Göteborg, in my opinion, is where the contest begins with Samir & Viktor, Margaret and Liamoo pushing for the two direkt places.
Heat 2 Göteborg – February 10th
1. Samir & Viktor – Shuffla
Back for their third attempt at qualifying direkt, the duo have apparently ‘upped their game’ so those assuming Margaret is the other automatic qualifier might be in for a shock. On name recognition alone, Samir & Viktor should ahead of Margaret, especially if her vocal performance is expectedly below par. However, if heat 1 in 2015 is anything to go by, they could still fall short in 3rd.
Björkman probably has his eye on one act making the final and isn’t too bothered about the second qualifier.
2. Ida Redig – Allting Som Vi Ta
I was quite hopeful for Ida’s chances when she appeared on the rumour list, having previously seen her Fleetwood Mac cover. The Swedish language song and other names involved have cooled my interest. A reliable source informed me that Ida is happy to translate the song to English for Eurovision, but that would be too late; it needs to be in English by the Melfest final. The writing team aren’t filling me with confidence either, and coupled with the coffin slot, it’s would be surprising to see Ida feature in the later rounds.
3. Jonas Gardell – Det finns en väg
So Jonas did the comedic interludes for Melfest a few years back. He’s already conceded Melfest is a young person’s game, so that’s that then.
4. Margaret – In My Cabana
Time to be brutally honest here… I’m not Margaret’s greatest fan, and if one remembers how poorly she performed Cool Me Down during the Polish national final, I can’t imagine why Björkman would choose her above all other Swedish talent to perform a killer song; unless, of course, the song isn’t that special and is simply taking part to boost her profile in Sweden. Performers can mature, I guess, but Margaret’s shortcomings are more fundamental: she can’t sing. The Melfest playback assistance, along with slicker stage direction, will admittedly conceal most of her weaknesses. Writer, Linnea Deb, will be hoping she can channel Ace Wilder, who while infinity more accomplished as a performer, also suffered in the vocal department.
As we witnessed with Helena Paparizou a few years back, will Sweden take to this non-Swede when they can vote for acts they already know?
5. Stiko Per Larsson – Titta Vi Flyger
The ‘Nasta wild card’ winners never challenge the top spot, so I’m not expecting anything higher than 6th.
6. Mimi Werner – Songburning
Mimi failed to qualify from heat 1 in 2016, finishing 5th behind Albin & Mattias. Samir & Victor took 3rd in the same heat.
The country-pop genre stays, so factoring a small improvement, I’d say 3rd is absolute tops here.
7. Liamoo – Last Breath
Liam Cacatian Thomassen, otherwise known as Liamoo, won the 2016 series of Swedish Idol, so the 20-year old has a certain amount of support in the bank. His performance style is still rather naive and lacks the confident, star quality of previous young, male Melfest artists, but he’s an easier fit for voters than Margaret.
His writers are decent, with Morten Thorhauge credited with anthemic, pop-rock songs for Carpark North. Peter Bjørnskov and Lene Dissing’s most recent credits are for huge, yet fairly generic tropical house songs for Martin Jespen: Solo Dance & All I Wanna Do. Liamoo should easily qualify from this heat and the opening odds of 1.5 from Unibet were generous.
Liamoo is in pole position to take the heat win with a rejuvenated Samir & Viktor vs a suspect Margaret for the final direkt spot. Mimi should be taking the final andra chansen slot, but who knows, maybe a comedic turn from Jonas could surprise. If Det finns en väg is a serious song, then I’d say he will be leaving the contest in 6th or 7th place.
Not much time available for me this week, so just a brief overview…
LIAMOO’s song is quite understated and may struggle in the final given the lack of jury-delighting factors. Even so, there’s plenty there to satisfy the televote. Then I think it’s between Samir & Viktor and maybe Mimi for the last spot, though I note Mimi’s verses are nowhere near as strong as the refrain. Ida has a cracking song, but it’s not mainstream enough to challenge the direkt spots. Margaret’s Cabana looks a bit flat and having her name up on the big screen suggests the producers are worried about her lack of connection with Swedish voters.
I’d say Samir & Viktor might have to wait a few more weeks before they can release Shuffla.