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Melfest Heat 2 Tips and Predictions

Time for another listen to the Melodifestivalen songs. Last week I completely missed the strength of Cornelia Jakobs coming through the pack (the voting system may have helped) but that song now has legitimate winning hype and potential on the ground here in Stockholm. Seven songs compete here and I’m sure you are all wondering which one I am going to miss calling as a qualifier this week, so let’s begin.

Song 1: Liamoo - Bluffin’ (BPM: 120)

Liamoo promised something that was outside of his comfort zone with ‘Bluffin’’ but to be honest this sounds like the smash radio hit with the most innocent urban vibes we were expecting from the former Idol winner. There’s definitely a taste of the Eric Saade influence here with the post-chorus, while not as obviously Middle Eastern influenced as ‘Every Minute’ you will recognise the vibe at play.

I do wish the chorus had more push and two hours after the listening I have to say I don’t remember any of it. That said we’re expecting style here and if Liamoo can master the falsetto transitions through the verse well this is a clear candidate for Saturday and beyond. Immediate impression though is this can score high with juries, high with televotes, but without winning much. Yes, very Eric Saade last year.

This was 8s yesterday to win MF after listening, that best price is 6s today. I note though that while not favourite to win Melodifestivalen yet it is shortest in the odds to finish top 3. That’s my consensus as well, great candidate for top 3, unlikely to go the full distance. Cornelia gets jury 12’s when Liamoo only gets 8’s.

Song 2: Niello & Lisa Ajax - Tror du att jag bryr mig (BPM: 160)

From the get-go this is a toe-tapper of a Swedish language pop song, following the footsteps of artists like Emil Assergård from last year. What’s particularly enjoyable in this duet is how there’s a clear vibe between the two young artists even in the studio version. This is very much a Swedish version of ‘Mis Nüüd Saab’ that is in Saturday’s Eesti Laul final.

While it’s toe-tapping and the two artists are very popular (Lisa has made the final each time she takes part in Melodifestivalen) I think there is an element of we-have-heard-this-before and I think the USP of the duet feel only goes so far. Two thirds of Lisa’s entries before have been into Andra Chansen, and 3rd/4th feels very easy to say based on the two run-throughs so far.

Underestimate this at your peril and the 2.75 to reach the Semi Final wouldn’t be a disaster if they can pull it off.

Song 3: Samira Manners - I Want To Be Loved (BPM: 99

SVT’s Karin Gunnarsson, running the live listening, warned us before this started that Samira had an English accent from her English father. Despite the warning as a native speaker I was still thrown by Samira’s accent - so much in the Lily Allen mould it is very akin to what Lena brought with Satellite.

We are promised a guitar ballad here and Samira in interviews is going to be focusing on selling the song down the camera lens. This has some beautiful storytelling moments although the chorus, repeating the title phrase, needs some sort of lift the studio version doesn’t offer. Yet there’s a beat here akin to another Fredrik Andersson composed track, ‘If I Were Sorry’ from 2016. Now Frans was beloved in a way the unknown Samira isn’t, and this could as easily finish last as it could be the next big sensation.

The range for where this song could finish is very high. It could work great or not. Samira is likeable but not obviously in a I-will-vote-for-you-kind-of-way so therefore it would be the 4s available to be last that is best here

Song 4: Alvaro Estrella - Suave (BPM: 102)

If you heard ‘Baila Baila’ you know what to expect here. There’s a couple of tiny twists in that there is more Spanish here in phrases rather than just individual words (although you will very much recognise many of the Spanish words being sung here). Otherwise I would say this is a step up from ‘Baila Baila’ but only if those steps were flea sized.

In terms of qualification the assumption is Alvaro is likely to be close here. He was very close in the last two years and this voting system should suit him in the race for second place - he will score highly amongst young and old even if he may not get the twelve points from any group. Song wise this is exactly what we suspect but the differences are the competition (less famous this week in general) and the audience enjoyment of this Latin pop - this is the third year in a row we get the same thing…

I took the 5s with Betsson yesterday after the song’s came out and that sets me up for this week in a good position. Lundvik and Alvaro head-to-head for 2nd place is logical, so if you can get value (let’s say 2.5) that would be about the right price.

Song 5: Browsing Collection - Face in the mirror (BPM: missed checking this, but I suspect above 120+)

The first of the three rock groups this year in Melfest (you may ask, ‘Is this the Måneskin effect’ and the answer is yes), the band have said that the Italians’ success in Rotterdam last year was inspiration to take part this year themselves). Browsing Collection brings a great uptempo number with plenty of energy changes and dynamics, especially in the first minute. I understand the group changed the song after SVT approved it and I suspect these changes played with this to take it away from ‘just-a-song’.

The track is flavoured with the type of pop-punk that would have been very ‘in’ at the turn of the century and that is no bad thing. It does make it difficult to predict how this will go - rock songs have finished up and down the leaderboard in Melfest heats and this one will rely on the live performance.

Tipping this to be last place is a little harsh but understandable. The big question mark is if can work live rather than the rock gigs they are used to.

Song 6: John Lundvik - Änglavakt (BPM: 71)

John Lundvik is such a professional and this oozes his charisma, his charm, his voice, his storytelling into one beautiful package. But when one opens this glittery package there is little there. We hear his soft majestic tones but the story itself leaves one looking for the vomit bucket I’m afraid. Often the Swedish language is used by songwriters to get to intimate lyrics and feelings, and I’m not the only one questioning the story here being told.

While I love John Lundvik’s work previously on this one I am unsure. The final minute drops down in volume and tempo rather than building to an oh-so-Eurovision crescendo and it means John doesn’t get the chance to show off his voice enough to draw in the easy votes. Assuming the app works you have to assume John Lundvik is only attracting older voters with this and may be stumbling through to the Semi Finals…or worse.

The thing is though, John sings it so damn fine that it has an audience. The 3.25 with Unibet to qualify is good for that reason - this is calm the sea of Alvaro, Browsing Collection and Tone and all the better for it. Chanceless in the final but you can see it being very good for SVT to get Lundvik to the final so he can sing 2nd.

Song 7: Tone Sekelius - My Way (BPM: 170)

Tone Sekelius is introduced by Karin Gunnarsson as Melodifestivalen’s first ever trans artist. Tone has been openly trans for one year, and before that performed the Stockholm Pride song of 2017. Tone’s YouTube following of over 300,000 should not be ignored either, especially as most of Tone’s vlogs are in Swedish so would be loyal fans for the voting.

The song that is presented clearly has influences from pride anthems, with big lyrics about empowerment and being yourself joining around a clap-a-long and sing-a-long party. While distinct from ‘schlager’ this is the most schlager sounding thing in this heat. Sadly I think that’s the downside here as production wise it does come across a little bit cheaper than the rest. Another that is hard to predict but if Tone can mobilise a fan base this could reach the final, although there international juries will likely kill this.

Another one that is a wildcard in this heat. Tone could have a fanbase to get a loyal vote in a couple of age groups but my prediction is the drop off will be large outside of that. I have at 5th at the moment, and there’s no betting market available on that. Wouldn’t be surprised if it shortens though in the meantime.

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