Melodifestivalen 2023: Your Guide to the Songs of Heat 1!

This Saturday night, Sweden’s biggest TV show annually, Melodifestivalen, returns to our screens. Those screens being SVT1 if you’re in Sweden, and SVTPlay if you’re outside of Sweden – at 20:00 CET.

It’s heat one of four Melodifestivalen 2023 heats, and the first seven of 28 songs will be performed for the 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. It’s good to know your Tones from your Toves and your Evas from your Ewas. Always.

Melodifestivalen Heat One: February 4th, Gothenburg


Tone Sekelius – Rhythm Of My Show
(Anderz Wrethov, Dino Medanhodzic, Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, Tone Sekelius)

A breakout star from Melodifestivalen 2022, it’s excellent news to have Tone back in 2023, and with such a strong songwriting team behind her. Expectation will be high, such is the bar that she has set for herself, but we have a sneaking suspicion that she’s fully intending on raising said bar even higher with ‘Rhythm Of My Show’ – and indeed, it’s show.

‘Rhythm Of My Show’ is a swift change of direction from her 2022 entry ‘My Way’. Whereas that song let the melodies shine as the star of the song, this year’s tune is letting the music do most of the talking, with some sass behind its tone, too. We’re given a dancehall verse, a euphoric pop bridge, and a deep-dance chorus. The Anderz Wrethov production has been composed to allow some Hot Choreo in various places, which we really hope we’re gonna get. Letting the melody take a relative backseat this time around, means that more of a spotlight is going to be on everything else on the night. But it has all the elements there for an excellent show to kick off the first week.


Loulou LaMotte – Inga Sorger
(Jonas Thander, Loulou LaMotte)

It was going to happen eventually – the question was only really which of The Mamas would be the first to return to Melodifestivalen and compete as a solo artist. That honour goes to Loulou, who has recently released a few Swedish-language songs of her own, to little fanfare but moderate success. Loulou finds herself one of the few competitors who has won Melodifestivalen and performed on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest. Though, bizarrely, these were in two different years. Such times we’ve just lived through.

‘Inga Sorger’ is the big surprise of this week. In a line-up of artists as stacked as this, few people will have had LouLou down as providing THE song of the heat, despite her past form with The Mamas. But with this song, she’s put together a string-laden, melodically *stunning* tune that gives off pleasant, distant memories of Petra Marklund’s breakout debut single ‘Händerna Mot Himlen’. It’s more up-tempo than anyone expected, to the extent that we could even see that chorus going OFF on the dancefloor. Best bit: that transition from middle eight to final chorus, and the vocal ad libs she smashes out to accompany it. This deserves to be huge as it very much is.


Rejhan – Haunted
(Albin Johnsén, Mattias Andréasson, Pontus Söderman, Tilde RONIA Wrigsell)

A graduate of Sweden’s Got Talent, Rejhan has previously made it to the final of said show in 2021, and is now no doubt all geared up to do the same at Melodifestivalen in 2023. ‘Haunted’ will also serve as his debut single.

He competes with a soulful, timeless ballad that’s sonically beyond his years. That reads as quite positive until you listen to the lyrics and realise that they too are well beyond the years of an artist of his youth. His voice pulls it off no problem. But that performance may have to do some convincing to connect the song to the audience.


Elov & Beny – Raggen Går
(Johan Werner, Kristian Wejshag, Mattias Elovsson, Oscar Kilenius, Tim Larsson)

Quite the coup for SVT, to get these two chaps in on the show in 2023. Just last November, before all the Christmas songs had invaded the Spotify dailies, Elov & Beny had two hits occupying the Top 20. One would think that Melodifestivalen couldn’t get any higher in viewership, but these two will be bringing new eyes and ears to the contest this first week in February.

On ‘Raggen Går’, Elov & Beny have shoehorned it all in – a catchy whistle riff, a chant-along chorus that’s manageable no matter how much schnapps you’ve chugged down, and a beat that’s seemingly relentless in its all-out mission to get you up and moving – almost as though it’s challenging you to dare deny it. Just how charming their delivery of the staging is, will play a big part in how people respond to that very challenge. It’s not that much a stretch to dismiss it, but equally, it might not take too many tricks-up-its-sleeve to get us on board.


Victor Crone – Diamonds
(David Lindgren Zacharias, Peter Kvint, Victor Crone)

At this point he’s a dear old friend to both Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest, and it’s a pleasure to start the 2023 line-up with a familiar face. Plus, let’s face it – when it comes to music competitions, whether as a singer or songwriter, he’s yet to let us down. He comes quality assured.

‘Diamonds’ does nothing to harm his reputation for delivering The Hits. It’s a radio smash in the making. Very much in the same vein as his previous releases, which may well irk some of his detractors. But actually, this chorus does offer something a little different, in that it goes a step or two beyond pure pop, and toes the line of absolute schlager. If Linda Bengtzing had entered with this song, we’d all be declaring it her greatest Melodifestivalen comeback since her glory days. And we’d all be right. Victor, if you’re reading, that’s actually a huge compliment. Enjoy it. We’re certainly gonna enjoy this on Saturday night.


Eva Rydberg & Ewa Roos – Länge Leve Livet
(Emil Vaker, Henric Pierroff, Kalle Rydberg)

Brought in to tempt the older demographic at Melodifestivalen 2021, their song ‘Rena Rama Ding Dong’ ended up being a firm favourite amongst families and kids, and delighting international viewers with the sheer depth of its bags of charm. It’s something of a surprise to see them back so soon, given how perfectly they did the job last time – and how does one top actual perfection? But evidently they had such a good time in 2021, they’re game for more. And who out there isn’t going to be along for the ride with them?

On ‘Länge Leve Livet’, our two broads are back with something that’s a little more accomplished, musically speaking, than its predecessor. They’ve incorporated a flapper-dancing soundtrack to come up with something that’s akin to a grandma-friendly ‘Shuffla’ – making them this generation of Melfest viewer’s Samir & Viktor, believe it or not. And you don’t get more musically accomplished than that, surely?!… We’ve got a key change, mercifully. And we’re also quite excited, if a little cautiously so, about the all-out tap-dancing breakdown in the middle of it all. There’s plenty of room in this production for them to turn out more of The Show that charmed Sweden so much last time.


Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Sávežan)
(Arc North, Calle Hellberg, Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Joy Deb, Oliver Belvelin, Richard Lästh, Tobias Lundgren, William Segerdahl)

Given the frequency with which he competed in the latter half of the last decade, it’s actually a surprise that it’s taken Jon Henrik Fjällgren so long to return since his last participation in 2019. The fact that he’s back now implies that he considers he’s got something special up his sleeve. And the fact that he’s back as part of a collaboration implies that he’s got something different this time, too.

On ‘Where You Are (Sávežan)’, they’ve given us a commercial house music track with precisely the kind of vocal over the verse that this genre normally entails. And then for the chorus, our own Jon-Henrik comes in to do the very thing he’s synonymous with – perform a big ol’ joik for us. When we looked at this song on paper, given the artists involved, we had an idea of how it would sound. The end result is at the less exciting end of that spectrum, in all honesty. And so we hope that they’ve got a mighty spectacular performance planned, so as to have made this whole endeavour worthwhile and to drum up enough interest in getting folk to vote for it.

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