The road to the final of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen 2021 may be long, but boy has it gone by fast! Semi-Final 4 — the last of the semis — has now come and gone, and with it the bulk of the final is now complete. The Top 2 spots went to former Melodifestivalen winners — Eric Saade (“Every Minute”) and The Mamas (“In the Middle”) will advance “direkt till final” — while Efraim Leo (“Best of Me”) and Clara Klingenström (“Behöver inte dig idag”) will fight on in the Second Chance round Andra Chansen.
Melodifestivalen 2021: Semi-Final 4 Winners (direkt till final)
Eric Saade “Every Minute”
Eric describes his song as “a sexy, addictive pop song – with a stroke of darkness in it”. He sings about a passionate relationship, loving it the morning, the evening and on the weekend. What he lacks in subtlety he makes up for in sex appeal. “Every Minute” definitely follows in the footsteps of Eric Saade’s previous Melfest entries, with a more intimate hook — our favourite “Manboy” is all grown up.
“Every Minute” was written by Eric Saade, along with Linnea Deb, Joy Deb and Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt. Joy and Linnea Deb have penned a plethora of Melfest hits, including two winners. Among them is Eurovision 2015 winning song “Heroes” and they have entered four songs in this year’s edition of the contest. Thörnfeldt has co-written five of this year’s songs and has worked with major artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and One Direction. He has also written “El Diablo”, the song which will represent Cyprus at Eurovision 2021.
The Mamas “In the Middle”
The Mamas — that’s Ash Haynes, Loulou Lamotte and Dinah Yonas Manna — may have sung “In The Middle”, but they were definitely at the top! This act starts with an epic costume reveal, with these ladies moving from their all-black costumes of 2020 to their new and wondrous, glitter-of-life numbers in all gold. This is a journey. They spend much of the performance in a circle, singing to each other and drawing attention to a gorgeous swirl on the floor.
“In The Middle” is about hope and kindness. The Mamas sing about having a person you can turn to when you’re feeling lost and lonely — a person who will pick you up if you fall down, so you know you’re never really alone. With lyrics such as “my whole world’s brighter when you’re here” and “I know I’ll be alright as long as you’re by my side”, the track is a majestic ode to the power of sisterhood.
“We were in the studio with Robin Stjernberg, finishing our EP. He played the song, we liked it a lot and wanted to try to record it”, The Mamas say. “When we did, it was a magical moment, like we have to do this. We cried, it was very emotional.”
Melodifestivalen 2021: Semi-Final 4 Andra Chansen
Efraim Leo “Best of Me”
“I can’t go on like this,” Efraim sings. “Knew you were trouble / Ever since your first kiss.” This modern pop song has shades of Harry Styles but leans more One Direction. It’s a modern pop song, but there is something quite generic about it as a studio cut. Thankfully SVT served eye-popping staging as ever, with lots of bright white and blue-purple panels in the background, and some monochrome costumes that popped against it all.
Clara Klingenström “Behöver inte dig idag”
“Behöver inte dig idag” has a folky-pop sound, a little bit Anna Bergandahl, a little bit Taylor Swift. And banjos, y’all! The chorus is especially good with a really uplifting feeling. The lyrics carry an uplifting message: “The strength that is in me / Makes me free from you.”
Eliminated Acts in SF4
Tess Merkel “Good Life”
The only thing I love more than pleather is pink pleather paired with red trousers — and on this front our girl Tess delivered! The former Alcazar star served modern disco, with playful lyrics like, “You woop my honey / I’m gonna hypnotise you / I’m freaking crazy / And I will mesmerise you.” Musically there are plenty of moments to remember, including a seductive spoken word part (“Love… live… and dance!). The bridge sounds especially mighty. It’s a strong and obvious opening number for this semi-final.
Lovad “Allting är precis likadant”
In a brave move showing off her lovely voice, Lovad starts off a cappella, with just Lovad and a backing choir. The song is a heartbreak ballad with Swedish lyrics. (“Have we gone and lost everything / We only live in old memories”). Instruments slowly join the song, but the backing remains fairly minimal. Lovad’s voice is the star of the performance. That to say there wasn’t all that much staging, bar a lot of smoke and an unfortunate mic stand covered in flowers. The hologram visual of her lost love was a nice tough though.
Sannex “All Inclusive”
Don’t hold my beer. Hold my bright orange cocktail! “All Inclusive” was a blast of Ibiza Weekender, replete with the all-white costumes, sun-worship and clichés you expect on a package holiday. The lyrics sum up the depth of the song: “Now we are lying by the pool and everything feels so good / We have dumped all the kids in the ball pit, hurrah!”
While Sannex is a dansband , this is not a traditional dansband song. Some of the song’s (Swedish) lyrics are humorous, but the song itself doesn’t have a comedy sound (say, like De Vet Du’s “Roadtrip”). It’s a fairly straight pop song, expertly sung by Sannex. Swedes — who love their international travel — may have felt a dose of nostalgia given the current curbs on travel.