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Melodifestivalen Heat 3 Betting Review

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Melodifestivalen Heat 3 has seven more songs to go on into the circus of Melodifestivalen. It feels like a very even heat where the battle will more be about which genres will come out on top, perhaps with performances that sparkle, and this isn’t a pure battle of better vs worse.


Charlotte Perrelli - Still Young


In 2008 when ‘Hero’ won Melodifestivalen and went to the Eurovision Song Contest it was very much a schlager, but a modern interpretation of the genre. ‘Still Young’ goes back in time further than that, borrowing a beat and feel far more ABBA in sound with a chorus borrowing plenty from Carola’s ‘Invincible’. That may sound like a dream combo, but as somebody who loves this type of music as much the next Eurovision fan it instinctively feels like only an 8/10 in this genre. My instinct is that the fans for this, especially in younger age groups, need something that is truly exceptional, and on first listen this didn’t have the kick, or the key change, needed to make it absolutely fabulous.


That said, this can’t be ruled out of not just making the final, and doing well, because of Charlotte’s status and loyal fans. Charlotte is a superstar here and a tabloid dream with a documentary about her life on a rival channel this week. On the contrary to the above, Charlotte has been in Melodifestivalen twice since her 2008 victory, and came 5th and 7th in those two heats. While this song is probably better than those, the loyal vote for Charlotte bloc may be smaller than one default assumes.


Given that, it may be understandably that Charlotte is second favourite, but it seems a bit strange that Charlotte is so much shorter and odds on (best priced 1.8 on Betway) than the rest of the pack. Anton Ewald stumbled through a bit last week but I don’t think Charlotte can just do that - she needs to get some big scores from children as well to make it direct. I understand a wind machine is promised and I can see Charlotte singing the pants off this, but I would want more than odds on before recommending. If it doesn’t lengthen then Andra Chansen betting may be smart.


Emil Assergård - Om Allting Skiter Sig


This is a frantic and high tempo piece of Swedish pop music. Assuming you aren’t in Sweden you may not have heard this type of guitar sound before except for a couple of Melfest entries that didn’t do very well. Think of it a little like ‘Kyss Mig’ in Melodifestivalen 2012 or ‘För Din Skull’ from 2015 in sound, but bolder than both of those and reminiscent of a football chant in places. For me the tempo is slightly too high, like the song is running through to get under the three minute barrier, but this is another track that oozes quality in its production and I think could be a radio hit after the contest.


Emil’s won some awards, including notably as live artist of the year, and he’ll need some of that appeal to make this song come alive. You want this to be the kind of song to sing along to and that’s going to need charisma down the camera to work. Assuming he has that then this is another track in the mix and not just here to make up the numbers.


Emil has shortened with some of the oddsmakers today but is still available at 10s (Betsson). I don’t see this qualifying, and despite his awards I’ve not really thought Emil has TV charisma which is a different ball game than big concert charisma. There’s a small chance of 4th place but I think it’s quite far back in the pecking order just based on what else is around him in the running order.


Klara Hammarström - Beat of Broken Hearts


Klara Hammarström is back after impressing last year when she performed ‘Nobody’ - it came 5th in a difficult heat and the song did chart reasonably afterwards. This song feels like Fredrik Kempe, one of the songwriters here, has put his own spin onto Bulletproof, last year’s entry from Dotter, and while listening I was doing the same head bop that Dotter so iconically did last year. This is an empowering song with a big vocal part. Brave, but this is where Klara needs to prove that she’s a bit of a star in the making.


I’m interested in this because it looks like there’s some big production getting in the mix. We are promised that Klara will be controlling some LED elements in the performance and there should be a silver pyro curtain (presumably in the classic Kempe clunky breakdown to the final chorus) - and can all help the empowering feeling. The similarity to Dotter last year can not and should not be underestimated and I think there is every chance that this is up there in the mix should it all come together live. Maybe not in Melodifestivalen winning contention but getting through this heat feels believable.


Klara Hammarström’s main issue might be herself. She is known as a reality star and for show jumping, and perhaps her personality may be a barrier. The performance will need to be faultless but looking at the props and gizmos she has for the performance there is certainly somebody who believes in her ability. I think the younger Eurovision fans will like this when they hear it tomorrow and if the performance has the required attention to detail I suspect this will shorten from the 10s that is currently available (Unibet). Probably the tip of the day at the moment.


Mustasch - Contagious


We were promised a song in classic hard rock style from Mustasch and they did not disappoint. I can fully imagine driving with the roof down on the interstate blaring this out for the world to hear. This is full of guitar riffs and is definitely a genre away from other rock songs in Melodifestivalen, which were definitely more rousing. As a like-for-like comparison I prefer ‘Pretender’ from heat one more, but I would be expected to because it is more of a contest style song. This is uncompromising in its style, but the guitar solos etc all feel a bit too serious. That said the church organ is a welcome and surprising touch - would love to see that on stage with them!


Ralf Gyllenhammar, the lead singer here, qualified in 2013 directly to the final (notably ahead of eventual winner Robin Stjernberg), and Mustasch are a suitably big group with a big following. The question here is if anybody else really cares for this as a piece of music to button-bash for. I had this down as a minimum top 4 before the listen session today and while that still seems correct, I can also see a world where there’s no love at all for this from the voting public.


Part of that fear is from a little bit of a boycott. There’s plenty going round media today about the lead singer’s sexual assault case from a few years ago, and while I disagree that people who have paid for their crime should be still chastised by society, social media is a different beast. Mustasch hasn’t impressed on first listening either, and are now priced at 3.75 (Unibet) to qualify. Because all the songs are *so* different from each other this week I’m finding it hard to call, but there is a chance of a surprise last place if it doesn’t click together here.


Elisa - Den Du Är


Wowsers. We were expecting a schlager ballad from Elisa, especially with Ingela ‘Pling’ Forsman on the writing team with Bobby Ljunggren. This sounds like those Melodifestivalen ballads of the 90s, huge soaring melodies, strings, and ethereal feeling that is so sublime and so nordic. But this track just keeps going and keeps building! I think I counted three key changes in here and by the end of the song the continuous build doesn’t make it tender like ‘Den Vilda’ or ‘Den Vackraste’, but instead into the ridiculous territory (it’s a different genre, but let’s use ‘Undo’ by Sanna Nielsen as a reference point her). Beautiful and magical composition but one that can only exist here.


Elisa is difficult to predict. She is much beloved and has that good countryside girl vibe going for her and has a track record of winning public votes, for example winning Let’s Dance. She competed in 2014 and finished 5th, well off the pace but with a song that didn’t deserve more. This is better than ‘Casanova’ but it appeals to such a narrow range of older voters (despite Elisa being in her 20s). I can’t see this getting many points from the three youngest categories, so I’m anticipating this to be no higher than Andra Chansen. Plus those top age ranges will see a direct battle between Elisa and Charlotte Perrelli, and I wouldn’t want to predict that. They might cancel each other out.


Elisa shortened on the market in places but 5.5 (Betway) can be found. As I said above, even if you think this OTT entry works, the mountain to get enough points for this from all voters is huge, and Elisa’s popularity will be tested in a heat with many names the TV viewing audience will be familiar with. There is meant to be some sort of special light effect in play with this, but I don’t think that’s enough to go direct.


Alvaro Estrella - Baila Baila.


OK I need to clarify myself here. I wrote on Twitter that “gosh if only Spain could send this to #eurovision” and I think I made the Spanish Eurofans a bit mad. I apologise because this song is derivative. It’s written by all the same songwriters who always do this in Melfest and every single step is predictable after the first minute. That said it is joyous and infectious in a toe-tapping way that Spain comes close to often in Eurovision and misses, and I’d love to see this track spun on its head and made authentic in an alternate universe.


Alvaro is an excellent performer. A world class performer arguably. But he’s only had success really as an extra or as a backing singer, and when the camera is focused on him the spark doesn’t ignite. He did reach the final last time out, via Andra Chansen, and song quality wise this is indistinguishable from ‘Vamos Amigos’. Can he get it there again? If I was forced to answer I’d say this just comes short, and I can see Alvaro in that terribly sad 5th spot.


The above assumes a little bit that the Swedish audience are a little tired of the uptempo Latin flavoured entries. That’s a big assumption if we think about 2021, because there are few genres more fun that Latin pop with its cliche plucked guitar. Alvaro drifted most today, out to 6.5. In a normal year this would be good value, at least trading wise, because in an arena this would go down well and could win an audience poll (he did with ‘Vamos Amigos’, beating ‘Bulletproof’ and ‘Kingdom Come’). Without the audience poll it’s hard to see when this will come in, because we are not expecting anything that isn’t new in the performance of this. If there is a bigger drift then Andra Chansen comes into play.


I realise at this point there’s lots of talk of Andra Chansen. It’s one of those weeks where it’s not an easy one to call for that second place spot.


Tusse - Voices


Tusse has been one of the five pre contest favourites since the odds dropped and it is clear to see why. This screams big production Eurovision, a deep and dark anthem that is lit up by hooks galore and Tusse’s stellar chorus. In parts it almost feels too slick, and indeed there’s an element of this being similar to Måns’ ‘Heroes’ in just how perfectly meshed together this is. I was a bit taken back by the key change into the final chorus, I thought this was a bit too cool for school for that, but in terms of writing a true Eurovision song for a new artist this feels epic.


That favourite status is justified here and assuming the visual elements match the fullness of production we have somebody who can rival Dotter for the Melodifestivalen title this year, especially remembering the international juries will be a part of that final show. This assumes that Tusse is going to win this semi comfortably, which everyone is united in believing at the moment. The only caveat I will have is that this heat 3 is the show where surprises and shocks happen as the viewers show fatigue. All seven entries though appear to be serious this week, there’s no Ravaillacz or Owe Thörnquist to be the source of the upset.


Betting wise Tusse is a solid 1.2 (Betway) at the moment which feels just a little bit like printing money - even if the semi is relatively strong this is the only one that isn’t limited by being in a niche genre. However you might want to get on in the Melodifestivalen market. I have it with only Dotter and Tusse in the mix of the top 21, and we assume Eric Saade and The Mamas will be of a similar level. I can’t pick between Dotter and Tusse at this point, but 4.5 (Svenska) is probably a touch high at this point as the others shouldn’t be in contention, meaning the favourites will narrow further.


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Heat 3 has been a place of upsets in the past, and while it is too early to call such an upset this show feels less predictable than some others.


Tusse is very short at 1.34 best price, yet the 2019 Idol winner takes last place in the running order and has songwriters who promise something special with Voices - certainly a title in keeping with those winning Melfest. My expectations for this are similar to another song drawn last in semi 3 from 2016, Human by Oscar Zia, that eventually finished 2nd that year. Many have raved about Tusse’s voice and performance style - and while not for me I can see the appeal. On reflection, 1.34 (Smarkets) may be fair.


It shows how strong heat 1 was that Charlotte Perrelli, approximately equal in status to Jessica Andersson, is also odds on to qualify here. Why the staggering difference? One reason could be that this heat has two ballads, from Klara Hammarström and Elisa, which may be nice but having finished 5th place in their previous attempts you would struggle to see them bringing enough quality to jump to direct qualification. Keep an eye on Elisa though (best priced at 9.0 on Bet365); she has won Let’s Dance and other TV shows, so if this has a sparkle she might be one to watch for qualification. Charlotte Perrelli, if Still Young is a super schlager stomper, can qualify, but the song would need to be excellent to galvanise enough support from all age groups, and is too short without knowing that information.

Alvaro Estrella is a great and solid performer. However, he has lacked a certain X Factor to sell his songs to the general public. Baila Baila would need to be exceptional to carry itself through, or Alvaro would need to have one brilliant routine. This is one not to touch until we hear the song or see him on stage.


Assuming the drawn 2nd Emil Assergård is here to make up the numbers then that leaves Mustasch, who have promised some classic hard rock. It’s been a while since rock has graced Melodifestivalen and I don’t know if pure rock has potential to go further than Andra Chansen anymore.. Lillasyster appear stats wise to have finished 3rd in the competitive first heat - a great result but likely a way behind the top two that night. The lead singer Ralf Gyllenhammar qualified as a soloist directly in 2013, but his song then Bed on Fire was a superb composition, and my understanding is that their entry this year is more classic rather than creative.

I think the early tip might be a big call, but the assumption is Tusse is the one here and it’s hard to see anything else matching him at this stage. I'd have an outside look at the ballads if any of them seem good (Klara's stage show promises a silver pyro curtain, so could deliver a wow moment, but I want more information before punting on an outsider this week - the artists aren't big enough names to get that automatic hype).

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