Melodifestivalen Round 3

At last it is the week where my very favourite Swedish band take to the stage, and with Carola possibly out of the running, the way is clear for my beloved BWO to take the lead. Could 2008 at last be the year that Alexander Bard reaches Eurovision? Here are my thought on all this week’s acts, as I watched or listened to them (some aren’t on YouTube yet so I had to do without visual aids)…

BWO – Lay Your Love On Me
The backing music is very first album BWO, the chorus is excellently catchy and the lyrics are fabulous. This is certainly the best song of MF 2008 so far. I don’t get the feeling it would fare too well in Eurovision itself, particularly due to Martin’s singing which is not the strongest, even though the songs Bard and Hansson write always fit him very well. They are an acquired taste, but on the other hand they’re quite popular in Eastern Europe already, which would probably ensure that they wouldn’t receive nil points. Therefore, I am 100% in favour of BWO for Eurovision 2008!

Mickey Huskic – Izdajice
The attempts to win votes from the East have gone one step further with this guy, who is actually from Bosnia-Herzegovina originally, having moved to Sweden aged 11 (now he’s a student in Lund), and sings this song in his native language. It’s a typical Eastern Block ballad, quite dramatic but not with much to engage me, I’m afraid. It’ll be interesting to see if Swedes are interested enough in success to vote for Mickey, or if they really just want to give the MF title to their most beloved popstar of the moment.

Frida ft. Headline – Upp och Hoppa
Rap on Melodifestivalen? An interesting approach, but I’m afraid it’s surely futile. I think they’re going for a kind of reggaeton style (apologies if I’m terribly wrong, but I don’t pay much attention to this sort of thing) but it’s not at all slick, although the general vibe is quite jolly and fun. I suppose they plan to translate the song if they win (and with such a lyrics-focussed song as this, it would be a huge transformation), otherwise they will certainly get nowhere, although the prospect of a Swedish-language rap song winning Eurovision is quite a fun one.

Thérèse Andersson – When You Need Me
Oh dear, Melodifestivalen has gone opera! Thérèse is presumably something like the Katherine Jenkins of Sweden, and sure to get quite a lot of votes from the large mums and grans viewership of MF, although in some ways it also reminds me of metal-pop such as Within Temptation. I suppose the same tactic could succeed in Eurovision itself, but I’m not interested enough in the success of Sweden to be bothered to find out. I’m still firmly on the side of BWO!

Patrik Isaksson – Under Mitt Tunna Skin
His name is one I know well but I know very little about the guy, so had to get onto my dear friend Wikipedia. It seems I only knew him from his previous MF entry, from 2006, although he’s released 4 albums. He’s 36 and sings in a rock-pop style, always in Swedish it seems. The song is pleasant enough but doesn’t sound like a winner of either Sweden or Europe’s song contests.

Caracola – Smiling In Love
This girl group make very unsophisticated pop songs (lots of oo-bop-a-doo-wops) but they are at least very bright and cheery, and I don’t sophistication is really a relevant quality to look for in a Eurovision entry – in fact many Western countries have lost out in past years by looking for it. Still, the song and their singing are not really signalling a Eurovision winner to me – sorry girls, but keep trying!

Ainbusk – Jag Saknar Dig Ibland
An interesting concept here – a girl group but they’re all the age of my mum, by the looks of it. The song is pretty boring. I don’t think I’d be admitting it if my mum was in Ainbusk, although it would be pretty to have you mum entering Melodifestivalen. They seem to have been around quite a long time and have some links to Benny Andersson, but since I’ve never heard of them before it seems unlikely that their fanbase is strong enough to get them to the final – but stranger things have happened!

Eskobar – Hallelujah New World
Here’s a pretty famous Swedish band, and not one at all normally linked to something like Melodifestivalen. They are an indie-pop band who’ve been around 12 years but had their biggest success with Someone New, featuring Heather Nova, in 2002. I can’t say I was overly impressed by that track, but this one seems nice enough, although the singer’s voice seemed to lack confidence at the start of the song. It would be interesting (maybe even a first) to have a genuine indie band in Eurovision, but still I’m certainly not curious enough to want them to beat my most beloved BWO!

So, the results are in and I have to say it’s a bit of a surprise – Eskobar came last! The indie kids are definitely not caring about getting their bands onto Eurovision, after Lasse Lindh also did badly last week. The two winners are BWO (of course) and Frida, a bit of a surprise, but not a huge one as I do think the competition was pretty weak. Into the second chance round go Thérèse and Caracola.

Next week a few MF heavyweights take to the stage – the brilliant Linda Bengtzing and the awful Nordman, both who were in the final in recent years, plus a Eurovision winner from about a decade ago, Charlotte Perelli. I’m very excited to hear what Linda and Charlotte have come up with, although I expect the latter is almost certainly a ballad. Still I believe Charlotte will be BWO’s toughest competition in the final, with Sanna Nielsen also standing a good chance. I suppose we shouldn’t rule out Androla, and I would like to think that Amy Diamond will do fairly well, although I don’t imagine she will win – I’d be happy to be proven wrong though, she’s my 2nd favourite so far after BWO.

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