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

Ace Wilder – “Don’t Worry”
ace wilder semi final melodifestivalen 2016

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”

robin b melodifestivalen 2016

“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 Mattias Melodifestivalen 2016 Impressions Sweden

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”

Samir and viktor shirtless

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.

Eliminated Acts

pernilla last place melodifestivalen

Fifth Place: Mimi Werner – “Ain’t No Good”

mimi werner melodifestivalen 2016

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”

Pernilla Andersson Mitt guld Melodifestivalen 2016 3

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!

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#Success
Guest
#Success

@Charles – I’m sorry, but people like you have made eurovision hated and underrated with “normal people”. This is a song my friends are listening, i’m listening. This is what most of the people really like and listen. No one listens Molitva or something like that in the world out of eurovision. And as i said, i don’t care about their bodies, but shirtless-thing fits the song, because it’s called “Bada Nakna”. I think you’re just jealous to them honey 😉

#Success
Guest
#Success

I think their song is great music. Kempe is talented compositor. I agree, they should’ve been with clothes on. But don’t take it too serious. It’s just music. I think that they are talented and charismatic. I think also that it’s really really mean to compare these amazing guys to your dog. Shame on you…

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

@criticca

Kylie Minogue but also Beyoncé did the “copy herself” multiple times during her shows. There is nothing original about it, and besides she sings bad too with weak lyrics. So disappointed, I expected so much more!

Criticca
Guest
Criticca

Anyone getting a Kylie Minogue vibe with Ace Wilder’s performance & song entry?

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Ace Wilder ripped off Paul Johnson’s song Get Get Down, a very popular classic house song. Can’t believe she gets away with it!

MGR
Guest
MGR

I think the very important information are positions of songs and artists from Melodifestivalen on iTunes charts in Sweden:
http://snkhan.co.uk/stuff/iTunes.php?chart=SE
1. Samir & Viktor – Bada Nakna
2. Anna Book – Himmel För Två
4. Albin & Mattias Andréasson – Rik
5. Mimi Werner – Ain’t No Good
39. Pernilla Andersson – Mitt Guld
40. Samir & Viktor – Groupie
50. Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin

Notts
Guest
Notts

What would happen if Samir and Viktor ripped off their pants as well?
Some of you might then go as far as to claim that “Bada Nakna” has the potential to win the whole contest in May. HAHAHA

#Success
Guest
#Success

@Charles
I like their energy on stage. The song is catchy, memorable, fun. It sounds like today’s hit. Eurovision has too many ballad/balkan ballads nowadays. It needs up-tempo songs, with fun, and energy. No boring, similiar ballads with great singers. It’s boring. I think Samir & Viktor are more rappers in my eyes, and they have also improved from last year. I would be great to hear swedish on Eurovision stage, it’s been a long time. #BadaNakna

Do you want a boring, unmemorable, depressive ballad, with a great singer?

MGR
Guest
MGR

I have one question. If the reality is not such, as I think. So what is the reality? Maybe I’m delusional. Perhaps nothing really exists. Eurovision does not exist. No one there exist and I also do not exist. But why, I myself had to come to this?

MGR
Guest
MGR

From that moment no longer pretend stupid. Now everything is clear.

Piotr
Guest
Piotr

@MGR I saw your comments in previous articles about Mans, Sweden etc. Norway last year’s song was good, beautiful words, but it was just not enough to make even top 3, there were better songs.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Piotr :- We’ll see what the juries think should Ace and Jamala get through? The public will differ of course. My guess is Bjorkman’s first string is Molly not Ace and Ace could well be the bridesmaid yet again. We shall see?

MGR
Guest
MGR

The truth is very simple. Eurovision performances have to be assessed in respect of tightness, not brevity. That’s why Morland & Debrah Scarlett were bad, but Mans Zelmerlow was good. Now Ace Wilder is more concise, but Samir and Viktor are tight, and that’s why they are better.

Piotr
Guest
Piotr

@EugeneESCUK I heard Jamala’s song, I’ve seen her yesterday’s performance. I don’t like her song, I dont like her vocals. In my opinion there’s no comparison between the level of her song and Swedish songs from the 1st semifinal. It just depends on everyone’s own opinion, for you better is 1944, for me Dont worry 🙂

Piotr
Guest
Piotr

@CookyMonzta Hey 🙂 I quite don’t agree with you in this question. Please remember, that Robin had many point from juries in 2013 (cant remember if he finished second?). Secondly – in my opinion very important thing was that Denmark has won that contest – a lot of votes of Scandinavian fans went to Emelie (and a lot of votes went also to Norway whick took 5th place) and that’s why Robin couldn’t reach any higher. The main reason wasn’t a bar from Loreen – it was 1. a lot of votes for Denmark 2. a lot of votes for… Read more »

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

CookyMonzta :- It’s very simple Sweden were hosts in 2013 when Stjernberg sang. We know the Big 5 and Host need something truly special or they will struggle. Sweden again host in 2016 and again if they don’t have something truly special they will not be Top 5 or perhaps Top 10. “Don’t Worry” is nothing special. Just compare the composition, vocals and lyrics of “Don’t Worry” with Jamala’s “1944”. Have you read the lyrics to “Don’t Worry”? We will have to see what Molly has?

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Is it just me, or did Samir & Viktor’s performance remind anyone of Jedward?

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Piotr, Charles: You know what I think it is? It’s the same thing that happened after Loreen won. In 2013 a lot of artists who usually showed up at MF stayed away because they knew they could never top “Euphoria”. Had Robin Stjernberg’s “You” been introduced in 2014, it would have finished much higher because fewer people would have held it to as high a standard as they did in 2013. Given that Måns blew away the field at last year’s ESC, the contenders at this year’s MF are being held to a higher standard. The only difference here is… Read more »

Piotr
Guest
Piotr

Hey everyone, I don’t understand all the comments from people who complain about Swedish songs. I can only imagine that if Italy, Russia, Spain, UK or any other country released “Dont worry” or Robin’s song, you would be impressed. But it’s Sweden’s, and probably that’s the problem – you’re just jelaous that they’re making big hits and great music and that they have been so successful in last few years. I’m from Poland – we havent achieved anything valuable since years, but it doesnt mean I wont aprecciate other countries’ great music. Songs they are sending are just so fresh… Read more »

Ljupco MACEDONIA
Guest
Ljupco MACEDONIA

All was well last night, except the fact that Mimi Werner really deserved to go at least to Second Chance. I mean come on, Albin & Mattias’s entry was incredibly dull and weak, even duller than Pernilla’s entry. I could say the same for Samir and Viktor’s entry, but at least they had good presentation on stage. Qualifiers going directly to final were too easily predictable. I am now waiting for Molly Pettersson Hammar’s song, as well as the entire line-up in Heat 4.

MGR
Guest
MGR

Oscar Zia “Yes We Can” + Dinah Nah “Make Me (La La La)” = Ace Wilder “Don’t Worry” – nothing special!

#Success
Guest
#Success

Samir & Viktor. Fantastic song! We haven’t got any song like this in ESC. We need this to be in Stockholm. Please Sverige! Send “Bada Nakna” to ESC, and let us party!

MGR
Guest
MGR

Even they can be like Alcazar because this is similar style and at this moment they have NO rivals in Sweden, because Ace Wilder and Robin Bengtsson are dull, weak and boring. It means that winners of 1st semi final have NO chance in final. This is the harsh reality.

MGR
Guest
MGR

Samir & Viktor must be Hasse Andersson, Robin Stjernberg or even The Moniker of 2016.

Conor
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Conor

loved ace, by far the best song for me, I’d love to see it go on and win

2015
Guest
2015

They might keep the duel spot open against Albin and Mattias, because they know they won’t ever qualify to the final with that song. So they’ll probably put someone against them who has to reach the final for sure.

dutchie
Guest
dutchie

I love Sweden and its music, but of course you can only have so many talented musicians in what is still a relatively small country, population-wise. None of these singers are really good, I’d go as far as to say that they’re all pretty bad, so they have to be saved by really good songs… and these songs aren’t. Because what goes for singers, also goes for songwriters: there’s a few good ones, and a lot who just copy what the rest does.

Edre
Guest
Edre

I don’t think it’s just an anti-Sweden feeling. After all, among ESC fans there are still many loving Sweden for everything they do (you can see it here: why is Sweden’s Melfest the first news appearing on Wiwibloggs even though they revealed their qualifiers after Finland? That’s because most of ESC fans are still interested a lot in what Sweden chooses, more than for any other country: they want to know about Sweden first, and then they could also take a look at the other NFs). The real problem here is the popularity of the typical EDM. In 2015 we’ve… Read more »

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

If Anna Book had been kept in the lineup, she would not have made Andra Chansen on my card (9.038). I listened to Felicia Dunaf’s song right after her performance. I would have penalized her the way I penalized Robin’s for his music sounding waaaay too similar to Kygo’s “Stole The Show”.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Alex: Here in NYC (3:47 A.M., E.S.T./0946 C.E.T.), I just watched the show, having isolated myself from anything that would reveal the results, and the first comment I saw here (yours) was EXACTLY what I thought when I heard Robin’s song. Here is how I saw Round 1: 9.375 Ace Wilder (finalist) Very interesting stage setup she has here. She didn’t hold back anything. I will have to see the other rounds to make a more thorough judgment. Suffice to say, she deserved to go straight to the final. 9.275 Mimi Werner (5th) Highway robbery. This performance should have gone… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

@Max: Whatever drug i might be in certaintly in the same one that prevents you from seeing truth between the lines … but at least you are not one of the many suicidal freaks who screamed from the tops of their lungs that Italy should have won last year due to televoting. Or are you? Wow then that must be one hell of a drug allow me to tell you … Whatever you feel about 1992-flop-Björkmann keep it inside your boxer briefs… thanks … and not seeing what a lot of people outside Sweden have been expressing about their winning… Read more »

Max
Guest
Max

@Charles I want whatever drugs you are having “There has been a very powerful anti-Sweden in Eurovision for the last year or so specially since the 2013 edition ” Well they came 3rd in 2014 and went on to win in 2015, so I’m not seeing this anti Sweden sentiment. As for Bjorkman, he really doesn’t need your advice on how to make Melodifestivalen a success. Just today we saw the biggest ever voting record. Melfest has produced 4 top Top 3 placings in 5 years. It’s the biggest watched NF in Europe and about half of all Swedes are… Read more »

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

also please god no don’t talk about another swedish win with ace wilder I am so done with sweden and its embassy in DC (really crappy for viewing parties)

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

Mimi was robbed by Bada Nakna’s trashy ‘we’re hot so vote for us’ gimmick
Pernilla (I know nobody likes her but still) was soooo undeserving of last place idk but I really really like mitt guld

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

The thing that unsettles me about Ace’s song are that people are saying, “It needs a revamp”. But that’s not the Swedish way. When songs debut at Melfest, they’re already in their final version (or if they are changed, it’s a very minor tweak like the one-word addition of “Undo”). If “Don’t Worry” needs a revamp at this stage, it’s doomed.

davve
Guest
davve

and what is up with this crazy notion that a Swedish song would do so great at ESC..? look at Finland in 2012… swedish song..didnt qualify…. I mean be realistic… sweden has won twice in the last 4 years with a song like Ace Wilders….. gooo Ace

davve
Guest
davve

Bengtssons song is good. But it is the song that “you are suppose to like”. Ace Wilder has a song that could potentially do great at ESC..even win.

Only semi 1 of 4 so plenty of more songs to hear… but for now… Ace Wilder to Stockholm for sure..

she had a much better stage act and song than the rest of the batch this week… she probably received more than 50% of the votes.

MG- UK
Guest
MG- UK

Aint No Good was my personal favourite from the night and really think it should have gone through to AC over Rik, but nevermind. Fully expected Robin and Ace to go through so no surprise there. I think next week is the one to ook forward too, big names there!

Darren
Guest
Darren

Im so hooked on Ace Wilder’s entry! Its so upbeat and well produced! Could definitely have the Loreen effect if it won, this could go global! Ace Wilder herself is very marketable globally, if she makes it to Eurovision, I am sure she will have massive international career regardless of Swedens placing. Sweden are in it to win it! And I wouldnt be surprised at all if they do, even at the expense of Ireland losing its record. Fingers crossed for Ace, hope she makes it all they way. If She wins Melfest, Sweden will be once again my number… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

In a very own MF fashion, this semi final was very obvious and predictable … the favourites went to the final … and everything else was plain bad … Period. Though songwise both final selected ones were good songs … vocally? Very underwhelming. Ace Wilder specially … people may not expect vocal acrobatics from her but not being able to have a voice to sing and make a good impression is just plain bad … she did it back in 2014 but everybody was paying more attention to the whole entertaining thing about the song and choreography … but I… Read more »

Charles
Guest
Charles

@Edre: Spot on! The problem here is called Björkmann who in a very similar business spirit to Simon Cowell, playing safe is for him what gives Sweden a chance to get a great result with Eurovision. However if he really opened up his mind a bit, embracing very unique songs like the ones Belgium and Latvia did last year would give MF a complete bigger musical credibility .. yet is much easier to play safe and it’s easier to allow songs that go against the rules until fans find them out in Internet. SVT needs to think more outside of… Read more »

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I think it was the right result. Ace Wilder is through on reputation and Robin was actually ok. The serious contest is still to come!

Craig
Guest
Craig

I really do not dig that Ace Wilder song at all. Robin’s song is nice and might stand out a bit in a year that looks like it will be choc full of up tempo pop. Victor and Samir…Douze Points right there for all the wrong reasons!

AM Casablancas
Guest
AM Casablancas

My top 3 for the night
3. Rik
2. Ace Wilder with Don’t Worry
1. Las Ketchup with Aserejé.

mad-professor
Guest
mad-professor

– For me, it was the other way around: Mattias’ nasally singing let down Albin. – Mimi’s song was absolutely awful, which is a shame because she wasn’t too bad even with her nerves. – Ace’s song was good if you ignore the poor lyrics. – Pernilla: well… – Samir & Victor had a better song than Mimi, but they’re still awful ‘singers’. – Robin was actually fantastic, which is weird because that 30 second extract sounded like the song would be poor. Although, it’s worth pointing out that the last 40 seconds are clearly filler. Loved Anna’s performance, even… Read more »

Thiefo
Guest

Overall an underwhelming semi final, but both Constellation Prize and Don’t Worry are amazing! Loved both, equally but for different reasons. I would’ve switched Mimi with Samir & Viktor though.

Edre
Guest
Edre

The right songs went to the final, for me. Constellation Prize is really nice, but I agree it’s similar to “Stole the show”. Not bad at all, actually, because in my opinion “Stole the show” is one of the best EDM songs of 2015. Ace Wilder was pure energy, as always, but it’s clear that “Don’t worry” didn’t satisfy the high expectations after “Busy doing nothing”. There wasn’t a great competition in this semi for her, anyway. As for the other songs, well, it’s like every year in Sweden. A group of pretty good frontrunners and then uninspiring schlagers or… Read more »

MGR
Guest
MGR

It’s time for great hit in SWEDISH LANGUAGE in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016! It’s time for BADA NAKNA!

cheesecake
Guest
cheesecake

Tonight’s winner for me was Gina Dirawi. Still mad about the fact that Petra gets to host the contest instead of her.
About the songs: Robin was by far the best, Ace was quite good as well. The best songs got through.

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

@Loo

I ain’t no hater, but I miss the more culturally inspired entries.
So I suggest instead of poisoning yourself with songs consisting of one lines that become catchy by brainwashing your mind accompanied by a 1989 Janet Jackson moves you turn on youtube and play some JAMALA.
Ukraine did kick some MF ass tonight.