That’s right: the jewel in Sweden’s television crown (besides the Donald Duck Christmas special that inexplicably tops their TV ratings every year) kicks off THIS WEEKEND.
Melodifestivalen is the name, and finding a follow-up to Too Late For Love is the endgame. Melfest is the absolute highlight of my NF season, so I’m practically peeing my pants with excitement right now (overshare alert). I hope you are too! Excited, that is, not needing a change of underwear.
Shut up Jaz.
So, with just a few days to go until we get to hear that banging theme tune again, I thought I’d get even more in the mood. Here’s a rollcall of the Melfest 2020 artists I’ll be cheering for most enthusiastically each week. Check it out, then drop by the comments box to let me know who you’re most keen to see on that rather sexy stage as it tours Linköping, Göteborg, Luleå and Malmö.
SF1, Linköping | Felix Sandman, Boys With Emotions
Surprised? You shouldn’t be…and probably aren’t. Forget I asked. Anyway, after Felix’s super-successful Melfest debut (as a soloist) in 2018, I was hoping and praying he’d pop up again the following year and not pull an Oscar Zia (who may still make a comeback, but I can’t see it happening personally). Felix didn’t make that return in 2019, but nor did he follow in Oscar’s footsteps – he HAS come back, albeit two years later. And, by all accounts, he’s in it to win it. I can’t help feeling confident that he’ll have been worth the wait, and there’s no doubt that the intriguingly-titled Boys With Emotions – which is apparently a Swedish twist on Soldi – is one of the songs Christer Björkman has earmarked for victory. Don’t worry, Felix: as your bromantic partner Benjamin Ingrosso will tell you, you don’t just get that ugly bird trophy when you win Melfest. You get to go to Eurovision too, and that’s much better (though harder to display on a shelf). In all seriousness, I am psyched for Sandman. Could it be third time lucky for our favourite ex-member of FO & O? I think so…& o.*
I’ll also be getting behind…Malou Prytz + Robin Bengtsson
*By the time you read this the song snippets for SF1 will be out and about, so take my pre-release comments with a grain of salt, guys. I’d still be excited for Felix if Boys With Emotions had all the lyrical and musical integrity of That Sounds Good To Me, anyway.
SF2, Göteborg | Paul Rey, Talking In My Sleep
I first discovered this guy thanks to Scandipop’s always awesome Best New Pop playlist on Spotify (still not sponsored, DAMN THEM). That was a few years ago, and the track was What Good Is Love – obviously not what Paul will be performing at Melfest, but a great song and great showcase for Those Vocals™. Since then, I’ve been crossing my fingers for him to try his hand at my favourite national final, and in 2020 my prayers were answered. Do you ever get good vibes from a song based on the title alone? I do, and Talking In My Sleep has ‘Jaz is going to LOVE this!’ written all over it. As a newcomer, Paul has some stiff competition in his semi: Dotter, Bulletproof and back for vengeance; veterans Thorsten Flinck and Linda Bengtzing; and Queen of Redemption Anna Bergendahl. But I’m convinced he’s got something contemporary and creative to offer that will at least get him to Andra Chansen. I’m excited to see what he serves up in just a couple of weeks. Who knows, he could be the Bishara of 2020…or I’ve just jinxed him and he’s going to fail miserably. Time will tell.
I’ll also be getting behind…Anna Bergendahl + Mendez feat. Alvaro Estrella
SF3, Luleå | Amanda Aasa, Late
I usually end up rooting for the very first confirmed Melfest artist – a.k.a. whoever gets the P4 Nästa competition’s golden ticket. That’s because they tend to bring the goods (and who doesn’t love an underdog?) but sadly they never get anywhere. SMILO got the biggest break with a 5th place in their 2016 semi, but that’s about it. Even so, I’ve got a good feeling about this year’s wildcard Amanda. I’m getting those good vibes from her simple-but-effective song title, and while she doesn’t have a huge number of previous singles up her sleeve, there’s something interesting about what she has done (have a listen/look at her track Under Dina Kläder below for a taste). It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from her, and that’s exciting in itself. All I really want is the wildcard to advance for once, if not direkt then at least to Andra Chansen. And since Christer Almighty didn’t stick Amanda in one of the toughest semis based on names, she has a decent chance of doing it if Late lives up to my (probably unreasonable) expectations. I hope I’m not jinxing people all over the place today.
I’ll also be getting behind…Anis don Demina + Mohombi
SF4, Malmö | Hanna Ferm, Brave
Coincidentally, the artist I’m most excited about is being saved for last – the last performance in the last semi. There won’t be any lasts for her after that though, I suspect. In fact, if there was ever a female who could break the streak of male Melfest winners standing since 2015, it’s the ridiculously stunning Hanna Ferm (yes, I have a girl crush). This woman can do no wrong in my eyes, and while I adored her duet with my other love Liamoo last year, I cannot wait to see what she can do on her own in a competition like this. My spidey senses tell me Björkman wouldn’t be unhappy with a Hanna win either, and the odds are looking good. Her song Brave has been co-written by Jimmy Jansson (who also had a hand in Hold You, plus a lengthy list of previous Melfest entries) and Laurell Barker (does She Got Me ring any bells?) so you know she means business. Can she capitalise on being the star of the Hanna & Liamoo show in 2019, and make sure Ahoy Rotterdam isn’t just one gigantic man cave in May? In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m thinking she totally can. You go, girl.
I’ll also be getting behind…Ellen Benediktson & Simon Peyron + Victor Crone
How excited are you for Melodifestivalen 2020, and who are you hoping will follow in John Lundvik’s footsteps? Let me know below!