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Melodifestivalen Final - Betting Tips and Preview

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Saturday brings the Melodifestivalen Final when Sweden's Eurovision entrant will be selected from the 12 songs that have made it this far. The winner will be decided 50 percent by international juries commissioned by Swedish television, and 50 percent by viewers at home. The public vote is broken down by age category, with each category having a set number of points to award to each act.

The winner market is currently headed by Tusse Chiza (1.53 at bet365) with his song 'Voices'. Tusse was born in Congo, and as a child his family left due to war. On his journey he was separated from his parents and he ended up in Sweden alone. Since 2015 he has lived with a family in Tällberg, Dalarna and appeared on televised talent shows Talang and Idol, the latter of which he won in 2019.

'Voices' is an uplifting and powerful track in the kind of style you'd expect from an Idol winner and Tusse's vocal is strong, but the lyrics and structure feel a little contrived, not seeming to flow as neatly as they could. That said, this is very impressively staged and is definitely the kind of number that tends to do well in the Eurovision Song Contest. Juries are asked to vote based on which act they think will do well at Eurovision, and this feels like an obvious candidate. 'Voices' is also performing best of all finalists in terms of Spotify streams so, all in all, Tusse's favourite status seems justified and he feels like the most likely winner, albeit perhaps a little too short in the market.

It looks like his most likely challenger will be Eric Saade with 'Every Minute' (5 at Betsson). Still only 30 years of age, Saade is somewhat of a Melodifestivalen veteran having taken part three times previously, and winning in 2011 with 'Popular'. 'Popular' won the televote at the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest but didn't do well enough with the juries to emerge victorious overall. So he has a good track record, and knows what it takes to win Melfest.

'Every Minute' is stylistically different to Saade's previous entries and he has described it as dark, sexy and addictive. The performance is relatively minimalist (with Eric performing on a white square inside a black box) but very well executed and visually impressive. The song itself is catchy and different to the more formulaic numbers that Sweden have been accused of sending to Eurovision historically so it's definitely in the mix. It could appeal to both juries and groups of televoters and is currently performing best out of all of the contenders on Youtube and Tiktok, but given the way the public vote is split by age category, the challenge is likely to be whether this will carry strong enough appeal to garner sufficient votes from older voters. If not, it may just fall short.

Third and fourth favourites in the market are Dotter with 'Little Tot' (12 at Unibet and 888Sport) and The Mamas with 'In The Middle' (12 at Unibet, 888Sport and Betsson), which were the acts that finished first and second in last year's competition. Dotter was the runner-up with 'Bulletproof', which has become her biggest hit with over 15 million streams on Spotify. This year's song has a club style feel to it and is very danceable but a lot of the love for it seems to be coming from outside of Sweden. Juries liked 'Bulletproof' so may well rate 'Little Tot' highly too, but it was the televote that let Dotter down last year and that appears to be the challenge again this time around. Top 4 or 5 seems highly likely but Dotter is unlikely to have enough to win.

Last year's winners, The Mamas, return this year to try to make it two years' running (the first time a Melodifestivalen winner has returned to defend their crown since 2004). Unfortunately 'In The Middle' is less catchy and punchy than last year's winning song 'Move', but the harmonies are excellent and they create a feel good vibe through their performance. It's hard not to like The Mamas but their momentum seems to be waning somewhat and the song just doesn't feel strong enough to challenge so a place finish seems the most likely outcome.

That said, the potential for The Mamas to attract a huge public vote, given that they won last year's competition but were deprived of their opportunity to represent Sweden at Eurovision by the pandemic, shouldn't be underestimated. Nor should we discount a potentially very strong jury score to recognise the undoubtedly excellent vocals. So whilst a victory now seems unlikely, odds on The Mamas to finish Top 3 (2.15 at bet365 or Betsson) seem like good value.

An honourable mention goes to Danny Saucedo who opens the show with 'Dandi Dansa' . Danny has a previous track record in Melodifestivalen and is one of the biggest names in Swedish showbiz so has a large following, but he himself said that he isn't 'in it to win it' this year and, accordingly, the song doesn't feel like the kind of number to challenge. His profile and performance could see him challenge for the Top 3 but it's an outside shout.

The dark horse contender could be Clara Klingenström with her song 'Behöver Inte Dig Idag' (Don't Need You Today). The song is about a previous relationship, and one that Clara has told the media turned sour. She performs alone on stage with an electric guitar and delivers an emotive performance with a strong lyric. It's unlikely to do well enough with international juries but there's definitely momentum from the public vote, which could certainly see Clara secure a top half finish.

The other market to consider is who will finish last. Arvingarna (3.5 with Unibet and 888Sport) and Alvaro Estrella (4.5 with Unibet and 888Sport) head the market but it is Anton Ewald with the song 'New Religion' that interests me here. Anton competed in Melodifestivalen in 2013 and 2014 but has since spent time modelling in Miami. He returns this year with a song about the addictive pleasure of lust and love and he has choreographed the number himself with various mesmerising twists, turns and a number of crotch grabs. The dancing is strong but the vocal and the song itself are poor and are likely to be exposed on Saturday. There are far better pop songs in the competition so he is unlikely to stand out to voters, and it's hard to see the juries giving this much love. So Anton for last place at 7.5 with Unibet, 888Sport or Betway looks like a good value bet.

All in all, Tusse feels like a justified favourite and I do think he is the most likely winner. But Eric Saade has a chance, and there can definitely be a case made for value at his odds. And, of course, there are others who can't be ruled out entirely - many had written off The Mamas last year and they came through so they still have a chance (albeit fairly slim) of getting votes after not getting their chance to go Eurovision last year. Whatever happens, as always, it promises to be a great spectacle.

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