There was a real sense of déjà vu in the second heat of this year’s Melodifestivalen, the contest which decides which act will represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 2005, in controversial circumstances, Sweden chose Martin Stenmarck with his song “Las Vegas” (which I liked a lot) over Nanne Grönvall with her song “Håll om mig” (which I liked a lot more). Nanne had the popular vote (chosen by viewers), but was trumped by Martin who had the jury vote (chosen by a group of experts). There was a public outcry over the result, and the rules surrounding Melodifestivalen have since changed.
Nanne is a fantastic performer who I’ve seen perform on a few occasions and actually met once at a shopping centre performance in Stockholm. I shot this Youtube clip at Stockholm’s Paradise nightclub.
Martin Stenmark is back as a contender in Melodifestivalen this year.
But so too was Nanne. Or to be precise, her sons Charlie and Felix and their band “Little Great Things” were competing against Martin Stenmarck and several others in the second heat of this year’s Melodifestivalen. Or to add to the sense of the musical dynasty Charlie and Felix came from, their father is Peter (who was an 80s/90s pop star in Sweden), and their paternal grandfather is Benny Andersson from ABBA.
In the end, their song wasn’t that great and never made it through to the final (while Martin Stenmarck did).
After my disappointment with last week’s heat, I was slightly more impressed with this week’s contenders, though I still don’t think there’s been a serious contender for Eurovision yet
Sanna Nielson was back with another predictable Frederik Kempe ballad (though she performed it extraordinarily well, I thought). There was some nameless country music act. There was a dance number written by Thomas G:son (who wrote the Eurovision-winning Euphoria). There was also a band called Pink Pistols (which included two drag queens and a guy called Mikael – who I’ve also met – from the band Hallå hela pressen) which I thought were okay. But with the exception of Pink Pistols and the band, Panetoz and their rap/reggae number “Efter solsken” (After sunshine), it’s all very safe, predictable and rather boring. Panetoz, by the way is a band with members originating from Gambia, Ethiopia, Angola, Congo and Finland-Sweden.
So in summary, Heat 2 was better than Heat 1 (though the show’s hosts haven’t improved), but there’s still nothing which I think stands a serious chance of representing Sweden at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.