On Saturday night just gone, Sweden’s entertainment juggernaut Melodifestivalen returned for the third heat of its 2023 edition. In heat three of the contest, we had these results on the night:
To the Final: Marcus & Martinus – Air
To the Final: Paul Rey – Royals
To the Semi-Final: Nordman – Släpp Alla Sorger
To the Semi-Final: Melanie Wehbe – For The Show
5th: Ida-Lova – Låt Hela Stan Se På
6th: Laurell – Sober
7th: Casanovas – Så Kommer Känslorna Tillbaka
It’s heat four of four Melodifestivalen 2023 heats this Saturday night, and the last 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 SVTPlay.se 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 25th, Malmö
Kiana – Where Did You Go
(Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb)
She sang her way to the final of Sweden’s Got Talent in 2021, and now this week she’ll release her debut single via Melodifestivalen, written by some of the competition’s most frequently used top-tier writers. There’s potential for a brand-new Main Pop Girl waiting in the wings here.
With ‘Where Did You Go’, she’s brought to the contest a radio-pop and house-music hybrid. A soaring dance track that sounds like it’s tailor-made to soundtrack a summer series of Love Island. And to make it even more contemporary, her vocal even gives shades of Zara Larsson in parts. This is an entry with clear designs on being a hit outside of the contest, whatever happens inside it.
Signe & Hjördis – Edelweiss
(Anderz Wrethov, Jimmy Jansson, Myra Granberg)
Coming from a family of famous musicians, Signe and Hjördis Bornemark are therefore into all sorts of different genres of music, and passionate about their craft whatever they put their skills to. For their Melodifestivalen debut, however, they’ve promised viewers something on the folkier side of pop music.
A more universally palatable variation of the Swedish folk music we got to experience last week with Nordman. ‘Edelweiss’ is a mid-tempo number that plays out rather pleasantly enough, until it gets to that chorus – one that’s so catchy, they’ve abandoned all notions of shame and performed it twice per chorus-section. If a melody is this good, however, we’re a big fan of it being as relentless as it wishes.
Smash Into Pieces – Six Feet Under
(Andreas ”Giri” Lindbergh, Benjamin Jennebo, Chris Adam, Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Per Bergquist)
We’ve long suspected that this electro-rock act would find their way to Melodifestivalen, given their propensity for working with Anderz Wrethov and Dino Medanhodzic on their singles. As it turns out, however, neither of those writers are actually present for Smash Into Pieces’ big Melodifestivalen debut – but a few other big hitters are. This band like to inject plenty of grandeur into their sound, creating big productions to roar along to. And we can’t imagine they’ll have wanted to scrimp on any of that for their Melodifestivalen introduction.
As expected, nothing in the production has been left at the subtle setting. ‘Six Feet Under’ serves as a welcome throwback to the rock hybrids that were making the charts globally 20 years ago, updated for 2023 and tailored towards the melodic needs of us Melodifestivalen viewers. They’ve certainly understood the assignment in that respect. It’s this entry that stands head and shoulders with our Eurovision Song Contest winner coming later in the heat, as the two songs most likely to be in that finalen.
Mariette – One Day
(Jimmy Jansson, Thomas G:son, Mariette)
In the latter half of the last decade, she competed four times in six years, making it straight to the final each time. Given she’s been away for three years, it’s exciting to hear just how her sound has evolved in that time, and what a Mariette entry sounds like in 2023. And with G:son and Jansson, she’s in the best possible hands, really.
As it turns out, the Mariette of 2023 sounds like a breath of fresh air. Almost literally, in fact! A lyric of pure positivity is paired with an uplifting, airy production featuring strings of hope and drums of encouragement. A three-minute mission to make you feel better about everything going on around you. And Mariette plays the role of a reassuring Earth Mother just splendidly.
Emil Henrohn – Mera Mera Mera
(Emil Henrohn, Jakob Redtzer, Ji Nilsson, Marlene Strand)
Musical actor who turns TikTok star is all well and good, but what nobody else seems to be talking about is the *real* career highlight of Emil’s thus far – the fact that this guy was in the iconic two-single-wonder pop group A*Base! Eight years on, and he’s making his Melodifestivalen debut as a big name on social media. And of course, his own sound has evolved into something very different by now.
On ‘Mera Mera Mera’, he’s found inspiration in the schlager of the Melodifestivalen of yesteryear and attempted to update it into something that’s repackagable for today. Whether you’ll want to open that package or not, however, will down to your own tastes. Personally, we took a quick peek inside, had a look at the contents and appreciated its existence. But it’s not something we’ll be treasuring for years to come.
Axel Schylström – Gorgeous
(Axel Schylström, Herman Gardarfve, Jonas Thander, Malin Halvardsson)
The song he co-wrote for THEOZ in Melodifestivalen 2022 sounded pretty much like the natural follow-up to Axel’s own Melodifestivalen entry in 2017. So it’s not too surprising to see that contest producers put him right back to the front of their minds and invited him to return to the competition in his own right. Axel has also co-penned the song that THEOZ competed with a couple of weeks back in the second heat. But what’s he saved for himself?…
For his own outing on the Melodifestivalen stage, he’s brought with him what ends up being the only ballad in this week’s heat. It will stand out for that reason in itself, but will also strike a chord with many for its ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’-themed lyrics. In a heat of such quality and diversity however, it’s difficult to imagine this overtaking some of the many bigger hitters it competes against.
Loreen – Tattoo
(Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, Jimmy Jansson, Loreen, Moa ”Cazzi Opeia” Carlebecker, Peter Boström, Thomas G:son)
The big one. The one we’ve all been talking about in the run-up to the contest, and the one we’ll most likely all be dissecting for years to come afterwards – just like we’re still doing with ‘Statements’. Actually, maybe now’s not the best time to be dwelling on ‘Statements’. For 2023, and ‘Tattoo’, Loreen has reunited with ‘Euphoria’s songwriters Peter Boström and Thomas G:son, enlisting three more mega pop writers to the mix, including a certain Cazzi Opeia. The performance on Saturday night is going to be A Moment, that’s for sure. But what of the song?…
‘Tattoo’ is a string-laden dance track that mixes elements of recent single ‘Neon Lights’, with the greatest hits of her ‘Heal’ album. It’s starts off as a moody soundscape of intriguing electronica, before it really gets to work and lets rip on the pounding! It’s her representing her sound today, while paying a respectful nod to what we all love her for. It’s also most definitely a clear frontrunner to win Melodifestivalen. She’s said repeatedly in recent weeks that she doesn’t care about winning. But she forgot to tell that to her song – this song definitely cares about winning!