1. Ellen Benediktson – “Insomnia” ~Rating: 7/10~
I quite like this. I was afraid this would he a total mess after Ellen’s truly bizarre behavior at the press conference, but it’s a solid pop number. She seems comfortable up there and if I had never heard “Songbird” I wouldn’t have guessed that this new style wasn’t her typical thing. I would’ve liked the song to be a bit more dance oriented and uptempo, but I enjoyed this nonetheless.
2. Kalle Johansson – “För din skull” ~Rating: 4/10~
Wildcard winners rarely make an impact at Melfest and this is no exception. It’s sweet but kind of flat. Not terrible, but definitely unpolished. That said, it’s one of the better wildcard acts in recent history.
3. Andreas Weise – “Bring Out the Fire” ~Rating: 7/10~
When I watched the clip for this I didn’t care for it. It came across as a Bruno Mars reject, but in full it was much stronger. It is very Bruno Mars, but it still retains a strong Swedish sound, and paired with great visuals and strong vocals I was won over by it. It really was “I’ll Be Fine” except sung by a man. That said, the entire thing does feel a bit middle aged. It lacks a youthful spark that would be needed if sent to Eurovision.
4. Andreas Johnson – “Living To Die” ~Rating: 2/10~
I half thought I may enjoy this based on the preview, but in full I didn’t enjoy this at all. It was a weak U2 wannabe performance that deserved to get last.
5. Isa – “Don’t Stop” ~Rating: 5/10~
Isa claimed this performance would be on par with a Super Bowl half time show, which is possibly the most hilariously delusional statement a Melfest artist could make. She’s a pretty girl with surprisingly strong vocals, and the song is okay, but it does feel a bit derivative of Meghan Trainor and Katy Perry’s bubble gum shtick. Actually, “Don’t Stop” sounds like a direct copy of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” and I hated that song so why would I like it’s cheap Swedish knock-off? The entire thing came across as a copy of Ace Wilder, except not really as cool or edgy. She’s a decade younger than Ace, so I get she would be trying to be a little more frothy and less edgy, but over it feels really Junior Eurovision. Considering how weak this years Melfest has been, she really shines, but any other year this would get last place in its heat and be totally forgotten.
6. Kristin Amparo – “I See You” ~Rating: 5/10~
I didn’t enjoy this song at all. It was long and dreary and whiny. Her voice is a bit Adele-esque, but the song itself is not very good. After listening to the studio version I enjoyed it a bit more, but it never really comes across as an arena filling, highly competitive song. At Eurovision this would easily get lost in a sea of dreary female ballads as so many countries have been sending those this year.
7. Jon Henrik Fjällgren – “Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije)” ~Rating: 5/10~
Upon my last trip to Sweden I visited a Sami cultural and historical center where I learned about their customs, music, history and found it to be really fascinating stuff, and it’s great it’s finally being represented in Melfest. That said, this song sounds exactly as I expected it to sound, and while I do agree that it’s an important song, it’s not particularly catchy. I appreciate it, but I’m never going to listen to this again after the contest ends.