So, Saturday night saw the third semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2015 take place in Östersund, where Jon Henrik Fjällgren and Isa were given the golden tickets directly to the final and Andreas Weise and Kristin Amparo have to earn a coveted place in the final through the Andra Chansen round, which will be happening in two weeks’ time. Here is my summary of the artists:
1. Ellen Benediktson with ‘Insomnia’ – Ellen took part in Melodifestivalen last year with the song ‘Songbird’ which came 7th in the final. For her song this year, it was very well staged, but I think it suffered from ‘dancer overload’, like Robin in 2013. To its merit, it did have a nice bassline and I would’ve loved to have listened to it again. Unfortunately, the Swedish public didn’t agree with me and gave it 5th place.
2. Kalle Johansson with ‘För din skull’ – One of only two Swedish language entries tonight. Kalle himself came over as very likable on stage but in the end, there wasn’t much that differentiated his song from the others, and his place in the running order contributed to his 6th place finish. Not the best Melodifestivalen début, but I’m sure we will be seeing more from him. Unfortunately, I’d have to agree with the Swedish public on this one.
3. Andreas Weise with ‘Bring Out the Fire’ – For me, this song started quite strongly, but it got a little monotonous towards the end. The melody itself is nice, but I still don’t get the message of the song. The staging was quite effective but I feared it would get lost in the running order. I think it might win the ‘Dolly Style Award’ for a catchy song for all the wrong reasons! It earned a place in Andra Chansen, but I don’t see it reaching the final myself.
4. Andreas Johnson with ‘Living to Die’ – The second Andreas of the night presented us with a song which was quite well staged at the start, but the echoing and the fusion of styles really didn’t work for me. It came in 7th place overall, which is what I think it deserved. The song itself was quite well written, but it didn’t make that connection with the Swedish public, as I had predicted.
5. Isa with ‘Don’t Stop’ – At 16 years old, Isa was the youngest of the singers tonight. In my opinion, she didn’t let her relative inexperience bring her down, I likened her to Ace Wilder. She deserved a place in the final, and that’s what she got in the end. The start is similar to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ and it came a close second for my ‘Dolly Style Award’ because it is incredibly catchy! The dance was well choreographed and Isa often let her hips do the talking too! I thought this would get the young people’s votes and I’m pretty sure that’s what it got. I also noticed her use of the wind machine!
6. Kristin Amparo with ‘I See You’ – This was the strongest ballad of the night, Kristin’s voice was very powerful. The totally dark staging was perfect for a song like hers. Her sustaining of notes was brilliant and the lyrics carried a great deal of meaning. It might face an uphill battle in the Andra Chansen round with the current Swedish preference for schlager and Europop, but the song is great in its own rights. The change in style and adding of the beat nearer the end just added to the song’s overall effect.
7. Jon Henrik Fjällgren with ‘Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije)’ – Melodifestivalen’s hint of Sami yoiking went down a storm. I thought this might be the Marmite entry of the evening, I loved it and my friend hated it. Sweden agreed with me! In my opinion, it was an excellent fusion of traditional Sami music and the rhythms we’ve come to expect from Melodifestivalen. It had a mystic feeling from the very start, and was a hot favourite with both the bookies and the SVT online poll, gaining over a third of the vote. It is now the favourite to win with the bookies, but I think Eric will have something to say about that!
So, overall, I mostly agree with the outcome of the show. ‘Bring Out the Fire’ qualifying was my biggest shock of the night, but it was yet another brilliant show, reinforcing the fact that Sweden has been, is and will be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Vienna in May. So, with one semi final left, and the hotly-tipped Måns Zelmerlöw still to perform, who do you think might have a good chance of winning that ticket to Vienna? Right now, I’d say either Mariette or Eric. Although, I’d love to see Jon, but admittedly, it would be a break from tradition, but it is still possible.
I’ll see you all next Saturday!