Semi-Final 4 of Melodifestivalen 2016 was all about genre-hopping. From japanime-inspired pop to tropical dance to old school schlager, SVT treated us to seven more (mostly) high-energy acts. But from the haze of flashing lights and smoke and thrusting bodies, only two acts have won and advanced direkt till final: Molly Sandén with “Youniverse” and Frans with “If I Were Sorry”. Two more acts — Dolly Style with “Rollercoaster“ and Panetoz with “Håll Om Mig Hårt” — may join them in the March 12 finale. They made it to Andra Chansen — the second chance relegation round, which will take place next weekend.
MELODIFESTIVALEN 2016: DELTÄVLING 4, Gävle
SEMI FINAL 4 WINNERS: DIREKT TILL FINAL
Frans with “If I Were Sorry”
Easily the most likeable act of the night, Frans didn’t need fancy pyros or backing dancers to slay. He stood alone on a dark stage with a simple black screen that occasionally illuminated to spell out words. His voice seemed wistful and hurt, and yet strong and empowered, building out the deceptively simple lyrics, which actually tell a nice story of being hurt and remembering to put yourself first afterwards. It felt real, authentic and soulful — qualities that the technically perfect acts at Melfest sometimes lack. The man felt this and it showed.
Molly Sandén with “Youniverse”
I didn’t like the snippet that leaked, but the staging really elevated this. In the opening moments Molly seemed to be submerged in smoke. The lighting was stunning and the effect magical. As the song progressed, however, things started to look a bit tatty and cheap — as when we saw the oversized house fans blowing up her dress. The song itself is rather bland. All the bookies hype must stem from the staging because the melody is quite generic and, after a while, a tad irritating. The production, of course, is top-notch. But this song seems to lack soul.
Panetoz with “Håll Om Mig Hårt”
Finally — a group more concerned with having fun than looking polished. This is a hot mess — especially the white guy who is always out-of-step — 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. Visually they gave this texture by stepping into the audience and actually engaging with the crowd. From the platform island to the runway down the side, they made this pop no matter where they were. My favourite shot was when they turned around on the main stage and you could see the audience behind them.
The lights went down and the glow sticks came out! Musically and visually this was bright, bright and brighter. The girls wore reflective skirts that wouldn’t be out of place on a solar field in Spain, and they teamed those thigh-skimming pieces with their signature neon pastel wigs and bunny ears. It was honestly like a cotton candy factory exploded in Gävle. At times they seemed to ride a roller coaster courtesy of some amazing LED effects and their unstoppable energy. The lyrics are simple — yes, they are on a rollercoaster, oh whoa whoa whoa — but the song is a major earworm, whether you like it or not.
Eclipse with “Runaways”
They stoked controversy when they claimed that all the other Melfest acts think the same. Well here’s some news for Eclipse — your rock entry looked like every other rock entry we’ve ever seen at Melodifestivalen! Red lights, white strobes a bit of fire and the drummer seated on an elevated platform — been there, done that. Of course, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! This looked great and they have strong vocals. Plus the song has a vintage feel that is somehow still contemporary. They may nod to Jon Bon Jovi but it feels very Eclipse.
Martin Stenmarck with “Du Tar Mig Tillbaks”
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. The “blurry” camera effect, whereby he and everything else goes out of focus, probably reflects the nostaglic feel of his song and the fact memories fade in and out of focus. But it just gave me a headache since I don’t understand the lyrics. This belongs on an Oldies radio station — not at Eurovision!
Linda Bengtzing with “Killer Girl”
Linda rocked a shaved head as she played the part of empowered man-eater. It was very believable and grew quite a bit in my estimation over the rehearsal clip. It felt dated and got a tad repetitive, but Linda has natural swagger and energy that you can’t help but love — even if you dislike the song. I won’t download this, but I’m happy to watch it again during the recap.