So we don’t get to actually hear any of the Melfest entries before the competition (unless you’re super hooked into Eurovision gossip and get a leaked copy), so I know that Melfest’s first heat is taking place in Gothenburg this weekend, and it’s going to be a humdinger! Here’s what to expect:
Nano – Chasing Rivers
Returning Melfest participant Nano is back, with a song called Chasing Rivers. Let’s review what Nano did last time:
This time, he’s got a song that he’s cowritten with the Debs and Thomas G: Son and Lisa Cabble. According to the stats that Melfest has released, the song rates a 62% on tempo, not much on dancing, and 49% on … oddness?
What you really need to know is that Nano came 2nd in the 2017 Melfest, and that’s usually a very good sign for repeat performances. Plus, Nano is male, and with the way Melfest has been going the past few years, that’s also something that’s to his advantage.
I’m predicting something that’s going to be soulful and emotional with a backbeat that emerges after a first chorus and then propels the song to the end. Hold On started to build after its first 30 seconds and then never really came down after that, but also didn’t really build to anything bigger after the first minute. Unless this song is awful, it’s going Direkt to Final.
High 15 – No Drama
Okay, when I saw High 15 introduced on the Melfest stage, I thought that I was looking at some Junior Eurovision contestants, but then I looked up some of their old stuff and … wow!
These ladies can sing! And, more importantly, sing well together (I’m giving the side-eye to you, Divaz).
So what can we expect at Melfest? Well, it’s another song written by the Debs and Kate Tizzard – none of the actual members of the band, sadly.
Melfest rates it as a 86% in tempo, 48% in humor, and 84% in oddness. No rating for dance, so it’s unclear if these ladies are dancing.
I really hope that they do well, but they’ve got two strikes against them – they’re first-time Melfest participants, and they’ll be singing an uptempo song, which is notoriously harder to do when trying to do choreography at the same time.
I can’t wait to hear them, but I’m predicting Andra Chansen for them.
Wiktoria – Not With Me
I think I might be the only person who isn’t a huge Wiktoria stan. I don’t like the fact that she’s co-opted the Wonder Woman logo; country-pop isn’t my favorite genre; and I think she can get a bit pitchy at times (Sorry!) But this will be her 3rd Melfest, and she went Direkt to Final with As I Lay Me Down in 2017:
This year, Wiktoria is singing a song co-written by her and the Debs. Melfest tells me that it’s 100% show, 0% dance, and 25% tempo. Unfortunately, that means I’m probably going to hate it. We’ve been trending toward an all-banger Eurovision this year, and I want Sweden to continue that dance dance wave. However, everyone else will probably love it and it will go DTF.
Zeana featuring Anis don Demina – My Fires
Who? Her? Him?
Zeana and Anis don Demina are a completely new act. Zeana was a 2016 contestant from Swedish Idol who was the second person kicked out in the finals, and Anis don Demina is a DJ/YouTube star who has a record contract (plus!) but is also famous for starting beef with someone over DJ skills (minus).
Here’s a Zeana performance from Swedish Idol:
Here’s some Anis don Demina:
So what will they sound like together? Well, Anis has had a hand in writing the song, along with Thomas G:Son and about four other people (no Debs this time). There’s no tempo bar from Melodifestivalen, but given that it’s rated around 82% dance, I’m guessing it’s going to be an upbeat number with Zeana running around and Anis chiming in from behind a DJ setup.
Given that this pair doesn’t have the built-in fanbase of other contestants, I’m expecting them to go out this round unless they come up with a completely amazing performance. Especially if there isn’t any pyro to go along with the title of this song!
Arja Saijonmaa – My Four Seasons
Arja is a Melfest veteran, having entered 2 times, and is also a former entrant in the Finnish version of Melfest. I had to look her up, but as soon as I did, I recognized this song instantly:
She’s a Schlager diva!
In this Melfest, she’s singing a song that she’s cowritten with Göran Sparrdal and Ari Letennen. However, that’s about all I can tell you about it. It’s 50% on tempo, show, and humor – so who knows what it’s going to be?
There’s a big domestic audience for this type of schlager classic, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she does go through to the final, but in a lineup with Nano and Wiktoria, she’ll probably be Andra Chansen and then go to the final. Don’t forget the success of Rolandz and Owe Thörnqvist!
Mohombi – Hello
Mohombi is a boy band refugee, having come from the Afrobeat heavy Group Avalon, who entered Melfest in 2005. They came in 6th with this ditty:
But here’s something he’s done more recently:
Mohombi has cowritten this song with Thomas G:Son and only one of the Debs, along with a few other writers. It’s got 49% tempo and 50% dans, so I’m imagining it’s a slow jam that heats up in the middle.
But coming from a boy band that competed 14 years ago and having this be your second Melfest? I don’t know how many people will remember Mohombi, and if you’ve already got a soulful male soloist in this round (Nano), Mohombi might fade into the background, especially if he concentrates on dancing rather than connecting soulfully with the audience. I think he’s going to be booted out this round.
And the first round of Melfest closes out with:
Anna Bergendahl – Ashes to Ashes
Bergendahl is actually a competitor who won the whole Melfest shebang in 2010 with the country-tinged This is My Life – but was also the one Swede who did NOT make the Eurovision final:
Melfest notes that she’s bringing a banger, with a song where the tempo is rated 80%, the show 100%, and the humor 0%. I can’t imagine a sad banger, but that’s apparently what we’re going to get. Her song was co-written by her and Thomas G:Son, along with Bobby Ljunggren and Erik Bernholm.
Again, this entry is a bit of a wildcard for me. She’s another blonde woman singing country-tinged pop songs, so how the fanbase might split between her and Wiktoria is unclear. Both of them have Eurofans, although Wiktoria’s fanbase captures the more recent crop of fans, but in this case, it will all come down to performance. Given that her tempo is higher than Wiktoria’s, I’m going to be rooting for her.
I think Nano and Wiktoria will go Direkt to Final.
Based on the back catalog of all these artists, and the caveat that I haven’t heard their final songs, I’d like to send Nano and High 15.
We’ll see what unfolds in Gothenburg! My only real wish is that the divine Lynda Woodruff makes an appearance.