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Melodifestivalen Heat 2 Betting Review

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Update from Wednesday after hearing the songs:

I got to have my traditional listen to the songs again this week. Karin Gunnarsson, Competition Co-ordinator for this year’s Melodifestivalen, greeted us by introducing what was a somewhat different list of seven songs that, unusually for Melodifestivalen, includes 5 debutants, so the chance is high for a new artist to enter into our adoration.

Anton Ewald opens the show with ‘New Religion’. This track has a cool introduction and is somewhat less Eurovision and Melodifestivalen sounding than his previous two entries into the competition. This sounds like a bit of a problem in fact, and the start of the chorus the line ‘distorted heartbeat’ puts me off rather than reels me in. Commercial sounding, absolutely, but as a performance piece I have significant doubts. The dubstep-lite section for the bridge fills me with the same concern.

Despite the 'trendy' sound, this feels like a song that might have entered Melodifestivalen a few years ago. Anton *may* have fans who’ll support him, but they are likely just to be in a couple of age categories and I can’t see this appealing to many over the age of 45 in this lineup. Anton has one Andra Chansen and one Direkt to Finalen from his two previous attempts. I’d be expecting the former more than the latter at this point.

To be honest, even Andra Chansen may be a bit of a stretch. I don’t particularly expect fans to appreciate this in the short clips we will get on Thursday and it could well drift. Anton’s notorious for poor live performances and while a Kadiatou-esque weakness isn’t expected his rehearsal clip could be the catalyst for a drift. Wouldn’t recommend at best price 1.8.

Julia Alfrida is the artist who won the wildcard from the Svensktoppen Nästa competition way back in the summer of 2020. She’s certainly the more alternative kind of pop artist whose selection speaks much about the kind of diversity SVT wants in their flagship programme. I’m afraid it’s too difficult to look past the fact this sounds like a carbon copy of Lorde’s ‘Royals’, both lyrically and in production. While that’s a fine reference point that link is just too strong and the whole package sits uneasy.

I think it’s unlikely this is in contention for getting into the final, and would frankly be surprised if this escapes from the first round of voting.

I can imagine that the only bet I’ll be placing on this will be one for the last place. I can’t see enough people having a particular interest in this song, style and artist when it comes to the voting. No last place market available yet, but evens would be great value.

Song number three has been designated as the historical Melodifestivalen song number 1000, and will be a throwback piece of nostalgia from WAHL feat. SAMI called ‘90-talet’ (literally ‘The 90’s’). The lyrical references to Fresh Prince and so on are a touch on the cringe side for my liking, but there’s a feel-good factor about this that will pick up the show after a serious first couple of entries. The urban elements are light and build into the final chorus is enjoyable, and you will bop to this one.

Not much is expected from this competitively. It’s unlikely that enough age categories are going to engage in the nostalgia to see it in the mix for the final. Staging will be key to see if Andra Chansen is possible, but 5th/6th seems more likely at the moment.

It’s hard to recommend anything especially betting wise on this one. Wait and see if anything emerges from rehearsals before considering investing I’d say - it’s unlikely to gather much attention beforehand. Best priced 9s with Betway.

Frida Green is an artist who has been quietly getting interest from those following the contest, and has recently appeared and impressed on commercial television shows in Sweden to just gently build up some exposure and expectation. Anna Bergendahl co-wrote this, and it’s no surprise that there’s more than a twang of country in this mix. This ballad though is well produced and follows the formulas that work oh-so-well once more. There’s a climax that pauses, makes you wait, and then explodes into a glory note with a huge key change (and I noted pyros are in the staging directions for this one).

This is going to have fans on Saturday, and it is a well done piece of music. My only reservation is that the actual melody itself isn’t particularly interesting, and feels a touch more Andra Chansen than final. Yet a big pyro curtain finish may be exactly what the audience want this week.

In terms of betting there are odds there is some 3.75 floating around (CoolBet) this to qualify that doesn’t seem to be terrible value. I find it hard to predict where this will end up in the odds but I find it hard to see it anywhere other than 2nd to 4th in this semi.

Song five is this week’s curveball, with Eva Rydberg and Ewa Roos, both in their 70’s, giving us another example of pensioners turning up to rock Melodifestivalen. ‘Rena Rema Ding Dong’ is one of those songs that little kids up and down Sweden will be singing and my best reference point is to think of Eurovision entries from a bygone era like ‘I See A Star’ and ‘Boom-Bang-A-Bang’. This is glorious fun and a ridiculous bit of escapism in the midst of everything else in the world. Key change!

So much of this show is very serious and there’s some well earned relief from that in this. Do not rule it out! Remember Arvingarna qualified last week with a similar dose of feel-goodness and this potentially is even catchier than that was. Much will depend on whether Sweden is ready to vote for 70+ women like they have voted for 70+ men in the past, but I can see a world where this goes to the final and every second song on March 13th is throwaway fun. You have been warned.

Odds on this have not shortened since release - I think the early opinions like this style but worry understandably about its competitiveness. There’s also unlikely to be much movement here through the week, but I wouldn’t want to be left cold on this one, and I’d snaffle a bit of 15s (Bet365) because there is a route to the final for this song in a way I can’t see Julia or WAHL having. You’ve been warned.

Patrik Jean has very clearly written ‘Tears Run Dry’ with Melodifestivalen in mind. I hear clear influence from John Lundvik’s ‘Too Late For Love’ running through this, especially in the spaces between verse and chorus. Furthermore the post-chorus loop has the same vibe as The Mamas had with ‘Move’ - which Patrik co-wrote. Both of those are Melodifestivalen winners and there’s a route to victory for Patrik in the same, this is clearly a sound that juries will love in the final.

Getting there and turning a possible contender into a contender needs an extra sparkle though. Both those two previous winners did have a moment in their final minute that gave an added sense of wow and magic that the studio version here lacked, and I don’t know if Patrik is the artist who can deliver those crescendo moments. The song needs it, but if it does it could be something in the mix come the final, even if it has to take the long way via Andra Chansen to get there.

There was a short drift when the song was released and Unibet have gone as long as 4s for this to qualify. That seems good, but I’m holding fire until I have seen a live vocal on this track to judge more fairly.

The final song of the list here today is Dotter’s ‘Little Tot’. Of Dotter’s three Melodifestivalen entries this is the one that has grabbed my attention most in a positive way on first listening. I did have reservations about the theme and the use of the word ‘tot’ as the main chorus line, but the message of the song comes through and the edge, the boldness and the wall of production behind this song make it fit together. In live tweeting I referred to this as similar to ‘Statements’ by Loreen. It isn’t as challenging as that but there is an attitude to this number that is here to mean business.

I do have a minor reservation that Dotter isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and that much of Dotter’s loud fanbase is made up of supporters outside of Sweden, but this is the one to watch this week. Assuming the stage show lives up to last year’s light show that (eventually) came together this has great potential not just for Saturday, but for the final once more. I’m not sold on the Dotterdam train just yet but I can see it taking me down the tracks regardless.

I’ve avoided Dotter throughout this but if there’s any sniff of the stage show coming together I will want this to be plenty green in my book. Svenska Spel is 5.6. Short, but maybe fairly so.

Thoughts on Tuesday:

Heat 2 of Melodifestivalen looks weak on paper. Dotter is there, drawn last, and this seems to be as good as a bye for her to qualify to the final. I can’t work out whether this is because Little Tot is brilliant or if SVT just want the Dotterdam train to ride for a few more weeks. Dotter’s had a huge following but admittedly mainly from abroad, and the raw app vote for Dotter last year was less than many expected. Dotter is heavily odds on, less than 1.3 in most places.

Little Tot concerns me as a title, and about how Dotter will do some sort of call out to her younger self, but there’s not much else here in contention. That’s especially true when Anton Ewald is the 2nd favourite. His previous entry, Natural, finished last in the final after much hype and he gave a rotten performance of what was at heart a cleverly written John Lundvik track. The pretty boy left Sweden to model in Miami and one questions if his fan base is still here. Andra Chansen may be more realistic.

I have my eye on Patrik Jean to do well, and am happy I nabbed some at 3.5 to qualify before that disappeared before last week's show. Jean co-wrote The Mamas' winning song last year and, drawn second to last, I feel has been given space to be soulful and uplifting in this running order. While a new name to many in this heat that features alternative sounds, rap and comedy simply being well sung and charismatic may be the ticket. Frida Green, with the Anna Bergendahl written The Silence, has similar potential for a shock qualification but I’m expecting that track to lean a little too country in style to go all the way to the final, at least automatically. Plus I'm not sure how well Frida is going to charm the camera to get votes from those new to her artistry.

I don’t think much of the chances of Julia Alfrida or WAHI feat. SAMI but I am hoping their songs are better than my expectations. Eva Rydberg and Ewa Roos have a song called Rena Rama Ding Dong. It's not unusual for comedic songs to go all the way to the final in Sweden and I would say this could be a dark horse if only the artists were a little more well known and, sadly, not older females, a group who have tended to struggle to get votes in recent years. Currently they are the rank outsider at 15.0 with Bet365, but I do remember there is a weird world where fun loving songs may have a home this year, and there is chance for a parody to do better than expected. Heat 2 might just be a week too early for it however, as fun shock qualifiers often come from later heats.


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