Melodifestivalen Final 2021 Review – it’s Tusse with Voices for Sweden

14 March 2021

A million Swedish voices, if not more, spoke in one powerful voice as Tusse won Melodifestivalen of 2021 with the uplifting voices. Tusse will now represent Sweden at the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam after receiving almost double the public votes than the next best (The Mamas) while winning the international jury too. In second was Eric Saade with Every Minute, followed by last year’s winners, The Mamas, with In The Middle. Tusse’s total public votes of 2,964,269 smashed the previous Melfest record, held by John Lundvik in 2019 with 2,211,811.

Tusse wins Melodifestivalen 2021 with Voices - Final Review - Sweden Eurovision
Tusse wins Melodifestivalen 2021 with Voices – Image: YLE/Johan Valkonen

Tusse is a great story about refugee inclusion and success in a western democracy after arriving in Sweden without his parents from Congo-Kinshasa (formerly Zaire) at just 8 years old. He’d make his break by reaching the semi finals of Sweden’s Got Talent and then win Swedish Idol in 2019. While Voices ordinarily could be dismissed as too formulaic and jejune, Tusse provided the difference with his heartfelt performance and strong projection of the song’s message. Add the superb staging, notably the graphical water effects, and his compelling personal story, it added up to a winning package.


01 Tusse – Voices (175pts, 79+96)
02 Eric Saade – Every Minute (118pts, 69+49)
03 The Mamas – In The Middle (106pts, 50+56)
04 Dotter – Little Tot (105pts, 58+48)
05 Clara Klingenström – Behöver Inte Dig Idag (91pts, 39+52)
06 Klara Hammarström – Beat Of Broken Hearts (79pts, 43+36)
07 Danny Saucedo – Dandi Dansa (74pts, 39+35)
08 Charlotte Perrelli – Still Young (60pts, 32+28)
09 Arvingarna – Tänker Inte Alls Gå Hem (44pts, 22+22)
10 Alvaro Estrella – Baila Baila (26pts, 7+19)
11 Anton Ewald – New Religion (25pts, 9+16)
12 Paul Rey – The Missing Piece (25pts, 18+7)

(total points, jury+public)


01 Danny Saucedo – Dandi Dansa (6)
02 Klara Hammarström – Beat Of Broken Hearts (8)
03 Anton Ewald – New Religion (6)
04 The Mamas – In The Middle (5)
05 Paul Rey – The Missing Piece (4)
06 Charlotte Perrelli – Still Young (7)
07 Tusse – Voices (7)
08 Alvaro Estrella – Baila Baila (6)
09 Clara Klingenström – Behöver Inte Dig Idag (8)
10 Eric Saade – Every Minute (3)
11 Dotter – Little Tot (8)
12 Arvingarna – Tänker Inte Alls Gå Hem (5)

(score out of 10; average 6.1)

As much as Dandi Dansa is so catchy (and the staging, notably activating the dancers, reminds me of the video of Freestyler by Bomfunk MC’s), the song gets repetitive by end and it’s now bit stale as a whole. While Anton Ewald impressed with his dancing and laser lighting effects, his the song was below that level, so voters looked elsewhere. In The Middle is the appropriate title for The Mamas’ entry this year. Not good, not bad. In the middle. The missing piece for Paul Rey was the entire first two and a half minutes. It was a bit of a snooze-fest until he saved it at the end. In contrast, the introduction of Still Young by Charlotte Perrelli promised something huge, only not to completely deliver. The chorus sections were not grand enough. Still enjoyable and very slick, and a welcome appearance by one of Sweden’s Eurovision legends.

Alvaro Estrella broke up the Swedish pop machine nature of the show with his slick latin-flavoured effort. Again, nothing really wrong with this; there were just others better. Eric Saade proved you can polish a turd as his song was a stinker saved by slick, minimalist staging – clearly something designed to translate well on any on a basic Eurovision stage if he won – and that’s the only rational explanation I have for his second place. After four times seeing this song now, I still can’t find the appeal in it. There’s nothing. Arvingarna gave a reasonable and entertaining performance to wrap up the show by – especially the final stages – and a solid ninth place is a reasonable result for them after getting the same points from both the jury and the public.

My Top 3

03 Klara Hammarström – Beat Of Broken Hearts

Klara was on the precipice of being in my top 5, if not higher, in my preview, and might have done so with another listen or two. Of course, at the Melfest final, I got that extra listen, and she really stood out. I especially love the dramatic transition to the bridge section, then Klara relaunches for the big finale. Her vocals were on point too, and she showed plenty of range. The lighting effects were well integrated, and she sparkles in that outfit. Sixth is a decent result considering the competition and that Sweden dare not ever send again a blonde Swedish woman to Eurovision. Indeed, Klara scored better with the jury.

02 Dotter – Little Tot

So it won’t be Dotterdam for a second year in a row. While Tusse would always be difficult to beat, being ultra critical here, Little Tot lacked a precocious edge to make it a real contender. The song didn’t wow us, the performance didn’t wow us, it was just generally excellent without blowing our minds. Fourth spot is a reflection of that, especially when you compare to Bulletproof last year and needing to overcome Tusse this year. On a personal note, I was offended by the masks on the dancers as I see them now as a tool of oppression when worn in situations clearly not warranted. Let’s not talk about women with slicked back hair that I find intimidating too. Yes, while I loved so much about Dotter and Little Tot, there were a few things I didn’t like!

01 Clara Klingenström – Behöver Inte Dig Idag

A great story and result for Clara as she performed with aplomb on the biggest stage of her life after poking around in small music competitions. Behöver Inte Dig Idag (Don’t Need You Today) always had instant appeal, Clara provided and emotional and raw connection, and the entire performance was so genuine and heartfelt. Being in Swedish certainly helped, and the song (about breaking free of a bad relationship) felt like something written with genuine feeling, not coming out of a factory like many of the others. If she could have done more with the bridge, ripped out some big notes somewhere, or somehow injected a big memorable moment, we could be talking almost a winner. Of course, fifth is still impressive, and she’s my number one, so screw everyone else. I loved that she lapped up the occasion when she briefly led when her public votes were awarded. So cute.

Klara Hammarström made the biggest jump from my preview, going from sixth to third. Charlotte Perrelli drops from third to fourth, Tusse stays fifth, Danny Saucedo drops from fourth to sixth. Clara Klingenström and Dotter switch positions at the top.

The average score of 6.1 made it a strong Melodifestivalen Final and an identical score to last year’s excellent show. Felix Sandman scoring only 2 dragged that year down, and three other songs scored 5. The Mamas scored 6 in 2020 compared to 5 this year, Paul Rey scored 6 compared to 4, while Dotter scored 8 both years. Hanna Ferm scored 9 with Brave to offset Sandman. 2021 was a more even final that allowed a strong personal story to make a big difference.

As much as Tusse is a great story, let’s not forget Sweden still has a woman problem. It’s now seven years since they sent a home-grown local product to Eurovision, the last being Sanna Nielsen in 2014. We can discount The Mamas last year given their American roots and elevated status by supporting John Lundvik (a man) in 2019. Even ignoring Tusse’s almost insurmountable edge this year, that trash from Eric Saade beat all the women. Come on! Undo this bad, Sverige.

My song happened when I was sitting in a session with Joy Deb and Linnea Deb and the rest of the group. We were writing music, but nothing felt right, and nothing felt close to the heart. But then it transpired that they had already written such a beautiful song that I got to hear. I just said: ‘That’s the one! That’s the one we should go for.’ The song is about fellowship, freedom and the importance of all voices being heard.


Watch all performances on the official youtube channel

Melodifestivalen 2021 Final Preview & Semi Final Review

Melodifestivalen 2020 Final Review


3 responses to “Melodifestivalen Final 2021 Review – it’s Tusse with Voices for Sweden

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