After five weeks of competing, it was finally time for the final of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen 2014. 32 entries had become 10, and after tonight’s final it was clear that the Swedish people wanted Sanna Nielsen with Undo to represent them in Eurovision Song Contest 2014.
After hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, Sweden seems to be back in the game, wanting to get another victory in the Contest. Tonight’s final of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection show, was held in the Friends Arena in Stockholm. 10 acts compete for the victory in what has been described as the best Melodifestivalen final of many years.
1. Anton Ewald – Natural (Songwriter: John Lundvik)
Anton Ewald competed in Melodifestivalen last year with the song Begging. This year he competes with Natural, which is a quite similar pop song. Anton starts the performance with singing almost acapella. You can’t deny that he’s more of a dancer than a singer and has a lot of backing vocals. The performance is quite simple and made up of Anton starting solo on stage. In the first chorus he starts dancing along with two male dancers. At the end of the song, he’s joined by two more dancers. At the end of the song, a microphone is flying up for Anton to catch through a hole in the stage floor. Anton is wearing black trousers, a black shirt and a black leather jacket with a lot of mirror pieces on it.
2. Ellen Benediktson – Songbird (Songwriters: Sharon Vaughn, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren)
From the first semi final Sweden picked young Ellen Benediktson as one of the finalists. Ellen competes with a wonderful, simple ballad which matches her quite deep voice amazingly well. The ballad is really simple – it starts with an acoustic guitarr, a few backing vocals are heard after a while and that is pretty much the entire song. Ellen is standing on a small, round stage which is a part of the stage’s catwalk. The setting is surrounded by a light rigging. Flashlights are also handed out to the audience. It’s really simple but effective as it lets the viewer focus on Ellen and her song. Ellen is wearing a mid thigh, dark blue dress, the same as she wore in the semi final. I might as well add that this singer, who’s in her last year of high school, hasn’t taken a sour note at least once during this competition.
3. Alcazar – Blame It On the Disco (Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed "K-One" Pirouzpanah)
Alcazar, consisting of Andreas Lundstedt, Lina Hedlund and Tess Merkel, are back in Melodifestivalen for the fifth time. The song is a big, happy disco pop epic. It reminds quite a lot of one of their previous entries, Stay the Night, but that only makes it the perfect comeback in the competition. The stage show starts with the three of them entering the stage from a giant disco ball that sinks down from the ceiling. The stage show is pretty much what Alcazar’s concept is all about – syncronized dancing and the three of them singing perfect harmonies. The show is complete with pyrotecnics – in each chorus! Tess and Lina are dressed in sequined, sparkly catsuits; Tess wearing a golden one with wide legs, while Lina’s, dressed in silver, has slimmed legs. Andreas is wearing grey sparkly pants, a grey t-shirt and a grey jacket with spikes on the shoulders. The shoulders on the girls’ catsuits are pimped with spikes as well. Alcazar really loves this competition!
4. Oscar Zia – Yes We Can (Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed "K-One" Pirouzpanah
Last year, Oscar Zia was on stage in Melodifestivalen with Behrang Miri, but this year he competes on his own. The song is a 90’s inspired boyband popsong with a chorus that, in my opinion, is quite missmatched with the rest of the song. It’s a happy song that repeats the title quite a few times in the chorus – complete with a "sha la la" part that makes not singing along quite impossible. Oscar has a pretty good voice and is mainly focusing on the singing, while he lets four male dancers do the dancing job. The show starts with the dancers behind TV screens with Oscar’s face on them, but later on they disappear and the dancers continue to dance on stage. Oscar is wearing black jeans, a grey t-shirt and a dark green jacket. His number is very clearly inspired by N*Sync. Funny thing: doing backing vocals backstage is Fredrik Kempe.
5. Linus Svenning – Bröder (Songwriter: Fredrik Kempe)
The fifth entry made its way to the final from the first the first semi-final in Malmö, and then from the Second Chance in Lidköping last week. Linus Svenning’s song Bröder is a dramatic ballad in Swedish about his brother who passed away way too early. Linus has a quite rough voice with a special vibrato. This song is sad and honest, and Linus emotions are probably a big part of why this song is in the final. The stage show is Linus walking from the podium, along the catwalk and finally reaching the stage. A couple of pictures of him and his brother as children are showed on the screens on stage, as the stage fills with smoke. Linus is wearing black jeans, a black tank top and a leather jacket that he throws off in the end of the song.
6. Helena Paparizou – Survivor (Songwriters: Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Karl-Ola Kjellholm, Sharon Vaughn)
The former Eurovision Song Contest winner competes in Melodifestivalen for the first time! After competing in the first semi final in Malmö, she got to the final through the Second Chance last week. The song Survivor is a strong up tempo popballad with a Eurovision-worthy intensity. It is the perfect fit for Helenas strong, beautiful knockout voice. The song is about surviving, obviously, and Helena makes it really easy to believe the lyrics. It has both the typical nordic pop influences, as well as the more oriental pop sound. The stage show is pretty simple. Helena is alone on stage and has a really small but effective and fitting coreography. For the second chorus the stage bathes in purple light. At the end of the song, the light rigging behind her on stage goes up, and drowns it all in orange light and some pyrotechnics go off as well. Helena is wearing black leather trousers and a golden/black striped top with a golden belt. She has changed outfit for every show – almost for every rehersal!
7. YOHIO – To the End (Songwriters: Andreas Johnson, Johan Lyander, Peter Kvint, YOHIO)
Last year YOHIO almost got chosen to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. He was the televoters choice, but Robin Stjernberg was standing as the victor after winning the main votes from the international jury. This year YOHIO is back with a lighter song that is quite more "arena rocky" than last year’s Heartbreak Hotel. The stage show is pretty much the same, though. YOHIO looks like a sci-fi/manga doll, as well does his band members. He is wearing some kind of black and gold, sparkly armour with a purple cape. YOHIO is on stage joined by one bassplayer, one guitarist and one drummer. After the bridge, for the final choruses, YOHIO throws a fire ball on stage and pyrotechnics and fire are going off on stage.
8. Sanna Nielsen – Undo (Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed "K-One" Pirouzpanah)
For the seventh time Sanna Nielsen is in the Swedish Melodifestivalen final. After trying a more popish song in 2011, Sanna is now back with a ballad (in 2008 she competed with Empty Room and won the televoters votes, but Sweden sent Charlotte Perrelli to Eurovision since she got most points in total). This ballad is nothing like her previous successful one, though. Undo reminds more of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and it lets Sanna’s amazing, amazing voice really shine. This is not a song you just stand up and sing – it takes a pro. The only thing that is disturbing about it is the pretty bad grammar use – "undo my sad". Anyway, Sanna sings with intensity and stands in the very same spot for three minutes. The stage show is simple; only Sanna on stage surrounded by diamonds hanging from the ceiling and the most amazing lights show this year. I am not entierly sure how to describe it, only that it’s like Sanna is surrounded by a halo of lights. It looks amazing! Especially at the end of the song when the lights have changed positions and hit a disco ball hanging in the roof. Woah! Sanna is wearing a black trouser tsuit with a belt and chains on the shoulders.
9. Panetoz – Efter Solsken (Songwriters: Johan Hirvi, Mats Lie Skåre, Nebeyu Baheru, Njol Badjie, Pa Madou Badjie)
Panetoz had a huge summer hit in Sweden two years ago, and this entry will probably be another one. This gang brings the party to the stage with simple dancing, good voices and a really happy song. The guys are wearing black trousers, shirts in black and white patterns and black jackets. There really isn’t much to say about this performance other than it’s superhappy, fun, party, a bit chaotic and is finished with a confetti rain.
10. Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’ (Songwriters: Ace Wilder, Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb
She came from nowhere and is now fighting for the victory – exactly why we all LOVE this competition! Ace Wilder is competing with a really different song, written by herself and last years victors (the Deb’s wrote Robin Stjernberg’s You). It’s a really modern popsong that contains a bunch of different styles and influences. The lyrics are about being lazy and not wanting to work. It has a really catchy hook – the entire song is really catchy! – and Ace, or Alice which her real name is, has an interesting voice. On stage she is joined by four male dancers dressed in black and white striped onepieces. Ace herself is wearing red trousers and a white crop top with the number 7 on it. The entry has a cool, funky coreography and Ace herself is doing some cool moves.
The final was held in the Friends Arena in Stockholm, with an audience capacity of 50 000. Tonight, the audience consists of a bit over 30 000 people. The host are, as previous shows this year, Nour El-Refai and Anders Jansson. They are both well-known comics.
The show began with a recap of previous weeks shows, interval acts and songs. The opening number is 1999 Eurovision Song Contest winner Charlotte Perrelli as the Little Mermaid singing about Wonderful, wonderful Copenhaaaagen. Perrelli is joined by five couples dancing waltz on stage, and also a dancer dressed as Treiton. It’s getting mixed with Seebachs Nattevarn as the finalists make their entries and gets presentented all over the arena. It continues with Perrelli back on stage with a bunch of dancers dressed in gold clothes, singing the mix.
Anders and Nour then make their appearance and explain the voting. Not much more gets talked about before they start presenting the artists.
After Sanna has performed, Sigrid from a previous week’s competition makes a comeback, talking about feminism and that it’s International Women’s Day. This girl is wonderful! She also gives YOHIO her doll – whom she’s named Fredrika Bremer. And Nour has to admit that Sigrid is a way better feminist than she is…
The interval act is filled with stars with the mission of celebrating the 40 year-anniversary of Waterloo a couple of Melodifestivalen stars gathered. First out is a choir of eight people singing ABBA’s Take A Chance On Me, it soon crosses over to Knowing Me, Knowing You which is performed by Marie Bergman (Eurovision Song Contest 1994, then along with Roger Pontare). The stage is then taken over by 2009’s Swedish winner Malena Ernman who performs Chiquitita. Next star on stage is Charlotte Perrelli (winner of Eurovision Song Contest 1999 and Swedish representative in ESC 2008) who performs Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! A Man After Midnight. But we’re not done there – last out is last years winner Robin Stjernberg who finishes the interval act with Thank You For the Music. The only strange thing is – what did you do with Waterloo?
Right before the result, Nour El-Refai and Anders Jansson perform a number, Nour in a white dress and Anders in a black suit, singing a Swedish version of You with new lyrics about this year’s Melodifestival. They’re joined by dancers that are doing a sort of remake of Robin’s dancers’ choreography from last year. It’s a quite funny and nice act.
For some reason the result is delayed, so the hosts have to talk about, well, nothing, for a couple of minutes.
The voting is split between an international jury and the Swedish people’s televoting. The international jury consists of 11 jury groups which has voted after seeing last night’s dress rehearsal. The international jury gives 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 points each to the seven entries they like the most. Three entries per jury group will be left with 0 points. In total the jury gives 11 x 43 points = 473 points. The televoting lines are open while the international jury hands out their points, and closes about five minutes later. The televoters have as many points to give as the jury, 473 points. The televotes are distributed percentage – if a entry gets 10 percent of the televotes, it will get 10 percent of the 473 points. The entry that recieves most votes from both the televoters and the jury will be the entry to represent Sweden in Eurovision Song Contest.
Italy’s votes: 1 point YOHIO, 2 points Helena Paparizou, 4 points Oscar Zia, 6 points Ellen Benediktson, 8 points Sanna Nielsen, 10 p Alcazar, 12 points Ace Wilder
Germany’s votes: 1 point Oscar Zia, 2 points Panetoz, 4 points Ellen Benediktson, 6 points Helena Paparizou, 8 points Alcazar, 10 points Sanna Nielsen, 12 points Linus Svenning
Israel’s votes: 1 point Anton Ewald, 2 points Linus Svenning, 4 points YOHIO, 6 points Helena Paparizou, 8 points Alcazar, 10 points Sanna Nielsen, 12 points Ace Wilder
France: 1 point Ellen Benediktson, 2 points YOHIO, 4 points Helena Paparizou, 6 points Linus Svenning, 8 points Ace Wilder, 10 points Sanna Nielsen, 12 points Alcazar.
The Netherlands: 1 point Linus Svenning, 2 points Helena Paparizou, 4 points Sanna Nielsen, 6 points Alcazar, 8 points Panetoz, 10 points Ellen Benediktson, 12 points Ace Wilder
Malta: 1 point Ace Wilder, 2 points Anton Ewald, 4 points YOHIO, 6 points Alcazar, 8 points Oscar Zia, 10 points Sanna Nielsen, 12 points Helena Paparizou
Russia: 1 point Helena Paparizou, 2 points Ellen Benediktson, 4 Oscar Zia, 6 points YOHIO, 8 points Sanna Nielsen, 10 points Linus Svenning, 12 points Ace Wilder
Great Britain: 1 point Linus Svenning, 2 points Ellen Benediktson, 4 points Helena Paparizou, 6 points Sanna Nielsen, 8 Oscar Zia, 10 points Ace Wilder, 12 points Alcazar
Estonia: 1 point Panetoz, 2 points Helena Paparizou, 4 points Ellen Benediktson, 6 points Sanna Nielsen, 8 points YOHIO, 10 points Ace Wilder, 12 points Linus Svenning
Spain: 1 point Anton Ewald, 2 points Ellen Benediktson, 4 points YOHIO, 6 points YEs We Can, 8 points Ace Wilder, 10 points Helena Paparizou, 12 Sanna Nielsen
Denmark: 1 point Oscar Zia, 2 points Linus, 4 points Panetoz, 6 points Sanna Nielsen, 8 Helena Paparizou, 10 YOHIO, 12 points Ace Wilder
The result of the jury votes:
1. Ace Wilder, 97 points
2. Sanna Nielsen, 90 points
3. Alcazar, 62 points
4. Helena Paparizou, 57 points
5. Linus Svenning, 46 points
6. YOHIO, 39 points
7. Oscar Zia, 32 points
8. Ellen Benediktson, 31 points
9. Panetoz, 15 points
10. Anton Ewald, 4 points
The Swedish people’s televotes:
14 points Anton Ewald
18 points Panetoz
21 points Oscar Zia
27 points Helena Paparizou
30 points Ellen Benediktson
37 points Linus Svenning
43 points YOHIO
48 points Alcazar
112 points Ace Wilder
122 points Sanna Nielsen
The final result
1. Sanna Nielsen – Undo
2. Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’
3. Alcazar – Blame it on the Disco
4. Helena Paparizou – Survivor
5. Linus Svenning – Bröder
6. YOHIO – To the End
7. Ellen Bendiktson – Songbird
8. Oscar Zia – Yes We Can
9. Panetoz – Efter Solsken
10. Anton Ewald – Natural
Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest
The first time Sweden entered the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1954, with the song Lilla Stjärna. Its first victory was in 1974 when ABBA won the contest with Waterloo – it now being 2014, the victory is celebrating its 40-year-anniversary. Except that, Sweden has four other victories; 1984 with Herreys, 1991 with Carola, 1999 with Charlotte Perrelli (then Nilsson) and most recently 2012 with Loreen and her Euphoria.