Wrap up warm, because we are heading to Skellefteå for the fourth and final heat of Melodifestivalen 2017. It might be a freezing -7 degrees in the north of Sweden, but tensions are boiling over for this week’s heat. That’s because there’s just two automatic spots for the final still on offer before next week’s Andra Chansen. Oh, and there’s the little fact that Loreen is making her return to Melodifestivalen as well…
Yes, the Eurovision 2012 winner returns and y’all are excited to see her back.
But Loreen is just one of four acts returning this week, and there’s some real competition here. Both Wiktoria and Jon Henrik Fjällgren finished second in the public vote of their Melfest finals in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Sara Varga — who knocked Loreen out of Andra Chansen in 2011 — also returns in a duet with Juha Mulari.
Alice Svensson and Axel Schylström make their debuts and will hope to cause a surprise. Svensktoppen nasta act Les Gordons will also hope to progress further in to the contest than many of their fellow wildcard winners have before them.
As always, SVT will upload thirty seconds of each act’s rehearsals throughout the day, as well as a minute snippet of each song. Check out both as well as our thoughts below. We’ll update this post as videos become available.
Melodifestivalen 2017: Deltävling 4 Skellefteå
1. Jon Henrik Fjällgren feat. Aninia – “En värld full av strider (Vearelde gusnie jeenh vigkieh)“
Chris: For a song where Aninia is listed as the featured artist, it certainly feels like she’s the driving force in this snippet. There’s no surprises here from Jon Henrik at least, for better or worse. The “different” factor is missing — we’ve heard him joiking before. The shots of the staging don’t seem to suggest anything as magical as “Jag Ar Fri”, as well. I feel there’s a limit on the success already.
William: Jon Henrik’s spiritual joiks are incredibly stirring on first listen. But for me that was back in 2015, which, in the eyes of many, was his one real shot at winning this. The addition of Anina gives us a different flavour. Sadly it’s bland and somehow familiar — like the Disney songs that don’t get the Oscar nods. Good for variety, but somehow this feels weaker than Roger Pontare’s failed attempt two weeks ago.
2. Alice – “Running With Lions”
Chris: I expected good things from Alice and she’s delivered. It’s just a shame she’s rather thrown to the lions in this semi-final. That post-chorus instrumental section gives me life. In any other heat, I think this would have been Andra Chansen at worst. Perhaps a lack of name recognition will hurt Alice here.
William: If Alice is running with lions then I want to joint the pride! She’s got the sass of Tila Tequila, the beauty of Lucy Liu and the soaring voice of Jasmine Kara. Instantly gripping and produced to perfection, this is so 2017. A song of the moment that I hope becomes a song of the year. Slay, Alice!
3. Les Gordons – “Bound to Fall”
Chris: Well bless them for trying. Les Gordons have absolutely no chance here, regardless of the quality of “Bound to Fall”. A ska-tinged indie rock song just isn’t the right fit for Melodifestivalen. Maybe ship it off and see if Sami Zayn needs some new entrance music? I fully expect two more minutes of the same song from what the snippet gives us, too.
William: It sounds whiny and angsty and very American teenage pop. And thankfully I’m a huge fan of that genre! This has shades of 00s band Wheatus (“Teenage Dirtbag”) and it makes me feel nostalgic. It’s not winning, but I’m thrilled to have it in the race.
4. Wiktoria – “As I Lay Me Down”
Chris: This is a little underwhelming and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Perhaps where “Save Me” simply had a country fringe to it, this puts all the tassels and bells on. Three listens in and I’m still struggling to remember any real part of it as well. It’s nice, but it doesn’t stand out — by the looks of things, the stage performance doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact either.
William: Hello Dolly Parton! Wiktoria — who has built her name with country-pop that straddles EDM — seems to be going straight up Grande Ole Opry with this one. It lacks the instant charm of “Save Me”, but who knows what she has in store during the final two minutes. She’s a brilliant live performer, so could elevate. This sounds spiritual and definitely shows off her voice.
5. Axel Schylström – “När ingen ser”
Chris: Did someone just slightly alter the melody and translate Elina Born’s “In or Out”? Regardless of that slight similarity, Axel’s got himself a good song here and I expect a strong result for him. So far, the only Swedish language songs that we’ve really seen have success have been “novelty” ones. If SVT want something a bit more serious in the final lineup, I think this is the best best.
William: He’s got a moving personal story and I’m already rooting for him because of it. Thankfully he’s got the song to back it all up. This is instantly catchy and infectious and I’m still humming it. Whether he can sustain that feeling for three minutes will make all the difference. But I’m hoping he does.
6. Sara Varga & Juha Mulari – “Du får inte ändra på mig”
Chris: Well, at least the battle for last place in this semi final will be interesting too. Sara and Juha’s voices really don’t go well together in this snippet and I doubt it’s going to get any better in full. It’s nice and twee, but it’s something that would be better suited to a Maltese selection than Melfest.
William: Bland, banal, flat and completely out of place, this is clearly being used to make Loreen’s solid act seem even bigger and more wondrous. Their harmonies don’t work and they sound even more bored than I am. Pure filler.
7. Loreen – “Statements”
Chris: Oh, SVT, you do tease us. “Statements” cuts off just before the chorus truly kicks in and we find out whether or not this really is the “second coming” many have been hoping for. So far, so good though. It baffles me that people were reporting this as a “new sound” for Loreen — it’s simply an evolution from “I’m In It With You”. I wrote Euphoria off in 2012 when I heard the (then 30 second) snippet. I’m waiting until Saturday to fully decide on “Statements”.
William: Instantly gripping and completely atmospheric, “Statements” bleeds pain and melancholy. Leaning more towards performance art than pop music, this doesn’t just tug on heartstrings — it’s pulls them apart. The LED features, among other things, a famous picture of an elderly woman smacking a Neo-Nazi in the back of his head with her handbag, and images of a frightening apparition of a child — tormented, haunted and suffering. “Mother Mary try to keep it real/ save your prayers for peace and let us heal,” she sings. If this wins, it’s winning Eurovision.
(Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/SVT)
What are your thoughts on each song? Do you think that Loreen’s return is worth it so far? Shout out your thoughts in the wiwibloggs app, or let us know in the comments section below!
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