The below editorial is the opinion of the author(s), and does not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as a whole and its staff members, and does not represent the views of anyone associated with the EBU and Eurovision. Every person that participated is aware of how they come across. They’d better be. ^_^

Heja, you sneaky little Eurovisions! The last two national finals of the season reach their conclusion tonight: Portugal will decide their representative late into the night / early into the morning, ending National Finals season on a (hopefully) strong note, but before we get there we will learn who gets to represent the defending champions, Sweden, on home soil in Malmö.

Needless to say, Melodifestivalen holds a bit more stakes than normal as whoever wins the Swedish ticket also gets an automatic pass to the Grand Final. You would think that would improve the qualify of the national final a bit but eh… we’ll get there. However, we still need to review Sweden so, for old times sake, let’s do one final round of critiques laced with the five stages of grief.

On today’s panel we find:

  • Ready to annihilate some Swedish mediocrities with facts and logic, Boris Meersman
  • Endeavouring to end strong(ly hating all music), David Popescu
  • Entering Crazy Uncle In The Attic mode for one final time, James Maude. 
  • Operating on Fear and Loathing and an unhealthy dose of caffeine, Tyler Griffith
  • His mom taught him to best say nothing if you have nothing nice to say, William Carter

Each of our raving reviewers have written a paragraph articulating their feelings on each of the 12 finalists, and have given them a matching score between 0 and 10. At the end of all 12 review cycles and the 60 write-ups that come with them, the votes are tallied and we’ll show #YOU whom we think should represent the host country!

In case you haven’t been following Melfest this year, these are the 12 acts we will be reviewing today:

left to right, top to bottom: Maria Sur, Jay Smith, Lisa Ajax, Smash Into Pieces, Cazzi Opeia, Annika Wickihalder, Marcus & Martinus, Dotter, Medina, Liamoo, Jacqline, Danny Saucedo.

Who will emerge victorious? Which fave are we going to downvote this time? And how Fs are we handing out because David cannot help himself? (spoiler: many.) Without any further ado, let’s start our review cycle by sinking our teeth into a returning act from last year:


Boris – 5 – “That awkward moment you think the snippet cuts out right as the weak pre-chorus is about to turn into a powerchorus, and full performance reveals that the weak pre-chorus IS the entire chorus. Yikes. “When I’m gone ” is a song, I suppose. It lasts for three minutes, has instrumentation and a beat, she sings some words. Looks like that matches the definition closely enough. The gulf between the music (what music?) and the act, which is beautifully staged and very well-performed couldn’t be greater. SJB and Maria really try their best to make the most of the nothing they’ve been given. “When I’m gone” is a bleak opener, and one that sets the tone for what is to come – dull, uninspired, musically inbred numbers that barely classify as songs that feel like they needlessly waste talented artists and/or competent acts.”

David – 3 – “This is a crystal-clear example, of how you can distract someone away from the poor parts of a song. Lyrically, it’s absolutely pointless, and how do you cover it up? Well, add some fancy beat and tunes, with loads of lasers. Music is fine and very well polished, but I’m questioning the lyrics far too much, to simply let it get away.”

James – 4 – “The track is a Melfest camp special. Not particularly inspired electropop and the bridge grinds the song to a halt, as if a DJ fell asleep midset at a club. Lyrically, it’s a break-up song for narcissists. Who cares if your ex still loves you when you’re gone if you instigated the break-up (because she’s running running running, an annoying line that shows up at least twice a year in  mediocre national selection entries)?”

Tyler –  5.5 – “First impressions of “When I’m Gone” was that this was an immediate improvement above “Never Give Up”, but upon reflection, this seems like a song that
sounds good…in studio. I think Maria’s vocals are low enough that it gets lost in the generic pop beat that’s added to this song. The staging is fine, but too dark for my taste. This absolutely should have won the heat it was in, but Swedish taste strikes again (and it’s indicative of how bad this year Melodifestivalen has been). “When I’m Gone” is fine! After I hear it on Saturday, it will stay gone out of my mind and I won’t think of youuuuu”

William – 5 – “Maria is definitely upgrading from last year. The song really should be catchier than it is. I don’t find myself humming this randomly throughout my day. Maria can be a little stiff. Overall, I like the whole package … but dear God confiscate the light up Melfest wands from those unruly Swedes. They are destroying the illusion.”

Total Points (50): 22.5
Highest Score: 5.5 (Tyler)
Lowest Score: 3 (David)
Median Score: 5
Final Mark: F (45%)



Boris – 2.5 – “For a very brief spell, “”Jay Smith”” had me believe he was the real deal, an actual Yank stranded in Sweden singing about his childhood in the Midwest. Ha! Am I ever the gullible fool, he’s of course a Swede (absolutely 100% read this as a slur btw) who fetishized his way into a Midwestern accent Because It Suits The Genre, and was rewarded for it with a spot in the finale because he was fortunate enough to be drafted into the fifth heat. Well, I hope he was worth ending Fröken Snusk AND Scarlet AND Gunilla for, Sweden. lmao @ the Swedes being outraged by his qualification btw – IT WAS *YOU* WHO VOTED HIM INTO THE FINAL, YOU TWATS!!!!! Sit down and taste your own medicine. As far as further breaking down the griminess of this stinky country song goes, I’ll let James do the honours. I need a fucking bath.”

David – 2 – ” This is soooooooo American! Absolutely NOT what I wish to listen to. I despise the what American music has even become, and why is this in Sweden?!? It has melody, but that’s about it, which very quick becomes noticeable repetitive. I just don’t know, why this is an option to begin with.”

James – 1 – “Sepultura’s masterpiece “Roots Bloody Roots” is about how the violence of the past informs today, a sincere reflection by this Brazilian quartet with angry lyrics and smart combination of groove metal and Brazilian tribal instrumentation. Contrast that with this insincere Melfest camp ballad by a Swede cosplaying Nashville and some weak self-impovement lyrics atop some “I’ll show you b&%$#!” sentiment that would make even Andrew Tate wince. Jay’s “country heart” is from the city of Helsingborg, this track is formulated for a lame (Insert Country name) Idol winner, and is thoroughly inauthentic and plastic.”

Tyler – 3 – “As an American, I’m always taken aback when a European country goes for a song that fits the “country” genre as it feels uniquely American. “Back to My
Roots” fits that bill, except this is a song that would be played at a tailgating event with a Nickelback aesthetic and vocals. I don’t care for it, but Nickelback was popular for a reason and the Swedes clearly spoke to it having just seen it perform in the last heat and voting for it in the AC run-off GOD FRÖKEN SNUSK WAS ROBBED. This song feels dated, not unique at all, and my ears and eyes immediately glaze over as I’m actively watching it being performed. It passes the time, but nothing is special about this entry, throw it in the bin.”

William – 4 – “This is more pop country than folk country, and the latter is what I’m more likely to listen to. The performance has a nice warm vibe, and Jay plays around with the rest of the band extremely well. Surely he doesn’t speak with a Southern twang, so I don’t know why he’s affecting one while he sings. Justice for Gunilla, obviously, but I’m not furious that this is here. It’s a lowkey note in a sea of bombast, at least. Shrug.”

Total Points (50): 12.5
Highest Score: 4 (William)
Lowest Score: 1 (James)
Median Score: 2.5
Final Mark:  F (25%)

Lisa Ajax – “Awful Liar”

Boris – 2 – “There’s definitely a list out there of things Lisa Ajax is awful at, and I doubt lying is anywhere near the top of that. How many years has it been since Lisa Ajax’s debut at Melfest? Nine, ten, eleven? Around the time I started following national finals. Never once have I seen her even approach anything resembling an engaging entry. Performing at Melodifestivalen, delivering the eulogy at your hamster’s funeral or entertaining the elderly in retirement homes as a warm-up for Bingo night –  it matters not – Lisa Ajax would perform with the exact same lack of vigor and emotion at any of these events, wearing the same unflattering outfits that make her look like a yassified hobbit, singing the same insipid platitudes to the same generic beats to receive the same polite applause by her similarly uneuntheused audiences. Servephobia is a Scandinavian illness. I’m starting to believe Lisa Ajax is patient zero.”

David – 1  – “I could ABSOLUTELY see this as some soundtrack in some cutesy Disney Princess movie… since I’m not a child anymore, there’s no way in hell I can enjoy cheap garbage like this. Honestly, why would ANYONE even sing this kind of songs?!?!”

James – 5 – “Auto YouTuber Doug DeMuro said recently that the W123 Mercedes Benz models (though reliable yet luxurious workhorses from 1975 – 83) are having a moment, and lo and behold, it’s an unusually real moment of nostalgia in this song. That’s probably the end of the highlights. Instead of continuing with more detailed, real and potentially poignant lyrics, we shift to generic break-up pain lyrics, “hurts like hell” and “this is where our story ends” and such. Plopped atop a Melfest camp special composition, we end up with something bland and forgettable.”

Tyler – 4 – “I’M SUCH AN AWFUL SSSSSSSSOO-LIAR! Nah, “Awful Liar” isn’t an awful song, but it is painfully boring. I like the idea of lying through a relationship and singing about that, but I don’t feel like there’s any real power in the performance to make me like the entry in the slightest. The song is normal-flavored and needs the staging to make any impact of people (and even then, I’m not impressed with contemporary dancers in the background that have heavy feet). I just do not care for this entry and I’m still confused as to why this made it to the final if it isn’t apparently based on name recognition.”

William – 3 – This is … fine. I just can’t help but feel like this entire package, song and performance, would be at least 50% better if Kelly Clarkson was delivering it instead? For a power ballad, I’m looking for a little more power, ya know? This isn’t the song I want from a 25 year old. Give it to a grown ass woman, and then we might have something.

Total Points (50): 15
Highest Score: 5 (James)
Lowest Score: 1 (David)
Median Score: 3
Final Mark: F (30%)


Boris – 1.5 – “It really takes effort to make schlager rock borderline unbearable, so I want to thank everyone for the peak effort they’ve pulled off here. No verily, “Heroes are calling” is rotten. The combination of insipid, faux heroic instumentation (thank you, Jimmy Thörnfeld) and the empty and meaningless catchphrase-laced word casserole for lyrics (thank you, Debs) are a true insult to my intelligence and that of the viewers (whatever amount of it they have left). Thank you, Chris, for a vocal performance that gives the impression you need to very urgently take a really angry piss. This might be worse than Jars of Kings. Everyone involved can rightfully pat themselves on the back for creating the worst entry in an absolutely wretched Melodifestivalen.”

David – 6 – “I am being VERY NICE now! [ed.: can confirm that David regrets giving this a “high” mark]. Just because you had success last year, doesn’t mean you should copy/paste it and hope it eventually works. I love this music genre, but even I feel how this is a basic re-arrangement of “Six Feet Under”. I could learn to enjoy this eventually, but I’m long from being impressed after my first impression.”

James – 1 – “Let me get this straight: per the lyrics, Smash Into Pieces are rising up, but the skies are also falling, and heroes are calling to have them sandwiched somewhere in the middle? Who are the heroes if they’re not the band? Why do they have Smash Into Pieces embark on a mission of futility of trying to the reach the top when the top is descending upon them? And why are there kids vocals in the outro? The point is, this is a dopey modern Nu-Metal track that has been adulterated by the Melfest camp lot (looking at you Jimmy Thornfeldt, the Lebs and God knows how many other Melfest “consultants” dabbled in this mess), with obvious traits being the action triplet (“Calling out, calling out, calling out” as a supplement to Maria Sur’s “running running running”) as a substitute for a quality vocal hook. Anyway, Smash Into Pieces are scheduled to play the Troubadour in West Hollywood on May 11, so even they aren’t convinced this tripe will make it out of Melfest.”

Tyler – 3 – “- I mildly liked “Six Feet Under” last year (2022?) as it reminded me of being a scene kid listening to Linkin Park and hearing Chester sing. “Heroes Are Calling” feels instead like a Linkin Park deepfake generated by AI. The lyrics mean nothing to me and the performance doesn’t go as hard as “Six Feet Under”. The song and performance feels phoned in. Similar staging, similar vibes, barely anything that stands out to make it better than their previous attempt. Is this another case of name recognition being enough to give them a qualifier spot? Maybe so! Shouldn’t have won the heat”

William – 3 – “I actually LOVED their effort at Melfest last year. I can understand people comparing Smash Into Pieces to the early ’00s scourge of American NuMetal, but I thought their 2023 entry was more interesting than that. It had an electro futuristic pop bent, and the blend of attitudes in THAT song really worked. This is that … but about half as good. I already have ‘Six Feet Under’; there’s no reason for me to ever listen to ‘Heroes Are Calling’. We’re not getting anything added to the mix except water, and the flavor’s gone.”

Total Points (50): 14.5
Highest Score: 6 (David)
Lowest Score:  1 (James)
Median Score: 3
Final Mark: F (29%)


Boris – 7.5 – “Just some classic Cazzi Opeia. 🤷‍♀️ Loved “I can’t get enough”, and sure, I can get behind a second attempt that follows the Novo, Bolje paradigm. Konstrakta proved augmented repetition works as a form of protest against unfilfilled promises of improvement, so I’m obliged by kontracta to be consistent and also give Cazzi Opeia a good score – by copying herself Moa has demonstrated how bad this Melfest final is and how talented she is. The frivolous, punch-drunk-lovestruck-fool vibe (ft. Chérine visuals) comes across well in this fizzy little number. Moa has zero chance of winning Melodifestivalen, but at least she provides, you know, good vocals, conceptual staging, base charisma/empathy and a memorable melody. Was it really that difficult to ensure the eleven other finalists all those same properties?”

David – 1 –  “This is pushing ALL the WRONG buttons! I’m just ending it here! Everything is just provoking me here.”

James – 8.5 – “Credit to G:son and Jansson, they kept this stream lined and punchy, allowing a simple canvas on top of which a moderately eccentric performer like Cazzi can strut their stuff. A simple beat and string instrument riffs propel this catchy number, a plea for a fun time in the midst of everything going wrong in the world. Cazzi has personality, and the restraint shown in the composition allows that personality to shine. While it’s unlikely to win in Malmo, this could become a cult classic and help shed some of the “composed by committee” feel that many Swedish entries have had this past decade.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “Similar to most of the entries this year, this year’s act is worse than previous year’s attempts. “Can’t Get Enough”? An unexpected bop in Melfest 2022. “Give My Heart a Break”? It’s fine. I like Cazzi Opeia’s style mostly, but the dancers remind me of Chérine’s doomed live performance from Belgium’s selection last year. If it wasn’t Sweden, this would be an NQ as I don’t find the vocals to be strong enough. Is this a mild bop though? Kinda! There’s some potential here for sure. ”

Will – 9 – “Not where I was expecting to be at the beginning of all this, but I think Cazzi would be my choice. When’s the last time Sweden sent something this idiosyncratic? 2007? We’re kind of getting the best of both worlds here- a slick, Scandi sheen glaze over a handmade, approachable bit of whimsy. The song actually goes somewhere; it builds, it ebbs, it tells a story. That’s not something we’re getting from everything in the Melfest final. The staging is nutso, but in more of a Barney the Dinosaur on mescaline way than in a second year of art school showcase way. I approve. Cazzi for the win.”

Total Points (50): 32.5
Highest Score: 9 (William)
Lowest Score:  1 (David)
Median Score: 7.5
Final Mark: B (65%)


Boris – 8 – “Annika represents a trope commonly found in Scandinavia – a mediocre uninspiring pop ballad which is outsold, against all odds, through a very strong live and will probably be paid in dirt for its efforts. And don’t get me wrong – “Light” is merely okay, an empty vessel for Annika’s voice, but she fills it up with her engaging personality, despite you know, that unflattering gown trippling her age and frumping her up into near unvoteability. The performance slaps and deserves to win Melodifestivalen. The problem is, as is often the case in our societies, men (Danny, twins, Liamoo) and the weak men/women/neithers that keep enabling them. I’d be more excited for an Annika in DMGP (which is where she ultimately belongs), where he would rightfully mop the floor with the lesser offerings, easily advance from semi 2 and comfortably claim an 8th place in the Grand Final. In Melodifestivalen, she is destined to fail for the ultimate crime of not being a big enough name.”

David – 3 – “Stunning voice, but beyond boring melody. The beat stays the same for the entirety of the song, tempo barely changing, despite there is a short moment towards the end of the song, but just overall… over-polished. I’m lacking that feeling of authenticity, which in contrast, makes me not really care for the song.”

James – 4 – “A promising young vocal talent, but burdened with leaden lyrics and clichés galore (the instrument pause at the bridge, the faux gospel backing vocals, etc.). She is a young Idol contestant stuck with a generic song from the Melfest doggy bag of passed over ballads, and I do feel for Idol contestants in these national selections as they don’t have the agency or power to choose a project they really want and are stuck with guff like this. She deserves better than “light deep inside” and “crash and burn” and the myriad of auto-filled junk assigned to her.”

Tyler – 6 – “”Light” would win the Danish national selection. Here in Sweden, Annika has an uphill battle against mid men. I do like Annika’s vocals as they seem pretty
strong! The lyrics for “Light” feel generic and meaningless, but Annika sells the hell out of the song anyway, so good on her for doing so. There’s no staging, which I guess is fine for this song, and there isn’t a big moment for me that pushes this into a must-save for the Eurovision NF season. It’s good, could be better if it was more inventive. Am I disappointed that this made it to the final? Not really, just annoyed that this was the most polished female ballad of the ACselection and it was in the last heat so of course it got voted through anyway. Overall, this act is acceptable. ”

William – 8 – “Very happy she made it out of the second chance round. If you ask me, she won the entire night. I’m not interested in listening to a studio recording of this at all, but, as a live performance  piece, this is DYNAMITE. Hope Annika becomes a Melfest mainstay going forward. The dudes are taking over again; we need some new divas to balance the scales. (Just as long as Annika holds onto what makes her special and doesn’t break my heart like Clara Klingenström.) Set that dress in fire, though. It kinda looks like someone already did. Annika is a gorgeous queen. This ill-fitted, season 2 Drag Race design challenge dress is a hate crime. SHE IS 23 YEARS OLD.”

Total Points (50): 29
Highest Score: 8 (Boris, William)
Lowest Score: 3 (David)
Median Score: 6
Final Mark:  C+ (58%)


Boris – 4.5 – “Some things I will never fully understand. String theory, Roy Postema opinions, how a cosine works, Melfest Betting Odds… The twins are uncomely, have irritating voices and their songs are mediocre. Why are they popular? You would expect for an act touted as The Clear Melfest Winner to actually demonstrate… you know, skill, appeal and talent. Then again, most bookie odds are operating under the base assumption that the Swedish voting public is stupid, indoctrinated and incapable of making informed decisions, which is proven true over and over again when they advance the most recognisable names to the final without much of a second thought. Anders Bagge over Cornelia, like seriously oh my god let every decision in Sweden be made by an international jury, please. As far as “Unforgettable” itself is concerned – it’s an ironic title since the song is fully carried by its act, which is soaks up all the attention and hardly compensates for an anti-chorus so terminal it erases all memory of the melody before the final note.”

David – 3 – “This SCREEEEEAMS boyband vibes, well… it’s a duo, but you get the idea. Okay, it’s slick and modern, but sadly, it’s the music and all it includes the REALLY just tries to cover to unimaginable and straight up pointless lyrics and just transforms the song into some random club beat. This is just a pure dance track, might as well not have had any singing.”

James – 3 – “Anyone else notice the number sequence on their electronic Melfest staging wall before “Unforgettable” shows up started with “05.11”? Yeah, that’s wishful thinking for these two goofballs. By the way, who thought it was a good idea to have a “maneater” type song performed by two twin twinks? On a darker synthpop track that ends up looking like Jedward performing in a nightclub from the Saw movie franchise? I never thought misogyny could look so milquetoast, but that’s the magic of Melfest I guess.”

Tyler –  3 – “Before my relisten, I couldn’t tell you anything about this song, that’s how forgettable the song and the staging was. After watching the live performance of “Unforgettable” again, I’m so bored. Worse than “Air” by a mile. I’m tired of the red and black lighting that became especially popular from Switzerland 2019 (blegh), and I guess the staging is impressive when they’re the act SVT gives the majority of its budget to. The chorus is nothing and goes nowhere and there’s a hook somewhere in this entry that could be good, but it refuses to be more interesting. However, I would accept “Unforgettable” going to Eurovision, because that would mean no Swede (glances at Bambie Thug’s Swedish father) gets to perform, and that would be so refreshing and vibrant to see. Have already forgotten what this sounds like, the definition of bland overrated Swedish Melodifestivalen pop.”

William – 5.5 – I mean, I see all of you hating online, Europe, but y’all were the ones who let these two win OGAE Second Chance last year. I thought you liked them? You thought ‘Air’ was superior to songs from Rūta Mur, Elsa Lila, Filip Baloš, Lazza, KUUMAA, and current 2024 odds-favored artist Jerry Heil. ‘Unforgettable’ is ‘Air’, but upgraded, so, if you liked M&M’s 2023 effort, you should love this. Of course, I know as an American that everyone who votes in a democracy is to blame for bad election results … what was I saying? Oh, yeah. This entire package is technically kinda perfect, but it’s just not for me. I’m not the demo. I’d never listen to this.

Total Points (50): 19
Highest Score: 5.5 (William)
Lowest Score: 3 (David, James, Tyler)
Median Score: 3
Final Mark: F (38%)


Boris – 3 – “I don’t recommend looking up the isolated mic version of this live, because yikes.  Anyway, what the fuck is Disappointing Dotter on about – it’s really easy to write a love song. (1) believe in it (2) roll with it, and drape your body sensually across furniture while you throw intense stares into the camera to bluff the illusion. It’s not easy to write a GOOD love song though, that process starts with raw emotions, a base melody and poignant lyrics and ends in a Robynesque club banger or a Cornelian power ballad. None of that is what we’re getting here – Dotter’s song should have been a text.”

David – 2 – “Yeeea… I agree. I don’t even know if this is supposed to be a love song. Lack of proper emotions, song tries to get around way too much and to sing such a long line, which is the title of the song, so many times throughout the song… what was going on exactly here, when writing this song? Help me, cause I’m honestly confused. Point for vocal delivery however, I’ll give that much.”

James – 9 – “If you want to communicate to your partner that he should stop smoking in bed, write a love song for Melfest together! I wonder if she’ll chide co-writer and partner Dino for not doing the dishes and not picking up soused herring from the shops in her next entry? Either way, this is a breezy and easy romantic ballad for adults. Dotter puts on a charismatic performance as a lover trying her best to articulate her feelings for a lover who’s been around for a while. I pray for this to do well at Melfest, and I pray for Dino the next time he leaves the toilet seat up.”

Tyler  – 4 – “Okay, so apparently Dotter was sick during her performance, so I won’t focus on the vocals (sounds the same anyway but whatever). I’ll focus on everything else! I find the lyrics of the song boring and generic. Lying down and dancing on the piano is a nice subversion of the trope of being at the piano, so that’s fine! The key change after the first chorus makes the song worse to me, and I don’t care for the lazy strobe effects either. The fog effect also seems to bring across how sick Dotter is, it doesn’t look good. As an act, this song is easily the worst of Dotter’s in this decade. I’m not enthralled during the performance, there’s no moment that keeps me not checking my phone for Discord notifications. Don’t care for this entry, Dotter should not have advanced to the final from this heat, next. ”

Will – 6.5 – “I like her more than I like this song, but the song is good. It is. In a Melfest that is VERY percussive, it’s nice to hear a song that’s much more piano-forward. Even the way she’s singing the song, there’s a piano-coded rhythm to it. Staging could be seen as a bit … simple, but I’d call it elegant. Gives off the same vibe as the ‘Hold Me Closer’ staging  in 2022. Dotter really has great hair, doesn’t she? Forget Meghan Markle, I want Dotter’s secrets to healthy hair.”

Total Points (50): 24.5
Highest Score: 9 (James)
Lowest Score: 2 (David)
Median Score: 4
Final Mark: F (49%)


Boris – 6 –On va s’aimer, on va danser, c’est la vie, la la la la la. Yeah this is fine. “Que sera” is for all intents and purposes a Khaled song, but it is a party anthem worthy of the title. It’s entertaining, it has humour, and features mercifully overbearing backing vocals. Banger!, but only sort of. Yet another easy finalist for Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeld, who -by simply sitting behind a computer listening to music all day- has held Sweden in a chokehold of mediocrity, supplying half of their finalists. Perhaps there’s hope for me also to rule the world from my bedroom one day, once Matt starts paying me for these reviews.”

David – 4 – “You know this is going for that party anthem vibe, but it’s not doing it properly. I’m missing a proper instrumental moment in the song, where I can just listen to the beat and music, instead it’s overloaded with singing, and sadly, it’s non-sense. Screaming “Que Sera”, “Allez” and “Bailar”… guys, chill!”

James – 2 – “A thoroughly miserable cruise ship bop en español that only a drunk granny sailing her way through retirement in the Caribbean could enjoy. The lyrics are all twelve Spanish words that gringos know and a lazy smattering of Swedish. It’s got a party vibe, which elevates this to third worst in this selection, but it’s a forced feeling like a corporate retreat that got liquored up too easily. The key change stumbles in like your boss ambling towards the toilet after sexually harassing his secretary. Personally, I’d take norovirus over this.”

Tyler – 6 – “The blend of Spanish and Swedish in the lyrics is pretty good actually!
This gets a slight bump for being the only song here to have the Swedish language in it (Why
are the Swedes this self-hating? :(), but only a little bump! The staging is lively with the dangers
and oversized speakers, so that’s cool. However, the beat sounds at least a decade old to me
and isn’t that special. This feels like a song Alvaro would have sent except it’s too spicy for him.
Medina seems to at least get the crowd going and having fun, so that’s nice to see as well. I
mildly enjoyed watching this, so at least there’s at least this song to look forward to on Saturday ”

William – 7.5 – Medina’s biggest competition isn’t M&M or Dotter or Danny … it’s themselves. ‘Que Sera’ is fun; ‘In i dimman’ was EXCELLENT. Still, this is a party. It’s more of an all-ages, bring the whole family pool party, but a party is a party. Wouldn’t be mad to see this win. Sweden’s hosting, why not send the ultimate singing telegram invitation to the backyard barbecue? My hesitation with this potentially winning is simple: I think Medina have better entries coming down the pipeline over the next few years, and I’d rather wait for THOSE songs to give them their Eurovision moment. ‘Que Sera’ will pop off at every concert Medina do until the end of time, though, and that’s as it should be.

Total Points (50): 25.5
Highest Score: 7.5 (William)
Lowest Score: 2 (James)
Median Score: 6
Final Mark:  C- (51%)


Boris – 3.5 – “You have to be kidding me. This is “Break a broken heart. The same Imagine Dragons b-side carried by the looks of the same Hot Guy – Well sort of. Andrew Lambrou at least had a face and a set of arms that made the self-hating poppers bottoms vote for him in a feral, hormone-driven frenzy. Liamoo is hot perhaps to individuals who have not seen a single speck of melanin in their life. But if you’re really into above average looking fit dudes with no personality singing soulless pop songs that lazily rehash the same clichés over and over and over again, then “Dragon” is the entry for you, I suppose.”

David – 2 – “Some fire here, some fire there, a bit fire now and then, and why not a bit more fire. Song is just very lackluster, very unimaginable and has absolutely no point when it comes to lyrics. To sing about being a dragon, by flying, spitting fire, spreading your wings… was that just a lazy day at the studio?!”

James – 6 – “I am getting that Liamoo is referencing his being part-Filipino and the bullying he received at school because of it, and the pain there that he overcame. I also do like the staging, with the fire in the front and also on the backlit screens. However, the track itself is ordinary, and with a few tweaks you could make this a song for a guy from Nottingham whose spirit animal is a hedgehog and throw in some spike metaphors. It needs a touch more personality. Liamoo has potential, but falls a little short of top tier with this bland empowerment track.”

Tyler – 2.5 – “- What is with voting for the songs straight to the final that have no chorus whatsoever sung by conventionally attractive men? Nobody’s winking at YOU directly, don’t fall for the parasocial relationship. “NA NA NA EMMA NEE” isn’t a good hook for a chorus, the staging itself is flat and not interesting to watch, and while the vocals are good (not amazing, no matter what anyone may try to argue), I don’t like Liamoo’s performance. What’s with the martial arts stances? Why do we care that he’s embracing fear to better himself by becoming a dragon rider? Maybe this song was written after watching “Dune”? Why do I care so much about this song that lulls me to sleep? This could be an interesting mental health anthem, but the mission statement is just, “I’m embracing my insecurities and rising above it”. In fact, that’s the only thing that’s repeated over and over again for 3 minutes, and that’s lazy songwriting and it’s boring to watch. I fail to understand why this deserves to win the first round of voting to get to the final for this nothing song. ”

William – 7 – I like this song less than I did on first watch/listen, but I’m still humming the hell out of these sets. This live performance is SO VERY Melfest, in the best way. It’s goofy, but it works! I’m not interested in listening to the studio cut of ‘Dragon’, really, but I’ll keep coming back to watch Liamoo slay. (Get it? slay, like a drag-oh, never mind…)

Total Points (50): 21
Highest Score: 7 (William)
Lowest Score: 2 (David)
Median Score: 3.5
Final Mark:  F (42%)


Boris – 8.5 – “A solid, enjoyable throwback to 90s R&B. “Effortless” is reminiscent of Janet Jackson and early Destiny’s Child, in the same way “We Will Rave” reminds me of 2Fabiola, Touch of Joy, Milk Inc, X-Session, Lasgo and Sylver. “Effortless” flew under the radar because this is Jacqline’s inaugural Mello, and the song isn’t getting piggybacked by distractive staging. (and also because she’s a woman of colour but we’ll pretend that had no impact so we don’t offend fragile tories…x). No more hiding in the shadows as far as I’m concerned! This is the song Sweden should send to Eurovision. Better to have a good song be carried by an engaging, competent singer’s voice and charisma, a woman in full control of her act, than a mediocre song carried by distracting visuals in an effort to mime quality, no? :beckons arm at the rest of the line-up: Pray the International Jury agrees with me, and is willing to save the Eurovision 2024 from Sweden’s signature male mediocrity.”

David – 2 – “Your word sweetheart, but yea… the song does indeed seem very “effortless”. An old school groovy vibe, which seems like the entire plot of the song. The dancing and moving is taking all the focus, why even bother singing? I’m literally lost for words, thanks to not caring about everything I heard.”

James – 8.5 – “Has a groove reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Something,” and for a song written by a committee it is really tight. Seemingly effortless for a Melfest camp. Jacqline has an easy going charm and sells “an epiphany in the backseat of your car,” a corny line which could have gone wrong with so many performers. I’d amp the sexiness of the song up a bit more in terms of the choreography and the outfits, but otherwise it is a solid, fun track. I’d be happy with this in Malmo.”

Tyler – 8.5 –  “Finally, some good food. I love “Effortless”! It feels like a great 90s R&B song and it feels so different to anything else in the selection and it’s good! This stood out to me as a potential winner of Melfest soon after it was performed, and I would love it if Sweden sent this song as it feels like their one unique entry in over 10 years. That being said, I do have some problems with it. I think Jacqline needs to work on the vocals as they feel weak at times and the outfit needs some editing. Fringe can be bold, but feather fringe that seems like her body is being outlined isn’t good to me. The bright red lighting with the black staging is overplayed and I’ve had enough of it! If Sweden wants to do well again this year in Eurovision, this entry is by far the most inventive and unique that would be a great choice and it would be memorable to more people than being a mid man with a shitty song. Choose Jacqline, Sweden! You won’t, because you’re cowards, but you need to choose her!

William – 8.5 – “Couldn’t honestly tell you if this SONG is actually any good. All I know is Jacqline is a STAR. This is pop girlie performing at The Grammys-level. I wish the chorus hit A LITTLE harder, but it’s hard to notice that while you’re watching Jacqline perform a three-minute Superbowl Halftime Show. Sweden is never gonna let this win, but I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.”

Total Points (50): 36
Highest Score: 8.5 (Boris, James, Tyler, William)
Lowest Score:  2 (David)
Median Score: 8.5
Final Mark: A (72%)


Boris – 6.5 – “As the years pass, Danny’s resemblance to his biological parents, Owen Wilson and Ellen Degeneres, fades. Sadly, the atittude is still the same. The ultimate problem with Danny is Danny himself. A “Smug douchenozzle” vibe can be fun if used on a party song, but it’s not as effective for a genial, emotionally grounded song such as this one. Speaking of, the song is actually goodish!  “Happy that you found me” is a serviceable EDM bop with visually appealing staging that wouldn’t feel out of place at Eurovision. Its tasteful geometric patterns, archways and sharp camera angles convincingly frame a genuine, sweet message that would find a lot more resonance if brought by a performer capable of showing humility. Danny is not the right performer for this song. Just hand this one to Dotter. I’ve been hearing she’s in need of a well-written love song…x”

David – 2 – “You know it’s poor, when it gets to the point, where the song could just have been the title of the song, being sung over and over. I was happy before I found this song. It’s just music being blasted with minimal effort singing wise as well. There’s nothing really to even admire here.”

James – 7 – “After all the previous Melfest attempts, is this the entry where Danny becomes self-aware? Where he realizes both his potential and his limits? I doubt his credentials as a world beater, but he is a solid, regional artist who has always acted too big for his britches, but there’s a maturity to this song that makes me say this unusual phrase: “I actually like this Danny Saucedo song.” Sure, there are faults in the lyrics and composition (the corniness and being a couple years behind the trends remain), but “Happy That You Found Me” could be a metaphor for kicking off a new phase of his career as much as the start of a new romance in the lyrics.”

Tyler – 3.5 – “I do not find this act to be interesting, sorry! Nor do I think it deserved to qualify for the final outright. The staging does nothing and is obvious (singing “turning towards the sun” while a bright orange light rises in the doorway lol be more one-to-one), I don’t think the vocals are strong (still better than most people if you’ve listened to the mic feed performances), the lyrics are generic, and Danny looks like he skipped his bail hearing to go sing in Eskilstuna. Also, shouldn’t it be “Happy That I Found You”? It reads to me as “yeah, glad you decided to get with me, I’m a catch”. It doesn’t read as Danny singing about how happy he is that he found the right person, it’s that he was always the right person and someone finally settled for him. It reads as self-centered to me and I don’t like it! Not sorry about it! ”

Will – 6 – I just want Danny Saucedo to have nice things. This song could really have come out of any Melfest from the past two decades, but that’s more of a feature than a bug for me. Classic Scandi pop charm works for a reason. There’s not really much … staging happening here, which is odd. Is Danny still paying off the credit card debt he racked up for the SHOW he put on with ‘Dandi dansa’ in 2021? Ultimately, Danny’s best asset is himself. He’s a likable, charismatic performer. He can sell a song. I’m not gonna pay full price for this one, but I’ll have notifications turned on. The second this goes on sale, I’m getting out my credit card. I don’t need it, but I want it.

Total Points (50): 25
Highest Score: 7 (James)
Lowest Score: 2 (David)
Median Score: 3
Final Mark: C- (50%)

There you have it! Our thoughts on Melodifestivalen 2024! We kind of really didn’t like it~

But how does this play out overall? Who won our ranking. Fear not for we have a:



As you can see, Jacqline effortlessly (heh) won our poll, with a decent 72% average, over Cazzi Opeia (65%) and Annika Wickihalder (58%). Medina and Danny Saucedo (barely) scrape together a passing score of 51% and 50% respectively. It is fair to state that, according to our five reviewers, we would like to see one of these five acts in Malmö.

Melodifestivalen starts tonight at 20:00 CET and can be seen on the website of the broadcaster, SVT.

Do #YOU agree with our editors? Who would #YOU like to see win Melodifestivalen tonight? Let us know in the comments on social media, or join the discussion on our forum or in our discord server!


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