Heat 4! Traditionally the heat of absolute death, and the gateway for the contest’s eventual winner. A lot of shizz went down last night. Here’s what happened;

Qualifying directly to the final
Danny Saucedo: ‘Amazing’
Lisa Miskovsky: ‘Why Start A Fire’

Danny Saucedo: No big surprise there. Although when Lisa was announced as the first finalist, we did have a moment of panic at the not unlikely possibility of Dynazty being the other finalist. Plus, the look of nerves on Danny’s face displayed that he hadn’t assumed qualifying directing to Globen to be the foregone conclusion that the rest of us watching had. He needn’t have worried though. His performance was the talking point of the evening (despite the sound problems) and he’s got his place in the final. He goes there as one half of what’s considered to be a two horse race between him and Loreen. And at the time of writing, it’s Loreen who is edging ahead on Swedish iTunes. Oh, and by the way – as for those aforementioned sound problems which resulted in a lot of notes being missed by him – give the guy a break. We all know very well how talented a singer and how competent a performer he is. Those technical issues will be sorted out before the final.

Lisa Miskovsky: Well now this WAS  a surprise. We might have predicted it back on Monday when evaluating this week’s contest based on names alone, but we certainly took that prediction back once hearing the song. It’s been getting a lot of great feedback and Sweden obviously love it, but we just didn’t get it at all. Boring. Yes yes yes, we know we’re wrong, just leave us be!

Qualifying to the second chance round
Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren: ‘Don’t Let Me Down’
Dynazty: ‘Land Of Broken Dreams’

Either of these two would have been an unsurprising finalist. But in a heat as strong as this, an Andra Chansen placing for both isn’t a shock. And they enter Andra Chansen as surely the two of the songs with the highest likelihood of winning that round and thus making the final after all. Watch: Lotta & Christer. Dynazty.

Now then – the four who didn’t make it. Everyone always knew that Opa would be 8th and that Hanna Lindblad and Axel Algmark would be fighting it out for 6th and 7th placings (and in the end it was Axel who won that small battle). So the big news down in that half of the results table was the artist and song that finished in 5th. In fairness we all knew that whatever finished in 5th would be an unfortunate consequence of numbers. There were five songs last night that exuded Globen material – either on paper, on stage, or in stereo. And with only four available slots to progress, ONE of them had to be unlucky. But oh for the love of God, did it really HAVE to be Charlotte Perrelli with ‘The Girl’?!

We won’t dwell on the single fact that an amazing song finished in 5th place. That’s the nature of this contest after all, and we’ve all seen it happen before. But in Melodifestivalen 2012, that particular result has something of a worrying significance to it. The contest is now in a situation in which an artist like David Lindgren with a song that’s nothing more than a watered down pastiche of a David Guetta hit, is in the final. And a two times Melodifestivalen winner like Charlotte Perrelli leaves the competition after finishing a humiliating 5th in her heat with a song as good as ‘The Girl’. Some might say that ‘The Girl’ is itself only a watered down version of other schlager hits that have gone before. We disagree. But even if it is (and it most definitely isn’t), we’re slightly concerned that Sweden is voting for low end variations of international radio hits, rather than high end schlager with a home grown sound that’s so quintessentially Swedish. This is Melodifestivalen. And nowadays it’s for all intents and purposes, the only outlet we have for unearthing these special kind of schlager and pop gems that Swedes produce so very well. Where else are we gonna find them?

Would David Lingren’s ‘Shout It Out’ do better at Eurovision than Charlotte Perrelli’s ‘The Girl’? Probably. But really – screw Eurovision. Melodifestivalen is bigger than Eurovision in Sweden. It’s special. It’s very unique. Melodifestivalen is the magnificent contest it is, simply because of all the classic songs it has churned out over the years. Meticulously crafted pop songs composed by Swedes who know more than any other nation in the world how to create this kind of pop music. Sweden should be looking at Melodifestivalen as the outlet that it is for this unique kind of a song – and not as a contest to find something that the rest of Europe might like. If they continue to look at it from a Eurovision point of view, then in a few years time it runs the risk of becoming a contest full of faceless David Lindgrens and bottom-of-the-barrel rip-offs of international radio hits, and there may be no space for schlager. Can you imagine?! A Melodifestivalen without the likes of ‘Something In Your Eyes’? And a scenario where we only get a sniff of schlager if it’s interspersed with a novely Björn Ranelid-esque element?

In reality we don’t think things will ever get that bad. But Charlotte Perrelli coming 5th in her heat with ‘The Girl’ at this point in time seems like a very bad omen. Sweden – open your eyes and realise how great you have it, before it’s taken away from you. However, if you really do insist on shaking up the contest and changing it from how we know and love it, please do so via Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ rather than David Lindgren’s ‘Shout It Out’. Keep Melodifestivalen Swedish!

(and apologies to David for using him as an unfortunate scapegoat for how we view the contest in 2012)!

To end things on a lighter note – have a gander at the brilliant opening number last night, a brilliant parody of last week’s ‘Mirakel’ performed by the three hosts. And to finalise things on an even calmer note, check out the amazing Sarah Dawn Finer’s incredible interpretation of Melody Club’s ‘The Hunter’, that served as the interval act last night. See – this contest really is the greatest show on earth!


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