Melodifestivalen 2023: Your Guide to the Songs of Heat 3!

On Saturday night just gone, Sweden’s entertainment juggernaut Melodifestivalen returned for the second heat of its 2023 edition. In heat two of the contest, we had these results on the night:

Finalist: Never Give Up – Maria Sur
Finalist: On My Way – Panetoz
Semi-finalist: Mer Av Dig – THEOZ
Semi-finalist: Now I Know – Tennessee Tears
5th: All My Life (Where Have You Been) – Wiktoria
6th: Grytan – Uje Brandelius
7th: Comfortable – Eden

It’s heat three of four Melodifestivalen 2023 heats this Saturday night, and the next seven of 28 songs will be performed for the very first time. After a viewer vote, two will progress to the final directly, and two will be voted through to the semi-final stage of the competition – one last chance to get a ticket to the final.

But what of the songs? And the artists?

Well, on Tuesday morning, we were given a preview listen to each of the seven songs, and we’ve penned down our initial thoughts on them below. Alongside them, you can find out a little bit more about all seven artists competing this week, so that you’re not going into Saturday night’s show totally blind.

The show is broadcast internationally on at 20:00 CET on Saturday. Also on SVTPlay, you get 60-second clips of the songs at 07:00 CET on Thursday, and 30-second clips of the rehearsals at 07:00 CET on the Friday.

Melodifestivalen Heat Three: February 18th, Lidköping


Paul Rey – Royals
(Dino Medanhodzic, Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, LIAMOO, Paul Rey)

You think you know someone when they compete with ‘Talking In Your Sleep’ in 2020 and then with ‘The Missing Piece’ in 2021. But then they go and do something completely out of character, like co-writing ‘I Can’t Get Enough’ with Cazzi Opeia at Melodifestivalen 2022. So really, in 2023, who knows what to expect? We suspected it’d be more of the former, but with a cheeky lil’ dash of the latter to have seeped in somewhere along the way, too.

Well actually, he went and exceeded those admittedly quite conservative expectations! With ‘Royals’, he’s entered a rousing dance banger that is clearly going to go “big in the arena”, but with enough energy emanating from the song itself that it’s highly likely to tranfer from the TV into living rooms too. And if all else fails up until that point – that almighty key change should do the trick. On record, this sounds like the most competitive song in this heat, and the most obvious finalist. Now, we just need to see how Paul and his team can stage an up-tempo…


Casanovas – Så Kommer Känslorna Tillbaka
(Henrik Sethsson, Mikael Karlsson)

It’s time for the token dansband – one of our favourite box-ticking exercises that SVT get up to every year at Melodifestivalen. In recent years, the dansband contributions haven’t been stellar, to say the least. But we had great expectations for Casanovas – not least because Henrik Sethsson is one of our favourite schlager songwriters out there, having co-written ‘In A Moment Like This’ for Chanee & N’Evergreen, ‘Listen To Your Heartbeat’ by Friends, ‘Something In Your Eyes’ by Jenny Silver, ’25 Hours A Day’ by Le Freak, and not to mention the greatest Melodifestivalen reject of all time – ‘Linjen i Min Hand’ by Elisa’s.

That body of work turned out to be precisely the good omen we had hoped for. ‘Så Kommer Känslorna Tillbaka’ is classic schlager, sounding like precisely the kind of thing your very own favourite schlager diva would have entered into Melodifestivalen 2006 – and come 5th in its heat, like all the best songs did back then. Some might moan with misery about it being ‘dated’, we squeal with excitement about it being a ‘throwback’! You can see for yourself what side of history you land in on Saturday night.


Melanie Wehbe – For The Show
(David Lindgren Zacharias, Herman Gardarfve, Melanie Wehbe)

She’s spent an age writing number 1 singles, radio airplay chart toppers, Idol winner’s singles, Melodifestivalen winners and Melodi Grand Prix winners for other artists, now Melanie Wehbe is stepping to the front of the biggest stage in Sweden with a song all of her own. Her songwriting talent has been enjoyed by millions – now it’s time for all of those people to hear that voice of hers, too.

With ‘For The Show’, she makes her large-scale introduction with a beautifully composed ballad. It’s backed with an electronic production that blossoms as the song progresses, with plenty of interesting elements sewn carefully into the soundscape. The combination of the hopeful melody and the sadness of the lyrics makes for a striking listen. And though we’re well familiar with Melanie’s own material, we’ve never heard her sing quite like she does on this song! This has all the makings of a show-stopper on the night.


Nordman – Släpp Alla Sorger
(Jimmy Jansson, Thomas G:son)

The last time these chaps competed in Melodifestivalen, they made sizeable headlines for their equally sizeable feat of ousting the almighty Carola from the competition in the Andra Chansen round, preventing her from reaching the 2008 final. As beloved as they are for that by some, they are beloved by others for their talent for producing timeless Swedish folk-pop. Their name will be seen as a very welcome return to the contest by many.

‘Släpp Alla Sorger’ has most in common with their 2008 entry. But for their comeback to the competition 15 years later, they’ve actually embraced elements of EDM! Traditional Nordman sounds make the most noise, however – so their legion of fans will be pleased. But they’ve definitely added more bang this time around, for the times we live in and all that.


Laurell – Sober
(Anderz Wrethov, Andreas Stone Johansson, Laurell Barker, Thomas Stengaard)

She co-wrote ‘Tempo’ by Margaret, let’s listen to what she has to say. And since writing that and a whole host of other big hits for Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest, Laurell has branched out as an artist herself, creating her very own big pop moments. The best of which we would imagine she has saved for this occasion, surely…

Given the top-tier songwriting team behind it – a team which has rightfully had plenty of contributions compete in this contest – ‘Sober’ does end up sounding like a new variation of a double-figures number of Melodifestivalen, Eurovision and national final entries we’ve heard before. So if you’re a fan of those, you’ll find a lot to love here (and we’re firmly in that camp – the pop-songwriting chops are strong with this lot). But if you’re one of the increasing number of people who are complaining that Melodifestivalen has become all too reliant on a certain kind of laboratory-made pop song – then ‘Sober’ is perhaps the new postergirl for your gripes and grumblings. For the rest of us however, a bop’s a bop! And we’ll take a big fat bop. It’s what we’re here for.


Ida-Lova – Låt Hela Stan Se På
(Andreas ”Giri” Lindbergh, Ida-Lova Lind, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb)

The 18-year-old artist has just last year released her debut EP ‘Hallå Världen Kan Du Stanna?’, which should give you a nice introduction to her sound and style. She’s co-written her entry herself, and so it’s not so surprising to learn that she hasn’t strayed too far from her usual fare when she makes her debut on the Melodifestivalen stage.

For her entry, she’s delivered a stripped-back ballad that allows her vocal and the song’s lyrics to command centre stage. Timeless in style, it doesn’t seem like it’s the most competitive song of the week by any stretch. But of course all that could change depending on what she can deliver live.


Marcus & Martinus – Air
(Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Marcus Gunnarsen, Martinus Gunnarsen)

Every year since they turned the age at which they were allowed to compete, we’ve been expecting Norwegian twins Marcus & Martinus to be announced in a line-up for Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix. Four years went by and nothing. Well, now they go and throw a curveball by entering the competition at Melodifestivalen in neighbouring Sweden instead. Except it isn’t really that much of a curveball when you remember that last year they went and won The Masked Singer Sweden. They’ve long been household names at home in Norway. We reckon they’ve set out to achieve the same stature in Sweden, too. And they’ll probably do quite well at getting it too, given their track record.

Marcus & Martinus aim high with the composition of this song. As it plays out, you can tell that the creation of a pop epic has been attempted while writing this. Whether that attempt has been successful or not, is going to be subjective. It’s produced with an ambitious sense of something building throughout, and it’s got an early ’00s trance post-chorus, which was a very nice surprise! Its contest-imposed time limit has posed a bit of a problem for it, however, as the abrupt ending does seem like an anti-climax after everything that has gone before it. But if given the grand enough staging that this song is clearly crying out for, it will be interesting to see just how well this entry plays out on Saturday night. The scale of its ambitions set it up for either a very big hit, or a spectacular miss. It’s difficult to see an in-between scenario for this one.

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