Where + when Stockholm, 2012
What Why Am I Crying?, written by Molly Sandén, Aleena Gibson and Wendy Wagner, and performed by Molly Sandén
Molly ‘Perfection and a Person I Want To Switch Lives With’ Sandén (as I refer to her on a regular basis) has been welcomed back into the open arms of Melodifestivalen for 2016 (hug it out, M & M) and no doubt she’s hoping it’ll be third time lucky for her, as it was for Måns Zelmerlöw last March. MZW had his second shot at representing Sweden in 2009 – the same year Molly made her first appearance with Så Vill Stjärnorna, just three years after flying the blue-and-yellow flag at Junior Eurovision in Bucharest. Back then, a still-blonde, sixteen-year–old Molly qualified direkt til Globen with her Sanna Nielsen-esque ballad, but finished dead last in the final, far behind MZW and EMD (her future man candy Danny Saucedo being the ‘D’).
She had some seriously tough competition that night, and stepping over them all in order to take the trophy home was never going to be an easy task. It seems she needed some more time to develop into an adult artist capable of clawing her way to the top. And so, three years later, Miss Sandén stepped onto the Melfest stage for the second time – sporting dark hair, dressed in head-to-toe black and very high heels, and trying her luck with…well, another very Sanna Nielsen-esque ballad (that’s not a bad thing…I’m merely pointing out that a musical pattern was forming there). This time, armed with the heartstring-tugger that was/is Why Am I Crying?, she was more of a contender.
After winning her semi, she went on to perform in the penultimate position in the final, in the Globe Arena once again and just before Danny Saucedo took to the stage solo for the second year running (he was still her future boyfriend then, and I can’t help thinking that this is where the sparks really began to fly. Someone should make a movie about their love story, stat!). That final performance was all kinds of perfect (not all kinds of everything), and not because Molly put in a 110% pitch-perfect vocal. She didn’t, actually, but the catches in her voice – which was still as beautiful and powerful as ever, overall – made what could have been a clinical, going-through-the-motions performance feel far more authentic and emotional. Given that Molly’s relationship with the previous year’s Melfest champ Eric Saade ended in early 2012 (let’s just say the girl has a type), it’s not hard to understand how she was able to channel so much heartbreak into three minutes.
What also made her second attempt at representing Sweden such an admirable one was the simplicity of the staging. Back in 2009, things had been too pared-back, if anything – but this time, shadowy lighting, a bit of a breeze from the old wind machine (OF COURSE) and some multi-Molly visual effects ensured that an intimate atmosphere was created, and that no aspect of the performance could be described using the letters O, T and T. Basically, we witnessed the most effective way of treating a song like Why Am I Crying? – something we’d see again with Sanna’s Undo two years later. Sandwiched between the aggressive noisiness of Björn Ranelid and Sara Li’s Mirakel, and the flashy, futuristic stage show of Danny’s Amazing, Molly stood out purely because she didn’t…if you know what I mean.
ANYWAY, that fact didn’t help her win the competition, but she greatly improved on her initial result with her eventual fifth place, narrowly missing out on fourth to David Lindgren (who she’ll battle against again next year if they both qualify from their semis). As we all know, it was a different intimate performance that won Melfest 2012 and went on to win Eurovision – Loreen’s. It couldn’t have been Molly’s or anybody else’s time with the Queen of the Crab-Dance in the mix.
But – and this is where this post has been leading – the combination of singer, song and beatable rivals might just be right for the Mollster in 2016. My reasoning? Well, for starters, her career is peaking as we speak, and her music has never been better (Freak? Hit. Phoenix? Hit. Like No One’s Watching? Hit. Satellites? HIT!!!). So much so that I’ll set fire to my entire Eurovision merchandise collection if her third Melfest entry Youniverse is anything less than THA SHIZ.
In addition, the song’s been written by Molly and Danny as a pair (as well as some other guy who’s clearly a third wheel) which makes it the closest thing to a Manny (or Dolly?) duet that we’re going to get in the near future. Both artists have proven their talent for penning great tracks in the past, so that ups my expectations of Molly’s chances.
And, when you look at her Melfest track record – last, then halfway up the leaderboard – it’d be a logical leap for her to finish first in the March final. She’s never been in a better position to win, and as the likes of Sanna and Måns would tell her, if you keep trying, the time will be right on one occasion or another.
Even if it’s the seventh.
That’s my thinking…but where are you at? Will Molly make it back to the Globe as Sweden’s host entrant for Eurovision 2016? Should she have had that chance back in 2012, or even 2009? Do you reckon she’s stepped things up with Youniverse, or is Why Am I Crying? too hard to top? If you have anything to say about this Sandén sister – even if it’s re: Ace Wilder being far superior (umm, I don’t THINK so!) – then get those fingers busy by commenting below!