The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues our journey listening to and reviewing the acts who will be competing in the grand final of Melodifestivalen 2017. Next up is soulman Nano with his song “Hold On”. Did we maintain a firm grip? Read on to find out!
Nano – “Hold On”
Melfest newcomer R&B singer Nano Omar overcame a tough childhood and discovered a love of music. Last year he released the autobiographical single “Perfect Melody”.
Wiwi Jury reviews “Hold On”:
Tobias: Wow! Moments like this is what I love about Melodifestivalen — when an unknown artist just blows you away and surprises the whole audience and also beats a former Eurovision winner (hello, Charlotte!). This song is not a what you typically would describe as a “Melodifestivalen song” and I think that’s why I like it so much. You don’t have to be a Melfest or Eurovision fan to enjoy listening to it and that’s why I think this song has a potential to do well. But is Melodifestivalen the right platform for Nano or is the song more of a radio hit? I really do believe that this can be the biggest surprise of this year and, yes, I see winner potential in this song.
Antranig: There are a lot of things wrong with “Hold On”. Nano lacks the passion and the ability to hit some of the higher notes and the chorus falls flat on its face. He’s swallowed up on stage and rather than conveying his interesting personal story, he’s paralysed by it. “Hold On” has also been compared to a number of songs and as a whole, it feels very unoriginal. This is very overrated.
William: His personal journey — from former prisoner to rising R&B star — is stirring. Listening to the song in that light gives this extra power and deserves special mention. The swell leading into the chorus carries weight but feels light, and when the drum and bass lets rip I can feel tingle on the horizon. And while Nano creates a mood on first listen, this ultimately feels a bit too familiar and the choir, which works so well in the studio version, feels a bit forced live. All in all a great debut, if not a winning one.
Chris: The opening bars of “Hold On” are so epic that it somewhat masks the issue of the rest of the song. In particular, I find the chorus to fall flat — perhaps because of Nano’s performance. I don’t sense the passion from him to match the gospel sound and choir. Instead, it makes it all seem a bit pretentious, I suppose. I’m not asking for Whoopi Goldberg, just don’t be the Reverend Mother.
Deban: Dark, breathy and meaningful, this is pop with depth! Nano’s voice takes you on a journey, as the song weaves through jungle, gospel, drum and bass. “Hold On” tries, but not too hard — Nano cooks it just right.
Forrest: Who could have guessed that combining Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and Europe’s “The Final Countdown” would result in such a compelling anthem? The moodiness of the verses and the wall-of-sound effect from the chorus make for an arresting contrast. Just as the track feels in danger of getting repetitive, the bridge swoops in and lifts the song up for its brilliant crescendo. While the song itself is emotive and soulful, Nano could improve it even more by bringing some of that soul to his performance. Overall, “Hold On” gives off some strong dark horse vibes and could very well challenge for the Melfest title.
Robyn: I love it when Melfest magic happens. Nano isn’t the most charismatic performer, so the staging wisely isn’t all about him. It lets the song come to the forefront, with Nano’s rich and expressive voice doing the work. There’s a bit of gospel, some drum ‘n’ bass, a pop drop, and it all works. By the time Nano ventures down to the audience during the middle eight, the whole performance has become a joyous, rapturous experience.
Luis: Well, this is one to watch. “Hold On” proves that if a song has quality, it doesn’t need to be the most original thing ever. Nano’s entry hits you from the first moment, and it makes you want more of it. He lacks charisma, that’s true, but his voice and the clever camera angles compensate. The gospel choir is on point, and they harmonise perfectly with Nano. I could live without the dancer, though. There was a mere flaw, in the second chorus, when the “Hold On” was a bit out of tune. But well, it’s nothing he cannot solve by March.
Our jury for Melodifestivalen 2017 contains 28 jurors, but we only have room for eight reviews. The remaining scores are listed below.
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 9.