Tonight, during Semi-Final 3 of Melodifestivalen 2016, we saw drag queens change costumes, a Swedish Idol winner sing-it-out in front of what looked like toilet paper, and a Tanzanian-Swede working it waka-waka style. But in that haze of pyrotechnics, stage lights and sequins, Oscar Zia (“Human”) and Lisa Ajax (“My Heart Wants Me Dead”) have emerged as the winners, qualifying direkt till final. Two other acts — SaRaha (“Kizunguzungu”) and Boris René (“Put Your Love on Me”) may join them in the March 12 final, as they’ve been relegated to Andra Chansen (Second Chance).

Melodifestivalen 2016: Deltävling 3, Norrköping

Semi Final 3 Winners: Direkt till final

Oscar Zia with “Human”

“Human” marks a total shift in direction for Oscar and it really works. He sang with conviction, which also came through in his dramatic facial expressions and body thrusts. The staging consisted of him in all-black standing before an LED of dark clouds. The camera shots were jerky and strobes gave the effect of lightning. It was all very mysterious, sinister and atmospheric — really more of a performance art piece than a three-minute pop act. This had a “dirty” sound — and I mean that in the kindest way. The real standout of this semi-final.

Read the full “Human” lyrics

Lisa Ajax with “My Heart Wants Me Dead”

This started off with some major Middle Eastern flair, but sadly that feeling dissipated and I was left with something rather generic and uninspiring. The repetition of “every day, every day” was a bit grating and the staging looked incredibly cheap. The smoke overwhelmed the stage to the point I was like, “Where is Lisa?” The song itself sounds very Junior Eurovision and it doesn’t really showcase Lisa’s amazing voice. Sweden obviously responded to this — and perhaps her wave of momentum from Swedish Idol. Fair enough: She outshone most in this rather weak semi.

Read the full “My Heart Wants Me Dead” lyrics

Andra Chansen

ZaRaha with “Kizunguzungu

This gave us major “Waka Waka” vibes — and we love Shakira! But unlike the Venezuelan in South Africa, this felt so much more real owing to SaRaha’s deep connection with Tanzania. The gorgeous costumes really popped against the simple lighting scheme and the high-energy dancing kept this moving. The song started to drag about halfway through, but a good ole ESC key change brought it back. A nice debut from this blonde beauty. And please: Don’t call her Stella Mwangi!

Read the full “Kizunguzungu” lyrics

Boris Réne with “Put Your Love on Me”

Boris had more charisma and stage presence than all of the acts that preceded him put together. Producers clearly didn’t give him much cash — he had dancers in street clothes getting their swerve on — but he didn’t need it. His swagger and attitude more than filled the stage. His vocals were a little weak and exposed in the bridge, but he’s so darn likeable I’m willing to forget that. “If  I go down will you go down with me” he asks? Absolutely!

Read the full “Put Your Love On Me” lyrics

Eliminated Acts

ZaRaha after dark swingfly melodifestivalen 2016

Fifth place

SMILO with “Weight of the World”

These newbies wanted to throw it down David Guetta style but came off a bit too amateur. As wildcards they were rightly excited about their Melfest debut, but their inexperience really showed. I kept getting the sense of “Look mom I’m on TV!”, particularly from the two guys at the DJ booth. Also: Dodgy vocals. It’s a huge improvement over their number from Svensktoppen Nasta, which was a tad naff, so well done for the reboot.

Read the full “Weight of the World” lyrics

Sixth place

Swingfly feat. Helena Gutarra with “You Carved Your Name”

Totally disappointed by this following the high that was Swingfly’s 2011 entry “Me and My Drum.” The staging looked random and cheap, with dancers wearing very basic street clothes. Where is the glamour?! In his video postcard Swingfly said, “I’m kind of crazy on stage — I do what I feel.” But that madness didn’t really come through. Helena’s vocal sections were fantastic. She has such a unique timbre that works well with electronic music. Would love to see her come back as a solo act — or at least with a rejuvenated Swingfly.

Read the full “You Carved Your Name” lyrics

Seventh place

After Dark with “Kom ut som en stjärna”

Sorry, not even the showgirl feathers and a costume change from tacky pink dress to tackier white one can save this. After Dark is fun — she is clearly very good at her genre. Sadly that genre is too old-fashioned for my liking. The staging — massive letters that illuminated — worked surprisingly well. It’s just a shame the voice and the rest of the act didn’t seem as sizeable.

Read the full “Kom ut som en stjärna” lyrics

Read more Melodifestivalen news

Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/SVT

45 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Netherlandish
Netherlandish
4 years ago

Ace Wilder placed 2nd in 2014 in the tirth semi final almost 3th to andra chanche.

Was a great semi final, totally agree with the results.
As for andra chanche its getting hard for some… Isa, Molly and Samir&Viktor are all 3 going to the final for sure! So i’m guessing that both of these qualifiers won’t go to the final, and rik will get out no matter to who they compete against.

Ohi
Ohi
4 years ago

Oscars vocals were weak sauce. Lisa was my favourite. I tried to watch it in a head space where I don’t know who these acts are.

Jasmine
Jasmine
4 years ago

@CookyMonzta No. Krista didn’t stand a chance no matter which semi. She wouldn’t have made it in this, and without knowing a single song from the upcoming semi, I can assure you that she wouldn’t have made it there either. Once aigan. Krista is cool, she’s an amazing girl. But Sweden has close to no idea to who she is. Swedes are mainly fans of Melodifestivalen, not Eurovision. The only reason the general people of Sweden are getting hyped about ESC is because we’ve done so well for ourselves from 2011-2015. They don’t remember some artist that entered Eurovision 3… Read more »

Milla
Milla
4 years ago

“Mr. Know-it-all.” No comment.

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

It is now 3:28 A.M., E.S.T. in New York City, and I have just watched the 3rd round without ever watching the rehearsals; and I must say this was the worst of the 3 rounds thus far, and the hardest for me to grade; all with the exception of Oscar Zia. Here is how I saw it: 9.30 Oscar Zia (finalist) Easily the best of a lousy bunch. The clouds behind him added to the dramatic effect of his song. 9.238 After Dark (7th) Verka meets Conchita, perhaps? Given the immediate reaction of the audience after the performance was done,… Read more »

David Who
David Who
4 years ago

Again I missed the Melfest Semi Final (I was out last night). I’m very happy that Oscar went through, and I will be watching the final. With Melfest I love the energy that goes into the shows and their presentation, although I have always thought there to be too many “heat” rounds for a national contest. Eugene does have a valid point (although feel free to have your own as well) 🙂 – some of Melfest songs this year are a bit dated, and I the “wow” factor of a winner hasn’t hit me yet. I hope that when I… Read more »

Billy
Billy
4 years ago

I don’t think this was a weak semi. It is much better than last week’s.
Oscar Zia by far is the best, and possibly the best this year. Very dramatic with great production and melody. Lisa Ajax is alright, the song lacks tension though.
I kind of hope that SaRaha will make it through.
Currently my top 3
1. Oscar Zia
2. Isa
3. Ace Wilder

Jake
Jake
4 years ago

Semi 3 at Melfest is always traditionally the weakest. They usually have one big name “sure qualifier” and all other entries seem to be by relative unknowns or has-beens. When Ace Wilder won her semi with Busy it was Semi 3 and she had no major hits in Sweden. I do agree that even a bad Melfest semi is better than most national finals. I think people are reacting more to the staging of these songs than the actual songs themselves. We are used to seeing big Melfest productions and this semi gave us a few people dancing, confetti and… Read more »

DR
DR
4 years ago

I thought it was actually quite strong for a semi final and I think Mimi might have found it tough to qualify. I’ve forgotten her song already yet I liked it two weeks ago and thought it should have progressed.

Honduran
Honduran
4 years ago

Ok Wiwibloggs…Chávez is/was from Venezuela, Shakira is from Colombia! The names may sound similar to you but they are totally different people.

Hondureño
Hondureño
4 years ago

Shakira is from Colombia!

Xeph
Xeph
4 years ago

Well the winner isn’t in this semi, that’s for sure. Molly S, Wiktoria, or Ace will win.

bogtrotter
bogtrotter
4 years ago

Strongly disagree that this was the weakest semi-final so far. I thought every song had potential now but last week seriously disappointed me.

Additionally, I immediately need video of Oscar Zia’s laughing during his reprise. Very cute.

cheesecake
cheesecake
4 years ago

Definitely the weakest semi final so far, but at least Oscar got through.

1. ISA
2. Oscar
3. Robin

Denis
Denis
4 years ago

Two decent and expected songs to the final, but Oscar Zia’s song was a bit to hyped, I felt. It wasn’t that good. Same vein as Heroes last year: Mysterious, dark, “kids choir”, visual effects. I expected something truly spectacular from the hype, but ended up disappointed. Might grow on me though..
Lisa Ajax was good, but a bit forgettable. Not the best work by the Debs
SMILO was nothing memorable, your average SHM wannabes without the sound.

eve
eve
4 years ago

First time I agree with everything that went down lol

Marco Antonio
Marco Antonio
4 years ago

Emm guys… Shakira is Colombian not Venezuelan (Pff she can’t afford to have that voice, that body, and also be Venezuelan… Ok no kidding! A lot of love to my Colombian brothers xD) We are neighbours but we aren’t the same 😛

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

Milla :- It’s an opinion, and some of the songs ARE very dated.

As I said, you only need one song and Melfest is usually built around the one song and it usually wins. It’s the same every year.

I guess people are not allowed an opinion different to yours!!

Milla
Milla
4 years ago

@eugeneESCUK And what has that done for Finland?? Just saying. There has been nothing wrong with the formula Sweden have found in this contest. Why change now? When it’s completely dated, then we can change. And what do you know about the winner not being in this semi? He could be..

Brian
Brian
4 years ago

Weakest semifinal at Mello EVER! And Oscar should really focus on his pitch. He could also SING something in the chorus, basically because the backing vocals do his job all the way…

@EugeneESCUK
4 years ago

Melfest always provides variety of music but they are all usually the same style of music every year and not of a high standard. They are put in there to ensure the SVT “favourites” somehow find a way to the final, which they usually do. There is a huge difference between the quality of these two groups of songs. Having said all that I think the “favourites” are a higher standard than last year although still lacking that wow song this year so far. It would be good to see Melfest experiment with different styles like Finland does where the… Read more »

Antranig Shokayan
Editor
4 years ago

This was easily the best Semi – Oscar for Stockholm and SaRaha must get to the final!

Keith
Keith
4 years ago

Strongest semi so far!! Oscar and Lisa deserve their places DTF
Every other song could have made AC in another week.
Dont get the fuss over Wictoria at all, hoping she’ll tank in the final!
So far Oscar is winning MF for me but very keen to see Molly next week

MarioMario
4 years ago

Oscar was far superior than the rest. Stunning performance. Lisa had a very beautiful stage act too. Contenders for the final.

AndersP
AndersP
4 years ago

Loved Boris’ song. It’s the best so far. I’m surprised it didn’t go direct to the final.

Milla
Milla
4 years ago

No. Melodifestivalen when it comes to songs is not what it used to be. And I find it good that times change. I’m tired of cheesy schlager and stuff like that. Like Kristas. Carola and Alcazar…And bla bla bla. This year there have been many new faces. And I think it’s good not to bring the “elite” of the elite. To work with the visuals as well as delivering a good song is something that Sweden knows very well by now. I don’t think the songs in the final and AC are not bad at all. And that is the… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
4 years ago

A lot of the acts that did not make the final in the first two semis would have done in this one.

PP
PP
4 years ago

raulescfan

I agree with your comment, one of worst MF from 2002

raulescfan
raulescfan
4 years ago

From all the melodifestivalen i’ve seen this edition is the most amazing one in terms of visual stetics and the weakest on music… sorry 🙁

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

This was easily the best semi so far for me. Whoever’s on the audio mixing needs to make the lead vocalists’ mics louder so that you can actually hear them better over the instrumentals, though. As it is, everything sounds kind of fake because it’s like they’re trying to hide the lead vocals under the instrumental and the backing vocals. And this has been true for the other semifinals as well. Oscar’s vocals were dodgy during the verses, but he was probably quite nervous. This song is all about his personal story, after all. It’s a lot different when you’re… Read more »

Milla
Milla
4 years ago

@jasmine Thank you!! I’ve been thinking the same thing for a looong time. Yes, there is a lot of crap chosen for ESC. The final songs and AC songs in Melfest is often a whole lot better than many of the songs in ESC. Long live Melodifestivalen! 😀

SpirK
SpirK
4 years ago

An all in all mediocre semi final. Commenting in the way of the running order: – SaRaHa: A happy good vibes song, it get’s tiring halfway through though. Plus there was nothing to catch the eye on the performance. My Rank: 4th – Swingfly feat. Helena Guttara: Very repetitive and the urban style didn’t look so well. Both were ok seperately, but the song was too mainstream to make an impact. My Rank: 6th – SMAILO: Nothing to grab own, lacking originality and very repetitive. My Rank: 7th – After Dark: Not a bad tune but really dated. My Rank:… Read more »

jasmine
jasmine
4 years ago

Weak semi? What? I loved every second of it. As did my hardcore Melfest-criticizing family. Boris Rene and SaRaha were both amazing! And Oscar Zia surprised med big time! Smilo, Swingfly and Lisa Ajax did great as well. The only song that didn’t really speak to me was After Dark’s. But it was really nice having him back, since he’s such an icon when it comes to Melfest. I think I speak for all swedes when I say that “La Dolce Vita” is one of the most fun and memorable songs to date (alongside Nanne Grönwall’s “Håll om mig” and… Read more »

MGR
MGR
4 years ago

Swedish itunes charts clearly disqualified Isa.

PP
PP
4 years ago

From direct finalist contender to win for me are
1. Wiktoria
2. Robin
3. Oscar
4. Ace Wilder
From second chance only contender for win is Isa.

Milla
Milla
4 years ago

Omg! Stop nagging about Krista and Mimi! They were baaad and I’m glad they are nowhere near the final. Jeez! They would not stand a chance in ESC either! I don’t know about Oscar, but: Go Oscar! I think he is a strong contender for winning Melodifestivalen this year. At least among the people. Who knows what the international juries will think..Too bad Oscar was soo
nervous. Journalists said that he sang
much better during rehearsals. I hope he will be able to hold himself together in the final.

MGR
MGR
4 years ago

Swedes voted more for persons than songs in this semi-final.

Mar
Mar
4 years ago

First of all, Shakira is Colombian, not Venezuelan, you might want to correct that.
I totally disagree with you about Lisa, her song was my favourite of the night and of the whole Melfest so far, although I do agree the staging is very meh.
Oscar has a great song, but his vocals were a disaster only salvaged by the pre recorded backing.
SaRaHa and Boris won’t make it out of Andra Chansen, not a single chance.

jimm
jimm
4 years ago

shakira is colombian!!

lucasdemp
lucasdemp
4 years ago

Huge difference from semi final.
weak performances. If isa or molly was in this semi, they would go to the final.
by now It’s between Robin,Ace and Wiktoria and Isa (considering that she’ll go to the final). Let’s see what we have in the next week.

Laburnum
Laburnum
4 years ago

100% correct 🙂

wowowow
wowowow
4 years ago

I’m actually quite surprised by Oscar. That was dramatic af.
I think we might have seen the contender for the title, not kidding, it has the momentary impact.
I hope SaraHa will be paired with Molly PH in AC, that would make the Final so reachable for MPH!

Peyton
Peyton
4 years ago

Happy with the results of this semi! Loved Lisa and Oscar’s songs. MPH and Isa should also have no problem beating Boris and SaRaha in Andra Chansen if they’re up against each other, which makes me happy

Freyah
Freyah
4 years ago

Weak Semi but they made the right decisions. If Krista or Mimi were in this semi they would have flown through.