Melodifestivalen 2016 – The Final

Alex Mitchell

Political observer and current affairs addict. Northumbria University graduate. Opinionated, my aim is to fuel debate. My favourite questions in life are Why? How? And What? My Favourite answers tend to start with It depends or Yes & No.

Saturday sees the 56th final of Melodifestivalen, Sweden’s biggest annual TV event, which concludes the selection of their song to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest – which this year is being hosted in Stockholm.

Melodifestivalen has had a record breaking year with over 6 million votes cast in the second chance round and over 4 million in the first semi-final. For a country with a population of just 9 million, this shows how big it is. As host nation for Eurovision the standard was set by Måns Zelmerlöw and his song ‘Heroes’ which won in Vienna.

Melodifestivalen is Eurovision’s biggest selection contest having spanned six weeks and 28 acts. It’s as competitive as Eurovision – if not more so – and I love it! (I’ve got to take a break from politics and current affairs some time!)

Recently a new voting system was announced for the Eurovision song contest splitting the jury vote and televoting This is a similar system to the one in place at Melodifestivalen, so if you want to see it in action check it out.

On the night the 12 acts (eight finalists and four through from the second chance round) will compete one last time. An international Jury of 11 countries from Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Slovenia, France, Norway and Australia will distribute the first set of 473 votes through the points system we are used to in Eurovision. This is then combined with the second 473 points the public allocates through the percentage of votes cast for each act.  It makes for an exciting final, so let’s look at this year’s finalists.

Panetoz

Here we have a multi ethnic-group from Gambia, Ethiopia, Angola, Congo and Finland, Panetoz with their entry Håll on mig hart (Hold Me Tight). This is the night’s first entry coming from the second chance round, beating Molly Peterson Hammer. This is the group’s second year in Melodifestivalen, having previously competed in 2014 where they came ninth in the final. The song is quite catchy even if you don’t speak Swedish, and when it comes to Eurovision, who cares what language the song is in!

Lisa Ajax

At just 17, Lisa is the youngest entrant this year and was a the winner in Sweden’s version of Pop Idol in 2014. Though this is Lisa’s first year in Melodifestivalen, she has participated in Lilla Melodifestivalen, the juniors’ version of the contest. Despite a strange title for a song (‘I Think My Heart Wants Me Dead’), she came second in her semi final.

David Lindgren

This is David’s third shot at the title having participated in 2012 with “Shout it out” and 2013 with “Skyline” This year’s entry “We are your tomorrow” is an upbeat song. David uses lasers to create an interactive stage routine, taking from Måns. This song won his semifinal and it is on my playlist at the moment. Will it be third time lucky?

SaRaha

SaRaha entered with an Afrikans-inspired song, ‘Kizunguzungu’. SaRaha, though Swedish, grew up in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, which is where she started her singing career. She is the second of the finalists to come from the second chance round, beating last year’s finalist ISA.

Oscar Zia

Oscar started out on The X Factor in 2012, where he came eighth in the final. This is also his third year in Melodifestivalen. In 2013, he was a backing singer for Loulou Lamotte and her song ‘Jalla Dansa Sawa’.

In 2014, he entered as a solo singer with his song ‘Yes We Can’, which got him through to the final. He finished eighth overall.

This year’s song, ‘Human’, is Oscar’s coming out story. Having struggled with his sexuality, he wanted to tell people in his own words his story.

Oscar was overwhelmed with the support he received, wand he placed first in his semi-final, ahead of Lisa Ajax. This is another song on my playlist.

Ace Wilder

I’m sure we’ve all had a day like Ace describes in her song ‘Don’t Worry’. It’s a song with a pretty good hook, and Ace herself has great stage presence.

This is Ace’s second year in Melodifestivalen, having come second to Sanna Nielseen in the final with her song ‘Busy Doing Nothing’. Ace won her semi-final and is a strong contender for the title this year.

Robin Bengtsson

This, I have to say, is my favourite song this year. ‘Constellation Prize’ is simple and catchy with a harmonica thrown in.

Robin is another Idol finalist, finishing third in 2008. This is his first year in the contest and he has since climbed the charts on Spotify and Rix FM peaking at number 3.

I hope this song wins. It’s not your typical Eurovision song and it’s not trying to mimic the previous year’s winner.

Molly Sandén

Going into the contest, Molly was the odds-on favorite to win with her song ‘Youniverse’. Molly represented Sweden in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 and this is her third year in Melodifestivalen. She entered ‘Så Vill Stjärnorna’ (‘So Like the Stars’) in 2009 and ‘Why Am I Crying’ in 2012. Both songs made it to the final, and with ‘Youniverse’ co-written by fiancé Danny Saucedo she may be in with a chance.

Boris René

Boris is a Congolese musician who has also played professional football in Sweden. ‘Put Your Love on Me’ puts me in mind of Olly Murs and that could be down to Boris’s dancing style. This was the third song to come through from the second chance round and his first time in the contest.

Frans

‘If I Were Sorry’ is the dark horse in the competition. Having been placed near the bottom in the odds, Frans’ simple song has stormed Spotify and Rix FM, coming top of the charts.

With over a million hits on YouTube, he goes into the final as the new ‘one to beat’. This is his first year in the competition and he came second in his semi-final.

Wiktoria

Wiktoria previously came fourth in Lilla Melodifestivalen in 2011, with her song ‘Jag Behöver Dig’ (‘I Need You’), and this year enters the big contest with her song ‘Save Me’.

Dressed as a superhero during her performance, this song beat off strong competition to come second in her semi-final. It comes with an set of graphics to cover her outfit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IopJwGH3z2Up

Lastly the final ends with…

Samir & Viktor

Samir & Viktor present their song ‘Bada Nakna’ (‘Both Naked’). The pair made it to the final last year with their song ‘Groupie’, which placed eighth. The last act from the second chance round to make it to the final, their stage set has lots of water – and they even strip off!

The final will be available to watch live at 7pm GMT on Saturday 12 March on SVT play, which is available online at svtplay.se or Appstores/Chromecast.

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