She’s the Swedish star who rose to fame at Junior Eurovision before become a stalwart of Melodifestivalen. Molly Sandén participated at Melfest three times, most notably finishing fifth in 2012. She last tried in 2016, coming sixth.
The song “Youniverse” was written by Danny Saucedo, another familiar Mello name. It was majorly hyped in the lead-up to Melodifestivalen 2016, which was one of the most notable editions in recent years. It also had the distinction of being the host country’s national selection.
However, despite everything seeming to be all-well on the surface, a recent P3 music documentary reveals that was not the case at all.
Molly Sandén on Melodifestivalen and “Youniverse”
Molly Sandén – Längtar efter nästa steg is a documentary by Mathilda von Essen. It tells, amongst other things, the journey Molly took up to, during, and after Melodifestivalen 2016.
It reveals that Danny, whom Sandén had been dating for three years, believed that the song would definitely win. Although Molly’s gut feeling told her that he was wrong, she entered anyway.
After spending her childhood in the spotlight, Molly was used to trusting others and ignoring her own opinion. However, the hype surrounding her and the sheer amount of viewers watching her made the project much harder for her.
Molly Sandén at Melodifestivalen 2016
Molly performed in the final position of the fourth semifinal. As we recently mentioned, that slot is usually reserved for the most hotly anticipated song of the year. When the betting odds were released, Molly was the initial firm favourite, with fellow Mello legend Ace Wilder just behind.
As she said, “It was ‘now we will win Melodifestivalen. I think it became more noticeable and more embarrassing. You suddenly had something to lose”.
As the shows wore on, Molly’s victory was much less certain. Frans and Wiktoria climbed the betting odds while Molly’s odds lengthened. Our own Wiwi jury ranked “Youniverse” fifth in the twelve-strong grand final field. The song was described as an “anorexic Euphoria”.
In the end, the song landed in sixth place with both the juries and the televote, finishing sixth overall. It was a very disappointing result, and despite her brave face in post-show interviews, it sent her into a state of despair.
Molly Sandén after Melodifestivalen 2016
Molly’s friend and fellow Swedish popstar Miriam Bryant described it as a “super mega crash”. Sandén struggled to leave home and suffered greatly from paranoia, fearing everyone was laughing at her.
“I looked down on myself, I felt that I had passed on my own principles and had lost myself. I backed down in development, and then I did the same thing again. I was so disappointed in myself.”
This is in stark contrast to her appearance after Melodifestivalen at the time. At the jury rehearsal, she described herself being in “euphoric happiness”. Even after the show, she claimed to be “calm and harmonic” and said that she was “in a good place right now”.
She committed to a summer tour, visited her fans outside Sweden, and promised to keep writing songs. Danny even proposed to her after the show and she accepted. It just goes to show that being in the spotlight since she was very young, Molly became very accustomed to putting on the happy face. Which makes the story all the more sad.
In the months after, Molly deleted all her Instagram photos, cut and dyed her hair. She rebuilt her music career writing in Swedish about her relationship, loneliness and career, without telling Danny.
Two years after Melodifestivalen, she released the critically acclaimed album Större. It was followed up last year with Det bästa kanske inte hänt än, and she was the most played Swedish female artist on Spotify in 2019. She also ended her relationship with Danny last spring.
At least the story has a happy ending. Despite the bad experience, we would love her to come back to Melodifestivalen stronger than ever and gain her rightful place representing Sweden on the Eurovision stage.
Are you enjoying Molly’s new career path? Do you hope to see her back at Melodifestivalen? Let us know below!