With tonight’s Melfest final already building the hype in the Eurovision fanbase, it’s time to pass judgement on the eight songs that went straight through the semi-finals and into tonight’s show. Will the winner be among these eight?

Our team members Boris, Melanie, Sean and Stefan had their say…

Danny Saucedo – Dandi Dansa

Boris – 5.5 – Cool staging, forgettable song, invidous douchenozzle vocalist. Sure, this is textbook Saucedo alright. I lowkey hope he beats Eric this time because it would be a hilarious rematch from 2011, an outcome that I suppose Danny should have won (also it would make 2021 a welcome year where Sweden isn’t automatically gobbling up a top five slot that could’ve went to a worthier underdog), but I’m really not bothered enough to get invested either way.

Melanie – 4 – Let me just start this review with saying that I’m not a big fan of Danny Saucedo at all. I just think he’s one of the worst losers in Melodifestivalen, bashing respectively Loreen’s and Eric Saade’s entry after being a runner-up. “Dandi Dansa” is in my view also his weakest entry in Melfest to date. Just pretend this song would participate in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, we all would say it’s mediocre. Because the Melfest staging elevates the potential of this song, people are actually liking it. However, Danny isn’t fooling me and this one is ending on my last place on this year’s Melodifestivalen ranking.

Sean – 7.5 – I mean, plus points for Swedish and this would be Sweden’s best chance to select something in their own language (even if Clara’s song is far superior). Danny does his best to channel Jamiroquai with the, frankly, ridiculous staging. Perhaps there’s some Swedish symbolism in the staging I’m missing. This is a solid, poppy effort from Danny even if his absolute BEST chance at Eurovision unfortunately came against “Euphoria” back in 2012. Not sold on the staging and not sure if it’d even work in Rotterdam, but this is a pleasant song to bop my head to.

Stefan – 4 – Well he is here to give us a performance for our sore eyes in these difficult times. He said that the song will stay in Swedish if he wins, HE WISHES. Sorry Danny, but you shouldn’t have come back with a song like this.

Total = 21 (avg. 5.25)

Anton Ewald – New Religion

Boris – 6 – It’s been six years since ‘Natural’ and Anton Ewald’s vocals are still lost in Verona. Pity because I sorta like his song, but he just cannot sing well, so he resorts to burying his voice underneath endless layers of synthetized, metallic autotune. Still an *excellent* dancer though, and I’m positive his time out here will help his future modelling career.

Melanie – 6 – Anton is giving me young Eric Saade vibes. He is definitely this year’s “Teen girl fave, pretty face, slick dancemover” act that we’re seeing often in several national final. Slick performance, but he heavily relies on the backing tracks. Luckily, in this year Eurovision Song Contest it’s even allowed to use it, so that should help him. I just have the feeling that the song isn’t competitive enough to give Sweden another win. It’s slick scandi-pop performed well, but not something ground-breaking. However, it would be fun to add a song titled “New Religion” in this year’s Eurovision list with religious influences (2x Amen, El Diablo, Fallen Angel)

Sean – 6.5 – Derby County goalkeeper Kelle Roos has decided to enter Melodifestivalen! What are you doing Kelle, we need you at the moment! This is one of the more visually striking entries this year and the stage package is certainly competent, while Anton does his best to charm and schmooze the watching audience. I have to say this is another song that suffers from radio-filler-itis, and it’s nothing remarkable once all the bells and whistles (and lasers) are stripped back. Not bad though.

Stefan – 7 – It’s radio friendly, but I have to ask myself, if he wins, how will he sound live in Rotterdam due to overuse of backing vocals at Melodi. Oh wait… Well he’s covered. Go Anton!

Total = 25.5 (avg. 6.38)

The Mamas – In The Middle

Boris – 4 – U N D E R W H E L M E D. Seriously. ‘In the middle’ is the blandest, most middle-of-the-road gospelballad cliché in recent memory and a complete downgrade from “Move”… and “Move” wasn’t even that good to begin with!! Sure, the Mamas are good… but frankly, it’s outrageous singers this talented and an act this stunning are wasted on a song this mediocre.

Melanie – 7.5 – Such a clever opening. Everyone will remember them as the act that didn’t go to Eurovision in 2020 and hopefully it will give them the sympathy votes they need to go this year. While I really want them to get a second chance in Rotterdam, I believe that there are so much better options in this year’s grand final. They still sound amazing and the harmonies are great, but it just misses the spark that “Move” had. It just sounds too “In The Middle” for me. Really wished they came with something stronger, because they are the one who actually elevates the song.

Sean – 5 – I like the effect of them wearing last year’s stage costumes before stepping foot into the new era in 2021. I was rooting for The Mamas to have a storming winner this year as “Move” was fresh and interesting for Sweden and was my favourite Swedish entry for a long time – not to mention their likeability as people. Unfortunately it feels like they’ve half-assed it with this midtempo pop ballad. They are strong performers, no denying that, but the song itself is tepid and doesn’t show off their abilities nearly as much as it should.

Stefan – 7.5 – In my opinion they should have given them a golden ticket to the final, but they eventually got what they deserve. I like this entry so much more than “Move”. Since there are a couple of (objectively) better songs, I doubt they will win. Still, I’ll keep “In The Middle” on my playlist.

Total = 24 (avg. 6)

Charlotte Perelli – Still Young

Boris – 7.5 – Having witnessed Dagmar and Kaire OUTSELL hard in Estonia a few weeks back, I am somewhat underwhelmed by Charlotte in retrospect. But still, she has me *charmed* with this antiquated schlager anthem framed as a ‘Project Runway Fashion Week’ presentation. Very ‘Real Housewifes of Gamla Stan’! Regardless, I’m having a gay old time, with stress on “gay” and “old” as this is clearly Charlotte’s target demograph.

Melanie – 7 – Yesss schlager queen Perrelli is back! While Schlager isn’t my genre at all, this queen really delivers it this year with her song “Still Young.” However, I keep forgetting that this song is also in the final, when I sum up this year’s Grand Final participants. Somehow it’s not memorable for me, while I’m actually enjoying her performance. There are better options in this year’s final, but I’m happy she’s bringing this show.

Sean – 4 – Ha ha ha. I’m not sure what I expected from Charlotte so I shouldn’t be surprised it is dated schlager pop that Gina G would’ve turned her nose up at in 1996. This feels like a parody of how to stage a Melfest entry, yet somehow the Swedes fell for it! There’s no logical flow to this song to at least bop along to the melody and the lyrics and dance moves are tired and overdone. Whatever Charlotte is trying to sell here, I ain’t buying.

Stefan – 8 – You go girl! I love how she looks younger than in 2008. This is something Swedish audience loves, a true schlager. Most of the Melodifestivalen performances are kept the same for Eurovision, so I am afraid that in the case of her victory, this wouldn’t be appealing to European audience. But the song is still good.

Total = 26.5 (avg. 6.63)

Tusse – Voices

Boris – 8.5 – In many ways Tusse just feels like Sweden attempting a Bilal. Ultrawoke genderqueer performance KING with a compelling backstory of overcoming adversity and prejudice stomping on Eurovision elitism with the most baseborn europop <3 Fortunately, I have also warmed to “Voices” itself as it’s probably the Deb-est of ALL Deb compositions so far? (Let’s see: rhyming words that don’t rhyme, consistent and ridiculous metaphors, *consistently ridicuous* metaphors, gratuitous uplifting message, random niche instrument thrown in to make it appear ‘different’), and let’s be honest: Sascha’s stage show OUTSELLS. UNFORTUNATELY however, it will all be for naught when Eric unfairly beats Tusse at the 11th hour. 🙁

Melanie – 8.5 – If I was Sweden – and I know I can’t be a country, but please use your imagination – I would send Tusse to Rotterdam to fly the Swedish flag. Maybe it’s not my favourite of the final, but I think this would have the most impact on the Eurovision Song Contest itself. He’s young, very charismatic and doesn’t rely a lot on the backing vocals. The song is in line what’s now topping the charts worldwide and I see this doing really well. A quality performance from this young talent and I’d love to see him in Rotterdam.

Sean – 7 – “Caan you heeeeeeeeaaaaarrrrrrr, a milllioooonn vooooiccceeeeeeeeessssssssss…..” Yes, the choral cry is a major cliché in itself and this is nothing new or exciting, but I have to agree there is something about this song. The backing track is intriguing, and Tusse is a very competend performer already. It’s also quite catchy for a midtempo track. If this was to win I wouldn’t really be mad, but it’s not my favourite in the final by any stretch.

Stefan – 10 – Well there is no doubt who will win the popular vote. He’s fresh from Idol, the song has a (political) message and he has the VOICE(s). Since I am a ballad sucker, I would not mind at all Tusse winning.

Total = 34 (avg. 8.5)

Eric Saade – Every Minute

Boris – 5 – I LOVE ‘incompetent Eric’. “Sting” <3 “Manboy” <3 “Competent Eric” however, is a whole other story. Let’s see: Eric has a nasal, mewling voice that clashes completely with “Every Minute” sensitivity, he attempts a ‘sexy choreography’ that looks more like writhing in severe abdominal pain, is dressed for cricket practice rather than Eurovision? Speaking of the song, who invited Sandro’s “Running” to the party? Is this SERIOUSLY the entry I’ve seen people compare to “Euphoria” in earnest? Honeys, no. Aspire for higher. Set standards for yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. As for the whole package, “Every Minute” would be good-to-okay if anyone other than Eric Saade performed it (since Eric is completely miscast in the exactly same vein Malou Prytz was miscast for “Ballerina” last year), but he does and so it isn’t.

Melanie – 9 – Before I start this review, I just want to take a minute to realise that it’s already 10 years ago that I fell in love with Eric Saade when I saw him perform “Popular” in Düsseldorf. He’s the reason that I actually encountered Melodifestivalen and that I started binge-watching the different editions. Now we’re in 2021 and the cutie patootie from 2011 turned into this grown-up guy singing that “he wants it every minute…” Saade is presenting us a full package that maybe even reminds me of a 2021 version of Loreen’s “Euphoria”. While this is definitely my favourite song and performance in the final, I just think that this won’t appeal to everyone as much as it appeals to me. I’m just scared that it is going to get the “Dance You Off ” treatment and wouldn’t appeal to the jury as much as other songs in this final. Nevertheless, you got a place back in my heart Eric and that’s all that counts right?

Sean – 10 – This is the one, Sweden – it sounds like a Eurovision winner waiting to happen! Eric has taken time to hone his craft after the excellent “Sting” in 2015, and he’s back with a bang in 2021. This is a very current club banger that has all the hallmarks and similarities of the current UK house scene which is massive over here. Think Meduse, MK, Joel Corry… that type of thing. Tie it in with a staging that feels like a live action reshoot of S+C+A+R+R’s “Rest of My Days” video and the whole package works surprisingly well. It’s effortlessly cool, it’s crisp, it’s clean, it has a ‘moment’ and is very visually striking. The song is performed well and with charm by Eric who is at the top of his game right now, and the song has MAJOR replay value which is good for chart success. Yeah… this is the package that I could see taking it all in Rotterdam if chosen. Look out Ireland!

Stefan – 10 – Look no further. We have a winner. Have to ask if I am the only one who thinks this a (better) male version of “Euphoria”? The song and performance are so simple and effective and that’s what makes it perfect. After two years of flopping the televote, I think we could see Sweden topping it if Eric takes the Rotterdam stage.

Total = 34 (avg. 8.5)

Dotter – Little Tot

Boris – 9 – I seriouslyseriouslyseriously want this to win. “Little Tot” is easily, by far, the BEST song in this selection, and the only current, forward-thinking one at that. It’s an autobiographical electropop wonderland! Sadly, what *I* want is irrelevant, and let’s face it Sweden will clearly select a man this time. Sorry that coronavirus cancelled the results from last year but women have had their chance, TOO BAD!!! Such is the lot of the kick-ass woman under the Bjorkman era. 🙁

Melanie – 8 – While everyone is comparing “Little Tot” with “Bulletproof”, I’m still Team “Cry” and think it’s her best Melodifestivalen effort to date. Dotter is an amazing artist and knows how she has to deliver a song on stage. However, I’ve got the feeling that the overproduction from her songs is overshadowing her as an artist. I don’t know what it is but “Bulletproof” and “Little Tot” don’t hit me as hard as “Cry” did. They just felt more distant, while “Cry” felt like a personal story. Nevertheless, I still think that “Little Tot” is a great song, but I just think that Dotter should represent Sweden with a song that shows her potential more. It’s there, but not with this song.

Sean – 6 – Why do people worship the ground Dotter walks on so much, why? The song is a solid Swedish pop song with all the right formulas and chemicals designed to make the average Eurofan swoon, but the whole product is lacklustre. Dotter’s vocals go from hushed indie-girl singer to shouty and breathy while the song’s unoriginality shines through. Plus – and this is just a personal irk – there’s something about the title “Little Tot” that gets on my nerves, it’s such a strange expression to use. Overall this is solid enough to listen to but this isn’t it for Eurovision this year and I don’t feel like it will translate all that well to the silent majority that end up watching Eurovision on one night a year only.

Stefan – 8.5 – Unfortunately because of last year’s entry she’s getting overhyped this year. I really like “Little Tot”, but I don’t see Eurovision potential as “Bulletproof” had. In any case, I will be listening to this song for quite some time whatever happens.

Total = 31.5 (avg. 7.88)

Arvingarna – Tänker inte alls gå hem

Boris – 6.5 – I LOVE Arvingarna. They’re such charming, engaging, fun men!! If ONLY this could also be said about their song, which is just “Okay” to me. “I Do” was way better!! Also, let us never stop lauding Sascha Jean-Baptiste for her creativity but this time she has *literally* recycled Guy Sebastian’s stage props for this song #ZeroEffortQueen.

Melanie – 5 – Biggest surprise of this year’s Melodifestivalen is Arvingarna getting Direkt Till Final. Please don’t hate me for this reference, but it kind of reminds me of the Swedish version of The Toppers who borrowed Australia 2015’s staging. I love the energy the guys are bringing on stage, but it’s not my cup of tea. It’s just a little bit too old-fashioned for me. However, I appreciate their participation in this year’s Melodifestivalen, so we actually don’t only get Scandi-pop songs in this final.

Sean – 3.5 – File this one under “I’m not the target audience and I will never understand this”. Dansbands have their place in Nordic culture and I can appreciate why this has fans in Sweden. I was still stunned this was a direkt til finalen qualifier though. It’s dated, happy clapper cheesy trash to my ears. Good enough to have an innocent dance to while under the influence but Sweden would be totally embarrassing themselves in Rotterdam if this weak effort somehow won.

Stefan – 5 – I like, but I don’t live. It’s a colorful joyful performance to watch. It also has props that don’t remind you of anything. WINK WINK. Jokes on the side, I have to say that I am still wondering how did they manage to qualify from the first semi?

Total = 20 (avg. 5)

Let’s see how this ranking lines up…

  1. Tusse – Voices – 34
  2. Eric Saade – Every Minute – 34
  3. Dotter – Little Tot – 31.5
  4. Charlotte Perelli – Still Young – 26.5
  5. Anton Ewald – New Religion – 25.5
  6. The Mamas – In The Middle – 24
  7. Danny Saucedo – Dandi Dansa – 21
  8. Arvingarna – Tänker inte alls gå hem – 20

So it seems that our team both rank Tusse and Eric Saade similarly, with Dotter not far behind. These three are widely well received in Melfest fan circles, but will they be the top three? Will any of the AC qualifiers spring a surprise tonight?

What do #YOU think of our thoughts on Melfest 2021? Did we underrate any entries? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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