So who’s ready for round two this Saturday?
Before then, here’s all you need to know about the eight artists who will be competing for those two slots of glory, or at the very least a second chance.
1. JEM – Love Trigger
Songwriters: Peter Boström, Julimar ”J-Son” Santos and Thomas G:son
JEM (or Jeremie Yumba, Elli Flemström and Mergime Murati to their nearest and dearest) are a product of the sole series of Swedish X Factor. And by product we don’t just mean that they come from there, they were formed on there too. Like One Direction before them, they all auditioned as individuals, but the judges ended up putting them together as a group. And so JEM were born. They did quite well in the show, eventually making the final. And since then they released the catchy dancepop gem that is ’Zoom’, written and produced by frequent Eric Saade collaborators Jason Gill and Julimar Santos (or J-Son, to the Swedish record buying public). J-Son’s popped up again on their Melodifestivalen entry ’Love Trigger’ as a songwriter, along with Thomas G-son and Peter Bostrom. Those two chaps were of course infamously responsible for ’Euphoria’ by Loreen, which bodes well. But then they were also responsible for ’On Top Of The World’ by Swedish House Wives, which bodes less well. ’Love Trigger’ is described as an energetic party song, which injects an infectiously warm feeling into people. So that will undoubtedly go down well in the arena. And what these guys also have going for them is that they’re quite fresh. There’s not really anything else like them on the Swedish pop scene at the moment, if you think about it.
2. The Refreshments – Hallelujah
Songwriter: Joakim Arnell
An immensely popular rock group who have been touring Sweden for over 25 years, and released (and sold) a shitload of albums. They describe their sound as traditional rock, so you will therefore already know that we look upon these gents as nothing more than an abstacle to something better making the final. You will also already know precisely what ’Hallelujah’ is going to sound like. And you may well too be fully aware that Sweden has a dire habit of voting for this kind of thing in their droves.
3. Manda – Glow
Songwriters: Charlie Mason, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb and Melanie Wehbe
Manda Manda Manda. We love us some Manda. From the Katy Perry-esque ’Sweetest Heartbreak’ that served as her debut single last year, to the ph’nom vocals that she displayed on her YouTube cover of ’Holy Grail’ at the end of 2013 (and you’ve still not reuploaded it to YouTube Manda – come, the fuck, on), to something which managed to top both of those last month – the melodically and vocally stunning ’Criminals’ that she released as her pre-contest single. This girl can seriously sing. And we’re looking forward to hearing those TOPVOX in an arena setting. Her Melodifestivalen entry ’Glow’ was written by Joy and Linnea Deb who were of course behind last year’s Melodifestivalen winner ’You’ (and are also partly responsible for Manda’s own ’Criminals’), plus Melanie Wehbe. Manda describes it as a poppy and happy song. A little bit inspired by Katy Perry (once again), and with attitude but also a lot of positivity. Like JEM in this heat, Manda also found fame in Sweden’s first and last only of X Factor (JEM finished higher).
4. Panetoz – Efter solsken
Songwriters:Daniel Nzinga, Pa Modou Badjie, Johan Hirvi, Njol Badjie and Nebeyu Baheru
You couldn’t move in Sweden during the summer of 2012, without being told to dance and then pause by these chaps and their inescapable hit single ‘Dansa Pausa’. Massive wasn’t the word. And it certainly hasn’t been the word for anything that’s followed since. Their follow up single flopped hard, despite some heavy promo and some radio play. And they’ve succumbed to Melodifestivalen, probably one year later than SVT would have ideally wanted them. If they have any sense then their new song ‘Efter Solsken’ will be ‘Dansa Pausa’ part 2, because that’s all anyone watching is going to want from them. Here’s how they describe it; “Our song is very much about finding inner joy in yourself, and to pass it to others. After sunshine comes the rain, and we dance in the rain. Despite the setbacks, you should try to seek the positive. After our shows usually people come up and say “I have never danced so much, and I do not even dance” but they do it. And that’s the feeling we want to leave in people. We would love to include the audience in our show”. So there you go. Sounds like it’s going to be an arena pleaser in the same vein as ‘Me & My Drum’ or ‘Jalla Dansa Sawa’.
5. Pink Pistols – I Am Somebody
Songwriters: Susie Päivärinta, Nestor Geli, Diztord, Joakim Törnqvist and Frost Per Hed
GAYGAYGAYGAYGAY!!!!! We’re anticipating that looking and listening to this unfold on the Melodifestivalen stage is going to be akin to being fisted by a rainbow. Two members of the After Dark drag show team up with gay pop duo Straight Up!. And sing a song that was composed by amongst others, Susie out of Lili & Susie. Incidentally, their song has been described as sounding like a cross between Lili & Susie’s ’Show Me Heaven’ and an Alcazar track. But while we won’t quite get our hopes up THAT high, we will be looking forard to this experience immensely on Saturday. For it will be just that – an experience. We already want an album from these lot without even hearing a chord of music. Just LOOK at them!
6. Sanna Nielsen – Undo
Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger and Hamed ”K-One” Pirouzpanah
This lady has competed in Melodifestivalen six times, and never once missed the final. The people’s Schlagerpop Princess. You can’t help but like girl-next-door Sanna. She had her best result in 2008 with the super ballad ’Empty Room’, which won the public televote but ultimately finished second. So this time she’s back with another ballad. Or a melancholic ballad, as she describes it. It’s bound to be a big ’un, as it’s composed by Fredrik Kempe, Cheiron alumni David Kreuger, and K-One. It’s hard to predict where Sanna will fit in amongst the results table, with fellow stalwart Martin Stenmarck in the line-up, as well as so much new youth, and that ever pesky old man rock act. But who can forget the last time Sanna Nielsen graced the Melodifestivalen stage in 2011, and surprised us all by winning her heat in an almighty spectacle with the old fashioned schlager jam ’I’m In Love’. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if she did the same again on Saturday night.
7. Little Great Things – Set Yourself Free
Songwriters: Charlie Grönvall, Cristoffer Wernqvist, Felix Grönvall and Adam Dahlström
These guys debut at Melodifestivalen with their debut single. But who are they?! Well they’re of note because two of the members, Charlie Grönvall and Felix Grönvall, are the sons of Peter and Nanne Grönvall and therefore, grandsons to Benny Andersson of ABBA – who won Melodifestivalen 40 years ago with ’Waterloo’. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? They enter along with their mates Cristoffer Wernqvist and Adam Dahlström with a song they describe as poprock with a serious tone. And with these guys in the same heat as The Refreshments, it might be interesting to see who triumphs between old man rock and young whippersnapper rock. Although actually we hope neither do – our hopes lie with Sanna, Manda, JEM, and the Pink Pistols, thank you very much.
8. Martin Stenmarck – När änglarna går hem
Songwriters: Martin Stenmarck, Alexander Bard, Andreas Öhrn and Peter Boström
Nine years ago he was a controversial winner of the whole contest with his song ‘Las Vegas’ (and by controversial we mean, a shit song beating half a dozen AMAZING songs to the title – not to mention it somehow triumphing over Nanne Grönvall’s record breaking televote win). He’s swoonsome though, so we’ve never held a grudge. We’re expecting something big here as he’s said that the only thing that made him come back to Melodifestivalen was the quality of the song. It’s been written by himself along with the always ace Peter Boström (who was responsible for Martin’s brill ‘Tonight’s The Night’), and also Gravitonas – Alexander Bard and Andreas Öhrn. All eyes on Nanne Grönvall’s kids who will be performing before Martin, to see if they can wreak revenge on his heinous act over their mother all those years ago. Ok, our eyes.