Another week, another seven-song showdown in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen 2021. Semi-Final 2 saw WAHL feat. Sami work a fluorescent colorway as they celebrated all things 90s, and Julia Alfrida popped and squat before a red wall filled with people of all ages. But in the end it was Dotter (“Little Tot”) and Anton Ewald (“New Religion”) who won the day and will advance direkt till final. Frida Green (“The Silence”) and Eva Rydberg & Ewa Roos (“Rena rama ding dong”) will move on to the Second Chance round Andra Chansen.
Melodifestivalen 2021: Semi-Final 2 Winners (direkt till final)
Dotter “Little Tot”
Little Tot is the latest stage in Dotter’s ongoing evolution. Here she balances her softness and delicate voice with a hard-edged look. Part rocker, part Dominatrix, she’s 100 per cent in control. This had, by far, the most thorough and complete staging. It takes the viewer on a journey — from Dotter walking solo in the darkness, to Dotter standing on a small plinth with backing dancers behind. Her hair gets a deserved silhouette moment as she repeats “you don’t wanna be like us.”
Anton Ewald “New Religion”
Anton Ewald started his career as a dancer, and that really shows. He delivered what may be the slickest choreography thus far in Melfet. Wearing a black and gold jacket and some skinny trousers, he showed off fancy footwork as he moved among a sea of lasers and strobes. The percussion worked particularly well, giving us major Eric Saade popular vibes. Toward the end of the song the pre-recorded backing did most of the heavy lifting, but that’s OK. This felt like a real pop performance — something we have missed over the past year.
Melodifestivalen 2021: Semi-Final 2 Andra Chansen
Frida Green “The Silence”
This song is all about hope and letting time lead you to solutions. Frida wore a 1990s prom dress inspired by nature. The green sequins worked well against the largely green and gold background, and her fiery red hair added real pop. There definitely wasn’t any silence here. Her voice, among the strongest of the night, really filled the void. It’s just a shame that she had to deliver a rather predictable song that was very ballad-by-numbers. It could have been written by a Melodifestivalen Artificial Intelligence programme.
Eva Rydberg & Ewa Roos “Rena rama ding dong”
I imagine that I’d appreciate this if I spoke Swedish. But I don’t, so I can’t. Eva and Ewa are a spirited duo who remind me of that aunt who has a little too much to drink at the family reunion. Every expense was spared in this — the costumes, the lack of staging, even the lighting…it all seemed very elementary school talent show. Weirdly, though, that works well in the current climate where we are all re-thinking how we live. Even if “Rena rama ding dong” sounds like an aggressive pick-up line, there’s charm here courtesy of the two leading ladies.
Eliminated Acts in SF2
5. Patrik Jean “Tears Run Dry”
This felt like a contemporary take on “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King. It was hopeful, joyous and somehow inspiring with a melody and sounds that dared us all to celebrate and take things higher. Patrik stood centre stage in an all-white suit as dancers interpreted his song in the most modern of ways. Fierce strobes gave this edge. The overall effect was avant-garde and artistic.
6. WAHL feat. SAMI “90-talet”
They came to celebrate the 90s, and they did exactly that — referencing The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air amid their mostly Swedish lyrics. This was bright, in-your-face and joyous. Even if rap isn’t your thing, the uplifting chorus was sure to make you smile and bob along.
7. Julia Alfrida “Rich”
With her dark tones and rich voice, Julia has definite shades of Lorde. Her performance lived up to the title — this looked expensive! She performed bathed in red light with a wall behind her displaying the faces of people of all ages singing along to her song. It was so polished it almost felt cold. But her awesome voice gave this a bit of warmth to balance it out.