swedish schlager queen, who was disqualified on Thursday. There have even been several #JusticeForAnna pics floating around Instagram and Twitter. After all — it’s not her fault her songwriters decided to submit a song that had already competed in Moldova. Oops. Anna, rest assured that you have a spot in the contest next year if you want it!