Melodifestivalen 2016 – The Verdict

12 March 2016

Nice to see Melodifestivalen bounce back after a torrid, and even horrid, recent history of glorified rubbish. Much of the scrutiny has been lost because Sweden produced two ESC winners, and the brilliant Sanna Nielson in third, in that period. This year there’s plenty of good, interesting songs to like, without anything really sticking out. There’s no Euphoria for example, which is good! It makes for an exciting final.

Melodifestivalen 2016 - Mr Eurovision - The Verdict

The Big Five

These are based on a combination of personal favourites, mentions in social media, teenybopper hysteria and personal bias.

01 Molly Sanden – Youniverse

This was performed last in the last semi final, which is typically an endorsement from the organisers of it being among the favourites, if not the favourite. I’m a huge fan of Molly, so it could be a personal indulgence too. When I saw Molly was one of the MF competitors, expectations were high for her song – especially after she released a string of brilliant singles from late 2014 into 2015, notably Freak, Phoenix and Like No One’s Watching. All of those are better than Youniverse. While I like it, I haven’t fully gravitated to it.

02 Frans – If I Was Sorry

One of those cute guitar songs you often see, this time without the guitar. It still works, as it remains understated and Frans connects with the audience – as is required with these sort of songs.

03 Ace Wilder – Don’t Worry

I really don’t get the appeal of Ace Wilder. She’s rather trashy, and that’s both in music in style. In Australia, she’d be regarded as a bogan, even an ultra bogan. Obviously she has an audience because she shamefully nearly beat Sanna Nielson two years. The two should never be in the same Youniverse together. I can’t remember whether this is an improvement of her 2014 song because typically I throw out trash and forget it.

04 Robin Bengtsson – Constellation Prize

Normally a harmonica is a turn-off, with it usually be involved in that annoying knee-slapping, yeh-hah country music. Robin has made it contemporary in a rather bouncy, and engaging song. Just when you thought an instrument is finally being played on stage, he tucks it away for the latter stages. That’s a shame!

05 Wiktoria – Save Me

Love the old World Wrestling Federation logo emerging from her tummy! The presentation actually disguises the fact this is country music, and a stylish example of that too. It’s quite addictive. Interesting her name is spelled with a W – something from older Swedish times. I love her styling too, especially her hair. She reminds me of something out of that 1980 Flash Gordon movie. Maybe it’s just that winged WWF belt buckle? It’s so futuristic!

The Finalists

01 Panetoz “Håll om mig hårt”
02 Lisa Ajax “My Heart Wants Me Dead”
03 David Lindgren “We Are Your Tomorrow”
04 SaRaha “Kizunguzungu”
05 Oscar Zia “Human”
06 Ace Wilder “Don’t Worry”
07 Robin Bengtsson “Constellation Prize”
08 Molly Sandén “Youniverse”
09 Boris René “Put Your Love on Me”
10 Frans “If I Were Sorry”
11 Wiktoria “Save Me”
12 Samir & Viktor “Bada nakna”

Most on the list are entertaining enough. The first and final songs are probably worth a look out of curiosity, while I also didn’t mind Lisa Ajax. You can find them on the “Melodifestivalen – All access” youtube channel.

The Verdict

Stockholm 2016 was a year that saw three of my favourite artists trying to qualify. So far Grete Paia in Estonia and Mihai in Romania have failed. The third, Molly Sanden, I sadly expect to fail too. I can only hope for her, that the greater artistic component in her song helps her stand out from the rest.

Recent history has seen Sweden alternate boy and girl with their MF winners, so this year must be a girl, right? In that case, I go with Wiktoria!


The MF final is on 12 March 2016, at 20:00 CET. In Australia, that’s 13 March, 06:00 AET. Check SVT’s page for a stream.

Check back to this page on Sunday for a review of the final. Ses då!


The Final – Live Review

01 Panetoz “Håll om mig hårt”

Black dudes rapping in Swedish? I love multiculturalism! There’s even one white sheep in the family. A fun way to start the show. 6

02 Lisa Ajax “My Heart Wants Me Dead”

Atmospheric ballad and pretty voice. I’m a sucker for this sort of stuff. Nice. 7

03 David Lindgren “We Are Your Tomorrow”

Nice innovation with interactive light beams. Otherwise standard MF stuff. 5

04 SaRaha “Kizunguzungu”

More standard sing and dance fare. MF is becoming a bit repetitive now. 5

05 Oscar Zia “Human”

Better the second time around. Let down by being a bit cliche. 6

06 Ace Wilder “Don’t Worry”

Even though she’s trashy, this was still enjoyable, and presented well. 7

07 Robin Bengtsson “Constellation Prize”

Really good and engaging. It doesn’t have any great moment, so consolation prize at best. 7

08 Molly Sandén “Youniverse”

Wow, finally a real artist. Flawless vocals and a brilliant presentation, particularly the choreography. As a Molly fan, yes, I’m biased, and even though it’s not among her best ever songs (trust me, it’s a ridiculously high standard), it’s still excellent and finally I’m in its orbit. I now consider myself a citizen of Molly Sanden’s Youniverse. 9

09 Boris René “Put Your Love on Me”

Back to the bland. 4

10 Frans “If I Were Sorry”

Young pretty boy with an engaging, folksy song. This spells danger. It’s very repetitive by the end, and I soon tire. The crowd goes nuts. An extra worry. I guess if a dull song must win MF in a year that I’m attending ESC, it’s best when Sweden is hosting so I don’t have to see it in the semi final shows. 6

11 Wiktoria “Save Me”

While it looses appeal after initial listens, it’s still great and an obvious stand-out. The opening spotlight of her symbol on her tummy is more accurate this time so it doesn’t appear like the old WWF logo of the World Wrestling Federation. Now it’s FWWF. 7

12 Samir & Viktor “Bada nakna”

Sheer idiocy. 2

Summary

A really enjoyable national final. Some songs lost their lustre, which could be attributed to excessive exposure, or from simply being among stronger competition. Conversely, others notably improved, like Molly and Ace with the exposure.

Molly Sanden is my clear personal choice, then Wiktoria. I don’t really care about the rest.

Average score is 6, which supports the view of a good overall final. MF should return to 10 songs to clear out the several duds that crept in and raise the overall standard. Also, the Eurovision voting system works best when it’s 10 songs. Why? Because there’s 10 allocations of points.

Spotted! Three blonde Swedish women. A rare species in Sweden these days. Thanks Timoteij. They were part of the interval act showcasing memorable MF losers over the years. Is that a portent for 2016?

The Voting

Why is there an international jury, is it really a jury of professionals and artists like Eurovision, or a random mob? Perhaps the theory is that since Eurovision is judged across Europe, that if your national final follows similarly, the winner will have a greater chance of success at Eurovision. I don’t like it. Swedes should judge Sweden. If it’s too difficult to get regional juries, then have a jury panel of 10 people – like Estonia do.

Frans dominates early before Oscar and Ace move up the table. Molly’s already gone as a potential winner after 3 juries voted.

How appopriate. The home of bogan culture gives the bogan of Sweden, Ace Wilder, 12 points. Congratulations, Australia!

Wiktoria ends in fourth – 20 points off the lead. Oscar surprisingly edges Frans to win the jury vote 89 to 88. Then it’s Ace on 83 and Wiktoria on 69. It’s about the worst possibly top 3. Let’s hope the televote can dramatically change things.

The televote begins to show potential. Oscar and Ace are knocked out early thanks to lowly votes. Strangely, the lowly votes are very low. Even the third and fourth best songs only get 43 points, whereas the jury third and fourth got 83 and 69 respectively. That suggests someone might have dominated the televote. Let’s hope it’s Wiktoria.

No, Wiktoria is announced as second with a lowly 45 points. Yes, just 45 points! That’s only 17 more points more than the last placed song on televote. This madness is a result of MF proportioning points relative to the actual raw televote, rather than converting them into a rank. The narrow points spread effectively says songs from second to twelfth got relatively similar numbers of televotes.

Wow, Frans, as the winner of the televote, he only gets 68 points – 21 points less than the winning song on jury. I’ve often commented about MF’s ridiculous scoring procedure, and still they can’t get it right. Before the proportional televote points allocation system, MF used the traditional ESC scoring system and multiplied the televote by the number of juries. If there were 12 juries, the winning song on televote got 144 points. That actually skewed the advantage to the televote because, to get 144 points from the jury, a song must win every jury. It never happens. Now the process is skewed to the jury.

Fixing it is simple: If you win either jury or televote the reward, provide an identical reward. That can only be done by converting raw results into a rank – preferably the traditional 12, 10, 8 to 1 of the Eurovision Song Contest. Again we can look to Estonia, with their Eesti Laul, for the correct process, as you can see below. While the result doesn’t change, that’s not the point. It’s about a fair 50/50 system.

Melodifestivalen 2016 results method vs Eesti Laul

Melodifestivalen 2016 results method vs Eesti Laul

In Conclusion

Credit to Sweden for a breezy final. It’s all decided within 70 minutes, with another 10 minutes devoted to the winner. Time for a chilled latte and vegemite on toast. Yes, we really eat that stuff.

Frans’ win with If I Were Sorry breaks a 5-year run of songs with a one-word title representing Sweden: Heroes, Undo, You, Euphoria and Popular. You need to revisit 2010 for Anna Bergendahl and This Is My Life, which had the distinction of being the first ever Swedish song not to reach the final. It’s difficult not to see the comparison between that and If I Were Sorry, where both songs seem to have ridden a public wave of sentiment surrounding the artist more than there being a rabid enthusiasm for the song. Frans’ is not as dull or monotonous as Anna’s; his issue is audience expectation with Sweden. We expect polished, catchy and powerful. While we might like If I Were Sorry, we’d prefer it be performed by Belgium.

MrEurovisionAU

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One response to “Melodifestivalen 2016 – The Verdict

  1. Pingback: Stockholm 2016 – The Sad Five! | Mr Eurovision Australia·

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