Here we go again! As on every Thursday since Melodifestivalen 2016 kicked off, it’s time for SVT to tantalise us with 30-second clips of the first rehearsals. This week it’s all about Semi-Final 3 in Norrköping. Seven acts will rehearse throughout the afternoon and we will get a small taste of each of their songs — and then the team from wiwibloggs will write down our initial thoughts. Remember to refresh the page through the day to read our comments from all the acts from SaRaha to Oscar Zia!
Melodifestivalen 2016: Deltävling 3, Norrköping
SaRaha with “Kizunguzungu”
William: This is giving me major “Waka Waka” vibes — and I love me some Shakira! SaRaha has strong connections to Tanzania, but there’s always a risk that a Swede singing an African-inspired song will come off as gimmicky. But judging from the clip she avoids that, serving up Tanzanian heat wave realness. The costumes are gorgeous and really pop against the simple background that flicks between pink, blue and yellow. Best of all the melody is catchy, memorable and feel-good — the perfect antidote to the Swedish winter. SaRaha slays!
Sami: “Kizunguzungu” sounds surprisingly modern, although Shakira already did this in 2010. SaRaha will bring the sun to cold Sweden, but I’m not sure if we will need it that much in May. It still seems like she is taking the dancing a bit too seriously and it looks way over-rehearsed. It’s also extremely weird to think that this is by the same team who wrote “Cool Me Down” — Margaret’s entry in Poland — that made Eurovision fans go crazy yesterday.
Swingfly feat. Helena Gutarra with “You Carved Your Name”
William: “Me and My Drum” gave us a wall of sound, whereas this seems much more tame and mild. That said, the clip probably comes from an early verse which is only a prequel to the DRAMA the duo will bring later in the song. Swingfly sounds amazing during the spoken-word segments and Helena’s voice fits really well with the electronic sound of the song. The lights and the dancing ensure this will have that dizzying Swingfly feel, which I’m a huge fan of. This has major energy, so much so that Swingfly’s random screaming actually sounds nice. Madness works when delivered with conviction.
Sami: Such a bland effort after his energetic entry “Me and My Drum” from a few years ago. I was never a fan of his rapping, but at least it doesn’t annoy me that much this time around. Helena sounds amazing, but the song doesn’t give her a chance to show off her vocals. I can’t see this going further than the semi-final.
SMILO with “Weight of the World”
William: These newbies are throwing it down DJ style. Their youth and insouciance come through loud and clear, and that almost makes their awkward dancing and facial expressions endearing. Their song has an amateurish quality that I find quite appealing — and it’s a huge improvement over their number from Svensktoppen Nasta, which I thought was a tad naff. Will they go to the final? Absolutely not. But can they be proud of this effort? Hell yeah!
Sami: Here we can see the biggest problem with EDM songs in Eurovision — they look so clumsy on the stage. The visuals are nice and the DJ booth is a good idea, but they just don’t fill the stage enough to make this believable. This could, of course, change when the audience is there cheering and dancing, but I can’t see them jumping up and down for SMILO. The song is a couple of years too late, but it’s still listenable and I’m sure the studio version will be much better.
After Dark with “Kom ut som en stjärna”
William: Every week we can expect a bit of schlager and this week it comes from drag act After Dark. Sadly this is more Anna Book than Krista Siegfrids, and it feels horribly dated. The references to Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are amusing, but this drag queen seems to drag — it’s not making me move or dance. In fact, it makes me think of ageing drag queens performing in empty bars because everyone is at home on Grindr. It actually depresses me a little. But hopefully the remaining 2:30 will give us a bit more life.
Sami: It’s hard to say anything about the performance, as they don’t have their costumes on. The song, however, is very boring. I know there’s always an audienc for schlager, but this is just depressing. The stage is also way too dark, although it fits the mood of the song. Hopefully after dark will give us some light.
Lisa Ajax with “My Heart Wants Me Dead”
William: Lisa looks great — her make-up game is on-point and the very modern dancing is giving me major feels (and not just because that dancer Edin is exposing his gym-honed abs). That said, there’s a lot of smoke, which to me signals they are trying to hide something. (Possibly all that toilet paper hanging from the sealing). The song itself sounds very Junior Eurovision and it doesn’t really showcase Lisa’s amazing voice. Every day, every day, every day isn’t an enticing hook — especially when it’s repeated every second, every second, every second. I’m really let down by this. She’ll need to rely on her recent win on Swedish Idol to stand any chance of getting through…
Sami: Lisa is very likeable. And even if her voice has a slightly whiny, annoying sound, she is still a great singer. The song is catchy, without being too repetitive, and has the feel of a typical radio hit from 2016. I also like the performance, even if it looks a bit too cheap for a song that sounds so expensive. So far it’s the best song of this semi-final and should reach the final with no problem.
Boris Réne with “Put Your Love on Me”
William: I’m not a fan of this genre, but today Boris delivered one of the more energetic and memorable acts. For a professional footballer, he’s not a bad performer either! The staging is insanely simple — there are lights and little else — and this performance relies heavily on the dancers to make it pop. The hook is insanely catchy and easy-to-remember. It sounds a tad repetitive, but assuming the rest of the song has a bit of shape, this could really surprise.
Sami: The chorus sounds extremely annoying, but Boris’ confidence and charisma really elevate this. I like the choreography, though it looks like they took a lot of inspiration from Guy Sebastian’s performance. I really hope the rest of the song is better, as I had high hopes for Boris.
Oscar Zia with “Human”
William: The clip doesn’t give much away, but I can tell this is going to be EPIC. The dark clouds and frenetic camera cuts set the scene for a seriously dramatic performance. He’s in the pimp spot closing the show, so you know the staging is gonna dazzle. The sound is edgy, electro and mysterious, perhaps offering our first “dirty” sound in the vein of Sia. Oscar looks totally comfortable on stage and I have a feeling he’s going direkt till final!
Sami: Oscar sounds much better with this song than he did on his 2014 track “Yes We Can.” Even from this short clip it’s clear than “Human” could do really well at Eurovision. I absolutely ADORE the weird camera angles and quick changes, which are dizzying and give this energy. Oscar is capable of filling the stage even when standing there alone. This should be enough to take Oscar direkt till final — and then somewhere near the top!
Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/SVT