Another Thursday, another series of rehearsals for Melodifestivalen 2016. Today the good people of Gävle welcome the Semi-Final 4 artists, who include bookies’ favourite Molly Sandén and Melfest veterans Panetoz, Dolly Style, Martin Stenmarck and Linda Bengtzing. The semi has already had plenty of drama with the unfortunate leak of Molly’s “Youniverse,” which led producers to reveal short clips of all the songs for a 24-hour period. But now it’s time to see how they’ll give these numbers life on stage as SVT share 30-second rehearsal snippet. This is live and rolling, and we’ll be updating throughout the day as SVT shares its video previews.
Melodifestivalen 2016: Deltävling 4, Gävle
Eclipse with “Runaways”
William: Rock entries at Melfest tend to get the exact same treatment — red lights, white strobes, a bit of fire and the drummer seated on an elevated platform. It looks great, but it’s just a bit predictable at this point. The band sound great and look confident, though the melody sounds old school, nodding to Jon Bon Jovi, among others. I hope that the lead singer doesn’t wear a tank top on Saturday evening. I find the frequent display of his armpits a bit gross. Ain’t nobody gotta see that.
Sami: “Runaways” is a decent rock song and the band looks great on the stage. The chorus is very catchy and I like the melody. Too often the melodies in rock songs are completely forgettable, but this is a pleasant exception. I’m not yet sure if they have a shot at the final, but I will for sure blast this from my speakers — and loud!
Dolly Style with “Rollercoaster”
William: If this snippet is anything to go by, then this Roller Coaster is going to crash. Their music tends to be catchy and monotonous, making it perfect for their pre-teen audience. But this melody isn’t nearly as infectious as “Hello Hi” and the backing almost seems too deep and low for their light and fluffy image. Something isn’t connecting for me.
Sami: I’m not sure how to react to this. Should I laugh at it or take it seriously? And what’s the audience for this? It’s too trashy for the little kids but too childish for anyone older that. They talk about being low and being high — and I feel like they were high writing this. It’s so repetitive and so annoying, that I can’t even hate it. It just makes me laugh.
Martin Stenmarck with “Du Tar Mig Tillbaks”
William: For a split second I thought that I had passed out. Martin is a sexy bitch, but this performance is just so cruise ship. The staging is non-existent, the melody uninspired, and the overall feeling one of, “Can this end already?” I’m beyond disappointed. There is a big camera trick coming — it looks like his image will fade in and out of pictures on the LED. But I’m already worried someone will have a seizure from the dizzying effect.
Sami: This is beyond boring, especially if you don’t understand the lyrics. There’s just nothing interesting happening and Martin doesn’t give the song lift. The effects what we saw with the pictures on the LED look amazing, but I fear they are going to give me a headache after a while. I’m sure Swedish people won’t make the same mistake twice by sending Martin to Eurovision as this would do even worse than he did back in 2005.
Linda Bengtzing with “Killer Girl”
William: Linda is rocking a shaved head — and that’s about it. This song is dated and bland, and includes an awkward and forced reference to Instagram. It lacks personality and drive and is a huge letdown following the heights of her 2011 entry. Colour me disappointed!
Sami: Dated, boring, uninteresting. So far at Melodifestivalen 2016 none of the schlager acts have made it through — and this won’t either. I liked Linda back in 2011, but “Ta mig” in 2014 started her downward spiral. This accelerates it.
Frans with “If I Were Sorry”
William: This snippet has me in two minds. The simple spoken word segment could be the yin to an over-the-top and memorable chorus with lots of backing vocalists. Or it could signal three minutes of bland drivel. If the latter proves to be the case, not even Frans’ endearing charm and baby face will be enough to save him. PS: WTF is up with that Lena-esque Cockney accent?
Sami: It’s a fine song and Frans’ way of singing it is quite unique. But it may be too boring to advance. It’s one of those songs that you don’t mind listening to, but you just can’t remember any of it afterwards. The staging looks a little boring, even if the LED-wall looks nice. Hopefully there is more coming in the remaining 2:30.
Panetoz with “Håll Om Mig Hårt”
William: Finally — a group more concerned with having fun than looking polished. This is a hot mess and that’s why it’s so endearing. The chorus feels very authentic to them and it brings a tropical — but not kitsch — vibe to chilly Sweden. This feels slightly cheap but is just so inviting.
Sami: This is all over the place — but I love it! The song is similar to Koza Mostra’s Eurovision entry and they have that same energy on the stage. The choreography looks a little clumsy, but that’s actually refreshing in Sweden where everything looks a bit too perfect. Obviously this isn’t going to win, but I hope this makes it to the final.
Molly Sandén with “Youniverse”
William: I didn’t like the snippet that leaked and I really don’t like this. I think the bookies are betting on hype rather than quality. She has a great voice — no doubt — but this relies on production rather than soul or, say, a melody. The lyrics are atrocious. The electro sounds slightly annoying. And the repetition of “Youniverse” is beyond irritating. In any event, she’ll def go to the final. Maybe producers should put her after Lisa Ajax in the running order so they can share the same smoke.
Sami: I never liked the song that much and I don’t really get all the hype around Molly. The song is fine, there’s nothing wrong with it but it’s a little bland. The staging is also weird — why there is five people in this “youniverse”? I still can’t see this as a winner and if it wins, I will be very disappointed.
Photo: Janne Danielsson/SVT